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Very interesting Dave, many thanks for posting, although I do agree with hotsoursaltysweet - digital is very flexible, more practical, speedy etc.... but you know all that... I was always a Nikon man. Big great F4 thing. Weighed a tonne.

Excuse me if I missed it, but did you two guys blog about the US trip, the presentation thinamy in Chicago???


Love the photos, good to hear about the process involved



Thank you for my morning chuckle. I vote for more guest posts!

Ari (Baking and Books)

This is my first time visiting and your photos are gorgeous. I really enjoyed this entry!


Great post, Dave. It is interesting to get this behind-the-scenes look at the production of the marvellous pictures which grace this blog.
Thank you.


Great post, Dave. It is interesting to get this behind-the-scenes look at the production of the marvellous pictures which grace this blog.
Thank you.



I like the picture of your slides and slide viewer. Perfect exposure!

That Velvia sure gets a lot of saturation. I don't care what you use though - your shots are always beautiful. The blog wouldn't be the same without your photos.


At the Alford/Duguid photography seminar at IACP in Chicago, I was quite astounded to hear (I think it was Alford speaking at that point) that until quite recently, publishers of cookbooks or books/magazines on food routinely rejected pictures with any kind of "blur" in them. Maybe this is what made Neal Oshima's photographs for Memories of Philippine Kitchens-specially the ones I call his "motion pics" or "process pics" seem so novel when it came out: that spectacular cover photo of the woman making puto in Laguna is all light and smoke and movement. "Blur" also figures in a very important way in your pictures: on this current page alone, there's that photo of the pickled mustard in Nan and the pictures of halo-halo. Do you remember this little tidbit, tossed out (almost as an aside) at the seminar? Care to say something about the aesthetics of "blur" in your pictures?



I'm usually too young to know or understand these things, but I thought that "trannies" were men with a penchant for dressing up in women's clothing? Or mebbe that was spelt differently, with only one "n"?

Great photos - always make me want to rush out and stuff my face.


anonymous paul

wow, with your lenses i wouldn't think of shifting to digital as well. and the velvia really explains a lot about the great saturation in your photos. i always thought you shot in digital and wondered how you got those vibrant colors. now things make sense. there really is no comparison to the economy and convenience of digital but it has a long way to go in getting the feel of film


Nice to see i'm not the only one still shooting on film. I love the quality and the handling of my Nikon SLR. I'm sure one day i'll go digital (more due to the scarcity of film than anything else), but for now, it works.


Oh David, do write more often. Love you Robyn :)

Your post had me laughing and nodding all the time.

I teach a class in Radio Production and when I talk to my students about turntables and vinyl records the look that comes across their many faces is indescribable. They often wonder what era I am from (lol)

I too have vinyl records in a cupboard waiting for them to come out on CDs or, now that I think of it, I can make it a project for my class and have them convert all my records to digital using the broadcast audio software we have at the college! Things that make you go hmmmmm.

I too have a manual camera though I must admit that I have not touched it in ages since I got my Canon Digital. I feel guilty for neglecting it. I do remember the days of reloading the camera with film and being very careful not to let anything touch it.

Using a manual camera makes me feel as if I know what I am doing, if feels like a skill. Oh gosh, I am not saying that using a digital camera does not require any skills, it's just a different feel altogether with a manual camera.

Enjoyed your post. Let us know when you make the switch to digital and your choice of course so that those of us who admire your work can get some tips and insight and maybe even upgrade...


Thanks everyone, for your comments. I'll let Dave reply, when he gets back from Bali, where he has been, um, 'working' this week.


Being one of those people who has sent you an e-mail, and never dared send you another one again, I still stand in awe of film photography - but then again as a beginner I find that learning with a digital camera speeds up the learning process so much more - and it's so much less costly now as well, with the advent of falling SLR prices.

I love film developed photos for their great colour renditioning and unsurpassed quality - they always have that much more depth than digital does, especially colour slide film for obvious reasons, and your photos illustrate that to perfection. But for now, looking at the photos that I'm turning out, I'd rather make the mistakes and not have to pay the price.

You have my utmost respect though, and I hope that one day, when I feel good enough, I'll pull out that F80 I bought on ebay, and load it up with Velvia. If they're still selling velvia by then! Thanks for all the great stories and photographs.


Thanks everyone for the kind words. Looks like I'm not alone when it comes to a passing fondness for film (or maybe it's just pity).

Graham, two advantages that I can see with digital are the ability to change ISO on the fly and to adjust white balance. One issue with the type of stuff we do is that you'll often have multiple light sources - incandescent, florescent, natural - each with their own color temp. I've ended up chucking out well composed pics that have taken on strange color shifts from single or combined light sources.

Sorry, although the palm sugar talk went well we did not post on Chicago. The only 'US' posts were from SF.

Richard, I do remember that 'little tidbit'. In fact, it found myself nodding through most of their talk. Great stuff.

You're absolutely right about Neal's photos. He has that rare ability to bring still lifes to 'life'. One of the reasons I keep the old equipment is that I'm always tempted give up and throw away my gear when I see his photos. I figure it would be less of a loss than if I was heavily invested in new equipment.

As far as the 'blur' goes, there are two things going on. One is that I also like to try to capture motion. You can't get the feel of a market if everything is frozen still. It's the movement and chaos that makes those places so interesting. That's one of the reasons I drag a tripod along. Second, by using a shallower depth of field, like in the opening shot, the subject, which is the pickled mustard, is isolated. If the lady was also in focus, your eye would go to her or maybe just wander around photo and miss the point.

Cynthia, if you do put your students to work converting your 'album' collection let me know. Not that I would want them to convert mine - I'd just be shocked to know that young people were working (now tell me THAT doesn't sound 'old').

Truth be told, I bought a digital camera (Canon G3) some years back thinking I'd start the switch. It produced some good results but fell short for me over time.

Mark, I thought I had offended you. Welcome back! Give that Velvia a try..With the advent of digital I'm seeing even medium and large format film equipment come down in price.

I can hear Robyn groaning even as I write this..'you're gonna buy WHAT?'

Sorry dear, I'll go back in the basement now..


Dave, we don't have a basement. ;-)

Since Neal's name has been bandied about in this post's comments I thought I would provide a link.


Amazing stuff. 'Memories of the Philippine Kitchen' is a worthwhile purchase for the photos alone.

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