I don't shoot much color film these days, in fact, never really have done much with color. It's mostly because I love B&W, but also has something to do with the fact that I've never been very good with color film. Despite that, I put some color into one of the Leica's recently and found that the color images worked much better for what I was doing that particular day.
This is one of the images. Shot on Kodak Portra 400 (the new stuff), it's gotten me thinking about what I'm going to do for Uruguay next year. Actually, a lot of the shooting I'm doing now is to tweak my process to make sure I've got all the technical stuff covered for the trip. So I'm experimenting a lot right now with different cameras, lenses, film and process. It's been quite fun for me to get out with nothing in my head and just shoot. Keepers are far fewer but I'm honing my skills sufficiently to make sure there are less mistakes while I'm on an important shooting excursion.
This has been an image a long time in the making. We don't get clouds all that often here in sunny Southern California, at least not as often as I would like. And I need clouds to make this image work.
This is an image of persistence. I've been going back to this site for a number of years and this is the first image I have that has really worked for me. It's taken with a Chamonix 45N-1 and a 110mm lens with FP4+ just in case anyone wants to know. I plan to have this one drum scanned and make a large print. Can't wait.
In April I took 10 days and just photographed whatever came my way. A one camera, two lens set up, let me worry about the images and not about what camera I was going to use. It was a bit liberating actually as I just focused on images.
I came away from that trip with about 60 rolls of 120 film, all of it B&W and all shot on the Mamiya 7. I don't get chances like this very often so I tried to make the best of it while I had the opportunity. It may be another 4 years before I get to do something like this again.
Fort Point, in San Francisco, is a gravitating point for me. I simply love the place and I usually try to make an image or two there while I'm in San Fran. They usually don't turn out this well.
I've wanted to make this image with a LF camera for some time but never had the chance. So I tried it with the Mamiya and the 43mm and I like it a lot. What I had envisioned actually worked for a change. I can't say that for many other images from this trip though. But I'll take this one and be happy.
I spent the Labor Day weekend in Huntington Beach at the Civil War Days. People give up their weekends and spend it in character, at least for the most part, for the weekend in civil war era dress and accessories. There is a chain of command, with a real life Abraham Lincoln and General Grant. I didn't see Robert E. Lee.
This was a dress rehearsal of sorts for me as I prepare for Argentina and Uruguay in early 2012. I was hoping to come away with a cohesive short story of the event. I found out a few things. I need to get in better shape to walk for 8 or 9 hours for multiple days. I need to pare down my equipment despite the desire to take two different systems. And I need to really hone my storytelling skills.
It was a rather enjoyable time for me but I didn't come away with 4 to 7 images that tell the story. I think I got some good portraits and maybe a few good overall images, but I don't have 4-7 cohesive images. I walked aimlessly at times and I had a really difficult time approaching people, although by the end of the day on Saturday, I wasn't so shy.
I'm looking for a few more events this year to immerse myself in prior to the trip. And I still am heading to Arlington West on a regular basis. The next big event there will be Veteran's Day weekend. That's a long term look at the efforts of a lot of people on a weekly basis. But I don't have many photos of people. I really need to rectify that aspect of this story. In November!
I've finally finished developing my 5 months worth of film backlog. I'm still not certain what I've got yet but should know in the next few weeks. It's always a process going through the images and getting over the disappointment of so many images that just didn't work. Eventually I find one that works.
This image is from my sabbatical road trip up the coast. It was made along the 17 mile drive from Monterey down to Carmel. Made with the Mamiya 7, 43mm and Acros 100, I think it might work. Just not sure at the moment.
I toned it a bit to see what it might look like as a platinum print and will have to live with it for awhile before I commit to that process for printing the image. It's an expensive process and I need to make sure it's something I want printed.
I'm going to start selling prints on the site soon. The prints I sell will likely be a one or two image addition printed on watercolor paper in the platinum process. This is a process that was first patented in 1873 by William Willis. The process he perfected is still largely the process used today. It's a permanent and traditional photographic process. Let me know if you are interested in any of the images on this site.
I was asked today why I still use film. It wasn't asked in a condescending manner, but in a way that I felt was genuine and inquiring. So I thought I'd take a moment to explain.
I really use film because I enjoy it. I developed 5 rolls of film tonight, and I as write this post, they hang in the bathroom drying. It's a period of time where all I think about are the images I'm about to see; hoping I don't mess up even after years of developing my own stuff. In short, it's just plain enjoyable.
I spent a very long time acquiring the gear I have. I like it and I don't want to sell any of the stuff. Practically, I would just about have to sell everything I currently own to get the level of quality that I envision. I'm not inclined to do so.
I don't have anything against digital. OK, I do. I absolutely hate HDR as it is practiced today. Please stop! It looks like the equivalent of the 70's black light Elvis posters. It didn't look good then and it doesn't look good today. But I digress.
Digital has unleashed a lot of creativity and that's a wonderful thing. I like that. And in some regards, I like how it's leveled the playing field. I've been on the receiving end of photogs that love to share what they know. And I've been on the opposite end. In my little pea shaped brain I think digital was created because of the latter. For all you photogs out there that don't want to share because you are scared someone will steal your ideas, get real. It's likely you stole someone else's idea and you just don't want anyone to know. Again, I digress.
So back to the original question. I shot film because I enjoy the process. It provides me with what I need and it allows me to escape from the day to day crap I put up with. (Nothing unique here). And I don't want to part with the gear I own today. I really like this stuff and I don't want to give it up for gear that will last a few short years before it needs to be upgraded. This is just one man's opinion. Take it for what it's worth.
This is the second image in the series and was made while on a business trip where I did have my camera. I suppose that is obvious.
It's was made while I was in Seattle about 6 months ago and is a 4 minute exposure on a Mamiya 7 and a 43mm lens. I loved the lines the dock in the foreground made along with the diagonals the docks in the background cast upon the scene.
For me this is an image that I wasn't sure I would get but what I remember that I wanted to portray in the scene. Taken at dusk, it's an image I would have passed up a year ago. Is this taking a chance? I don't know. Still trying to figure it out.