Philadelphia, Pa.

   Raising my light meter just about eye level so I can get a grasp on what my settings will be, my focus shifts past my equipment to examine the scene one last time before I fire the shutter. I’ve been excited about getting into the city to street shoot for a while now and I finally have the opportunity to do it. I take a breath, time slows and I shoot. This will be the beginning of my blog.

Transport | Ektar100 | F2.8 \30

I venture back to my seat and continue listening to the conversations on the left side of me and the new Yo-Yo Ma album on the right. I can barely contain myself for what lies ahead. We pull into the station, walk up the stairs and out onto the street. At that moment, walking out the doors, the city hits you like a sledge hammer. Meeting up with the group, it’s nice to see old friends and make new ones.

Stairwell | 400TX | F1.9 \30

China town was our first destination on the list. I had never been there but I’ve always seen images from that part of the city and have since wanted to roam the streets and see what I could come up with myself. You really never have any clue whats going to happen during a Philly visit but I think that’s what makes the entire experience so great.

Process | Ektar100 | F5.6 \250

First off a bus pulls up and rams a car, which I can only assume was trying to turn in front of the bus. Accidents happen, life goes on. Heading north on 12th we stumbled upon a closed off road that was hosting a sort of market. All types of vendors were set up selling all kinds of treasures. Live music was happening as well that gave the street a nice vibe. Philadelphia is a street shooters heaven. There’s so much diversity and character hidden in the shadows all you have to do is find it.

Street | Ektar100 | F2.8 \30

The group definitely didn’t have any trouble finding it. Everyone hit the ground running capturing moments they saw and not letting anything slip by. At points it was nice to sit back and watch how everyone works. Their technique is an art in itself and amazing to witness first hand.

Septa | 400TX | F1.9 \30

Street shooting is an inspiring event for me and I always come out feeling extremely renewed with a better sense of creativity and passion for photography. It’s an extra boost I enjoy grabbing before workshop season kicks into full swing.

China Town | Ektar100 | F5.6 \250

China town was nothing short of awesome. It is other worldly being just within those few blocks that you almost feel you’ve left Philadelphia. Just a brief visit, we were all starting to need fuel so we did a big loop back to the reading market for some lunch. I of course had a “Franklin Cheese steak” which was a cheese steak…with cream cheese, onions and mushrooms. It was amazing. After lunch was finished up we started down the street to independence hall where we ran into a small wedding and a big protest.

Love | Acros100 | F2.8 \30

I grabbed my wedding shot and ventured into the crowd of protesters to see what fun I could get into. Trying to find the best vantage points for shooting this was a major player in portraying the event properly. Normal photography just wasn’t going to work so I had to step my game up and work fast because these activists where not sitting still. The group eventually formed into a parade and we went marching down the street into the heart of the city. I had to keep reminding myself that I was with a group, if I didn’t the large mass would of pushed me down river and who knows where I would of ended up.

Protest | 400TX | F8 \500

After the excitement died down we did a group shot minus a few who left earlier and then we all went our own ways. 3:30 came fast and it was time to head back to the station to catch the train home. When we did arrive at the septa station an announcement came on saying that all of the trains were late and the displays were all wrong. I took that as go shoot some more.

Going up | 400TX | F1.9 \30

Found a few more gems in the station that I couldn’t just let them slip away. All and all the Philly trip was a blast and I had a lot of fun breaking from the norm and jumping out of the comfort zone to explore the world of street art.

Breakfast | Ektar100 | F1.9 \30

I was pushing myself to learn consistency and to be conservative. I shot a total of 48 images during this trip. Just over 3 rolls of 120 film at 15 images per roll.

Signs | Ektar100 | F5.6 \250

Hopefully you got to come along on our adventure and if you didn’t I hope my post gives you a general idea of what we experienced. Thank you for reading along and I hope you have a wonderful week. To see more of my art please visit Zach Heaton or follow along with my Facebook or instagram.

Kims | 400TX | F1.9 \15

All of my images were taken with a Mamiya 645 1000s using a Sekonic hand held light meter. The settings for each shot are located under the images.

Film: Kodak Ektar100, Fuji Acros100, Kodak 400TX


A well documented life.

As a photographer I’m never without a camera. Which means my life and those around me are highly documented, including my nephews and niece. I wanted to make this post about watching these kids grow up and capturing the moments they will forever have to look back on. I’m not going to talk a lot during this post, it will be more of a gallery.


I started out shooting the two below from the beginning with digital. I wasn’t always around for the beginning of Alex’s life and I kick myself everyday for missing a lot of it. The best moments were the moments we made together, letting our imaginations run wild. Chasing monsters through the jungle, shooting bad guys who were trying to board our spaceship. Apple Jacks ( Alexander Jackson) was my new favorite buddy that I loved spending time with. Watching him grow up was a great thing for me and I will forever treasure those moments we made.


Then along came Mad Max or Tanner Maxwell. Tanner eventually adopted the name Tanner the tornado and I think you understand why. He is the most energetic kid I’ve ever seen in my life. Chasing him around really wears you out, put all three of them together and by the end of the day you’re tired. The three amigos, they always had this thing called the boys club. Well that all changed when little miss Morgan Julia came along.


Miss Morgan stole my heart. She’s the cutest thing ever, and we’ve become friends now. She really loves the Polaroid camera. Whenever I get it out and take a picture she always comes running over to take the picture from me so she can watch it develop. She has become my model and she is always up to pose or give me a smile. When I started shooting film I bought a bunch of Porta160 because I knew I would be shooting the kids a lot.  I am now almost out of the rolls and need to re up my stash because I never want to miss the moments, I always think if I do miss something or I don’t happen to have my camera in hand I wont have that memory to look back on.


Not a moment skipped, every precious memory captured. I’ve had so much fun watching these three grow up and I will continue to enjoy watching them. Remember to not let the precious moments slip by. Pick up a camera and snap away so when you are old and your kids or grand kids are grown you will have something to look back on and embarrass them with 🙂

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Out of the Darkness.

     My name is Zach Heaton and I’m an alcoholic. Hard to believe or saw it coming? I never thought it would take over my life but I let it happen and wasted a major part of my twenties to the sauce. Drinking any chance I got, lost plenty of jobs, friends and vehicles to the disease. I’m writing this to inspire and give strength to those who have had problems in their life and need the extra push to over come that darkness that lurks in all of our lives. I don’t want sympathy or to get bashed on because I’m speaking openly about my life. So don’t judge people before you know what the story behind it all is. I pushed through it and haven’t looked back. I never talk about my alcoholism because I’ve been sober for 3 years. I know three years isn’t that long at all for most but for me its an accomplishment I’m very proud of. I had to change my life dramatically to get away from drinking. Couldn’t do any of the things I did in the past, I changed my friends, my hobbies, the places I visited. Everything reminded me of something I missed.

Nikon F5 | Ektar100 | Really Right Stuff

Something that was toxic to my health and did nothing but harm to me and the people around me. When I said I wasted a good part of my twenties I meant it. From about 19 to to 27 I was drunk about 89% of the time. Day or night it didn’t really matter. I was addicted. Tried stopping several times during the course of my downfall but nothing really seemed to work for me. It just kept getting worse and worse as time passed.

I went through heavy bouts of depression because of it. But that was just the alcohol destroying me from the inside out. I had no creativity, no vision, no plans for the future. I was stuck in the same spot where I started with no light at the end. What was I supposed to do? Give up? Let this thing over power me and win. Take everything from me. On January 10th 2013 something happened that changed my life forever. I thought this would make me change and I would quit drinking but it didn’t, it only made it worse. I went from 89% to about 96%. Everything seemed to be falling apart right in front of me and I couldn’t stop it or even slow it down enough to grab hold of something. Not even a month later I was driving home on my motorcycle when I exceeded the speed limit by just a little, hit a dip in the road and I was thrown over the handle bars. Needless to say I did some hardcore break dancing down the road on my head. Luckily I was wearing a DOT approved helmet because without it I’m sure I wouldn’t have even crawled away with my life that night. I collapsed my lung, broke some rips and a few vertebrae. Got some serious road rash and a nice hole in my leg. Sprained both of my ankles and wore the skin off of both my hands from sliding down the road.

Pentax K1000 SE | Kodak Gold


I’m thankful for everyone who supported me through my dark times and always stood by my side ever when I was being a jerk. Without all of the love and support I probably wouldn’t be here today. It takes time to get over addictions, I’m not sure I will ever be completely over any of it but I tell myself everyday, It did nothing but harm to you. It put you down and left you there. Nothing good ever came of it. Why would you go back to something so evil. Never let anything or anyone drag you into something you don’t want to do. Have faith and be stronger than that. Look towards tomorrow and what great things are yet to come. Whats the point of looking back? I get it, without the darkness there can’t be any light. I put myself through it, not by choice but I went through it and survived. Now I understand that saying.

Nikon F5 | Tamron 24-70mm | Ektar100

I found something that replaced it all. Photography opened an entirely new world for me. I started with the Aerial work and it all spawned from there. Jumping right into digital photography and now I’m exploring the analog world. So much knowledge to be gained from so many different sources, I can’t seem to get enough. Exploring different colors or shades of gray there’s so many different opportunities with this medium and so much time to find it. Find you niche, something you love and want to expand with. Something that comes naturally. I’ve always wanted to be a painter…But I can’t paint. Go figure. I tried my best to paint different things hoping I would find one that I’m good at. Never worked out for me so I moved on, giving something else the opportunity to present itself.SelfPortraitUTAH1

Goes to show that anything really can be acomplished if you put you heart and soul into it. Don’t ever doubt yourself and always keep your head up no matter the situation. Life is good. Thank you for stopping by. If you have any questions please feel free to ask. Check out more of my work at Zach Heaton or follow along with my instagram or Facebook

Cinnamon girl.

    This past week I spent with a northern Eskimo girl. I know that’s a Stompin’ Tom song, if you’ve never heard Stompin’ Tom please go to Youtube now and check it out. Ill be here when you get back. We spent the week exploring Amish Country and a few hidden gems that most don’t know exist and sometimes I wish it would stay that way. As we all know that never happens. One of the first locations we visited was a local farm for sunrise. Such a beautiful morning, horses, birds, barns and fog. Couldn’t get much better. I spent the morning shooting B&W. Using my now go to Arista film because of the very nice price, I made quick work of developing the roll when I got back to the house that morning. Very high contrast film and the EDU100 is super smooth stuff, I would almost compare it to my favorite B&W Acros100 by Fuji. Both very nice fine grain films and easy to push.

Mamiya 645 1000s | Arista EDU200 | XTOL | 6 MIN DEV @ 80 DEGREES.

Next on the list we went for a nice walk around town. This image actually made me want to write about the week in the first place. We came across this window because we decided to walk the allies. If you know me when I’m shooting medium format I take my time and really focus on what I’m doing. You hear it all the time, SLOW DOWN. I will normally only spend one shot on a certain subject. I shot this window, Shot a picture of Bobbi and I standing against a barn and found some very cool machinery that I also took an image from. Three different images from one location is a pretty decent find.


After spending the rest of the morning exploring good old Atglen we decided to take a break and go back out again the next morning. 5:30am it was time to hit the road and see what else we could find. Strasburg was the first place we visited that morning. 2016FilmNEG866-1

Sitting there waiting for the sun to come up and light paint this barn, A hot air balloon popped up and of course I’m going to photograph it. Every location we visited it seemed like something happened or we saw some spectacular event. Leaving Strasburg we decided to go see what kind of craziness was happening in the woods of Jim Landis. The 5th annual fiddlers picnic is what we stumbled upon and I believe we were a little late but better late than never. Took a few pictures at the event but my main focus was the instruments laying around. 2016FilmNEG948-1.jpg

The next two days were spent chasing the niece and nephews around like wild people trying to keep up with their youth. We had a camp out, went swimming, made gigantic bubbles, treasure hunt, playground, nerf gun wars, s’mores, you name it, we did it.

Pentax K1000 | Porta160 | UNICOLOR | Chaos

After those few days I was a little worn out and didn’t feel like doing much but relaxing. So that’s what we did. I relaxed while photographing a big heard of cows. 2016FilmNEG876-1

I took a nice long break sitting beside the field while Bobbi chased the chickens around with a twin lens reflex trying to capture one crossing the road..get it? I had a lot of fun watching the entire event unfold. I still have no idea if she got one or not. But I captured a few images of her.


Did I mention that I’m back on a B&W kick? I’ve been really enjoying the old look to my images. Almost a jump through time if the DSLR wasn’t on that fancy tripod. I know I was born in the wrong century but what can a fella do.

Mamiya 645 1000s | Kodak Ektar100 | UNICOLOR C-41

Our last location was paddling on the Susquehanna river. A spot that I’ve spent a lot of time at through out the years. I wanted to let Bobbi feel the connection that can be there when there aren’t a couple hundred HB’s throwing beer cans into the river. Still if you visit in the very early hours before the sun comes up you will have a very pleasant experience. The moss on the one island is always this brilliant green and amazing to walk on barefoot. We decided to lay down, take a break and listen to the Bald Eagles screech for a little.   2016FilmNEG889-1

Not a bad way to end a trip. Enjoying the lovely sunrise with the most beautiful woman ever. We had a lot of fun and I can’t wait for Bobbi to be a permanent fixture in Pennsylvania. When she leaves I feel I’m losing part of my life. Longing for her return. It’s been one year since we started our life together. I wanted to make the main focus of this post about her adventures here with the Heaton gang. I always seem to drift off topic. 2016FilmNEG865-1

Thank you for stopping by to check out my rambles. If you ever have any questions about my film work please don’t hesitate. I love talking about analog photography. If you’d like to see Bobbi’s images from the week feel free to stop by her website Bobbi Petherick or check out or Facebook or Instagram.

Bobbi’s Instagram

Bobbi’s Facebook

Zach Heaton


Exploring the Whites.

     Standing there in the 60 MPH winds on top of the observation tower trying my best to imagine what it would be like standing in this exact spot in January. I’m going to assume it would be pretty wild. Starting to fade back to reality I hear our guide telling us that since we are members we can volunteer and come up to stay for 8 days at a time. Intriguing. All I have to do is complete 8 days in the summer to make sure I can handle living in the small space they all call home. I’m pretty sure I could handle it as long as my camera gets to live there as well and I can have a small fridge space. 2016FilmNEG848-1


The adventure started at 2:00 pm on August 11th, we were all packed and heading up to the White Mountains National Forest for an 8 day scouting trip. Google images told me that this place is going to be stellar and google never tells lies. Took us just around 8 hours to make it up the coast and in to New England where they serve lobster at McDonald’s…No I didn’t try it. Tempting. We pulled into the White Birches camp ground, a place we would call home for the next week along with all of the through hikers from the Appalachian trail. Very interesting characters. Once we set up camp we hit the ground running. Grabbed the gear and went looking for our next subject. The entire area was engulfed with this incredible storm light, illuminating parts of the mountains and leaving the rest in shadows. 



The first two days it was rainy weather and fog had taken over the tops of the peaks. Not much you can do except make the best of it. I found some very long and straight roads that looked the part to fit my mood. Everything had the gloomy feel and it was beginning to weigh on my soul. I needed some sunshine. Sunday afternoon the weather started to break and it seemed the fog was rolling out. We decided to give Mount Washington an attempt. Arrived at the gate and the sign said 70MPH winds a high of 35 degrees and 50 feet visibility. The gentlemen standing there said make sure you hold on to your doors or the will break off when you open them. Ok so we did not go up Sunday. Figured the weather looks much better Monday and hopefully visibility will be better. 45 degrees, 65 MPH winds and 100 feet visibility. Oh yeah were going, that’s like summer on top of the mountain. Got the gear together and off we went. Made it to about 4 miles up and the cars temperature gauge started to slowly rise and a weird burning smell came from the front of the car. Time to pull over and take a break. 


At some point you go from being able to see everything in the entire valley to all of a sudden you drive right into a wall of clouds. They weren’t kidding about the 100 feet visibility. Once in the clouds its tough to see anything, the temperature drops dramatically and everything seems to be wet. Making it to the top was some what of an accomplishment. Did the touristy thing and took a bunch of pictures, viewed the gift shop and went into the museum. The private tour of the observatory was pretty cool. Getting to see how the worlds most extreme weather is recorded and how the people who record it get to live among the clouds for 365 days. Must be an incredible feeling to watch the sunrise and sunset every day that’s it’s visible. During the tour we were the tallest people in the north eastern United States.



The rest of the trip seemed to be a blur and everything faded away. We visited some awesome water falls and a few really good over looks. Stumbled upon a few ponds and a very nice ground hive of yellow jackets that Ed caught the blunt end of because I out ran him. Pays to be quick on your feet. I ran up the hill and Ed ran down, guess the bees decided down was a lot easier to pursue than up. Lucky me. We spent a few afternoons relaxing by the streams and a few evenings relaxing by the fire. Camping is a whole other experience next to hotels. Sometimes you win with your neighbors and sometimes you don’t even come close to winning and the dogs bark all day and the kids ride bikes right next to your spot screaming their heads off. Oh well life is after all about the adventure not the destination. We didn’t open a lot of time in camp so it really wasn’t that awful. I saw a few things along the ride I hope to never see again but that’s part of life. If you do something for long enough you’re bound to see some things you don’t like. Suck it up and move on is the only advise I can give. For once I’m ready to begin the journey home because when I get home I’m going to pick up someone very special to me and I cant wait to see her. 



Thanks for reading my rambling again, The White Mountains was a different experience for me and I hope you someday get to experience them as well. For more images please check out my Instagram. 



Flowers and expired Velvia100.

   Using the Nikon F5, Tamron 90mm and Velvia 100 expired in 2005 I set out to shoot some detailed images of fading flowers. I chose a day that had little to no wind so that I wouldn’t have any movement in my images. Grabbed my trusty tripod and started looking for my first shot. I wanted to be very selective about what I was shooting. I didn’t want to capture just any old flower I wanted it to speak to me, give me a connection to my subject. Without the connection my images would be a dull 2d snapshot. what fun is that? Coming from a Nikon D800 into the film world was a bit of a shift but I picked it up quickly. No more SD cards to delete my mistakes or the presence of live view for my extreme focusing.


Everything is based on how well you can see and trusting yourself to make the right adjustments to get the perfect exposure. Finding my first subject to shoot didn’t take long, I just had to browse. Set up composition by following the basic “Rule of thirds” and Setting the F5 on CL so it doesn’t blast off and take a few pictures at once, I was ready to roll. Changed my aperture to F8 and fired off a shot at 1/125 of a second. This is where the mystery and magic come into play with analog photography. Sitting there in the garden, smells of early morning dew evaporating off of the flowers from the sun peaking through the trees and the birds singing away getting ready for the day to happen in full swing. I have no idea how my image is going to come out. Thats what makes this so great. I have to be confident that the image I just took is going to be awesome. I set everything up correctly made sure my aperture was what I wanted. Not to soft not to sharp that everything in the background was also in focus and I checked my meter and know that it isn’t going to be over or under exposed.  Am I satisfied with my composition? If so and Im positive I got the shot I want, than its time to find the next flower.


With this series I didn’t want to find the prettiest flowers in the garden I wanted the ones with amazing characteristics that told me a story when I looked at them. There’s emotion in everything you just have to find it and you cant be afraid to look. I like to think I’m exploring something completely new when I shoot with my analog cameras but I know everything i’m doing has been done long before I was even a part of this world. But I can still imagine because everything I’m shooting is new to me and I’ve never done it with film before. Going into a situation thats new to me I know I have to double check my meter a few times just to make sure nothing has changed before I push the shutter. It is also burning a memory so that if I ever do encounter a situation that is similar to the one I’m about to shoot, I can normally judge the light and what my settings need to be. It’s the perfect tool for shooting a camera that has no light meter.


Most of my photography is very “by the book” because thats how I learned. All the time you hear “Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.” Nothing could be more correct. I learned the rules so I could experiment like an artist. I don’t necessarily break the rules. I Believe they are here for a reason and they give amazing structure to my art.  I’m by no means telling you how to create your images just explaining my situation. Thats my disclaimer. I love shooting macro photography because it allows me to get up close and personal with my subject. I can shoot my entire subject or I can pick just one part of the flower. Creative composition is what makes your image stand apart from everyone else’s. That and your amazing subject. All of these images were shot in early morning light so everything was pretty even. Not to many shadows and no hot spots. Shooting in harder light you will get a lot of darks and more brights than you want. Choose a nice overcast day and your images will be even and the colors will be deep.


Velvia100 has become my go to film now since I started shooting it. The positive film is great to see when it comes out of the tank. Something about seeing the images already there. The colors of velvia are extremely vibrant and shooting slide film is what you’re looking at is what you’re going to get. Not a lot of clean up after is a nice touch as well. I spend most of my time spotting B&W or color negative film which is fine I don’t mind doing it, just nice not having so much of it. Now expired velvia is pretty awesome stuff. Since this roll expired in 2005 I was a bit nervous of how my results would come out. Well I’m more than impressed. Detail is spot on and the colors are perfect. Well done Fuji. Hopefully I’ve inspired you to look for beauty in the small things and don’t always stray away from the dying flowers. There’s still plenty of life in them.


Thank you for reading along with my film adventures, I won’t keep rambling on 🙂 Just wanted to write about Velvia100 and the results I produced. If you ever have any questions please feel free to ask away.

B&W in a 645

I recently received a 1973 Mamiya 645 1000s and wanted to put it to the test. I went out around Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and spent a roll of KodakTMY 400 speed Black and White Film. Going out with the intent of spending the entire roll in a few hours is a lot tougher than I thought it would be. Well spending the roll on solid images with no double takes, it certainly proved to be a challenge.


I jumped on the bike and took off down the road looking for some Amish farm scenes. This was the first location I stopped at. I got so excited that when I pulled over to park I wrecked into the cornfield. Anyways I parked. Set up in the middle of the road and waited for an hour hoping a buggy would come riding into my scene. A buggy never came along and I had 14 more images I wanted to get before the sun went down so off I went.


Driving through Amish county is honestly like going back in time. Passing farmers mowing and a few Amish kids walking the road looking at me like some kind of super hero flying around on a motor bike with a weird helmet. The second location a spotted was a bunch of cows hanging out keeping cool in the creek. Couldn’t pass this one up. Hopped the electric fence and took a walk down to say hello. The one cow didn’t want its picture taken so it turned around and continuously whipped the other with its wet tail. Works for me.


While enjoying the stillness a train whistle broke the silence and I knew exactly where the next location was. Strasburg Railroad. Off I went hoping to catch the train before it got back to the station. Peaking the hill I could see the black smoke in the distance and I knew it was heading out and would be returning so. Had to pick up the pace so I could get in my spot to capture the train coming back.


After leaving Strasburg and heading back towards my area I wasn’t about to pass up this road taking me home. Living in the area all my life has its benefits. We drove these roads all the time so I normally know where I need to go to get what I’m looking for. I’ve honestly never photographed from this location. It’s nice rediscovering the area all over again.


The last image I took Before arriving home was this old house that I grew up next to. My grandparents have lived across the street from this house from the time I was born till now. I’ve taken pictures of it in all different types of light but never had I seen it like that day. There was an extreme emotion pulling me to shoot it. The black and white gave the image that much more.

Hope you enjoyed this post about my adventures in film. Visit or follow along on my social media accounts to see more. Godspeed.