Photographic Equipment

I’m usually not one to talk photo equipment. For the most part, this subject bores me. I really don’t care what brand of camera you use. It’s your imagination and your mind’s eye that creates the image, not the equipment. Cameras are nothing more than tools, the images created with them can be art, or at least very cool! That’s the part that turns me on. So often I’m asked about equipment, so on this rare, weak moment I’m going to blah, blah, blah you with some equipment talk. If equipment talk bores you too, at least scroll down and look at the pretty pictures!

Here are a few of the photographic styles I create and a brief background on them. This is in no way an endorsement of any brand what so ever.

sumpterrailroad“Sumpter  Railroad”

It’s simply amazing how many times someone has approached one of us wanting to know what kind of camera we use, because they want to buy that camera since it made such amazing photos. This makes as much sense as if I had the same kind of paint brushes as Leonardo da Vinci had, I could paint the Mona Lisa, right? It’s good for a laugh anyway!

roundbottle“Round Jar”

These first three images are Polaroid Transfers. I created them using a 4×5 camera in the field with a Polaroid back and type 59 Polaroid film. After I make the exposure, I remove the sheet film without processing it. I then bring them back to the darkroom (for subdued light, not total darkness). Then, with a brayer, roll them onto neutral pH watercolour paper instead of using the Polaroid material.

necatawa_04“Nahcotta Boat”

I must admit I am a reforming equipment whore. These technical tools appeal to the geek in me. They are indeed fun to play with, from analog to digital. They all have their place in regards to what kind of image you want to create. When I first preconceive an image in my mind, I’m also figuring out how to best accomplish what my mind sees. Do I load a roll of expired film into a pin hole camera, or use a high resolution digital?…

122514b#1“Altoona Piles”

Most of the equipment I lust for is old and out dated, kinda like me, I guess… Or, like in the case of these three black and white panoramic images, created with a modified Kodak “Fun Saver Panoramic 35” disposable camera reloaded with Kodak Tri-X film.


I started shooting with these disposable cameras back in 1992 after I figured out how easy they were to reload and the image quality was pretty amazing for a two element plastic lens. A few years back, I purchased 60 of these gems on eBay for just $1.69 each, as opposed to $10.95 at the grocery store check out line, back when they were current (1992-1999).

051009#17“Steens Highway”

A life time ago when we were fully engaged in the commercial world of photography, we owned an extensive collection of Hasselblad cameras (7 bodies & 11 lenses). I reluctantly sold them all updating my commercial camera case to digital. More recently, I have been buying back a simplified Hasselblad system with just my two favourite lenses (CF 60mm f=3.5 & CF 100mm f=3.5).

westernart“Western Art”

These three square images were created using a Hasselblad camera. Prior to the digital revolution I used these cameras commercially. I would buy Fuji Velvia and Provia colour transparency film by the case. I also shot a small amount of black and white film. Today, I mostly shoot black and white film with a little  bit of colour negative film thrown in.


While we were in the process of selling our house (bank building) in Eureka, Nevada we sold a lot of our “stuff”, including lots of photographic equipment. We sold all of our antique/collectible cameras, dozens of miscellaneous analog cameras, including my entire 4×5 system. Gone too are several of our digitals and all digital point & shoots. As my mind switches from commercial work to art work, I have come to the conclusion that too much equipment gets in the way of the creation of truly great images.

or-2128“Scappoose Cross”

Another film camera I am fond of is the Holga. I started to shoot with the Holga many years ago, mostly in fits and starts. With so many plastic camera photographers out there using the Holga and doing such an amazing job at it, I tended to not share my Holga images so much. Not anymore…

121117#18“Amboy Church”

Over the last few years I have been shooting the Holga much more than previous, out pacing the Hasselblad in film consumption. There’s just something about designing within the square that is so rewarding when it’s done right!

040316#6“Hardware Store”

We have been on the road for nine months now. During this time I have been creating more images than ever, in both analog and digital. The freedom the road offers has changed many of my outlooks on image creation, as well as life. Change is good!…

110609#11“No Trespassing”

Switching gears from commercial to art, has its ups and downs. The up side is the experience and technical knowledge you bring with you. Next, is the business sense needed to navigate the art world (although very different). Then, using known/favourite tools, to make image creation more spontaneous and fun. It keeps coming back to less is more. I’m finding a hike with one camera and one lens to be far more productive than carrying a pack full of equipment. Not to mention I prefer hiking with a lighter pack! We’ve repeated hikes the next day just so I can take a different camera combination for a completely different image outcome.

Digital Equipment

For the most part, but definitely not the rule, I’ve tend to think of digital as a commercial tool and analog as art. Recently, however I’m seeing this idea burr into oblivion…

141116078Valentine, Texas

I have a love/hate relationship with digital equipment. I love the technical aspects that allow so many options for image manipulation and enhancement. Plus, with larger image files, amazing resolution to go along with that. The hate part comes from the tech giants merry-go-round of upgrades with an ever constantly climbing price tag to go along with it.

181025022Chicago, Illinois

Someone wants larger files for their next job. Do I rent, do I buy? That quickly becomes a moot point as simply switching from a 21 Mp camera to a 50 Mp camera presses the need for some new lenses, since this high a resolution camera sorely pointed out some of my lenses faults. Then a new computer was needed as the old processor became bogged down with files of that size. This upgrade pushed me into the latest operating system, which required lots of software updates at much time and expense. Don’t forget the storage/back-up! The camera was the cheapest part of the equation. The Hi-Tech Merry-Go-Round, has gotcha by the…

160918091Smith Creek, Nevada

As you might have figured out from the geometry of my digital images I like to use Tilt-Shift lenses. This most likely came from years of in-studio 4×5/8×10 camera use. Also, I just don’t like seeing buildings and landscapes falling over backwards when you shoot upwards with a wide angle lens.

In my digital case, I admit I have too much equipment. I would really like just two lenses, But a few commercial jobs come up now and then, so I need to be ready to do the job. I currently have two Canon 5D sr’s 50 Mp digital camera bodies, two wide angle tile-shift lenses (17mm f=4.0 ts-e & 24mm f=3.5 ts-e), two short telephotos (85mm f=1.4 & 200mm f=2.8) and a macro lens (100mm f=2.8). I sold all of the Canon “L” series zoom lenses as these didn’t perform well as the file size increased, these include the 16-35, 24-105 and 70-200). Prime lenses are the only way to go if image resolution/quality are at the forefront of your intent.

140310002Kiowa, Colorado

Before the iPhone came along, we were often asked, “What kind of camera should I buy?” That’s a loaded question and one with a broad range of responses based on user needs. I like to tell people to go to a real camera store, with real and knowledgeable folks behind the counter, have them put a bunch of different brand cameras in your hands and figure out which one works for you. I know that doesn’t work on amazon. But, there are some really great camera shops out there and you should get out of your pyjamas and put some clothes on and go support them. Take some black tape with you and put it over the name. Don’t get fixated on a brand, that just gets in the way. Once you get to touch several different cameras, which one feels good? Do the buttons make sense to you? Do the ergonomics help you use the device? Or, do you need to spend too much time trying to figure out the buttons?

Living in our Sprinter van over the last nine months has taught us much about the gift of simplicity. This too carries over into image creation.

If you have questions about my processes, please send me an e-mail.





Looking for a Place to Make Art


We departed Carson City, Nevada back in August heading east across Highway 50 with the goal of investigating new places to call home and make art.

180805009Along Highway 50 in Nevada “The Loneliest Road in America”

Prior to our departure we had Rack Attack install roof rails and cross bars on our Sprinter so we could carry our canoe. Three times I said to them, “the cross bars are not far enough apart”. They insisted it was fine, showing us manufacturer’s displays saying it was the correct way to hold a canoe. By the time we got across Nevada with a strong cross wind, our 17′ Old Town Canadienne had pushed its way across the roof damaging the roof vent.

180822019McCormick, Utah

We lashed the canoe to the roof as best we could, but by the time we got to Hanksville, Utah it was clear the rack situation was not working. So, instead of spending time in Utah hiking and making photographs as originally planned, we found Denver had the closest rack installer. It turns out we found another Rack Attack location and they were able to accommodate us and our schedule. We just threw money at it… Hey Rack Attack, will you pay for a new Fan-Tastic powered roof vent that was damaged because your staff insisted it was the correct way to install our rack? No, I didn’t think so…

180825104Comanche National Grassland in Southeastern Colorado, with a roof rack that holds the canoe firmly in place.

After dealing with the canoe rack we turned south out of Colorado into New Mexico to explore places we might want to live.

180826038Kiowa Mesa, New Mexico

Special thanks to our friend, Astro Beck, who sent us to the Salinas Pueblo Missions. These missions are nothing short of gorgeous and the best part is so few people visit them. I shot a lot of film! I brought plenty of 35mm film for my plastic panorama cameras, but it turns out not enough 120 film. So, now I need to figure out how to purchase more film while on the road. That’s not so easy since we’re on the move, traveling the more rural areas to photograph, avoiding larger cities.

180829086Quarai Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, New Mexico

180829096Punta de Agua, New Mexico

180904031Gran Quivira Salinas Pueblo Mission National Monument, New Mexico

One of our biggest concerns of living in the Southwestern United States is water. I need a wet darkroom. We found some communities had great water and others places everyone had to truck their water, and that won’t work for us… I will be implementing a new water recycling system to greatly reduce water consumption in the darkroom, but I still need a good water source. Any thoughts?

180905026180905013Carrizozo, New Mexico

New Mexico has several amazingly strong art communities in some very surprising places. We found many affordable areas filled with artists and like minded folks who welcomed us into their communities (how refreshing!). Our questions are: Do the artists in these communities make a living, or are they retired with a pension or spouses wealthy enough to pay for the art supplies and bills?

180909045Tucumcari, New Mexico

All images © 2018 Deon Reynolds

13 Years in Eureka, Nevada

I grew up in Portland, Oregon, Trish grew up across the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington. We met in a camera store in Portland, imagine that! This part of the Pacific Northwest is what we call the wet side of the Cascades. In other words, it’s usually grey and drizzly if not down right raining most of the time. The rain is something we ultimately dread despite our excitement of going back to the Northwest to visit friends and family.

051298a#3(7thStreet)“7th Street” (1998)

“7th Street” is located just outside of Eureka in Diamond Valley. I created this image in May of 1998 when Trish and I were exploring the state creating images for a “NEVADA” calendar long before we ever considered moving to Eureka.

WARNING: sunshine is habit forming!

030609#11(DiamondMountains)“Diamond Mountain Sky” (2011)

For nearly a decade we had been creating images for “NEVADA” calendars and eventually our “NEVADA” book, both published by Graphic Arts Center. This was before we made the move to Eureka in 2005. So, we were already very much accustomed to the sunshine, low humidity and the high elevation of the Great Basin Desert. It wasn’t long before we learned the shoulder seasons were the best for our outback adventures that were just outside our door living in Eureka.

001“General Store” (2009)

Moving from the damp and rainy climate of the Pacific Northwest to a completely new landscape in a completely new climate zone was nothing short of exciting! Eureka is a small community (pop. 500ish) and at 1,975 metres, it’s high in the mountains of North America’s Great Basin Desert. Eureka gets about 22 centimetres of precipitation a year that mostly falls as snow. Eureka, also enjoys 300 days of sunshine and due to the high elevation it usually doesn’t get too hot during the summer. We found the artistic possibilities to be endless in every direction. The flip side however, it’s a very long drive before you find a real grocery store.

009“Eureka Angel” (2005)

123109c#33(NEVADA)“Snow On It” (2009)

111417#14(TwoHeadStones)“Two Headstones” (2011)

123109d#11(EurekaAngel)“Sky Angel” (2009)

Eureka has several very photogenic historic cemeteries, a frequent stop during our daily walks.

111417#16“Main Street Cowboy” (2017)

023“Walt’s Western Art” (2017)

070416c#8“Alpine Hotel” (2016)

111109#7“No Trespassing” (2009)

013“Hardware Store” (2017)

Eureka is filled with historic buildings in various stages of decay, or if the property is lucky, restoration. Trish and I walk regularly and most of the time I would pick a camera that inspires me that day and take it along on the excursion.

040313c#1(EndOfTheRoad)“End of the Road” (2013)

010210b#9“Mobile Living” (2010)

007“Little Trailer” (2010)

Eureka’s mobile living is not quite as old or as historic as other buildings in town. However, mobile living is part of a miner’s life, whether they are hauling their tree limbs from camp to camp, or moving their 5th wheel to the next big thing. I find these homes to be very interesting photographic fodder.

052013c#5“No Outlet” (2013)

Living in Eureka was an interesting experience to say the least. We were consistently amazed at an ever changing landscape, providing ceaseless inspiration for our art work. Plus, the wildlife we encountered while in Eureka was nothing short of amazing (I’m not a wildlife photographer, so don’t expect that). Our photographic library in both analog and digital grew exponentially, a tribute to the fabulous space known as the Great Basin Desert. And yes, we have images available for license.

So, why leave, you might ask? Several factors forced our move. Economics and death threats lead the list. Nevada Tourism changed how they promote Hwy 50, “The Loneliest Road in America” and at the same time, the Eureka County Commission cut funding for tourism and economic development. This double whammy effectively stopped tourists from visiting Eureka ending our seven year run of the Eureka Gallery. Next up, quite a few locals made our lives miserable. The so called art collector that encouraged our move to Eureka in the first place, turned out to be a sociopathic narcissist (run don’t walk away from these people). Plus, the last couple of years we received numerous death threats from newly empowered, uneducated, racist gun nuts. The last year we lived in Eureka we mostly hid out of fear, going out at odd times for errands and exercise. Just flat out being gone was our best option. Clearly we didn’t fit in Eureka, time to move on…

Photographic note: All of the images on this post were created on film with either a Kodak disposable, Holga or Hasselblad camera.

All images © 2018 Deon Reynolds






Wheat Paste Installations over Time

Trish and I have installed several large scale wheat paste murals over the past few years. I’m really impressed with their longevity and the over all quality achieved with an image created with a tiny 35mm black and white negative, printed on 20 lb. bond paper, then wheat pasted to a wall.

180507011“Roper”, our largest mural to date is 9′ high and 22′ across (April 2018). It’s located at the rear of 310 Stewart Street in Carson City, Nevada (not visible from Stewart Street). This image was created with a modified Kodak “Fun Saver Panoramic 35” disposable camera reloaded with Kodak Tri-X black & white film. The panoramic crop is created within the camera, so the negative is really quite small. Yet, I find the quality of this image to be nothing short of amazing, unless, of course you’re standing just a few feet away. At that point you’ll see the grain of the film and the wonderful flaws of a crappy plastic camera.

Watch a time-lapse of us installing “Roper” click here

161216052“Sorting” is another one of my disposable camera images, it’s 5′ x 13′. It is located in the alleyway behind the Western Folklife Center at 510 Railroad Street, Elko, Nevada. The image above was shot just after it was installed in November of 2016.

180728016Same mural in August 2018 almost two years on, it is looking a bit tattered, but it’s deteriorating in such a splendid way, I can’t help but love this wheat paste more as it ages.

With the exception of the top image “Roper”, these are true wheat paste installations, meaning we cook up flour and water with a little sugar at the end, let it cool and then roll it on the surfaces as well as over the top of the print as the only glue. For “Roper”, we used industrial grade wall paper adhesive, as Carson City was looking for a longer lasting “temporary art” installation. The Carson City mural site faces west and is blasted every afternoon by the hot Nevada sun. The Elko murals are in an alleyway protecting them from Nevada’s weather extremes.

161216032“Mustang Windmill” same camera, 5′ x 13′, was located in the alleyway behind the Carlin Trend Building in Elko, Nevada. It didn’t fare so well, as it got tagged shortly after it went up, but then, water from snow melt ran off the side of the building down the wall, mostly destroying the image all together. We removed it’s carcass after three short months.

160412_7427“Roping”, 5′ x 7′ by Trish Reynolds was created using a 1920’s Kodak Brownie camera loaded with Ilford FP-4 120 film. This was the first large scale public art installation Trish and I collaborated on (Nov. 2016).

180728010“Roping”, almost two years later, has taken on an entirely new look (August 2018).

170416079The alleyway behind the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nevada (March 2017)

161216026“Antelope Shute” 7′ x 7′ and “Horses at Potts” 7′ x 17′ Elko, Nevada (Feb. 2017).

170221016“Horses at Potts” at 4th & Idaho in downtown Elko, Nevada. This site too, didn’t fare well, as the abandoned building doesn’t have gutters and the water (snow melt) from the roof pours off the side down the walls, making quick work of destroying the murals. Only a small amount of “Horses at Potts” is visible between political signs as of August 2018.

We love putting these murals up. It’s equally fun to install them, as it is to watch them gracefully disintegrate. Looking forward to the next installation!

All images © 2018 Deon Reynolds




Carson City Mural Project

You may have thought that over the past couple of months we were franticly packing up and moving out of our bank building in Eureka, Nevada. You’d be partly right! Long before we had an offer on our building, we had set into motion the creation of “Roper”, our largest mural project to date. It’s part of the National Endowment for the Arts “Big Read” program in partnership with Arts Midwest. Carson City’s event, also sponsored by Visit Carson City and the Carson City Cultural Commission titled “True Grit” offers art and literary events for everyone from May 1st through July 22nd 2018. This mural is one of the many creative interventions to reimagine vacant and blighted commercial properties in Carson City.

180507011“Roper” is located at 310 Stewart Street, Carson City, Nevada. Look to the rear of this empty building. You’re looking at the mural from the Nugget’s #6 parking lot, just two blocks from the State Capitol.


I created this image with a modified Kodak “Fun Saver Panoramic 35” disposable camera, re-loaded with Kodak Tri-X black and white film. “Roper” was created at a ranch that Trish and I had frequented many times. We had made an assumption that it was an abandoned ranch since we had never seen anyone there and by how run down the place was. But, on this day, we arrived to find some cowboys and cowgirls sorting and branding calves. They invited us to stay and were welcome to make photographs of them working. What a memorable day that was. Thanks to all of them!

I process all my own film and make my own prints, including this giant 9’x22′ wheat paste mural. These wheat paste images are printed on 20 lb. plotter paper using an Epson 24″ printer, taking twelve hours to print and less than two hours to install. We had help from Mark Salinas, who is Carson City’s Arts & Culture Coordinator. Click the link for a 29 second time-lapse video of the installation.   “Roper” Time-Lapse 

180507058With one of my many Kodak “Fun Saver Panoramic 35” disposable cameras.

180507045I love how the concrete blocks show through the image in this detail.

IMG_9140One of the RV campers made this sign from a pizza box to make sure no one parked in the way of our installation…

IMG_9147The day prior to installation Trish and I showed up at the site to prep the wall. We brushed off the loose paint, rolled on TSP and sprayed it off with clean water.





“COWBOYS” at Northwest Reno Library

062212#1(Roping)I have a show entitled “COWBOYS” hanging at the Northwest Reno Library. Open January 5th through February 24th. You are invited to the closing reception from Noon to 1:00pm Saturday February 24th. Hope to see you there!


Northwest Reno Library is located at: 2325 Robb Drive, Reno, NV 89523

Monday-Tuesday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Wednesday: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Thursday-Friday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday: CLOSED


I create these images with a plastic camera. It’s simplicity and spontaneity allows me to be more emotionally responsive to my ever changing environment. My camera of choice is a Kodak Fun Saver Panoramic 35 disposable camera. I recycle the cardboard cover, remove the color film and modify the interior. Using a darkroom tent, I reload the camera with Tri-X black & white film. I use filtration while shooting and adjust aspects of processing to maximize the film’s potential. Photographs are made on Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl paper with archival pigment inks.


I made the images for this show at several Central Nevada ranches over many years.



9th Annual RayKo Plastic Camera Show

I’m very pleased to announce two of my images from Burning Man have juried into the RayKo Photo Center’s 9th Annual International Juried Plastic Camera Show. Thanks Ann!




“Hat Trick”

I am frequently asked, “What is a plastic camera”? Simply put, it is a camera made of plastic or more specifically a lens made of plastic. In other words, low quality, crappy optics. For me using a plastic camera translates into freedom from the technological aspects of photography allowing me to concentrate on the graphics and design of an image.

These photographs were created using a Kodak “Fun Saver Panoramic” disposable camera that I reload with Kodak Tri-X black & white film. Like most artists I’m a control freak when it comes to my art. I process my own film and do all my own printing, both optical and digital. I make my own scans and print these images digitally on Hahnemühle Photo Rag paper using an Epson 7890 printer with K3 ink set for an archival quality print that will last for generations.

The Opening Artists Reception is Wednesday, March 9th from 6-8pm.

The exhibition runs from March 9th through April 29th, 2016

The Opening is free and open to the public. Many of the artists will be at the artists’ reception. Please support the arts by attending arts events and buying art. Hope to see you there!

RayKo Photo Center

428 Third Street

San Francisco, CA 94107


Burning Man 2015

Burning Man 2015

Burning Man has never really appealed to me. Maybe because I become uneasy at the thought of large crowds, let alone a really large crowd in a place that Trish and I have been camping in for decades. Camping without a crowd, or without seeing … Continue reading

8th Annual International Juried Plastic Camera Show

For the sixth year in a row I have juried into the RayKo Photo Center’s International Plastic Camera Show!


“Equality Now!” shot with Kodak Tri-X film, through a Kodak “Fun Saver Panoramic 35” disposable camera will grace the walls of the RayKo Center along with so many other incredible artists’ work, including the two fantastic featured artists, Jennifer Shaw & Ernie Button.

Opening Reception is Wednesday, March 11th 6:00 – 8:00pm. Hope to see you there!

Show Dates:

March 11th – May 3rd 2015

RayKo Photo Center

428 Third Street

San Francisco CA 94107





Plates to Pixels “Landscape”

I am pleased to announce that I juried into Plates to Pixels’ annual “Landscape” show!


“Tecopa Cross” was photographed using a Kodak “Fun Saver Panoramic” disposable camera reloaded with Kodak Tri-X film.

You can view all of the show on the Plates to Pixels website by clicking here.