Photography Archives - Chris Ullrich dot net
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Reversing Changes and More

As I said in a previous post, I moved the Ullrich Media website off of Squarespace with the intent of hosting it on our dedicated Media Temple server. But after I did I realized something: the site looked like ass.

The sad truth is I’m not a web designer, nor do I know that much about WordPress. And, if I’m being honest, I don’t really have the time to learn more about either of those things right now.

I would love to, believe me. But for now I’ve made the decision to return to Squarespace and keep that as the home of Ullrich Media for the foreseeable future. It’s just easier and I need things to be easier right now.

I think you can probably relate.

In addition, I made some changes to the site itself, which is actually quite easy to do with Squarespace. No, they didn’t pay me to say that. Although, I’m open to it . . .

For the site I added more photos and made the portfolio section a bit more organized to highlight my work. Mostly I grouped the photos in different sections depending on the kind of photo they are. If you go there it will make more sense.

And hey, I also decided to offer prints of some of my photographs too. You should buy one, framed, and hang it on your wall. I did. It looks pretty cool.

Here’s the direct link to my Print Shop. There’s also a link when you go to the main Ullrich Media website too, if you’re so inclined.

I think that’s it for the moment. At least where my website and work/personal stuff is concerned.

Wait. I know what you’re thinking: Hey Chris, where’s that book you were working on? Oh that. I’m still working on it . . . and a new one in an entirely different genre.

So far, so good for both.  More on those soon.

Oh, it looks like we might get a vaccine for the kids pretty soon, which I’m quite happy about. Good for the kids and, frankly, good for the parents too.

It will be nice for everyone when the kids can go back to school, be with their friends and worry a lot less about being exposed to a potentially deadly virus. Very nice indeed.

Let’s hope all the parents (or enough of them) decide to vaccinate their kids. They should, but you never know . . . selfish assholes can have kids too.

I hope you’re not one of those. But since you’re reading this, you probably aren’t. I don’t think that’s my “audience,” but who knows?

Okay, that’s really all for now. Be kind to each other until I get back. Okay?


Image: ©2021 Chris Ullrich. All Rights Reserved. 

Even More Changes

Hello friends. It has been a minute, as it often is. I don’t update here as often as I should and for that I’m profoundly sorry. I really want to, however . . .

I just don’t have that kind of free time anymore, especially now that virtual school is in session again. In short, that’s very time consuming . . . and I’ve only got the one kid. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for those of you who’ve got more than one. Crazy.

That said, I did want to drop in for a few and update you on some recent changes. No, it’s not just that Summer ended and the boy is back in school, it’s more than that. A bit more, at least.

The first is my favorite website, The Flickcast, has finally gotten a much-needed facelift and is looking great. Kudos to to the entire team for getting that up and running. And by the entire team I mean yours truly. As in, I did it all by myself (cue Jamie O’Neal).

I think it looks great. The Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages have also been updated to reflect the new look. As you do.

We’ve also started uploading the podcast to YouTube, although it’s just the audio at this point. No video yet. We are going to start video soon, however, so keep an eye out for that.

I’ve also made some changes to the Ullrich Media website (mostly moving off of Squarespace and onto our own server) so that’s gonna look a bit different and have less content until I get a chance to finish it up. Doing all the work on The Flickcast took a lot of time, so other things were reprioritized in favor if that.

There’s nothing wrong with Squarespace, by the way. They’re great. I just don’t need to be paying them when I already have a server of my own that can handle the content and traffic. Plus, these days I mostly upload photos to Instagram and Flickr (remember that?). So I don’t necessarily need a full portfolio website right now. Just a place to give out a bit of info.

Moving on. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but I’ve been playing a lot of D&D the last year or two, especially during the fun COVID times. Three times a week, currently. I mention this not to reinforce the fact that I’m a nerd. That’s a given and should require no further support of proof.

I mention it to showcase the fact I play on Twitch with a great group every Sunday night starting at 6PM Pacific. If you like D&D and enjoy watching people play it (just like the pros do on Critical Role) you should check out our stream. It’s pretty fun.

I’m sure I’ve got more things to talk about but this is already pretty long, so I think I’ll call it for now. But don’t worry, I’ll be back.

Until then, please get your shots and wear a mask. Don’t be an asshole. That’s not too much to ask, is it? I don’t think so.

Also, keep on being kind to each other. It helps. Thanks.


(Oh, I forgot to mention the above photo is one I took during my recent trip to Colorado and points West. It’s not really supposed to look that way but something happened while shooting and the film was exposed that way. But that’s fine, I think it looks kinda cool).

Another 2021 Update

Well, I did it. I am “fully vaccinated.” Yay me.

Two doses of Pfizer and I feel a heck of a lot better about 2021 than I did a few months ago. We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’re on the right path. Hopefully everyone will get their shots. I know a lot of people are, which is great.

If you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for? Do it.

And yes, before you ask, I’m still gonna mask up and socially distance. Just because I’m vaccinated doesn’t mean everyone else is. Plus, I’m still not over the whole quarantine and lockdown thing, so masks make me feel better. I may wear one for a long time. Maybe.

In other news I recently took a road trip through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California. The trip was mostly just to get out of the house after a year and a half in lockdown, but also to do some photography and see some old friends, which I did.

Is it a coincidence the states I travelled through, although scenic and containing several of my friends, also have legalized Cannabis? Spoilers: It wasn’t a coincidence.

Another reason for the trip was research. I’m considering a new business venture and wanted to gather information. I like to gather information and research things. It’s fun for me. These states were the place to do it.

It’s much more difficult to conduct this kind of research in Texas, where I currently live. They’re still living in the dark ages, at least where Cannabis is concerned. Not everyone, to be sure, but many of the people in positions of authority certainly are.

They do allow you to grow hemp in Texas, which is a good start. And I’m going to start doing that soon. But there’s still a long way to go.

My trip was for that kind of research. Business stuff. I also managed to see a lot of friends and hang out, which was great fun. And, of course, visit a few of my favorite spots and also find some new ones.

I miss my old friends. But sadly, I couldn’t see everyone I wanted to see. I just didn’t have the time. H only has so much patience with me being gone, after all.

I’m planning another trip soon so I’ll make sure to include people I missed. I want to see all of you. It’s been too long.

The trip really was great, though. The only real downside to it was all the driving. I don’t mind a road trip and I don’t mind driving, but this trip had a lot of it and I needed to cover a lot of miles in a short time.

The Arizona to Austin drive in one day was particularly brutal. I did it and survived, but it was a lot. Not sure I’m ready to do that one again anytime soon . . . but maybe.

Good thing I had a lot of audiobooks to keep me company in the car. Here’s a few of the one’s I listened to on the trip:

Yearbook By Seth Rogen

Project Hail Mary By Andy Weir

Red Rising By Pierce Brown

Really enjoyed all three of these. Next up for me is the sequel to Red Rising called Golden Son.

As for other things in 2021, I’m still doing The Flickcast podcast and still playing a lot of D&D. I’m even on Twitch every Sunday night playing it. It’s pretty fun.

I’m also just trying to be kind, live my life and be a good father, husband and person. It isn’t easy. Fortunately, I don’t give up easily. I just keep going and keep trying.

And that, my friends, is sometimes all you can do.

Some More Recent Photos

I posted some of my film photography previously and thought now would be a good time to post some more. Most of these were shot with a Leica M6 or Nikon FM2n in 35mm. Some, however, were shot with a Polaroid camera, either the SX-70 or the new OneStep 2 from Polaroid Originals. Oh, I think there’s one shot with a Polaroid Land 250 camera too.

Speaking of the OneStep 2, I’ll have a review of that camera up shortly, now that I’ve had a chance to shoot with it for a few weeks.

If you want to see more of my photography, check out my website at UllrichMedia or my Instagram. Okay, here’s the photos.

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Going Analog (Pt. 3): Shooting Film

In the two previous installments of this series I talked about my love of all-things analog and some of the tools and gear I like to use to get things done. My love of analog also extends into many other aspects of my life, especially the creative endeavors I pursue. A major one of these creative endeavors is photography.

It shouldn’t surprise you to learn I use film for the majority of my photography. Sometimes I do use a digital camera or an iPhone, especially when I’m photographing my fast-moving toddler. But most of the time it’s film, film, film.

My history with film goes back a long way. Back to the days when digital was just a word and not the revolutionary technology it is today. Back when film was the only option.

My first camera was an Olympus OM1, which is an SLR that uses 35mm film. From the moment I took it out of the box, loaded it with film and pressed the shutter to make my first photo, I was hooked. Since that day I’ve made photos for countless personal and professional projects and have many, many notebooks full of negatives and boxes full of slides. I also took quite a few photo classes, developed my own negatives and made my own prints in a darkroom.

Then, digital came along.

As much as I love analog, I also love gadgets and technology. So, as any good tech aficionado would, I embraced digital and jumped in with both feet.

My first digital camera was a Kodak DC240. By today’s standards, the DC240 is laughably antiquated. But it made photos and I could see them instantly on the little screen on the back of the camera.

I didn’t have to wait for them to be developed and printed. In fact, I could download them to my computer and print them myself at home. Instant gratification. I have to admit, at the time, I thought it was pretty amazing. In truth, I still kinda do.

But as I explored digital, and made thousands and thousands of photos, I came to realize something: I wasn’t enjoying photography anymore. Also, the quality of my images had declined. Not the resolution, sharpness or that kind of “quality.” Those were ever-increasing as technology got better and better.

It was something else: my photos just weren’t good. Or very interesting. Or very creative. They were more like generic snapshots with no real thought or intent behind them. Because I could take so many at a time I usually just held the shutter button down and figured I’d get at least one or two “good ones.”

Because it was easier, faster and I didn’t have to think much about focus, exposure or anything else, I pretty much stopped thinking about my photos at all. I stopped caring and just became a button pusher. And my photos suffered for it.

Things went on like this for quite a while until something happened: I found two of my film cameras. They had been packed away in a box several moves ago and forgotten. Seeing them for the first time in years, I was intrigued. So, I did some research and discovered film was still around.

I unpacked the cameras and took a closer look. They seemed to work just fine so I bought a roll of film, loaded one of them and made some photos. I didn’t have any way to process the film at home, having sold my darkroom equipment long ago, so I took it to one of the only film labs left in Austin, Holland Photo.

I thought I’d be annoyed or impatient at having to wait to see the photos, but something else happened instead: I got excited. Excited to see how they turned out. The anticipation became part of the fun. Then I got them back.

I’ll be honest, most of them weren’t that great. Going back to a manual camera after years of auto everything was a humbling experience. But even with the focus and exposure issues, there was still something about them. I liked them. Even the bad ones.

Plus, I had actually enjoyed the experience of taking the photos. It had been really fun. And I wanted to do it again. So, I bought more film and made more photos.

With each roll I got a little better and enjoyed it more. I took my time and thought a lot about exposure, focus and composition. It was almost as if I was learning photography for the first time. And as I went along I noticed something: the end result, my photos, started to get a lot better.

Before I go on I should mention I don’t think I’m an amazing photographer. But I can tell an “ok” photo from a good one and a great one from an amazing work of art. Most of mine fall into the “good” category and I’m happy with the results I get most of the time. Could I improve? Absolutely.

I’m working on it pretty much every day. And that’s part of what I’m talking about here: I want to get better. Photography, like many other kinds of art, is a process. With film, I love the process a hell of a lot more than I did with digital.

With film making a comeback (or at least it seems like it is) people who use it talk a lot about why they prefer it. They say it’s the process or they enjoy slowing down and taking time to make the images. I agree with that. There’s something about the way light strikes film, causes a chemical reaction and, after processing, an image to appear. To me, that’s the very essence of analog.

I also like that I can’t just hold the button down and hope for one or two “good ones.” Film costs money. Processing cost money. Scanning costs money. Every time I press the shutter it costs money.

I need to make the photos count. I need to take my time and do I good job and only press the button when I have exactly what I want, or as close to it as possible. This has also improved my photography.

Plus, I just like the “look” of film. The aesthetic of it. It’s what I grew up with. My perception of reality was shaped, to a large degree, by seeing the world depicted on film in photographs, on tv and in movies. To me, the world looks more “real” when you see it on film.

Who knows? Maybe I would have rediscovered my love for photography if I’d never found those film cameras? Maybe I would have figured all of this out if I’d keep shooting digital? I don’t really think so.

I believe it was film that helped me find my love and passion for photography again. Although, to be perfectly honest, I don’t really think about how I got here all that much, unless I’m writing about it like I am now. I just go out and try to make the best photos I can.

Don’t worry, I’m not trying to convince you to shoot film. Nor am I saying digital is bad. This is what works for me. If you enjoy or use digital, by all means keep doing it. There’s many situations where it absolutely makes sense. I’m not trying to get you to change.

As for me, I’ll keep shooting film as long as I can.


I primarily shoot 35mm film so my two main cameras are the Leica M6 and the Nikon FM2n. I usually keep the M6 loaded with black & white and the Nikon loaded with color. I love both of these cameras and could see myself being happy with either as my only camera if I had to pick just one.

First, let’s talk about the Leica M6. It’s an amazing piece of gear that works flawlessly, considering it’s over twenty years old. Much has been written about Leica, and the M6 in particular, so I won’t get into a full review here.

In brief, the Leica M6 is a rangefinder camera made in Germany. It’s smaller than an SLR and quieter, mostly because it doesn’t have a mirror that has to get out of the way every time you press the shutter. A traditional SLR has a mirror (and a prism) because you are actually looking through the lens while composing and focusing. The mirror and prism allow you to do this.

Then, when you press the shutter release, the mirror flips up out of the way so the film can be exposed to light when the shutter opens and closes. Being a rangefinder, the Leica doesn’t do this because you are composing and focusing through a different set of glass then what you take the photo with. Not having a mirror and prism also means the camera (and the lenses) can be smaller. It may sound complicated, but it works really well.

The Leica is also quiet because of its shutter. The shutter is made of cloth, not metal like the Nikon, so it moves almost silently. All of this, the size, the weight and the near silent operation, make the Leica an ideal camera for intimate situations where something bigger or noisier might be an issue.

It’s also a pleasure to shoot. The size and weight make it easier to carry around for long periods of time, as I often do when I’m on the streets shooting. Focusing it is also quite easy with its split image system. I find it a bit easier to focus quickly than the Nikon. Plus, it has a meter, which is quite accurate. Although, I don’t use it very often.

The Nikon is different from the Leica but still a great camera. It’s an SLR so it’s bigger, a bit heavier and has a metal shutter. It’s louder too. But, it’s pleasure to shoot. The controls make sense and the meter is accurate and easy to understand. I’ve made some of my favorite images with the Nikon.

Like I said, I love both of these cameras. They each have their quirks, but it’s like having two children: I could never pick a favorite. Fortunately, I won’t need too.

I can just use them until they break or I can’t see well enough to focus or my hands don’t work well enough to load the film. In truth, both of these cameras will likely outlast me. They are quality tools that should last a lifetime (or longer).

One potential drawback to both of these cameras, at least for some, is they’re both completely manual. This means you set the ISO (only once when you first load the film), the shutter speed, the aperture and you focus. Then, you press the shutter release. After that, you need to advance the film manually in order to take another picture. No auto advance here.

In other words, you do all the work. If you’ve been used to just pointing and shooting, you’ll likely have a bit of a learning curve if you decide on one of these cameras. And yes, when you’re just starting out you’ll likely forget to advance the film and miss a great photo opportunity. It happens.

Both cameras also have a TTL meter, which can be useful. But I don’t really need one. I’ve seen enough lighting situations and I know these cameras and the film I use to be able to set the exposure without a meter. I’m usually dead on or pretty close.

I also shoot mostly black & white, which has a lot of latitude, so that helps with exposure issues. If you’re getting back into film after a long absence or just starting out, black & white is a great choice. It’s more forgiving of mistakes and also less expensive than color. I use both Ilford HP5+ and Kodak Tri-X. Try them both and see which you prefer.

I’ve also gotten much better at manual focusing after years of auto. These days, I can pretty much nail that too. Of course, it helps to have excellent lenses and a larger depth of field to make sure what you want in focus is in focus. But really, I worry more about composition than sharpness. Sharpness is overrated.

I won’t get into a lot of “how to take photos” stuff in this article. That’s something for another time. There’s also plenty of articles out there to explain basic photography, Zone Focus, Zone Exposure or the “Sunny 16” rule. That said, if you have questions, feel free to ask. I’ll do what I can to help.

Turning to lenses, I only have three at the moment. I used to have quite a few, but I sold them. I have two for the Leica and one for the Nikon.

For the Leica, I almost always prefer the 35mm focul length. At the moment, that means the Zeiss Biogon T 2.8. I also have a Leica 50mm Summicron 2.0, mostly for portraits.

For the Nikon, it’s all 50mm all the time in the form of a Nikon 1.8. I prefer a 50mm lens on an SLR. It just seems right to me.

The truth is you don’t really need a lot of prime lenses, or a big zoom, to make good photos. When I go out to shot I have one lens on each camera. If I want to get closer, I take a few steps closer. If I want to get wider, I just move back a little.

If you only have one lens you never have to think about what you would do with a different one. You just think about making the best image you can with what you have.

I’m a big believer in this. Do the best with what you have.

I wasn’t always this way. I loved gear and bought a lot of it. But now I know that was part of the problem. I was looking at the gear to make my photos better.

I thought fancy tools (and a lot of them) would make me a better photographer. I was wrong.

The gear can’t help you. Not really. It might give you an advantage in some situations, but it can also get in the way.

The photos I take now with a manual film camera and one lens are a lot better, and more satisfying creatively, than they were when I had the most expensive, coolest gear you could buy.

Limits are good for you. Don’t be afraid of them. They make you try harder. They make you care more.

And I do.

Some of My Recent Photographs

I’ve decided to eschew digital photography and return to simpler times and shoot film. Yes, film. It’s still around. In fact, it’s around in a pretty big way.

Companies like Kodak and Ilford still make many different kinds of film. Actually, Kodak recently announced the return of the venerable Ektachrome and several other companies are coming out with new film stocks too. Plus, more and more pros, semi-pros and amateurs are shooting film again or trying it out for the first time.

It’s a great time to be a film lover.

No, I won’t be abandoning digital completely. I still scan my film after it’s developed (a process I often do myself) and take the occasional photograph with my Fuji X100T or iPhone. Digital isn’t going anywhere.

But for the last six months or so, I’ve used film pretty much exclusively. Black & White, 35mm film in particular. I just like the way it looks and I like the camera I’m currently using: the Leica M6.

Check out some more examples of my recent work after the break. Of course, that’s one of mine at the top of this post and another one as the header for this site.

For even more, take a look at my Instagram devoted to film photography.

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iPhone vs. DSLR


I love photography. In fact, I’ve been taking pictures since I was given my first camera (an Olympus OM 1) in the sixth grade. Yes, that long.

Over the years I had a succession of film cameras but made the switch to digital about ten years ago. Since then I’ve pretty much had Nikon DSLRs and, on occassion, Canon point and shoots. I’ve captures thousands of images with those cameras . . . and some of them are even pretty good. Well, a few at least.

Then, the iPhone came along. It was a phone, a way to send text messages, a web browsing device and, amazingly enough, a pretty good camera.

And over the years the iPhone cameras have gotten better and better. Now, they’re really good.

Of course, people still use a DSLR. I do, especially when shooting Max. He moves pretty fast and the quick focus of a DSLR and Nikon lenses (especially the amazing 50mm 1.4) comes in handy. But most of the time, I find myself using the iPhone 6 to take photos.

I’m not alone. People are using the iPhone a lot more every day to take photos. But how do the DSLR and the iPhone compare? This handy infographic (made by the fine folks at Twenty 20) answers that question and more. Check it out below.


Some New Photos

Took these over the weekend. One more in my “California” series and one just because I thought it was funny. Taken with the iPhone 5 using Instagram.

Site Stuff, Photo Sharing and More

Looking at the archives list on the right of this page reminds me I’ve had this particular blog incarnation since mid 2004. That’s a good amount of time (almost 8 years) and I’m proud of myself for sticking with something that long.

I have actually been putting stuff online since before 2004 but alas, those articles and content have pretty much been lost after moves into and out of various blogging platforms over the years. I’m pretty sure I could probably locate them if I really tried and perhaps I will someday. But for the moment, I’m content to have this blog’s starting date be in June of 2004.

In the interest of fun, though, let’s step into the Wayback Machine and see what I was thinking on that first fateful Summer day in June of 2004. From that first post it seems like I was talking about a mix of tech and politics and also managed to throw in a quote from Chris Rock too. Not a bad bunch of content at all.

Although, I’m not sure why I felt the need to say “later” at the end of the post. It’s almost as if I didn’t know what I was doing then. So weird.

Anyway, now that I’ve evolved into the highly skilled professional that I am (hey, if you get or got paid to do it, you’re a pro) I can safely omit any of that kind of stuff and just talk directly to the audience. You know, you and you out there reading this.

Yes, there’s probably only two of you but that’s okay, we know something that others don’t know, right? We’re the cool kids now. Suck on that nerds. . .

But, I digress.

Nostalgia and self-affirmation is great but it doesn’t help me figure out if I should keep my Flickr Pro account or not. See that there, that’s what they call a transition. Although, it wasn’t a great one. No, not at all.

My Flickr Pro account expires later this month and my dilemma is that I haven’t been uploading photos to it at all. In fact, I haven’t used it for many months. Granted, it’s only about 25 bucks a year but if I don’t use it at all, why bother? Plus, maybe there’s something better out there with more features, more interaction and the like?

I’m also considering that I have pretty much unlimited bandwidth, space and server power with the Media Temple servers we use for The Flickcast and other sites (including this here blog) that I could just host my photos myself and skip the third party stuff. That’s why you now see a “Photos” tab up there at the top of the screen.

I’m trying out various photo gallery plugins for WordPress to see which one looks the best. Right now, it’s one called NextGen Gallery and I kinda think it’s the best of the bunch. We also use it at The Flickcast so I’ve got some experience with it. I think I will leave it in place for now and see how it goes. I will add more photos I’ve already taken and perhaps some new ones soon too.

I also know that I’ve invested a lot of time and effort over the years to upload stuff to Flickr and it has a lot of photos of mine. It would be a lot of work to start completely over somewhere else. In fact, I’m not sure exactly how I would bulk download all the photos at Flickr and upload them somewhere else. I would need to look into that more.

Given the potential pain in the ass and time involved, I would instead probably want to have Flickr serve as an archive for my old photos and would start anywhere new, like SmugMug, from this point on. However, because of the large number of photos I have (too many for the free Flickr account) I would end up having to keep paying for the Pro version just to maintain the archive.

So I guess that pretty much answers my question, doesn’t it? Yahoo will be getting 25 bucks from me this month. They can probably use it.

Thanks for playing along. Always fun to see the decision making process at work, right?

The truth is no service, free or paid, is going to motivate me go out and take pictures. That motivation has to come from within.

Now where did I put my camera?

Some New Pics, New iPhone 4 and Some Cool iPhone 4 Photo Apps

I’ve recently returned from the land of Android (and the HTC Incredible) to the land of iPhone 4 and IOS. To be honest, it’s great to be back. Not that the Android platform isn’t cool, it is.

It’s just that the iPhone and iOS 4 are cooler. Case in point is all the great applications you can use to take some really cool photos with your iPhone 4.

I’ve been using quite a few of them and in particular Hipstamatic, Instagram, Plastic Bullet and Camera Bag. These apps, and the included Camera App from Apple on the iPhone, allow me to take and make some pretty cool photos. Sure, I can still take “normal” photos as well, but using these Apps is way more fun and the photos often turn out way different and better than you expect.

To demonstrate, I’ve included a few here from the new iPhone 4. Some are taken with Hipstamatic, some were taken with the iPhone’s native Photo App and then processed in Plastic Bullet or Camera Bag and some are just normal. Check ’em out.

As I get better at taking pics and discover more of what these Apps can do I will post some more here as well as the usual places like my Facebook and my Flickr.


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