Deer Isle, Maine

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I think I can confirm Deer Isle, Maine as one of my favorite places to visit.

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Let me preface with some background about our family. We are active. We do not sit very long. Our children mountain bike and kayak. We are fine sitting in front of an ocean for hours. But not just sitting. So Maine, well, it’s a perfect thing for us.

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Deer Isle is a quiet little island located about an hour and fifteen minutes (south)west of Acadia National Park. It was once known for farming and now, it’s a well-known arts and fishing community. So in addition to being a quiet place – nothing is really open after 7 PM, it is a farmhouse mecca .

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And yes, I was having a field day with my camera in this environment. There is a distinct difference between a Maine farmhouse and a Pennsylvania one. The huge difference is the connection of the barn to the house itself – we were informed this was to accommodate for the harsh Maine winters. But then there is trim around the windows that is clearly Maine farmhouse. And I grew to love the Maine farmhouse as the week went on. So much so I told my husband we have to include that and this on our house one day. Even the barn being attached to the house too. He stated he wasn’t too sure about that, due to it being a fire hazard, but I assure you we will have a barn attached to our house one day.

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Of course we rented a farmhouse too – what did you expect? It actually was a boarding house at one point, but is now owned by a brother and sister. The other sibling and her husband own the adjacent home that has this view (below) of blueberry fields and the Penobscot Bay.  Harry, Kate and dog Jake quickly became acquainted with our family and Harry introduced us to their blueberry fields. He also informed us of the best way to make blueberry muffins – putting more blueberries then a recipe asks for, just enough to keep the batter together. We were pretty sure Harry wanted some blueberry muffins and after picking cups and cups, we happily obliged.

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Most of our days centered around these views – a pebbled beach, pathways of blueberry picking, runs and bike trips down an unpaved road, lined with farmhouses. And that bay. Seriously – when I’ve read about Maine in blogs, I’ve kind of laughed at the thought it was that magical. Nothing is that magical. But maybe, just maybe it is. And maybe part of that magic resides in the fact it was summer and vacation. But whatever it is, count us in.

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A renewal of some sort

I tell you what. I LOVE instagram and my iPhone. Sorry. This is coming from a film geek. But for some reason, I feel inspired again. Just with the use of my phone. And I feel somewhat silly about it because it’s a phone. But it’s so easy to take out my phone and shoot those instant moments again. And then not have to haul my rear down to the camera store to get my film developed. It is some serious bliss.

I find myself rotating through my cameras. I can admit I haven’t used my Diana in some time. My Yashica is my go-to camera as is my SX-70. But every so often I need a break and a switch to find my rhythm again. And for a $1.99 app called Picture Show, I just found it.

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Land Camera – 600 film

Oh, I love Polaroid. I have since I was a kid and I am much, much older than Lady Gaga. I have to say more of my success with the brand has been with my 600 film Land Camera. A cheap camera in comparison to my sx-70 I bought off of eBay. I am just not sure about the sx-70 and I am wondering if something wonky is going on, or, like all of my film cameras, I just haven’t figured it out. Probably the later, but I’ll figure it out some time. My story starts with I’ve been slow to bring some film to be developed and was browsing PolaPremium one day. I felt an itch to buy some film and was really stuck on the Fade to Black film. I saw the images they had and thought, “oooo, I like that.” So I bought a pack (and some others, eek!) and decided to give it a whirl.

SX-70 Fade to Black film

It is pretty similar to Artisitc TZ. For some reason the images coming out my camera have heavy blues and greens to them, which made me think of the similarities. Artistic, as does Fade to Black, changes after the initial shot. I remember my shots with Artistic TZ becoming lighter, which Fade to Black, darkens as the day rolls on. It’s kind of amusing. There are ways to stop the process, or, you can just scan the changes. I wasn’t sold on the film at first. I guess I like things to be the way they are when you shoot them. I’m not into processing and maybe that’s why I was weirded out by the “changing” thing and the fact the colors are different than what is there.

SX-70 Fade to Black

There is almost an antique-quality to the film. And sometimes the shots look like negatives – mainly when there isn’t a ton of natural light. I am sure most of this varies from camera to camera and I by no means call myself an expert. I just like my cameras. And I like to take pictures. And I sometimes need a change of pace with what I take pictures with. So after using the film, I grew to like it more. I think for me it works really well with natural light. But I can’t say I like it more than the norm – 600 film in my Land Camera.

Land Camera – 600 film

But I just used 669 film for the first time too and whoa. I think we have a contender. 

A Year of Film – Yashica Mat EM

I have to admit, I wasn’t keen on this camera at first. The lady, who develops my film at the camera shop, Hillary, offered her to me. And I was excited because she was taken care of and pretty. Those should be reasons to buy a camera, no? So I walked off with her one Spring day. My first roll was less than successful, namely, I had no idea what I was doing. Those important functions such as ISO and aperture went unnoticed in my book and my photos wound up being overexposed. So Hillary, took the time to show me a few things. I’d say that is one of the best things about “mom and pop” shops, the customer service you get. And that is why I travel to this shop every moment I have film to be developed.

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But I kept with it and even though I didn’t like it as much as my Diana, I used it every once in awhile. I thought it was too crisp, the images were too perfect for me after using a plastic camera for a few months. But then things changed and I started using it more.

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And I began to use different films: Ilford 3200, Kodak Portra 400NC (fave) and others. 

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And yes, it is my favorite camera to date. It goes with me everywhere and I find it’s quite the conversation piece, that people aren’t afraid of me when I am shooting candid shots at the local market. Except one cheese monger who shall remain nameless. 

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I was fortunate because the camera is equipped with a workable light meter. The downfall is the camera is limited up to 400 speed films. Anything beyond that and you are guessing the aperture and speed on your own. But the pictures are crisp and lovely and even though I wasn’t keen about this at first, it all depends on the type of film you use. I think she will be with me a long time. And even though a Hassleblad is something I have longed for for two years, this camera does so well, it almost seems silly to want another medium format camera that would practically do the same thing. I said silly, but not illogical.

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Happy New Year! Thanks for visiting me.