Favorite Cameras, Favorite Film | Bay Area Animal Photographer

Posted on Mar 25, 2014
Favorite Cameras, Favorite Film | Bay Area Animal Photographer

: from the Photo Lab :

Every artist, no matter what medium they work in, has their favorite tools. Though I am of the belief that gear is not as important as what you create with it, we do have our favorites for sure.

A little while back, we were contacted by Lexi Vornberg of Belle Lumiere Magazine, asking if we wanted to take part in a project she is working on; no deadline, just go out and shoot each other’s portrait and favorite camera. Belle Lumiere Magazine is about film, so these portraits should be shot on film and any film camera of your choice. Of course, being total film nerds, we dove right in and this is the result: a little love letter to the things that make us the photographers we are. And while we still work with digital cameras to an extent, film has slowly been taking over (to my delight) our workflow, simply because it gives us everything we want to offer an audience, but also the sheer joy of the experience of being a photographer. These portraits were taken on a Nikon F5 35mm film camera with Fuji and Kodak film respectively.

Here they are, our favorites.


They say you never forget your first love, and Bill certainly never did. During our first year in photography school, we had to learn the ins and outs of using a large format camera. Bill loved it so much that he ended up buying his own 4×5 field camera while most students rented it. A favorite of landscape photographers, this baby can produce stunning results in portraiture and still-life too. Its ability to tilt and shift and control the plane of focus, I am sure inspired today’s Lensbaby mania (which I love by the way!).
I remember dusting the “monster” out to photograph my entire graphic design portfolio before graduating design school. The results were so delicious, and they helped earn me a “Best Portfolio Award” on our Portfolio Show day.

The “Monster” only comes out to play during our trips to Yosemite and the like, or for very special photoshoots and special requests. But it still remains Bill’s ideal photography sidekick. That, and his favorite dog in the world: Corbin.


I believe my love for the Hasselblad system began in my second session in photography school. By this point, we had dipped our feet in many different camera systems and formats. School provided us with a rental studio where we could check out equipment and test it out. I arrived to school in Santa Barbara with a Canon Eos Rebel (the first! haha) and soon put it aside to play with 4×5 and medium format systems. I tried a Contax (a favorite of many nowadays), a Mamiya and a Hasselblad. I enjoyed all of them, but I fell head over heels for the square format and glass quality of the Hassi. There really is nothing like it. Solid and timeless, this camera is a titan. It made me think, and take my time to compose, focus and value each frame. I was hooked. And I still believe after years of working with it, I am only scratching at the surface of its potential. So, while still in school, I took advantage of the hefty student discount and borrowed some money from my grandfather’s inheritance and I bought my Hasselblad kit. I have not looked back since. It really is amazing, as pixels come and go and the next big “highest resolution” digital cameras come out, making their older counterparts obsolete within a few years, we go back to this black and chrome little box, and it delivers gorgeous results, every single time. Classics never go out of style after all.

Thank you Belle Lumiere for inviting us to be a part of this great project!

What are your favorite tools to work with?