All praise and thanks be to God, I’ve gotten involved with the Dallas Photo Walk group (not to be confused with the Dallas Photo Walk MeetUp Group). After some months interacting over Twitter and being too busy to get in on some walks, I finally had a chance to attend this year’s #Polarwalk at the Dallas Zoo: I had a great time with some fun people and burned a bunch of film too.

I originally intended to travel light, with the XA in a pocket and the FG over my shoulder, but at the last minute, and due to some “pressure” from @MrHolga and @mark_snaps, decided my old, falling-apart m-51 engineers field journey bag would be needed to accommodate all the gear:

  • the FG with the 75-150 E Series, loaded with a roll of Fuji Superia XTRA 400 slung over my shoulder
  • the Olympus XA with a roll of Fuji Superia 200 in the right thigh pocket of my last and only pair of cargo pants
  • the Debonair, loaded with a roll of Kodak Porta 160 in the m-51
  • the Diana Mini, with a roll of FPP Edu 200, also in the m-51
  • another roll of FPP Edu 200 (later went into the FG)
  • 2 rolls of Superia 200 (1 went into the FG, the other went back in the fridge when I got home)

With all that, I was ready to walk and shoot, and walk and shoot I did! I came home with 6 rolls to process: three 35mm Color, two 35mm black & white, and one 120 Color. It was a marathon developing party over a couple of days and it took me 2 weeks to get all the selects made and get this post up. I’ve gone back and forth over whether to go chronologically, or by film or camera, but I have things to say about all of it, so I’ll just get started (finally).

We all gathered at the entrance to wait for everyone to arrive, and then for a group picture before getting started. I took the opportunity to grab a few shots. The two above came from the FG and Diana Mini. Of the Mini shot, Mr. Holga said it looked like “you were using a tin can and a string as a camera,” and he’s right about that, in this case, though that’s more about about the lighting and film than the camera, as you’ll see below.

The best intro shot came out of the Debonair, I think. I just love this.

Mr. Holga and Mark Snaps managed to score free admission for us all, and we got a nice introductory lecture from the Zoo’s staff photographer before heading off, in a widely dispersed group, throughout the zoo.

First up, birds…

At some point in there, I finished the roll of Superia XTRA 400 in the FG, and loaded up a roll of FPP BW 200.

This roll and the roll in the Diana Mini were my only two rolls of the EDU 200. Both came in the Mr. Brown box I picked up back in October, and I might have to pick up some more. It’s really beautiful film.

In the Diana Mini, it has some great grain and works in a variety of circumstances.

And in the FG, it’s just beautiful, no matter the conditions. Just check out this whatever-it-is that we came across just after the birds (I think).

SubhanAllah: beautiful film, and what variety Allah azza wa jall placed on this Earth! May He guide us to take better care of it, and to be more hospitable to the other creatures here, ameen.

We went around the tigers and cheetahs, bobcats, turtles, and some more birds, then through the tunnel.

Now, I went through the Zoo with the Dallas Photo Walk MeetUp Group a couple of years ago (more than 4, actually), and I remember wanting to get a picture or two in the tunnel, but I wasn’t happy with much of anything from that walk. So let’s compare/contrast some: from left to right: LX7 (from the 2013 walk); Diana Mini; Olympus XA.

So I guess I’ve learned a few things in the past 4 years, like how to hold cameras steady.

So, through the tunnel and to the Giants of the Savannah, where I put the plastic cameras to good use with some panoramas. I think I got the direction wrong, but it’s been awhile since I shot with the Diana Mini, and I never tried with the Debonair. Oh well.

I did get one right, at least. I’m not sure what it is about this, but I like it!

I took loads of pictures around the giraffes and lions, some really nice stuff, I think. I’m particularly proud of this pair:

I was sorta hot to finish up the black & white in the FG, and shoot some color. Looking back I could’ve take a bit more time with it, but then I wouldn’t have gotten the classic lion shot:

Sleepy kitty, basking in the sun. MashaAllah.

I caught a giraffe playing hide and seek.

Very sneaky.

The zoo was fairly crowded: Saturday, in February, should be quiet, but not when it’s 75℉. Thankfully, since my first trip to the zoo, I’ve become fractionally more comfortable taking pictures of strangers, so I shot a bunch of pictures of people looking at animals.

After plenty of time with the elephants, giraffes, and lions, we wandered around and found some lunch (I had nachos and a salad), where I more or less lost my mojo, and then to visit the gorillas. If you really want to see those, check out the galleries below.

So that was my first walk with the Dallas Photo Walk group. It was fun, and I look forward to more, InshaAllah. If you want to join in, follow the group on twitter or the effbook. They put on walks every couple of months: the next one is scheduled for April 29 at the Dallas Public Library, and @MrHolga and @mark_snaps plan to give a talk on Street Photography and are working to get some actors and different people to come and hang around, provide some subjects for portraits or whatever. It promises to be a good time, InshaAllah.

Ok. So here are all the selects taken with the various cameras. Have fun.

Nikon FG, 75-150 f/3.5 E Series, Fuji Superia XTRA 400 and Superia 200, and FPP Edu 200

Diana Mini, FPP Edu 200

I had some trouble with the winding on the Mini. I forgot that the winder has stops in it to keep you from winding too far, and so I ended up overlapping quite a few frames. Then, about 30 minutes into the walk, I switched to square frame and shot frame or two (without winding far enough) and when I switched back to half frame, I forgot that you need to switch before winding on. I wound on, then forced the switch over. I broke the frame switch and the rest of the roll had half frame shots with square frame winding. Oh well. Maybe I’ll remember next time.

This used to be a common problem with Diana Minis and there are instructions on how to fix it available. The take-apart and fix were both easy, but getting the frame counter back on correctly was a huge pain. My Diana Mini is from a new mold, I think, and the switch is much stiffer. I had to force the switch over to break it, so I don’t think this is much of a problem with the newer copies.

Olympus XA, Fuji Superia 200

Somehow, I mostly forgot about the little XA. It’s so small and light that it mostly disappeared in my pocket. What a great little camera.

Plastic Filmtastic Debonair, Kodak Porta 160


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