Joe and Mary Ann McDonald's

Wildlife Photography

February 2004

Question of the Month


What Film Lab do we use, and why?

Over the years we've used many photo labs, including Kodak and Fuji and some pro labs that we had varying degrees of success with. Prices varied, but quality varied even more. In looking for a lab we considered several criteria -- turn-around time, quality of processing, and service. We now use AGX film processing, owned and operated by Michael Lussier, for all our film processing needs. Why?

Let's talk about service first, by illustrating with two examples. Recently I was contacted by a major manufacturer to do an advertisement that could have been quite lucrative. They needed the images immediately, and as luck would have it I had just sent a batch of film to AGX that had the types of subjects the firm was looking for. I called Michael, as did the manufacturer, and we explained the dilemna. When the film was processed, Michael personally went through the film and picked a selection of images he felt would work based upon our descriptions and sent them to the client! Imagine your lab doing that?

Last fall, one of our participants on a Triple D wildlife model shoot used a new camera (he had switched from Nikon to Canon) which he was still unfamiliar with. The photographer normally shoots on an automatic mode with evaluative metering (NOTE: We advocate, and teach at our CNPC workshop) and, because he was using a new camera, he failed to see that his EV dial was cranked down to a +3 position as we shot the last subject of a five-day shoot. Now the question was, when did the dial get set to +3? Did it just happen, or had it been on +3 for the entire shoot? The photographer was in despair, as he assumed that everything he shot would now be wrong, and he'd be wasting the money for travel, lodging, the shoot fee, and the film -- a huge financial loss.

We suggested he send his film to AGX and have a strip test done on the film. Michael did this with some random rolls, made the corrections necessary in developing for any 'off' rolls, and corrected the photographer's problem. The result -- the shooter lost nothing and his film, and his shoot, were saved!

Michael's processing is clean and fast, with cardboard mounts that feel silky smooth and polished. Slides are returned clean, and are returned fast. Typically, if I Fed-Ex film to AGX on Monday I'll have the film back in-hand by Friday, a pretty important turn-around for us considering our travel schedule.

The above isn't an ad, but at the most recent NANPA conference several people asked me who does my film processing (after asking me if I've switched completely over to digital yet!), and everyone I spoke with was impressed by the service anecdote I just mentioned. I felt more should know of this as well.

You can contact AGX at:

228 W. 14th Ave.
Saute Ste. Marie, MI 49783

Phone: 906 632-1850
email address:
Owner/Operator: Mike Lussier


Previous Questions of the Month




 Camera Techniques

 In the Field

How would you meter these images?

Why should you know Manual Mode? 

 The Sunny 16 rule -- is it worth knowing today?

  How do you shoot silhouettes?

 How would you meter these challenging images?

 Who should go Digital,
and when?

 What do we really think about digital photography?

 What do we think of the Canon D30 digital camera?

 How long will film be around?

 What is our initial Digital Workflow?

 Is an L-Shaped Camera Bracket worth the Money?
You bet it is!

 Using Zoom lenses with tele-converters and extension tubes -- can you use both together?

 What the heck is the Scheimpflug Law?

  Reciprocity Failure

 What is the Best Composition?

 Are Image Stabilization Lenses Worth the Money?

 Hyperfocal Distance

  How do you determine distances?

 Should you have a depth of field Preview button on your camera?

 Flash and Tele-flash Techniques

 What is the most versatile remote release camera firing system?

 What the heck is a Plamp?

 What is the best flash for closeup and
macro photography?

 How do you shoot high-speed action images?
 How did I photograph that flying wasp?

 What is the Fotronix's
Flash System?


What is the Big Lie?
Tfhe truth about Kenya's Tourism--it is SAFE!

 How can you attract insectivorous birds to your feeding stations and bait sites?

 How do you make things happen in wildlife photography?
 What is our Favorite bird-shooting location?  What are our Five Favorite Shooting Locales?  Which binoculars do we just love to use?

How Easy is Whale Photography?

 What is the best
Game Caller?

  How do we carry our film when traveling?
 Is NANPA for you?  What is NANPA and how will it benefit me?

 Is it time for a summer NANPA Summit?

Contact us by e-mail:

Or FAX us at: (717) 543-6423.

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