Williamsburg Virginia – Photography And Fun

Wren Building on the campus of William and Mary

Wren Building on the campus of William and Mary

Williamsburg Virginia, the Colonial Capital and home of the College of William and Mary. One of the nine colleges in America that were established before we were the United States of America. A school that had to cancel classes not only because “the Yankees are coming” but also because “the British are coming”. It’s the place where the father of our nation picked up his surveyors license before he hit his stride and landed the General and President jobs.

Studying at the bookstore

Studying at the bookstore

I never get tired of visiting Williamsburg and today I am walking around the historic area with a new camera. The Fujifilm X10 is my choice for a new digital travel camera. It is not especially small or light but it feels and works like an “old school” camera, solid and simply. It also has an optical view finder. The zoom is manual, not push button, therefore it is quiet, simple and precise. The other, more expensive cameras on my short list just felt cheap and fragile with their plastic bodies and lenses.

A colonists visits with visitors

A colonists talks with and plays the mandolin for visitors

In the last three years I have bought and somehow killed two nice digital cameras. Other digitals I have used over the last ten years, similar to my computers, succumb to obsolescence or abandonment as  lens styles changed or the company just quit supporting the product. By comparison the film cameras and lenses I bought in the seventies and eighties are still working fine as long as I change the batteries once a year. They are also more fun to shoot with.

Honey and good food at the Williamsburg Cheese Shop

Honey and good food at the Williamsburg Cheese Shop

Some say digital is cheaper to shoot than film but I think it depends on how you figure it. You need to include the hardware, post-processing software, upgrades, storage devices, etc. and the time you spend sitting in front of your computer and camera LCD tweaking and throwing away the insane number of bad photos you take because “digital is cheaper”. How many years do you use that new and improved digital camera before you buy the next one?

Too many choices

Too many choices

I am very pleased with my new X10 and will continue to shoot digital some of the time but I am also going to start using my OM1 and OM2 film cameras and lenses again. They take great pictures without the need for menus, backup batteries, etc. and come with a bright split screen viewfinder to compose my manually focused photographs. The tech boys tell me film is equivalent to shooting with a 24mp DSLR and considering the cost of one of those my OM1 is the deal of the century.

A roll of film and processing will run about 12 to 18 dollars including scanning and should result in leaving me more time to hike, bike and capture the shot with fewer buttons and distractions. The process is simple, I shoot a roll of film, mail it, they upload the image to the net and/or mail me my negatives with a CD of my scanned photos. Since I put more thought into creating a good photograph when I shoot film my percentage of good photographs is higher so I end up taking only a couple rolls of photos instead of a couple hundred.

Burton Parish cemetery, she died giving birth Christmas day

Bruton Parish cemetery, she died giving birth Christmas day 1771

Black and white is my favorite type of photography and I could go back to developing the negatives myself then scanning them if I wanted to go super cheap. Over the last five years film scanners have improved significantly and have become much cheaper. However, scanners are another thing to die of obsolescence so maybe I’ll keep it simple and let someone else buy the machine, keep it up dated and do the labor. I have used Dwayne’s Photo before for processing but I plan to try The Dark Room, North Coast Photographic Services and Replicolor too.

Sheep living in  Williamsburg just a few minutes walk from campus

Sheep living in Williamsburg just a few minutes walk from campus

Considering the amount of money I have spent on digital photography over the last decade and the life expectancy of a DSLR in my hands I don’t see cost as the determining factor as to whether I shoot film or digital. It boils down to which type of shooting is more fun – for me it has always been film.

Why is a guy walking two goats down Duke of Gloucester Street?

Why is a guy walking two goats down Duke of Gloucester Street?

I hope you enjoy the shots of Williamsburg with the Fujifilm X10.

Blowing leaves in the sunken garden on W&M campus. Is there a better to do this?

Blowing leaves in the sunken garden on W&M campus. Is there a better way to do this?

Categories: Travel

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8 replies

  1. Your photos have always been the “highlight” for me while following your blog even though I love to hear of your adventures far and wide! Hope you both enjoy Christmas with family and friends. ~~Flame

  2. Nice photos and a fun discussion of cameras and film. Like you I have been pointing cameras at stuff for over half a century. I must say, I really like the fact that I can quickly check the LCD in the field and know that I got the shot I want… and not half to take a dozen more frames of the same thing. But I still shoot my digital camera like a film camera, composing the images carefully, checking the light, F-stop and shutter speed, scanning the edges of the frame for distractions… you know, all that old school stuff. Thanks for the fun, keep ’em coming. Kat

    • Thanks for the comment Jeff. Crunching the numbers and composing the shot are the fun parts of photography for me. I agree, mixing sound technique with the new technology is a good combination. Just yesterday I replaced the view finder screen on my DSLR with one that has a splint screen so I can more easily manually focus my legacy lenses. So far it seems to be a good mix of old and new.

      Have a great 2014 and Happy Holidays!

  3. Really nice photos, wonderful presentation…

  4. I know purists who swear by film, and for some artistic effects, that probably holds true. For the untrained eye that like mine that wishes to see a well-written story illustrated, it makes little difference. Tom, I think you have the eye for great photography no matter what tool you prefer to use. Keep up the great work. Happy New Year! – Mike

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