Myakka River State Park – Large Format Photography – Sarasota, Florida

I have to say, now that I’m back shooting film, large format film, I love it. It’s a different process than digital as I find myself working harder on my composition. Since I usually only take two photos at a time, I really want them to count. Frankly, I have been photographing some of the old spots that I have visited, but these places mean more.

Some might say lugging around a 40 pound backpack is insane. However, all of the photos that I have produced with this method mean much more and are hand crafted. After all I have to load the film, scout the location, set up the camera, meter the light, focus the camera, load the film holder, take the photo, break everything back down, come home and develop the film, scan the negative, clean up the negative and finally make a print. This is a commitment to the craft and there is lots of room for error. However, when it all works together and I’m holding a print that I made from start to finish on equipment that is much older than I am, well, it’s a great feeling.

Here is a short video that I did while I was visiting Myakka River State Park in Sarasota, Florida. I hiked back into the woods behind the canopy walk where I had taken this photo before with my digital camera. I always liked this location so I wanted to capture it with the film camera. As you will see, it gives a different perspective and I was not alone.

Until next time…

Keep Your Glass Clean


  1. Very interesting to see the process, end result great photos.

    • Spencer

      Appreciate it! Loving it, gives me the size and look I like.

  2. Great to see you out in the field, beautiful camera and photos!

  3. Spencer:

    A reaffirmation of the idea that “older is better”. Very
    interesting camera and process yielding fantastic results.
    We tip our hat to you…

    Best regards,

    Frank Mehler

    • Spencer

      Thanks! It’s a lot of fun, I’m having a blast!

  4. Fascinating to see the set up and also the settings. Thanks for sharing~

    • Spencer

      Thanks for taking the time to watch the video, more to come!

  5. Thanks love seeing the no so common equipment and how it works! Vert interesting! Eventhogh you have me thinking, chances are slim to none I would ever purchase one, especially because my wife has a vote. Would love to go out on a shoot with you one day to see the whole process. Thanks!

    • Spencer

      These cameras are slow, not good for birds in flight or anything moving. I’m looking at getting a Mamiya for a “point and shoot” camera, that shoots 120 film.

  6. And I thought that large format film cameras were a thing of the past, like Instamatic cameras and flash cubes. It’s intriguing to see that I am wrong!

    So about the bottom line: is the resulting photographic image worth all the effort (lugging the gear, working in the darkroom, etc.) and expense? Does this old analog approach capture something unavailable in digital, even with the best of digital cameras in experienced hands?

    P.S. I was a student of yours at Sarasota ACE in the fall of 2013, i.e., about 10,000 images ago (most crappy (thank goodness for digital, else I’d be broke), some informative, and a few sort of good).

    • Spencer

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by. To answer your questions. I do find it more satisfying than shooting digital. Also, i’m finding the details and tones that I’m getting I have NEVER gotten with digital. Frankly, I don’t see myself going back to digital. I hope we can go shooing again sometime! Thanks…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.