Posse member Bruce Tomaso lends a hand with a reflector as photojournalist Guy Reynolds focuses in on Big Daddy's Ribs & BBQ owner Blake Merrell in Little Elm. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

If you follow this blog, you know it regularly features great barbecue photography. Several Posse members are photographers and they bring their equipment -- all kinds of equipment -- when we go on tours.

Our recent Denton County tour, though, saw the most unusual piece of equipment yet. Guy Reynolds used a tripod mounted Graflex to shoot portraits of some of the pitmasters we visited.

On other tours, Guy has used his digital cameras, but he says he wanted to try something different this time. Here, Guy explains his mission:

I brought along my vintage '50s Graflex Crown Graphic 4x5 camera to shoot portraits with film just for the challenge of it.

Using a view camera requires a tripod and a dark cloth over the shooter's head in order to compose and focus the image on the ground glass at the back of the camera. The subject has to remain still during the interval between the settings being made and the film holder being inserted. This can easily be 30 seconds and many pieces of film are wasted.

The old camera was given to me several years ago by Bill Weisner, of Bill's Records and Tapes, because he had no use for it. It's a very difficult beast to use so I don't very often but the results and hard to beat.

The bigger the negative, the better the image - as far as sharpness goes when making enlargements. That's the same with digital file size: the more megapixels the better end results. 4x5 negatives can easily make prints 30x40 without the quality falling off to much. That's not possible with a 35mm negative, which is about 1/12 the size.

I only had 8 pieces of film loaded to do shots at our stops so there's not much margin for error. And there may not be any worthwhile. It's a risk limiting the number of takes that much. Unlike the instant gratification of digital, I won't know what I got until the film is processed and I have to take it to a lab for that. The film costs about $4 per sheet and processing is another $6 so it can get expensive real fast.

Just call me crazy but I still enjoy the craft of photography.

Blake Merrell, Big Daddy's Ribs & BBQ in Little Elm. (Photo ©Guy Reynolds)


Cody Smithers, left, and Shawn Eagle of Bet  the House BBQ in Denton. (Photo ©Guy Reynolds)


Jay Coin, Texas Smoke BBQ Co. in Sanger. (Photo ©Guy Reynolds)


Guy Reynolds puts a 4x5 film holder into his Crown Graphic camera before photographing Texas Smoke BBQ Co. pitmaster & owner Jay Coin in Sanger. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)


10 years ago

Of the eight pieces of film I exposed, only three were usable and those are posted here. The ISO 400 Ilford film was perfect for indoor and outdoor light. The two pieces of old color film were fogged from being in the holders too long or by the EXIT sign in the "darkroom" I used at work (just a closet) to remove the film from the holders.

The last time I used the beast was to shoot a portrait of Aaron and Stacy Franklin in Austin. Being a photo editor, I seldom get to shoot something for the paper but jumped at the offer to go to Franklin Barbecue for that story.
You can see that portrait here and more from that slice of barbecue heaven in 2011. http://www.dallasnews.com/photos/lifestyles/food/20110608-franklin-barbecue-in-austin.ece

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