Blackberry Smoke :: First Scans Coming Back

April 12, 2011 | Editorial Photography

My first scans are coming in from my recent shoot with Blackberry Smoke. Kodak Portra 400 NC in an RZ67.

Scans? Yes. Film? Yes. RZ? No. Too heavy (although it remains one of the best cameras ever made.)

I’m moving to Hasselblad.

More on this? Yes. Later. :)

Cheers :: Zack


  • Evan said on April 12, 2011

    Where were these processed? GO GO MEDIUM FORMAT!

  • Lauriel said on April 12, 2011

    Wow these are incredible and that color is just ridiculous. I especially love the last pic!

  • Eric Kotara said on April 12, 2011

    Wow!!! Don’t you just love Portra 400 on medium format? I just recently bought a Mamiya 645AF to use at select weddings and portrait sessions. The results are truly outstanding!!! I love the bokeh in your shots.

  • Chase said on April 12, 2011

    Freakin gorgeous and inspiring bro. Hit me up if you sell any of your Canon glass, but man you make me wanna go Hass….

  • Tibor said on April 12, 2011

    Great :) I too shoot some film (small format for now) and most of the time prefer my film shots to my digital ones. I think Film is more about photography than digital, I think digital is more about, well, digital 😉 Eos 3 for me for now but hope to move to MF in the near future :) Can’t wait to see your shots synced at 1/800s or 1/1600s, rockin’ :)

  • Steve F said on April 12, 2011

    Look great. I am trying out MF myself. Found a great deal on an rz and took it. Can’t wait to give it a try. Now to invest in a scanner…

    Yes the rz is massive, but so far loving the bellows focusing for near macro shots with any lens, and rotating back is genius.

    Post more scans! 😉

  • Tim Skipper said on April 12, 2011

    Great looking shots. I want to get a new film camera. My old one gave up the ghost.

  • Zachary Long said on April 12, 2011

    Been lusting after MF and this only increases it! Not sure how I’d incorporate it into a wedding workflow, maybe keep the trusty 70-200 for ceremony but pull out the MF for bridal portraits?

  • Howard Haby said on April 12, 2011

    These are nice – I like. As someone said before, the colour (I’m Canadian) is ridiculous. Very nice. More so, lovin’ the new blog. Can’t wait to see more of your work, keep it comin’ when you find the time.

  • GregK said on April 13, 2011

    Love that new Kodak Portra! Looking forward to hearing about your film plans.

  • Mike said on April 13, 2011

    Funny – I just bought a Mamiya 645, though my heart lusts for the RZ67!

  • Nicholas Gore said on April 13, 2011

    First off, let me just say beautiful shots.

    I bought an RZ67 a little over two years ago and I agree with you, its way too heavy. I don’t think I’ve ever shot it off of a tripod. It’s built like a tank though and I absolutely love it, but unfortunately I’m going to sell it soon because it just doesn’t get enough use to warrant the cost.

    Just out of curiosity, which lens did you use for this? I’ve only used the 110mm f/2.8.

  • Zack said on April 13, 2011

    Nicolas – I was shooting with the 110

  • arttriq said on April 13, 2011

    That’s good used film =) good move Zack – Hasselb is still tha bomb

  • Andy said on April 13, 2011

    Awesome shots Zack, film gives them a certain ‘classy’ loko that digital might struggle to produce. Love the second shot in particular.

  • Angel said on April 14, 2011

    where are planning to save the negatives to keep them out of the dust? in a sperm bank?
    Good luck!

  • Gabriel Lance said on April 14, 2011

    wow those look awesome!!

  • Mike said on April 15, 2011


    Are you scanning these yourself? Or are you having them scanned by a pro lab?

  • Jimmy Johnston said on April 15, 2011

    Yeah, I’m curious to know if you’re scanning these yourself. I’ve got an Epson V500 and I can’t seem to get good, consistent scans from my Portra nc. The colors in these are really nice, any post work or is this an untouched scan?

  • Zack said on April 15, 2011

    @Jimmy – These were scans from Millers. We recently got an Epson v750 and scanning, well, that’s a skill set that I haven’t used in a long time and I’m kind of having to re-learn how to scan.


  • matt haines said on April 15, 2011

    Yay, film! I’ve gone back to film 100% for my people shooting. But…Portra 400 NC?! That’s soooooo five years ago. You need to try out the new Portra 400 (no NC or VC). Amazing latitude, much less grain. Shoot it at ISO 1600. Shoot it at ISO 25. No push, no pull. Magical stuff…

    Nice work with the RZ.

  • Lou said on April 15, 2011

    Awesome! Look forward to seeing the “rest of the story…”

    When’s the next meetup at your place, Zack? Seriously, you should consider doing something every few months – let Megan break out her guitar, get folks who plan to attend to bring beverages/snacks, and then offer up another sacrifice, I mean guest, like David d. or you can just share the latest/greatest from your world. Perhaps…?

  • Nasir Hamid said on April 15, 2011

    Nice work. The funny thing is I just bought a whole RZ kit a couple of weeks back. It’s actually 2 kits, the photographer had a 2nd body, winder and extra backs. I’m curious to hear how you get on with the 6×6 format. I’ve always found 6×7 more versatile. My RB that I bought 20 years ago is still alive and well but the RZ kit was too much of a deal to pass up.

    I am really enjoying getting back into film, including using my 20 year old 4×5 for portraits. Give large format a try, it will show you a whole new side of photography :-)


  • Zack said on April 16, 2011

    Nas – I LOVE large format. If I could I’d only shoot 4×5 and up but I’m not quite there yet. Dan did just find a nice Cambo at a yard sale and we are blowing the dust off that and firing it up soon!


  • David Wegwart said on April 16, 2011

    LF cameras are coming back to some degree. Niche, but it has its place for sure.

    Porta 400 NC is not one of my favorites, prefer the fuji look most times. However, you made it sing with those few shots.

    Like the new blog too.
    Best, D.

  • Michael Sebastian said on April 16, 2011

    Zack, beautiful portraits. As you know I did the RZ thing for about a year. I absolutely love the camera; its lenses are the equal of the Hasselblad’s, and 6×7 is about the perfect format for me. A 6×7 negative may as well be a 4×5—I think that used with care, the RZ makes LF-quality images. And despite its clunky huge size, I loved the camera’s ergonomics and control layout. But like you, I sold it (reluctantly — that 127mm lens was awesome, and the 90 was my go-to) because it was just. too. heavy for handheld use, and moved to Hasselblad (focal-plane 203.) It’s lighter, but ironically I find it less easy to use. I’ve never fully gotten the hang of the ergonomics, and it’s nowhere near the foolproof sturdy beast that it replaced. But I love the lenses’ rendering characteristics—I find the ‘blad to be creamy smooth/sharp, where the Mamiya (both my RZ and my 7) is more surgically, bitingly sharp.

    I almost bit on a SWC a year or so ago. A friend was selling a pristine 905 SWC, but it would have been north of $7k to get going. Yikes.

    Keep ’em coming, man. I take it you’re going to be shooting a lot more film?


  • Zack said on April 16, 2011

    @MikeSeb – I agree. The RZ is a beautiful beast. Keyword – Beast.

    I am shooting more film now. The next issues I have to work out are which lab I am going to use and am I going to develop and scan or develop and build a dark room and make prints and scan those? Part of me wants to get back in the darkroom now. Part of me wants nothing to do with it. I’d like to see my kids while they are still young. :)


  • Zack said on April 16, 2011

    @MikeSeb – One other thing, consider an SWC/M. The Biogon lens is considered the best in some circles and it is far less expensive than the 905’s. But I’m sure you know they are less. FAR less than $7k. Shit, that’s almost a digital MF kit. :)


  • Jessica Sweeney said on April 17, 2011

    Wow. Great color, as everyone else says. You make me want to shoot film . . . And MAN that focus is just dead on. Nice.

  • Ed Verosky said on April 18, 2011

    Everyone who knows me, knows I love film. It’s what my generation grew up on. But there’s always that nagging feeling that, as beautiful as film can be, the look of any film can be so closely approximated with digital tools to make it indistinguishable from film. Especially when you digitize (scan) an image. When you do that, you’re basically taking a digital photo (in the form of a scan) of a photo, of real life. By using film, you’ve introduced an intermediate step, presumably a reduced amount of image/color information than you would’ve had if you’d just taken the image with a high-resolution sensor.

    But you still wouldn’t get the look out of your DSLR that you can get with a medium format camera of the Hasselblad or Mamiya variety. Still, that’s just what the optics provides, and it can be recorded onto digital media; digital backs. So, that nagging feeling, I think, is that little voice that says I like film for reasons other than what it can offer visually once the final, digitized version is produced. I like it for the way it offers fewer choices, provides a sense of novelty and nostalgia, and offers less safe shooting and more “wait til it comes back from the lab” surprise.

    This film-lover asks, what is the REAL advantage of shooting film over digital? Are there any practical reasons for doing it? I guess even if the answer is no, I’d end up saying, “Who cares!”

  • Jimmy said on April 25, 2011

    RZ67+Sekor 110 it´s the best combo, i own it and really love it 😀

  • Michael Erb said on April 30, 2011


    These photos are really exciting. I would love it if you could share some of your scanning knowledge once you’ve gotten a little further along in the process. My biggest problem right now is getting rid of the orange film base. Most of the scanners I have used get fooled into producing funky color casts. If I scan as a positive then I have to touch every frame in PS and that can take an eternity and is very subjective.

    Any thoughts from your film days would be greatly appreciated.

  • Rob Oresteen said on May 13, 2011

    @ Ed Verosky…

    “as beautiful as film can be, the look of any film can be so closely approximated with digital tools to make it indistinguishable from film.”

    Really? I’ll give you $100.00 if you think you can create a digital image that replicates something from Jose Villa…:)

    Digital actions look…digital. Some look good, some not so much. But anyone with a decent eye can easily see the difference between a film portfolio and a digital one. You may sneak one by here and there, but manipulated digital images may have a certain eye candy quality to them, but they fall short in my opinion to a well-struck film image.

  • mani said on July 5, 2011

    WTF – these images are INCREDIBLE!! Jesus christ that last shot is poetry.
    I have no idea why, but when I look at a film image like this I feel like I’m really THERE.

    Keep it coming, dude – I seriously LOVE your film work!

  • Brian said on September 9, 2011

    Hey Zack. Enjoying reading your blog and seeing your work. Just a thought…I went fron Hasselblad (really hard to focus) to RZ (by far the best but too big as you know) and finally settled on the Mamiya 645. I am now shooting with a Phase One 645AFD with a P30+ back. I love it! The dynamic range and color depth is tremendous and there are loads of 645 AFD lenses on the market. And you can still shoot a magazine of film if you want. Anyway, just wanted to throw that recommendation out there. Cheers Brian

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