Close to Home | Portraits with Jill

The joys of location scouting.

(see also:  The Panicking Shit Show I Become Before A Shoot)

Luckily, Jill was wonderful to work with and we decided to explore close to the studio I work out of in Marion.  I gathered up all my gear and we ventured around the neighborhoods surrounding Uptown Marion.  (I'll link all the gear I used in this shoot down below)

Jill shot with a Pentax 67 105mm f/2.4 on Kodak Portra 400UC

Sony a7s

w/35mm f/1.4

Searching for the right light is key,  I wanted to defocus the background as much as possible to get that "swirly" bokeh rendering and keep the focus on Jill. If I was a better photographer I could probably stop down a bit and let more of the background come into play.  (maybe someday)  I told Jill to avoid greens for her outfit because of the large amount in our surroundings.  I kept my focus on beams of light shooting through the neighborhoods' trees as well as attempting to avoid busy backgrounds.  I shot on varying cameras experimenting on a friends' Pentax 67 medium format camera, Impossible Project's i-1 instant camera, and my trusty Sony a7s/35mm 1.4 combo.

Pentax 67

w/105mm f/2.4 on expired Portra 400UC

You can definitely tell the digital Sony shots vs. the medium format 6x7 shots above.  I love the look of the Portra 400UC and can't wait to shoot a boatload of it in Nicaragua while visiting my sister later this year.  The Pentax 67 is absolutely lovely and the difference in depth and detail is apparent when compared to full-frame.  The color handling of the ultra-rare 400UC is mind-boggling.  The nice and saturated look of the greens, blues, and yellows while maintaining accurate skin tones is something I've never seen before and reminds me a bit of Ektar without the harsh red skin tone look.  Of course the modern Zeiss lenses on my Sony are coated a bit better to handle the backlighting I threw at them but, with a bit of overexposure and proper scans I was able to compensate in post on the film scans.  About halfway through, I decided to pull out my instant camera and shoot through a couple packs of film.  Impossible Project's 600 type color film is getting really good and I dug the almost coastal colors from the few shots I got.  The B&W on the other hand is otherworldly good and some of my favorite photos I got the entire session.  Fast developing and accurate as heck.  I used a relatively inexpensive Epson v600 flatbed scanner to scan these, but any decent above 600 dpi scanner should work well.

Impossible Project i-1 Instant Camera

w/600 type film

After shooting through the remainder of the 400UC I had in the Pentax, we swung back to the studio and headed out to Lowe Park.  The light was fading fast but this is one of the best spots to snag every last bit of it before it sets fully.  I leaned on the a7s' low-light capability as the night drew nearer as well as firing off one last roll of Portra 400 through the 67.

The low-light of this camera continues to boggle my mind every time I push it farther than normal.  Some shots that were beyond the sun setting look like day time shots.  Jill and I capped off the night with some studio shots.  I used my a7s in combination with a co-studio member's, Einstein studio flashes and some manually adapted Nikon lenses.  I need so much more practice with studio flash and artificial light, but it's always a blast to cap off a fun shoot with some low-key flash portraits.

I used two older Nikon lenses manually adapted to my Sony, the 28mm 2.8d and the 105mm 2.5 non-ai.

Feel free to reach out If you have any questions on process and/or gear selection for certain shots,  special thanks to Jill for spending time while I was fumbling around with a bit too many cameras, as well as Eric Yerke for allowing me to use his Pentax 67 for the shoot.  If you're interested in any of the gear I use to shoot check out the links below! You can also view my  entire kit of filmmaking gear here.  Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram to see some of these shots before I post them up here or anywhere else really.


Purchases made through the links below directly support me. ✨