Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thank You 2009

After spending years running my studio and producing low-budget feature films I returned to "hands-on" shooting in 2009. It was a slow start but within a few months I was confident enough to launch this blog and in October start The Film Photography Podcast (Internet Radio Show).

The purpose? To spread the word about the joy of film photography to anyone who is interested. To teach and share my knowledge of the craft. To reach out to other artists who share the same passion for all things photography and filmmaking.

So, I humbly thank 2009. I was able to "squeeze" by one of the worst financial recessions in US history, keep my film studio running and find the time to return to this wonderful hobby.

Film Photography Podcast - Internet Radio Show

Pizza Show-Down 6/5/2009

Comcast Reunion

Shock-Fest filmmakers Lomo-Style Shot

Toys For Tots Grindhouse Trailer Night 2009

SCULPTURE NJ Screening 8/5/2009

Pizza Wars - Week 3

Joe Sarno attends Chainsaw Kiss Screening

Independent-International SHOCK FEST Day

Me and Dad

Thank you to all of the wonderful people at my studio and to all the amazing artists, filmmakers, family and friends that I shared time with this past year.

Happy and Healthy 2010,
Michael Raso


The Film Photography Podcast

Alternative Cinema

Saturday, December 26, 2009

LANCE in BELGIUM leaves POLARID photos BEHIND everywhere HE goes

Lance stalking snow pictures.

Lance Rothstein (that’s him above).

Lance is a photojournalist and member of my Film Photography Podcast Flickr Group

PX No.184

Lance shoots Polaroid film, labels the image and leaves it behind for others to find.

Lance calls it “picturecrossing” and has a website devoted to the art.

PX No.264 "Garfield vs. Wolverine"

“Each of them is a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork.”


Lance on Flickr

Friday, December 25, 2009

Midnight Creeps at Yule Time

When I showed up on December 4th to shoot Violent Hearts at the Loop Lounge in New Jersey USA, I was happy to find that a second band was playing – Rhode Island’s Midnight Creeps.

Midnight Creeps - Loop Lounge, New Jersey USA

According to the bands MySpace page they’re “Straight out of the bowels of Creepsville USA armed with sleazy tales of sin, sex, and destitution. The Midnight Creeps bring the danger back to rocknroll! Consisting of singer Jenny Hurricane, guitarist Stimbot, bassist Jonas Parmelee, and drummer...ummm...well we don't know who the drummer is right now but anyway the Midnight Creeps specialize in churning out three-minute roller coasters of good gone bad.”

I met the band before the show and told them that I’d love to photograph them. They were super cool and stoked to have me shoot.

Midnight Creeps - Loop Lounge, New Jersey USA

My kit was the same as reported in my previous blog. ( ) ‘73 Canon FTb, 50mm f1.4 lens, small strobe and few rolls of Kodachrome 64 film. For the Creeps set I utilized a second strobe snapped on top of a small electronic slave. I picked up this handy mini-device from a Hong Kong e-bay seller for cheap.

Flash Slave

Midnight Creeps - Loop Lounge, New Jersey USA

With the help of pal William Hellfire, I was able to fire off a few frames using the second strobe. The shots created a slight glare on the lens but I think it was for the better. Next time I’ll mount the strobe on a monopod and gel the strobe amber or blue.

Midnight Creeps - Loop Lounge, New Jersey USA

Hey, check out the Midnight Creeps!

Midnight Creeps on MySpace

Midnight Creeps on Facebook

Archived article from Sleazegrinder!

The Loop Lounge, Passaic, New Jersey USA

Monster World

Happy Holidays to all my Film Photography Friends around the world!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Making Photography Liquid - Shooting VIOLENT HEARTS

When I ventured out on December 4th to shoot stills of Violent Hearts performing at the Loop Lounge, I hastily packed a tiny bag. Inside, all analog photo gear including my ‘73 Canon FTb, 50mm f1.4 lens, small strobe and few rolls of Kodachrome 64 film. I threw in an extra FTb body (just in case).

Violent Hearts - Loop Lounge 12/4/2009

Pals William Hellfire and Erin Russ gave me a lift, giving me about 20 minutes to figure out how I was going to shoot the performance. Most small clubs are “black holes,” sometimes not even offering stage lights.

Violent Hearts - Loop Lounge 12/4/2009

The performance was loud with great energy. Rather than conventional flash, I decided to attempt to get some movement in my still images. With no way to measure the ambient light, I shot most exposures with my shutter open for about five seconds, manually flashing the band. This technique gave the still images the illusion of motion.

Violent Hearts - Loop Lounge 12/4/2009

Violent Hearts - Loop Lounge 12/4/2009

Special thanks William, Erin, the Loop and, of course, Violent Hearts. Rock on.

See all the performance pix here:

Violent Hearts

The Loop Lounge
Passaic Park, New Jersey

"Moviscop" member Brian Stazel made a movie about editing movies with splicers, viewers and steenbecks called "MoviScop". He's interested to hear from people who still edit this way and from the new generation of editors who find this amazing or dumbfounding.

Here's the URL (if you'd like to leave Brian comments):

Brian Stazel on Flickr

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Film Photography Podcast - Episode 3

This months Film Photography Podcast (Internet Radio Show) is now available.

Topics include: Shanghai Seagull (and entry level 120), Lens Baby, Kodak Kodachrome and more.

2009 pdnPHOTO Expo - New York
2009 pdnPHOTO Expo - New York
2009 pdnPHOTO Expo - New York

Additionally, co-host Duane Polcou and I attended the New York pdnPHOTOPLUS EXPO and conducted the following interviews:

Elizabeth Greenberg, Director of Education, Maine Media Workshops

Scott R. DiSabato, Professional Film Marketing Manager, Eastman Kodak Company

Laura Nelson, Account Manager, Lomographic Society USA

Patrick DelliBovi, Serior VP, Sales & Marketing, Freestyle Photographic

Give a listen:

iTunes, Stream, Download (or RSS Feed in upper right corner)

Photos © Michael Raso
Shot with the Pentax Auto 110 camera, Kodak 110 film (400asa)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Enjoying Photography – Can The Photo Cliché Be Avoided?

A year ago today, I was testing cameras, flashes and any “new” used equipment that I picked up on the e-bay. Properly exposed, nicely composed images were my goal.

Lacking any real subject matter in order to test a camera, lens or film, I realize that I’ve shot a number of clichés. Not necessarily a bad thing…but clichés nevertheless.

Here are some of my dreaded cliché shots:

The Converging Railroad Track Cliché

Train Bridge USA

The Solitary Tree Cliché

The Solitary Tree Cliché

The Cat Cliché

Maggie the Cat takes a Snooze

The Empty Park Bench Cliché

The Empty Park Bench Cliché

Of course, it’s all a matter of personal opinion (on what is and is not a photo cliché) but I scribbled down some notes in order to steer me from such blatant clichés in the future.

Shoot a gorgeous girl…ut, oh…that’s a cliché! Well, I did my best to mix-it-up by shooting in natural light on high-speed film.

Allison - Kitschy in Burbank

I cross-processed the shot below in the wrong chemistry to achieve the “look.” (Unfortunately, Cross-Processing is the newest cliché!)

William "Orville" Hellfire

Is it a cliché?…probably…but at least it looks good!

Enjoying the Minolta Weathermatic 110 Camera

I’ve made it a habit to attach text to every image I post. Attaching text to an image will sometimes “wash away” that cliché via words. Frisky the cat transforms from cliché to Super-Cat when it’s explained that he was saved from death to become local TV star.

Frisky (The FBI Guy Cat)

Don’t take one shot…snap a bunch. You’ll never know what you’re gonna get. Sometimes some fun stuff (like the snap from a recent Pizza Friday at the office)

PIZZA FRIDAY 10/23/2009

The takeaway from today’s blog? Shoot now, worry about the cliché later…and ultimately…have fun!

Additional web reading:

101 Cliches of Photography

Photo Clichés:
Collecting pictures of people being uniquely hilarious, just like all the other people who took the same photo.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dwayne's Photo - The World's Last Kodachrome Developer

Dwayne’s photo, the last film Kodachrome film processor in the world, announced that they will continue to process Kodachrome film til December 31, 2010.

NBC’s TODAY SHOW broadcast this report:

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

I’ve been working on a number of new photography projects, most of which were shot on Kodak Kodachrome film this past month. I’ll post in a few days with details and images.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving 1969

Yup, that’s me in the white shirt and tie - Thanksgiving, 1969.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cross-Processing and other Photo Experiments

If nothing else, shooting film has made me a more patient person. Shooting, processing and scan time alone can be a minimum ten-day process. While waiting for my 35mm film negs from the lab I usually will use that down time to experiment with another camera or film format. This is exactly what I did while waiting for a roll of elite chrome to be cross-processed.


1946 Kodak Brownie Target Six-20

I’ve been keeping a close eye on e-bay for inexpensive (but functional) vintage cameras. For $14.00us I was able to purchase a 1946 Kodak Brownie Target Six-20. According to a Brownie camera website ( ) the original price was $3.50us.

After further research on the web, I was able to determine that the camera has a shutter speed of 1/50th of a second with two f-stop choices – f11 and f16. The camera uses 620 roll film, which was introduced by Kodak in 1932 and discontinued in 1995. After even more snooping, I found that B&H Photo in New York City ( ) sells 620 film (which in fact is just 120 film rolled onto a 620 reel). With a roll of Kodak Portra 120 film selling for about $3.50us and the B&H 620 (respooled) film selling for $12.50us(!) it was an easy decision to “roll my own” in the future. Both 620 film spools and film changing bags are available on e-bay.

Although a bit of a project, it’s experiments like this that make film photography so much fun. Plus, the look on peoples faces when you walk in with your 1946 Brownie camera ready to shoot.

The results from my first roll were pleasing enough to warrant trying a second roll soon.

Justin - Kodak Brownie Target Six-20 Camera

1946 Kodak Brownie Target Six-20 / Camera Test

More on 620 film here:

(thanks to Justin Wingenfeld and Brian McNulty for letting me photograph them with my Kodak Brownie!)


Kodachrome 200

In the past few months I have shot many rolls of expired Kodachrome 25 and Kodachrome 64 and have achieved excellent results as far as performance of the expired film. After all, shooting on old film stock is a bit of a “crap shoot.” You just never know what you’re gonna get! So far, I’ve been very lucky - no doubt due to the stability of the Kodachrome low asa stock.

This in my first shot using 200asa Kodachrome. Scanned using the Epson v700. The developed image was a bit muddy so I imported it into Adobe Photoshop in order to increase the contrast. I'm going to test a few more rolls in the coming weeks.

Pizza Friday 10/16/2009

I suspect that the 200 Kodachrome has a much shorter shelf life than its 25asa and 64 asa siblings. Based on my experiences, when shooting expired film, storage seems to be the absolute key.As of today (10/29/09) almost every seller of Kodachrome on e-bay is claiming that their film was cold stored (as the cold stored film fetches the highest bids). I'd like to...but can not believe that every person is really keeping their Kodachrome "on ice."

Woodland Lake in New Jersey USA continues to be a favorite test spot for all things Kodachrome.

Lie Down, Look Up

Sun at Woodland Lake

(thanks to William Hellfire and Vlad Suslov for allowing me to "snap" them using Kodachrome 200. Dig that Kodachrome skin tone!)


According to the Wikipedia:

Cross processing (sometimes abbreviated to Xpro) is the procedure of deliberately processing photographic film in a chemical solution intended for a different type of film. The effect was discovered independently by many different photographers often by mistake in the days of C-22 and E-4. The process is seen most often in fashion advertising and band photography, and in more recent years has become more synonymous with the Lomography movement.

I decided to shoot a test roll using Kodak Elite Chrome 100 Cross-Processed in C-41 Chemistry. As someone who strives to shoot crisp, focused photography, the cross-process effect is a bit jarring. My brain keeps telling me to “fix those green skin tones!”

Thanks to William and Erin, who let me snap them at Burger Deluxe in Wayne, NJ USA. Cross-processed image below.

Cross-Processed in C-41 Chemistry

More Xpro stuff on the web:

See everyone in a few weeks! Don’t forget to listen to my new Internet Radio Show – FILM PHOTOGRAPHY PODCAST

Flickr Group:

You can e-mail me at

Monday, October 26, 2009

Four Weeks of Camera Geekdom

The last few weeks have been great fun – experimenting with various vintage film cameras and film formats. So many possibilities…always satisfying.


I’ve become a bit of a KodaKook when it comes to Kodachrome film. Since Kodak announced its discontinuation in June of this year, every photographer in the world that has been hoarding this unique film in their freezer (for 1 to 20 years) has begun to auction off their stash on e-bay.

Kodachrome Tundra '84

The freezing process almost stops the aging process in film. So I’ve confidently purchased Kodachrome that is 25 years past its expiration date. Somewhat risky but amazingly fun, I haven’t shot a bad batch of Kodachrome yet. An amazingly stable film.

Because of it’s complicated emulsion; Kodak announced that Kodachrome processing will only be available through December of 2010 via Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas. With only 14 months and a freezer filled with film, I’m dedicating my next year to Kodachrome photography. My ever-growing gallery can be seen here:


The Smoove Sailors / Harsimus Cemetary

The Smoove Sailors / Harsimus Cemetary

above: Kodachrome shots of THE SMOOVE SAILORS


With the limited supply of fresh 126 cartridge film, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that many 126 film shooters have been loading 35mm film into their old 126 film cartridges. I was thrilled to find a video on YouTube that explained the process.

I was curious and decided to have a go at it. My camera of choice is the Keystone 125x Auto-Instant camera. I had a very old roll of Kodak 126 film and decided to sacrifice the old film in order to utilize the cartridge and load it with fresh 35mm Kodak Portra 160vc. I already owned a film changing bag, so I was ready to go. Out of the 35mm magazine and into the 126 cartridge. Once shot I removed the film from the cartridge and put the film into a re-usable 35mm magazine and off to the lab it went. My 126 cartridge can now be used over and over.

A really fun project. Give it a try. 126 Instamatic cameras and cartridges are very inexpensive to purchase from e-bay.

Modified 126 Cartridge

Pizza Friday PLAY-OFFS 10/2/2009

Some pleasing results from the 126 modified camera on courtesy of the kind folks during Pizza Friday at Pop Cinema Studios. Yumm.

Many thanks to Jason Muspratt (who made the instruction video).


Speaking of expired film, I’m well underway on contributing images to Dan Whitman’s OLD FILM PROJECT on

It’s been a great opportunity to shoot on black and white film – something that I have avoided my entire life. I’ve always shot color, so the project is an excellent “opposite” to my year-long commitment to Kodachrome.

Woodland Lake, Pequannock NJ USA

Butler Center, New Jersey USA

Butler Center, New Jersey USA

I was sent eight rolls of EFKE KB 21 Black and White Negative Film (expired 4/1977). The film is age-defying and yielded impressive blacks.

The OLD FILM PROJECT group can be seen here:


Film Photography Podcast

After seven months of producing and co-hosting (with John Fedele) the Alternative Cinema Podcast ( ), the natural progression was to launch a Film Photography Podcast – which I did on October 15th. I’ve worked with photographer Duane Polcou so many, many times in the past on feature film productions that he was my natural choice to co-host. His knowledge of medium and large format film photography is a nice contract to my quirky DIY 110, 126 and 35mm photo style.

Film Photography Podcast Premiere - October 15, 2009

We launched on October 15th on iTunes with great feedback from listeners. Hope you’ll listen too.

On Flickr