I've been lurking and making a few posts - I've finally scrolled down far enough to find the Introduce Yourself section.
I'm John Simmons (or Juan on the non-Anglo side of the family). I first became interested in photography in high school when someone gave me one of the original, white Polaroid Swingers - the ones that took roll film. I made my first visualization while taking flash photos of a band I played in - I had to figure out how to manipulate the unmarked f-stop (it had only one shutter speed). My friends were amazed that I could take close up photos with flash and have them exposed correctly without being washed out. I was fascinated by the entire process.

After I was convinced I would never be a rock star, I returned to college, bought a 35mm, began to develop my own B&W, then a 6x6. I read all of Ansel's books (both series) and collected all of Fred Picker's newsletters. In 1984, I bought a 4x5 and was hooked on large format. I lived in a house with a basement room I set up as a fulltime darkroom, so I shot a lot of film and had a lot of fun.

In 1989, I began moving around working for TV stations, and no longer had a darkroom. I've done very little photography since, other than make a few negatives developed in a makeshift bathroom.

Last year, I got a great deal on a scanner with a transparency adapter that would scan a 4x5 negative. Over the past few months, I've been scanning some of my 4x5 negatives and posting them on my website. I thought I would become a half-digital photo guy. After all, the Epson prints are probably better than a lot of prints that are made - including a lot that I have made.

But after looking at the scans for a few days, I decided they are not good enough - at least for me. If I were not a packrat, I would be tempted to cut them up and throw them away. I think I've grown in my photographic vision, and it's time to get to work again.

I've dug out my old package of Azo, ordered ABC pyro and Amidol and Efke 100. After film tests (sigh) I'll be making more photos and doing contact prints - in the bathroom. Even better this time.

If you want to look at some of the old stuff, I have it posted at


(some of the original Polaroid photos are in the section in the sidebar marked The Bluenotes and The Three Heads).

I found this group through the link at Fine Art Photo, and I'm very glad to locate all of you folks. I live in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.