Back to Film at Last, i.e. F.I.N.D.

Welcome back to Dashan Sheying, where film is reborn today.

Note: Red-colored, underlined text is a link for more information, i.e. Wikipedia, YouTube, Map…

It’s been 40 years since I last used a 35mm film camera, i.e. c.1976 or so.  Yet why today do I want to go backward?  Well, I’m shifting towards Days of Future Past c.76 (MB, not X-Men).

Given today’s digital progression, one could say digital has caught up with 35mm – okay maybe.  Yet not to 120 Medium  Format or larger unless you’re made of money for the big bucks for an MF Hasselblad, Mamiya Leaf, PhaseOne, … and the new Fuji GFX 50S coming in 1Q17.

“The Song Remains the Same (LZ)” as the appeal for me of an image shot with film is “The Look” as it is for other die-hards after all these years.  I’m one of those who admires the non-homogenous grainy look and all the detail, tonality, print size…

So today I received my first processed and scanned 120 film roll of Fuji Pro 400H in 6×7 aspect ratio from The FIND Labs.  Processed in LR with Mastin Labs Presets followed by the Zone System Express by Blake Rudis then finished off by a John Tuttle inspired framing scheme (still learning to find my Right Brain).

The Learning Process Again

My first five rolls experienced multiple mistakes and errors on my part, yes I make mistakes (or as they now say learning opportunities).  Okay, I accept this; so stand up,  shake off the dust and move on.  Here’s a listing of my initial thoughts:

** Corrected Already **

** Film Usage: Watch and align the film roll arrow when loading.

** Film Usage: Watch and use the tape from the roll to seal after exposed.   Had to place exposed film rolls into the original pouch. Hmmm.

– Film Usage: Bring scotch tape

** Operating: Watch out on closing with PeakDesign buttons

** Operating: Use two hands to open/extend and close lens/bellows

** Operating: Return focus to infinity prior to closing.

– Focus: Hold steady. Try a “New” grip, i.e. ThumbsUp – ordered

** Focus: Try the red soft button for ease of shutter release.

– Focus: Use a tripod, will do.

**Focus: Use of a monopod / ballhead. Tried it, much better.

– Focus: Maybe a hand strap, PeakDesign

– Focus: Get finger placed on the focusing ring – muscle memory required

** Film Holder: Free cashew tins from flying Indigo works great holding for five rolls of film

– Format: Try 6×6

– Cleaning: Blow out / dust off interior and exterior after use, changing film too.  Bring blower.

** Carrying: Works fine carried inside my ONA bag without a sling/shoulder strap.  Use the X-Pro2 strap when required.

** ISO: For a new roll be sure to double-verify the ISO and change it on camera. (Shoot a 100 ISO film in 400 ISO.  Okay so I need to push development 2 stops. Better to overexpose film than underexpose)

– Shutter: Get a feel for the stroke and/or of click as there is absolutely no sound nor tactile feel

** Exposure: Look at the shutter speed red indicator to be < 1/500 and greater than 1/30 for a handheld shot.

– Exposure: Try manual aperture and shutter speed

– Exposure: Try spot meter in Zone 3 for shadow details for an 18% Gray manual setting then move up two stops for Z5.

Image Gallery

Not as many keepers as I hoped for yet with the above adjustments, I’m shooting for 100% keepers.


1)Street Portraits are my first love and in South India they ask me to take their photo.  Love it.


2) Blocks of ice (Rs250 each) being delivered to the Fishing Vessels as they ready themselves for sea including 500-1200 liters of diesel.


3) In the end it’s all about The Fish, i.e the smell of money for these Tamil Fishermen.

Phi Kappa Psi – Iowa Beta: 46 Years Later

Welcome to my photoblog, please “Follow” along.  Today’s post is a bit off topic yet it’s an interesting piece of personal nostalgia from my university days.

Back in Apr’16, I had an offer to share my time since university with my fraternity brothers in the latest Jul’16 issue of “Cyclone”, a publication of Iowa Beta at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.  So I drafted my thoughts of times gone by with the final write-up seen below.  First, I thought I’d share some old time images.

Question to my Phi Psi Brothers: Is Mary Ellen Barnes still remembered?

Iowa Beta Chapter Photos 1971 – 1974

I had to look hard to find myself.  I’ve provided a Row / Column reference identifier.

R5 C13

R5 C13

R5 C1

R5 C1

R4 C1

R4 C1

R3 C6

R3 C6

Phi Kappa Psi – Iowa State University – Alumni Brothers

Iowa Beta Spotlight Article – July 2016

(Editor’s Note: We are spotlighting two brothers in this issue, whose careers have been quite different but whose love of photography provides a common thread between them. Be sure to check out their websites for some truly amazing photographs.)

Where to start? Do I go back to 1970 to revisit my freshman year, or do I begin today in 2016? I’ve flipped the coin so let’s go to the (almost) last chapter, first.

Today, I live and work in Chennai, India, often referred to as Old Madras. (I’ve always wondered if those old bleeding Madras shirts from the 1960s were made here.) I enjoy the people and character of India, which is ever-changing with surprises around every corner. However, like other expats here, we at times share a frustration of “what is vs. what it could be.”

During my two years in Chennai, I’ve re-discovered photography across the many different genres (i.e., street photography, infrared photography, portraits, macro photography, landscape) with twice-a-month Chennai Photowalks. I’ve found photography to provide the technical challenge while building my skills in achieving an artistic final image for my viewers. This newfound passion will play well with my travels around China and abroad.

I continue to plan my retirement beyond just the financial aspect with a focus on the “daily what-to-dos” to keep me physically active, ever-learning, and experiencing life. I’ll return to my home in Xi’an, China as my 41+-year career in Quality/OpEx eventually draws to a close. When I hang up my game jersey, it will be kept clean and pressed in case I’m called back to the “Show”. Since Xi’an is the home of the Terracotta Soldiers, I’m sure some of you may have future plans to visit. So, if you’re in the neighborhood, let me know.

On the family side, I have two sons (grown men now) in the Seattle area, with four grandsons and one granddaughter. I’m back in Seattle once a year to catch up, as all the e-mails, videos, and phone calls just don’t make the full connection like seeing people face to face. I’m married to a beautiful woman I can truly call my best friend from Xi’an, China.

I suppose I’m obliged now to provide some overview of my work life. After graduation from ISU in 1974 with my BS in Math and an Iowa Teaching Certificate (actually a punch card), I headed out for the great unknown. After student teaching in Marshalltown in fall 1973, I found my initial calling in the education of young minds.

In May 1974, the New South Wales (Australia) government was recruiting on campus, so I jumped at the chance to be a Maths Teacher in Australia, seeing it as another adventure. This was my first real job, paying $6,750 per year without taxation by either the U.S. or Australian governments. I had it made in the shade, so young in my life. In August 1970, I left for Sydney on an immigration visa (and could have stayed until this day) with another 150+ “imported teachers,” as NSW was experiencing a teacher shortage. I still recall being allowed to go up to the flight deck on the Qantas 747 airliner and talk to the Captain — you can’t do that nowadays.

We received our NSW teaching assignments after two weeks hanging out in Sydney, where we first enjoyed the taste of real beer and formed friendships with other Yanks. I was assigned the SW suburb of Ingleburn HS (~30km from Sydney), where two other American teachers were stationed. With shoulder-length hair, shorts, and knee socks, I taught Forms 6-12, with 11-12 being the Junior/Senior years of high school. At this time, most students left high school after Form 10 and headed out to the labor force at 16 years of age.

Teaching Forms 11-12 was a great experience, as it was about preparing students to pass the national university entrance tests in their last year. In fact, I had the chance to teach Calculus, meaning I had to re-learn it myself to teach properly.

I’ve retained many vivid memories and lengthy stories from my two years in Australia, ranging from travels around the Outback, to driving up the Queensland shore in an Austin Mini, to placing off-track bets on horses (run in the clockwise direction), to watching cricket test matches or playing darts in the Maths Staff room between classes. Travel has always been my engine for enjoyment and adventure. However, after two years, reality set in and I headed back to Ames in 1976 to get a real job, start a career, and raise a family. I knew teaching was not my long-term desire, so I looked toward a career in manufacturing.

I started my first U.S. job with Sundstrand Hydro-Static Transmission, north of Ames off I-35, as a General Bench Inspector on the shop floor. I worked my way up to the office as a Quality Engineer, doing problem-solving and early statistics in Quality/Reliability using SAS for statistical analysis with punch cards. Boy, have we evolved now with the ease of PCs.

From 1982 to 2016, I worked with Graco, Inc., in Minneapolis, Minnesota; ITT-Automotive in Asheville, North Carolina; GKN Driveline in Alamance, North Carolina; Eaton HD Truck in Kalamazoo, Michigan; Magna Powertrain in Syracuse, New York; TRW Automotive in Shanghai, China; and now ZF TRW in Chennai, India, as Resident Director at our JV partner. I’ve been active from the shop floor to the boardroom, yet have always embraced the shop floor, knowing it’s there where the money is made and value gets added.

So let me end with some reminiscences about ISU and Iowa Beta. Yes, I could talk about the swimming pool we had, jumping off the roof top, late night runs to the I-35 truck stop for pizza burgers, road trips to Kansas for the Coors, sleeping in cold air dorms with snow on my electric blanket, being a pledge and trying to wake up the older brothers, or my first concert in a sports coat (never again) to see John Denver. But it’s the Phi Psi values and personal skills I’ve retained from my fraternity experience that I put to use later in life.

The experience which served me best in my work endeavors was the opportunity to feel free and comfortable while standing up and speaking out at our chapter meetings. This is where I first learned to compose my thoughts and speak in an impromptu manner on a particular opinion, observation, or recommendation. To this day, I’m comfortable talking to large audiences with or without a PPT, and interacting one-on-one with other individuals. Thank you, Iowa Beta, for preparing me for life.

For those interested in keeping up with my international adventures and/or re-connecting, please feel free to reach out to me at

My Web site and Photoblog may be found at:

My professional profile may be found at:

Sholinghur’s Own Camelback Mountain

In the early 50s, my Grandparents (Dad’s side) moved to Phoenix, AZ from Chicago for retirement as Grandpa retired from the IRS – a tax man and avid film photographer with a darkroom in his North Side home.  We had many family vacations headed down “Old Route 66” from Chicago.  Made it in 24 hours, non-stop in a 1966 Olds Toronado one time.  As a kid, I loved the open space of the West and the times we had.

In Phoenix, Camelback Mountain is an icon that over the years has been like many places encroached by man.  See the two old photos above.

As I saw this hill hear Sholinghur it immediately reminded me of Camelback Mountain.