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Dallas

Dormancy 2019

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As was the case last year, it is almost time for Fotozones to run its annual dormant account purge. This means that any accounts that have not been logged into for more than 3 years as of 30 June 2019 will be removed from our database and any posts made by those members will be attributed to a guest account. 

 

I have sent out email notifications to the affected accounts this morning, but obviously not everybody gets the emails, and if they do it's likely that they end up in the spam filter. If you know of any past member who hasn't visited since midway through 2016 and you would like them to return, why not pop them a personal message? All they have to do is log in and they will be considered active members by the system. If they have forgotten their login details retrieving them via the lost password system is an easy process. 

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Less than a month to go before the next dormancy cull. I have emailed all affected users (there are only about 120 who fall into the dormant parameters) and there was a good delivery rate for those emails - 99% according to SparkPost. However, only a handful of those members have since logged in so I can only assume that the others aren't that interested and will lose their accounts after 1 July. It's a pity and I think a lot of previously vibrant online photography forums have been badly affected by social media to the point where they are now only archives. A few that I was a member of have all but dried up completely. Thanks Zuckerberg... 

 

Anyway, I will continue to run Fotozones for as long as I am able to. With less traffic there is less of a financial burden on me and my current activities are covering the cost of the server. However, if any member would like to chip in with an ad hoc donation to help pay for the $95 software license renewal (due now) that would be very much appreciated. Just go to the home page and click the donate block on the top right side. 

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Thank you so much, Luc. I really appreciate the help that the community gives. Fotozones has become a very pleasant place for recreational photographers to hang out, so I'm happy to continue to thumb my nose at Facebook and offer a decent alternative to their evil scheme. :)

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Along with retirement has come a decided shift in what I do photographically. The regulars here will know that I've moved back to B&W film, which was the backbone of my training and education in the early '70's, and along with that I've taken on the task of mentoring younger people (currently between 17 and 23) in the use and handling of 'proper' B&W film and darkroom techniques. Along with that has come an interest (as well as an essential need) to repair film cameras from the 20th Century, all of which pretty well occupies my time and has rendered my photographic output to a virtual trickle, and 99% to do with film.

 

The only digital shots I have taken in the last 6 months have been photographs of film equipment and for copy work. Ergo, not only do I have little work to post here for discussion, it is also not of much interest to those currently involved 100% with digital, which in turn appears to be most, if not all of those posting on this site. Likewise my own interest in things digital has all but evaporated as I now get reminded daily why I chose photography as a profession in the first place, and of the nightmare that digital brought into my life in virtually destroying a very lucrative, niche branch of the profession, along with the insane financial demands of constant computer and ancillary equipment renewals, along with an equally insane camera equipment replacement (erroneously called "updates") at a frequency  at least five times greater than was needed with film gear. Testament to this is the film gear I currently use, most of which dates from the 1960's-1980's and which works just as it did 30-40 years ago, and will continue to do so until it just plain wears out, and not because some manufacturer decides that 18 months to two years is the benchmark time-frame to replace equipment with new models.

 

To those who still insist that digital is "cheaper", all I can say is that it might be for hobbyists, but as a professional you'd simply be dreaming - I could just about have bought a whole Kodak retail shop with the extra amount of money I had to spend on camera and computer equipment over the 15 years that digital interfered in my professional life, and during which time my only expenditure, had I been able to continue as I had been before, would have been on film, paper and chemistry, there being no need to replace any of the camera gear I had. That expenditure was 100% recoverable as well in that clients were understanding and willing to pay for those consumables, unlike with digital where all the processing and computer gear is regarded as "included" and not payable as an extra. In my experience digital did little other than turn a profitable, secure profession into a nightmare struggle to survive.

 

So while I still check in here often, I seem to be spending less time on forums (including FB pages) and much more time on ebay searching for film equipment and parts to keep my growing stable of cameras and lenses that are mainly used as loaners for students to get acquainted with the totally different world of film and 100% mechanical cameras. It has amazed me that the number one problem digital-age photographer-wannabes have is with manual focus - I'd say on average one in three frames are lost through being mis-focused or not even focused at all, which really makes me wonder what on earth they're looking at through an SLR viewfinder to not notice that the shot is so far out of focus that the subject can barely be made out!

 

Even allowing for the three cameras out on loan at the moment, and with almost none of the somewhat insane collection of lenses I have acquired, nor the several partially or totally disassembled "parts" cameras I also have, this is what it looks like on my gear table at the moment...

 

_XT25015.thumb.jpg.1957f71fdfe1e8114b142915887641bc.jpg

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5 hours ago, Alan7140 said:

I'd say on average one in three frames are lost through being mis-focused or not even focused at all, which really makes me wonder what on earth they're looking at through an SLR viewfinder to not notice that the shot is so far out of focus that the subject can barely be made out!

 

That made me laugh out loud! Reminds me of the scene in Zoolander where they are trying to get files out of an iMac G3 by shaking it around. :D 

 

Alan, one of the things about Fotozones that I have been trying (unsuccessfully) to cultivate are specialist interest areas through the use of the Clubs feature. This aspect of the software offers pretty much the same as what Facebook Groups does (actually even more), in that qualifying members may start their own little micro forums on the system. These clubs have their own discussion areas, feeds, galleries and like FB can also be set up to be private, open or closed. It is even possible to have a paid club where the owner of the club takes a share of whatever the subscription income is, something FB will never be able to offer. 

 

I think it would be great to have a film users club in here and you would be the ideal person to take ownership of it. Use it as a platform to engage your students and also get others interested in preserving the heritage of B&W film photography. 

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I'd certainly consider something like that, Dallas (I'm not interested in money, though), although at the moment as you might gather my time is pretty well taken up with the mechanics of both getting everything up to speed again as well as tutoring, which is proving to all be a bit more challenging than I had expected as the lack of spare parts, repair facilities and even new film equipment is making things challenging (I never contemplated having to repair equipment myself, nor that some of the stuff is simply terminally irreparable owing to years of neglect and poor storage).

 

I am also up against something else that I really hadn't thought through properly, namely trying to teach B&W film use, processing and printing to people who have had absolutely no experience with the medium, and by that I mean that they mostly haven't even seen a negative or, believe it or not, a B&W photographic print on proper silver bromide paper.

 

My original student is proving to be the quickest on the uptake, but I think she's just an exceptionally smart cookie (which helps enormously), however I'm about to lose her to a very extensive time travelling overseas (as seems to be so popular these days). Hopefully she'll eventually return to resume learning the subject again, but she wouldn't be the first one to end up making a life in another country altogether. I was sort of hoping to get her to help other beginners to their mutual benefit once she gets a bit of experience, but that may not happen now.

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