Hey guys,

Wanted to do a small write up\ shout out on the filter system I’m using and how well it works. I’ve been a Cokin Ambassador for a little while now and I’ve really grown to love the filters and the company. Great group of people to work with and my contact is always on the ball getting me the latest gear. You guys ROCK! Alright well let’s get started! I began using the XL CP right off the bat and immediately enjoyed the look it gave me. Really helped with improving my water scenes in camera and made less work in post.


Cut glare on rocks and off the water. It increased my saturation by dropping exposure. All good things came from the CP. The system holding it to my lens is great. It slides in really nice and snug to the lens leaving plenty of room for some grads or even a neutral density filter.


If I’m not in the mood to reach in and spin the filter I can loosen up the outside set screws and spin the entire system that way. Removing the filter was a different story. I had some issues with it at first because I was missing the “filter tool” which is a small plastic spike that slides behind the CP making it a snap to push out of the lock. Sold. The system is rock solid, and I don’t have a lot of fuss putting it together.


If I know what lens I’m using, then I know the size of the step-up ring I’ll need. I ended up turning my filter tool into a necklace, so it is always on me when I need it. Makes quick work of jumping from CP to Infrared.


My second in command have got to be my Graduated neutral density filters. Love them dearly. I like to consider myself an old soul or even just old school If you will and I refuse to shoot HDR. Sorry it’s just not my thing. I would much rather spend a little extra time setting up my Grads to capture the shot. Everyone knows I’m no stranger to taking a little extra time with my photography.


I get a lot of questions about these filters and I believe in my opinion they are misunderstood. Graduated filters are used to either hold back your sky or your foreground if you have reverse filters. Now what I think is misunderstood is that these filters don’t magically go POW! Here’s your amazing sky. They keep your sky from blowing out in a single exposure.


Meaning you should be able to achieve a nice detailed sunrise or sunset using these filters in one shot. There is always post to be done. Trust me on that one. The image you saw online that made you by that set of grads was most definitely processed.  Now you have to decide would you like soft or hard? Personally I enjoy the soft grads because it makes it much easier to hide that blend line. Jumping into feathering is an entirely different monster. I use a 2,4,8 and 16 GND, each one for a different scene and situation. All the filters are perfect in size to cover my lens, the split is amazing and these filters are something I couldn’t shoot without. So you have a little to think about before you pull the trigger on a new set of filters but nothing you cant handle. Get what works for you and if you don’t like them, I’ll be willing to bet you don’t use them.


Any questions?


Feel free to comment or email me at




It’s been a while.

This will be my first post in a long time, since my last entry I’ve had a lot happen. Not that I’ve put photography on the back burner because that’s pretty hard to do when it’s all you do. I was sitting here holding my son and watching a documentary about professional skateboarding and how the stars of “jackass” all came about. It started to make me think about my career and what move I need to make next. You know, that move that keeps us in the lime light and always advancing. While I work on that idea, I felt like writing a little bit about our workshops. First up this year on the list is Blackwater Falls located in West Virginia. One of my favorites because of its unpopularity in the winter besides the occasional ski junkie or super tuber who wants to ride the longest snow tube hill on the east coast. Don’t fact check me on that but it sounded awesome.


I know, winter is not everyone’s cup of tea but it’s so beautiful in the snow. It hides many of the imperfections that are scattered throughout an image. Like all of the trash that is slowly taking over every beautiful place I’ve ever been too. Whatever happen to the leave no trace thing? Back on track, this is one of the waterfalls we visit during the class that is very easy to get to…in the summer. Throwing ice and snow into the mix is a bit of a different monster.


Every time you visit the scene changes. Colors, light, contrast, water flow. There’s some sort of difference in the image you’re about to create. Is it better than last years creation? Something you should think about before you even pull the trigger.


And then there’s last year. Different light, more snow, I have contrast but no color. Does it make my image any more less appealing? No, but it is different. My composition has changed or did I grow from one year to the next. Maybe my artistic taste changed and I no longer wanted so much tree on the right. Maybe I liked the tree that year because it acted as a frame, keeping my eye from getting lost off to the right. There is always a change in the way you will see something one year to the next.


Another draw for me, this is a semi private class. Meaning we take less people, giving those photographers way more one on one time to correct or perfect a certain aspect they’ve been wanting to improve. This also gives us all a chance to better understand each other and where we are coming from. I enjoying getting to know our clients on a more personal level. Understanding what you like shooting or what attracts you to a certain subject, helps me get in your head and see what you see.


I remember standing out in this storm. Cold as could be and snowing sideways. I’ll be honest, it was tough grabbing a shot in these conditions. My lens hood was filling up with snow, my view was fogging up every time I leaned in to check my composition and my fingers didn’t seem to work anymore. I still remember it though and that’s what matters to me. Not that I got a solid image but I have a memory that will last forever. I can say I stood out in the blizzard of 2016. I believe we got a total of 3 feet of snow. We were in Blackwater when the storm started and decided we should probably get home before it gets crazy and were stuck there for a week. We drove for 100 miles on the turnpike, only seeing one person. That person was walking on the side of the interstate with a shotgun on his shoulder. See what a memory.


I guess you could say Blackwater is a reboot for me. First workshop getting back out in the field again, It gives me the restart I need for the year. Hey Zach man, time to turn back on and get the gears oiled. This really wasn’t meant to be a plug for our workshop but if you feel like joining us, why not? We work hard all day and enjoy nice meals and conversation in the evening. We have a small editing session I look forward to after a long day in the cold and its a great time to pick up some new tips and tricks.


Think about it.


Life Without Hue.

“The long sobs of The violins Of autumn Lay waste my heart With monotones Of boredom.”

Just because you are missing something in your life, doesn’t mean it’s not still present. You’re just looking at the entire scene incorrectly. My “Focus” phrase works in all situations. Adjust it. I felt like going into a black & white direction with this one. Something about a jump start. I need it. Getting myself back to the start. You know that place I stood when I decided this is what I wanted to do. Whether it be a profession or just a great hobby for the rest of my life. I knew I wanted to capture life. I don’t just shoot landscapes, I remember them. I look forward to having those moments to look back on in the future. Something I grew up doing. We looked at film images printed on a 4X5 piece of photographic paper you got from the local Longenecker’s Pharmacy.



I think from now on I will start my posts with a quote or part of a poem just to get the juices flowing. Back to the task at hand. I don’t shoot, I capture. Meaning before I blast off a couple of rounds out of the old 645, I like to take the time to sit and study a scene. Whats there? “where’s my magic and what are my supporting elements. That’s a pretty bird or man that snake looks mean. Do you think about this stuff before you trip the shutter? Take this image for example. I saw the light coming through the top of the canyon and I moved around to make it just a small amount. Can you tell me why I did that? Correct I wanted a starburst! If I didn’t take the time to study that scene I would of just shot the cliffs with a super bright light at the top. Always make sure you are choosing the best image out of them all. You don’t have to shoot 1000 pictures to get one good one.


Have you ever took a picture. ONLY one picture of a certain subject and than got back to your house only to realize you didn’t get what you wanted?! This is what we call bracketing. No not that kind of bracketing, HDR is a completely different thing. I’m saying to you that when you’re in the field do it right the first time. Make sure you shoot multiples of you scene. Zoom in, zoom out move to the left or right. Be positive you have your shot before you leave. This still does not mean you need 1000 pictures from that spot. Think about it like this. When you get back to Facebook what picture will you share with your friends and family? If you said all of them then you didn’t read this post.


Let’s say I was out shooting my D800 in Acadia and we came upon this reflection. How many pictures do you think I would take of this location? We will say I took 8 pictures from this spot but you will only ever see one of them. Why is that? Because one of the images is stronger than all of the others that I shot that day. Man how do you narrow it down to just one?? Well I go through and weed out the ones I don’t think work at all. After that which are the strongest in composition? Exposure and focus. It all boils down to which you like the most. But I like them all!! Of course we love all of our pictures but not all images are created equal. Be picky.


Ohh the Great Smoky Mountains. Can you imagine how many pictures come out of Cades Cove each year? Just the fall alone probably produces in the quadrillions. How many of those images do we see? probably none because we aren’t friends with those people or they never do anything with the three memory cards they filled up. So my next point would be making your images stand out, no I’m not saying Photoshop the stuffing out of your image. Let’s say, be on location at the right time to catch amazing light or even put together some powerful compositions. The normal snap shot out of the window isn’t going to be any different than the last person that visited the location.


Alright so enough preaching, I didn’t get off track to bad in this post. Be selective, be creative and focus. Ed Heaton will always tell you “the best way to improve is to slow down.” I honestly think this was a major help for me. Slowing down is a great way to focus on what you’re doing. No need to rush through what you’re doing..You love doing it right, so whats the hurry?


Zach Heaton




Full Time Anything.

“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.”
Don McCullin

Something I stumbled across this morning while browsing the inter-web and I decided to do a post on something I love, Photography. If you can’t be inspired by what you’re doing than how do you expect others to? I started out just like everyone else. I got a camera and started taking pictures. I had no clue what I was doing, what any of my settings were supposed to be or even what composition meant. What the heck is a photographic triangle? is that like Bermuda?

Bobbi | Mamiya 645 | Really Right Stuff | AristaEDU100 | XTOL

The first book I ever read on photography was given to me by Ed Heaton. The book was by Bryan Peterson on “understanding exposure”.  What a major help. I went from no clue to having a clue and then some. That was such a great push in the right direction for me and I couldn’t stop. I knew where I wanted photography to take me and I knew I was going to get there one way or another. I started watching a lot of Youtube videos on different techniques and ways to improve. I studied with Ed Heaton as much as possible. He always told me if you want to learn from someone you have to stick right by the teachers side. So that’s what I did. Before I had even thought about teaching workshops, I attended all of his classes. I watched, listened and learned everything he had to offer. If you have a readily available resource, take advantage of it.

Mark | Mamiya 645 | Really Right Stuff | AristaEDU100 | XTOL

I caught a lot of crap from other photographers saying I wouldn’t be where I am without my Father…Probably true. I had a resource and I utilized it. I’ve also pushed myself beyond digital photography. I pride myself on being self taught in film photography. I learned all of the chemicals and processing by myself. This took time and a lot of dedication. Every day and every night I was reading different blogs and websites so I knew exactly what I was doing. If I would run into a problem I would take a moment, step back from what it was and figure it out. If you can’t solve your own problems than something needs to be adjusted.

Osmyn | Mamiya 645 | Really Right Stuff | AristaEDU100 | XTOL

I‘m also a fortunate chemical photographer. I’ve had a darkroom since I started shooting film. I had the space and time to build one, so I built it. This is also something I do full time and I think most people don’t realize that. If shooting film is a hobby or something you do here and there for money you probably don’t need a darkroom. If you only shoot film..You probably need a darkroom. I develop film every other day. That means I spend a lot of time in the dark. When I first started I would spend hours in my darkroom and not even think twice about it. That’s just how it was, I couldn’t get enough.

Tucquan Glen |  Mamiya 645 | Really Right Stuff | AristaEDU100 | XTOL

Continuing my education is key. I see a lot of people right now jumping into this art like its only here for you to profit from. I disagree with everything you are doing. Don’t get into something because you think you can make money from it, get into it because you love it. You would like to learn all it has to offer. Than you can start to think about making some cash with it. Don’t rush the process.  You’re giving serious professionals a bad rap. Yeah it happens every day and sadly its overlooked. This isn’t why I wrote this blog. I wanted to inspire, Create and achieve things that I had been doing in the past but I have turned away from. I’ve decided to start my blog back up in full swing and see where it takes me.

tucquan glen | Mamiya 645 | Really Right Stuff | AristaEDU100 | XTOL

I can’t guarantee I will have fresh ideas or something amazing to talk about each time I post but it may be entertaining. So I will go out and spend film on something that excites me and hopefully it will excite you too! See already I’ve veered way off track and started rambling. This is going to be fun. Anyways all of the images are from the same roll of Arista EDU100. It’s a very cheap film that I slowly fell in love with. Everything about it screams amazing. Give it a shot. So I guess I will end here and see what else I can come up with the rest of the week. I know I have plenty of images to edit after spending all day developing.

Lancaster City | Mamiya 645 | Really Right Stuff | AristaEDU100 | XTOL

So until next time, keep your head up. Check your settings and focus. Life is here and its slowly passing by. Why not capture it. Thanks for stopping by.




Over Thirty.

   I recently developed a roll of Kodak Gold 200 that I randomly pulled out of my film fridge. What I found was pretty awesome. I never really write on my rolls, so when it came time to develop I honestly had no clue what was on it. That’s one of the amazing things to me about shooting film. When I’m shooting a lot, the rolls seem to lapse and everything all starts to run together. Meaning I forget what I was shooting before the current roll in my camera. Anyways I was getting off track, these few images are my favorite moments from the roll. Over Thirty is me, I’m now 31 years of age and it feels weird. I just feel like a big kid. I guess it’s normal for my generation or any generation for that matter. This was my party.  Do you care if I ramble a little?


Enjoy every moment of your life, wether it be large or small. The most important details in your life are right in front of you. You don’t have to travel half way around the world or buy the most expensive things to find happiness. My moments are all here, frozen in time waiting for me to re visit them. These memories can never be erased or taken from me. I can’t lose them or forget where I put them. Well maybe I can forget where I put them but thats besides the point.  Do you enjoy your life?


I enjoy life. I enjoy who I am. I don’t have to put effort into who I am. It just kind of happens, but I think thats how life should be. Yeah we all get down in the dumps here and there. That should never out weigh the happy in your life. Stop trying so hard to be something that doesn’t make you happy. Accept you and be happy with it. I’m so happy my family supported me as I grew. They never pushed me to be something I’m not.


So here I am. A Thirty-one year old man embarking on a journey through life not having a clue where I’m going or even how I will get to where I’m supposed to go. I found a love in photography and even took that a step further and discovered that film excited me that much more. Oh the little things in life. Shooting a single roll of 35mm film sparks memories from months ago. Something that seems so distant when in fact it was only months ago. Why do we rush life?


When you look past the main event and realize you’re right where you need to be. Focus on the future. Because the past is always going to be here for you when you want to look back on it but no one really knows what the future holds. No one.



We all grow up, it’s just part of life. I’m just happy I found a way to hold on to my memories. I know the pictures will always make me smile, even when the days are long and rainy I will always have something to hold on to.


Thanks for following along. I always appreciate all of the love and support from friends and family I receive. Even when I ramble, It’s nice to know I’m not rambling to myself. The one piece of advice I can give that has always got me far in life. “You never have to be better than anyone else, just be better than who you were yesterday.” Oh yeah and never lose your imagination. 😉



I haven’t did a blog post in a really long time. I feel like life kind of caught up to me all at once and I went into hiding. Well I honestly didn’t go into hiding, I’ve just been working silently behind the scenes trying to catch up on all of the rolls of film I have in the fridge. Feels like I’m slowly catching up but I still have so much to do.  That’s OK, I thoroughly enjoy working in the dark because a lot of my inspiration comes from there.


2017FilmNEG277-1Since the last time I talked, I took on a new project shooting only film for a year. Well at the time when I had the idea I thought, hmm this will be fun and exciting. When in fact its kind of tough. That’s what I was looking for though, a challenge. Something to push me a little bit further in this art. I wanted to see what it was like to not have any digital. You know go back in time to when there was no digital at all and this is how photographers did everything. I feel like I could have survived but it is a lot of work. I guess if you aren’t developing your own film and sending it to the lab it may knock some of the load of your shoulders. Then you are just paying way to much to have all of your rolls developed. I know, I am very fortunate in having space for a darkroom. There are a lot of chemical photographers in the world who work in small cramped spaces and some who have no space to even have a room. Last night Ole said something I firmly believe. That taking a picture (physically tripping the shutter) is not creating it. There’s an entire process behind creating a single image and bringing it to life. capturing it is not the end, it’s the beginning. Every part of the process is a key ingredient that is involved in breathing life into my photography.

2017FilmNeg626-1 I’ve been out shooting a lot here lately and have not seen any of my images. It’s weird. Before I moved as soon as I shot or finished a roll I would be in the dark developing that roll so I could see how I did. That’s not the case so much anymore. Oh well. Patience is a virtue.


I want to be more involved. After going to see Ole speak last night on Tin type photography, he inspired me to get out and do more. Now I am looking to get more film shooters together in the area. His presentation was very informational and gave me a boost on what I do. I know the hobby is on its way back in or its already here but I think it would be fun to get a bunch of us together to hang out. Maybe even start a group. This is me rambling. Let me know if you would be interested. This would include veterans of the art and those of us who just picked up a camera this weekend at an antique store. Just a fun hangout to learn, teach and be inspired.


Anyways back to it. Tomorrow morning I am leading a Ed Heaton Photography workshop at Appleseed Hollow and I’m hoping the rain holds off. I’m very excited to get into the field tomorrow morning at about 5:30. That’s the life. up early and out late. After that I’m leaving the area and heading down to Harper’s Ferry, WV for a little R&R. Obviously the cameras go everywhere but I’m going to focus on ideas rather than my art.


Thank you for tuning in and reading my ramblings. I know I get off topic and sometimes I speak my opinion. Sometimes I get lucky and get stuff right. I need to go mix C-41 chemicals and I know you don’t want to hang out here all day so I will sign off with “keep shooting the way you do. Anyone can copy a style but not many can create their own. It’s what sets YOU apart from the crowd. Don’t blend in.”

A Year on Film.

Alright I wanted to make a post on how I’m feeling about this project I’m taking on and a little bit about what I’ve been working on. A Year on Film at first seemed extremely overwhelming and I had no idea how I was going to complete it but the more I step back and think about it the more I realize that this isn’t the monster I’m making it out to be. So far I feel like I’ve grown a great deal since I started this. New projects have came about and new ideas are constantly forming. If Kodak and ISTILLSHOOTFILM have noticed than I must be doing something right. Right?

Above it all | Acros100 |XTOL| Mamiya 645 1000s

Kicking off the year correctly, I was invited to go fly on a hot air balloon with Visit Lancaster Pa. Obviously you don’t turn down this experience. I was up at 4:30am to call in and make sure the flight was still taking place and of course it was. I spent two rolls of film on the flight. This image is from the roll of Acros100. I also shot a roll of ektar100. I found it challenging to shoot with a fully manual camera that has no light meter. Action shots and a hand held light meter is tough to juggle in the air. Changing rolls on top of that was nothing short of awesome. I am by no means complaining because I love what I do.

Lomography100 | 11 Seconds | Mamiya 645 1000s

Next up on the list was our Charleston, SC workshop. This trip I wanted to change up the way I think about shooting and push new experiments. Nothing new to the world obviously but new to me. Using a Tiffen Variable ND filter I shot this image at 11 seconds. The filter was just about 4 stops of light away from what my meter was telling me. Yes my meter talks to me. Helping to smooth out the water by extending the exposure was my goal. I think the entire magic behind film is the mysteriousness of not knowing whether you achieved the image or not. I only took one picture of this and decided that was enough. I wrote down my settings and called it a day. When I pulled this roll from the tank and saw the picture right where I had left it, A pure feeling of excitement ran through me. I’m sure if the image was way under exposed or even over exposed I would of been just a tad bit bummed out that I didn’t capture it. That’s what we call trial and error. I would say the best advice I can give as a analog film photographer is TRUST YOUR LIGHT METER. Yes it’s OK to take control and adjust your settings accordingly if you think it needs adjusted. All I’m saying is put some trust in your equipment. Mine has yet to fail me.

Lomography100 | Mamiya 645 1000s

I wasn’t looking to ramble to much, just wanted to say hi and keep everyone including myself up to date on where I’m at with this journey. Next spot is the Great Smoky Mountains. I’m just a little excited about it. The Smokies have always been a spot for us to reboot and get back to the basics. A place to reset our minds and jump start the creativity. Until that time I will be spending most of my days hiding in the dark room trying to catch up on last years rolls. Thank you everyone for all the continued support and for following along with my shenanigans.

Lomography100 | Mamiya 645 1000s

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