June 17, 2013
Gooseberry Falls on Flickr.Crown Graphic | 135mm Optar | f/16 | Arista Ultra 100 | 8 min. | 10-stop ND | red filter
I took a trip up to the North Shore of Minnesota this past weekend and stopped off at many of the tourist destinations. One of the most iconic natural destinations in the state is Gooseberry Falls. The parking lot was teeming with RVs and other vehicles when we got there on Sunday. Gulp. I don’t like crowds and I especially don’t like my images littered with my fellow tourists. Luckily the ace up my sleeve, as it usually is, was my 10-stop neutral density filter and my use of slow film with really bad reciprocity characteristics. Using this combination, I was able to take an 8 minute exposure that effectively removed 99% of the tourists milling about (and on) the falls. If you look really closely, you can see a few ghostly images at the top of the falls. I decided to leave them in as a sort of Easter Egg for people who look really closely at my images. So, basically, most people will not see anything ;o)
I try to push my photography ability by finding angles to scenes that aren’t the obvious ones. I suppose a variation on this is to photograph well-photographed things using different techniques. While there are certainly many photographers who do long exposures of nature, and many of those who do it better than me, it is satisfying to try these techniques out on familiar locations and see what happens. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I almost always come away having learned something. In this case, I affirmed that for places teeming with other like-minded tourists, the best solution is to simply erase them from my frame using the result of the combination of film, filters, and time.

Gooseberry Falls on Flickr.

Crown Graphic | 135mm Optar | f/16 | Arista Ultra 100 | 8 min. | 10-stop ND | red filter

I took a trip up to the North Shore of Minnesota this past weekend and stopped off at many of the tourist destinations. One of the most iconic natural destinations in the state is Gooseberry Falls. The parking lot was teeming with RVs and other vehicles when we got there on Sunday. Gulp. I don’t like crowds and I especially don’t like my images littered with my fellow tourists. Luckily the ace up my sleeve, as it usually is, was my 10-stop neutral density filter and my use of slow film with really bad reciprocity characteristics. Using this combination, I was able to take an 8 minute exposure that effectively removed 99% of the tourists milling about (and on) the falls. If you look really closely, you can see a few ghostly images at the top of the falls. I decided to leave them in as a sort of Easter Egg for people who look really closely at my images. So, basically, most people will not see anything ;o)

I try to push my photography ability by finding angles to scenes that aren’t the obvious ones. I suppose a variation on this is to photograph well-photographed things using different techniques. While there are certainly many photographers who do long exposures of nature, and many of those who do it better than me, it is satisfying to try these techniques out on familiar locations and see what happens. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I almost always come away having learned something. In this case, I affirmed that for places teeming with other like-minded tourists, the best solution is to simply erase them from my frame using the result of the combination of film, filters, and time.

December 3, 2012
Foggy Como Lake (#2) on Flickr.

Foggy Como Lake (#2) on Flickr.

November 12, 2012
Park Bench on Flickr.

Park Bench on Flickr.

September 13, 2012
untitled on Flickr.

untitled on Flickr.

August 20, 2012
Storm over Valley II on Flickr.Prints  | tumblr 
Holga 120N | Fuji Acros 100 | Rodinal (1:50) | Post in LR3

Storm over Valley II on Flickr.

Prints | tumblr

Holga 120N | Fuji Acros 100 | Rodinal (1:50) | Post in LR3

August 12, 2012
Dakota Sunflowers on Flickr.Holga 120N | Fuji Acros 100 | Rodinal (1:50) | Post in LR3

Dakota Sunflowers on Flickr.

Holga 120N | Fuji Acros 100 | Rodinal (1:50) | Post in LR3

August 9, 2012
Storm over Valley, Holga on Flickr.This officially kicks off the film photographs I took over the past week in the Black Hills and in the Rockies of Colorado. I’d kill for a nice digital camera (fingers crossed that the Nikon D600 is real and that all D700 owners sell their rigs for cheap to pick up the new toy so I can buy cheap on the flooded used market!), but sometimes film, especially film shot on a plastic lens, gets results that digital could only dream about. I was struck by how many photographers, undoubtedly all amateurs like myself, were out shooting in the mountains. I wonder, if 1,000,000 people take a picture in the same spot, will there be 1,000,000 identical results? Obviously not, but with digital the chances are much higher. The dynamic range of the negative I started with would not be possible on one shot using digital. Even with HDR, the result would somehow look digital, processed. The reason I’m still out shooting with film (and my iPhone) is because it’s not always a different perspective that yields a unique photograph of a popular subject; sometimes it’s the medium. On that day, my medium was of the medium format film, plastic camera variety. Long live the Holga!

Storm over Valley, Holga on Flickr.

This officially kicks off the film photographs I took over the past week in the Black Hills and in the Rockies of Colorado. I’d kill for a nice digital camera (fingers crossed that the Nikon D600 is real and that all D700 owners sell their rigs for cheap to pick up the new toy so I can buy cheap on the flooded used market!), but sometimes film, especially film shot on a plastic lens, gets results that digital could only dream about. I was struck by how many photographers, undoubtedly all amateurs like myself, were out shooting in the mountains. I wonder, if 1,000,000 people take a picture in the same spot, will there be 1,000,000 identical results? Obviously not, but with digital the chances are much higher. The dynamic range of the negative I started with would not be possible on one shot using digital. Even with HDR, the result would somehow look digital, processed. The reason I’m still out shooting with film (and my iPhone) is because it’s not always a different perspective that yields a unique photograph of a popular subject; sometimes it’s the medium. On that day, my medium was of the medium format film, plastic camera variety. Long live the Holga!

May 10, 2012
Alone on Flickr.Canon Canonet QL17 Giii | 40mm f/1.7 (shot at f/2)  Kodak Tri-x 400 (shot at 1600) | Diafine
A few photos back, I talk about the experience of driving home just as the sun set and the fog rolled in and my impromptu adventure in a nearby nature preserve to try to take some photos of it all. It was a really fun, but kind of spooky walk/run through the dark, noisy woods. I half expected a werewolf to jump out at me as I walked along the trail back to my car.
Anyway, now for some technical, uninteresting notes: I developed this film using Diafine, which is a 2-bath compensating developer. Basically, the first solution embeds the developer into the film emulsion, but it doesn’t actually get developed yet. Three minutes later, you dump out Bath A and pour in Bath B, which reacts with the developer in the film to develop it. The magic is that you get a speed increase in most film (Tri-x is the gold standard at 2-stops) without an increase in grain (it’s of a different quality than, say, Rodinal’s grain). But you also get a pretty gray negative (this photo had some work done in post, but that’s the beauty of a rich, gray negative; you get so much flexibility). This is good if you’re scanning and even better if you’re scanning and guessing at exposure, like I was. Say you guess is a bit off and you expose as if the film were at ISO 400. The next frame, you expose as if it were ISO 1600. In most developers, one of the two frames will be over- or under-developed depending on what you’re shooting for. But with Diafine, you get just the right amount of development, regardless (to a degree) of what speed you shot the film at. This is great for shooting on the fly and something that builds in a lot of flexibility with respect to how you meter/if you meter. Now, there will be people out there who say that photography is a precise art form and that doing anything less than Ansel Adam’s zone system for shooting and developing is a travesty. There are also those who will say that you always need a $300 Sekonic light meter in order to properly expose each frame. Phooey on to you, I say.

Alone on Flickr.

Canon Canonet QL17 Giii | 40mm f/1.7 (shot at f/2) Kodak Tri-x 400 (shot at 1600) | Diafine

A few photos back, I talk about the experience of driving home just as the sun set and the fog rolled in and my impromptu adventure in a nearby nature preserve to try to take some photos of it all. It was a really fun, but kind of spooky walk/run through the dark, noisy woods. I half expected a werewolf to jump out at me as I walked along the trail back to my car.

Anyway, now for some technical, uninteresting notes: I developed this film using Diafine, which is a 2-bath compensating developer. Basically, the first solution embeds the developer into the film emulsion, but it doesn’t actually get developed yet. Three minutes later, you dump out Bath A and pour in Bath B, which reacts with the developer in the film to develop it. The magic is that you get a speed increase in most film (Tri-x is the gold standard at 2-stops) without an increase in grain (it’s of a different quality than, say, Rodinal’s grain). But you also get a pretty gray negative (this photo had some work done in post, but that’s the beauty of a rich, gray negative; you get so much flexibility). This is good if you’re scanning and even better if you’re scanning and guessing at exposure, like I was. Say you guess is a bit off and you expose as if the film were at ISO 400. The next frame, you expose as if it were ISO 1600. In most developers, one of the two frames will be over- or under-developed depending on what you’re shooting for. But with Diafine, you get just the right amount of development, regardless (to a degree) of what speed you shot the film at. This is great for shooting on the fly and something that builds in a lot of flexibility with respect to how you meter/if you meter. Now, there will be people out there who say that photography is a precise art form and that doing anything less than Ansel Adam’s zone system for shooting and developing is a travesty. There are also those who will say that you always need a $300 Sekonic light meter in order to properly expose each frame. Phooey on to you, I say.

March 15, 2012
Light and Sand on Flickr.Mamiya 645 1000s | Mamiya Sekor-C 80mm f/1.9 (shot at f/11) | Red filter | Ilford FP4+ | XTOL (1:1)
This is the first shot here from my recent trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado. It was amazing—-I’ve never seen so much sand in my life! Trying to photograph the dunes is an adventure, partly because you’re basically in a sandblaster, and also because conditions change so quickly. I took this shot in the waning afternoon light just after the sun came out from behind the clouds. I had taken a shot about 3 minutes prior which was uninteresting because of the lack of shadow definition. After all, the dunes are just big piles of sand without interesting light and shadows…

Light and Sand on Flickr.

Mamiya 645 1000s | Mamiya Sekor-C 80mm f/1.9 (shot at f/11) | Red filter | Ilford FP4+ | XTOL (1:1)

This is the first shot here from my recent trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado. It was amazing—-I’ve never seen so much sand in my life! Trying to photograph the dunes is an adventure, partly because you’re basically in a sandblaster, and also because conditions change so quickly. I took this shot in the waning afternoon light just after the sun came out from behind the clouds. I had taken a shot about 3 minutes prior which was uninteresting because of the lack of shadow definition. After all, the dunes are just big piles of sand without interesting light and shadows…

January 29, 2012
untitled on Flickr.

untitled on Flickr.