Nathaniel is one of the recognizable names in film photography forums. He was once one of the go-to personalities for film cameras when you need them. He has since proclaimed that he has "retired" from it, but his passion and obsession with photography is very much alive in his work.... and in his unselfishness to share his knowledge with fellow shooters.
How many cameras do you have in your collection?
6x Leica: Leica If RD, Leica IIf RD, Leica IIIf RD, Leica IIIf RDST, Leica M2, Leica M3
2x Rollei: Rolleiflex Standard, Rolleicord III
1x Pentax: Pentax 67
3x Various: Argus C3, Konica C35, Fujifilm Worksite Camera
How long did it take you to get to this point?
I bought and sold cameras for 3 to 4 years. I’ve tried all kinds of 35mm and medium format cameras and the ones I have now are the ones I’m keeping. The Leica, Rollei and Pentax are my favorites. The other RFs I’m keeping because my mom bought them for me <3. I just hope my children won’t sell them on OLX when I die!
I would like to try large format in the future and learn wet plate photography.
What are your favorites subjects to shoot?
I love shooting portraits of family and friends. I also travel a lot so I take portraits of people I meet on the road.
Which one in particular is your go-to camera and lenses? Why?
I like to keep it plain and simple. I usually carry a domke f-5xb which can accommodate a camera and lens kit, several film rolls, and a light meter. I usually walk/trek a lot in my travels so size and weight is critical.
I always bring with me my beat up M2 with a well used 35mm Summicron or an M3 with a 50mm DR Summicron. I use a 35mm lens for travel shots and use the 50mm for portraits.
I used to meter light using an app I downloaded in my smartphone but I bought a sekonic l-308s which bring with me now everyday.
Scenario: Evacuation. If you can only save one of your cameras which would it be?
It would have to be the M3 and 50mm DR Summicron. I will never forget the first time I looked through the viewfinder of the M3. It was really love at first sight. I took my favourite photos with that combo.
If there were a zombie apocalypse I’d probably bring the Pentax 67 because it would be the perfect weapon to use for knocking out zombies!!
What is your ''Spirit Camera" (If you were a camera, what would you be?)
Leica M2. Simplified no frills version but still classy.
What is your Holy Grail Camera?
Black paint Leica M2 with a matching black paint 35mm Summicron V1.
What film camera can you recommend to newbies?
SLR: Pentax Spotmatic. These are cheap and very easy to find. The Takumar lenses are legendary! This was my first manual film camera and if I couldn’t afford a Leica I would most probably shooting with a Spotmatic.
Rangefinder: Fed 2. Full manual operation with a combined RF/VF. Pure photography!
What is your current film stash count?
I have the ff:
3 rolls of Kodak Ektar in 120
10 rolls of Kodak Tri-X in 120
1 roll of Kodak Portra 800 in 120
2 rolls of Kodak Portra 160 in 35mm
5 rolls of Arista Premium 100 in 35mm
10 rolls of Rollei IR400 (Thanks Ais!) in 35mm
1 roll of Ilford SFX 200 in 35mm
= 32 rolls
I also have 800ft. of Eastman 5222 (double x) which I sent out recently for spooling.
You realized you were too obsessed with cameras when:
First order of the day is to browse through recent posts in the ff pages:
Facebook: film photography swap, lomomanila marketplace, film photo gear, leica classifieds
Online: Rangefinderforum, APUG, Fredmiranda
And of course, EBAY.
I spend the first 30 minutes of each day browsing through these pages.
Why do you shoot film?
The whole process of shooting film forces me to think.
Who do you look up to for inspiration in your photography?
For portraits, I follow photographers on Instagram. Check out @micmojo and @ryanmuirhead. Stunning work!
Locally, I would say I love the work of Tommy Hafalla. He has been shooting the different tribes of the Cordillera for decades. His images adorn the walls of Casa Vallejo and Hill Station in Baguio. It’s always a treat to look at his prints. He also recently launched a book entitled ili.
And of course, Magnum photographers. I particularly love this photo taken by Jonas Bendiksen:
What is the worst thing about Film Photography?
Getting a damaged roll of film back from the processing lab. I CRY EVERY TIME!
What in your opinion is the greatest misconception about film photography?
Film photography is accidental.
What's the Best advice you received from another film shooter?
Buying more gear won’t make you a better a photographer...
But an Exakta would just be cool to own hahahaha! (still looking for one).
What's the Best advice can you give to a new film shooter?
Just be patient and enjoy the process.