Saturday, June 14


Don't hold
His look.

We were both walking in Musser Park this morning at half past nine. My Lancaster city home's just off of the park. He was about 7m (22') away on this VERY bright morning. Which brings me to a thought. Unless we get up near dawn, or wait until just before sunset contrast is not our friend. Oh sure, we can wait for clouds or hope for overcast… But most of the time, particularly when traveling, we've got to take the light we get.

Before digital, I'd coped for decades with narrow range film which meant exposing for highlights or shadows knowing that one or the other would be detail-empty. Oh sure there were lots of soft films, and I found myself developing them for even more contrast. Add in polycontrast papers… which were a big compromise with respect to quality, and then lots of burning and dodging and.. well… I still lived with compromise. Maybe that's a metaphor for life?

But look at this image. I was able to build it from a wide-range raw capture that gave me almost two stops of latitude on either side… Or five stops of detail to dig into. The blown highlights and dark shadows were my choice, not the film's.

Last evening I visited our camera shop, Coe Camera, here in the city. They've got a great used equipment department with cabinets filled with classic 35s like  Nikons, Leicas, and Canons. I hefted a terrific 4X5 Linhoff in a carry carry-all filled with a ton of stuff. Everything they take in looks as new and shiny as I remember it wooing me in the shops I used to visit to dream.

 Funny, I fondled a bunch of the things, hefted the (non-auto focusing) lenses and felt not a drop of nostalgic pang. I can remember lugging a Speed Graphic with its film packs and flash to cover sports and even now, the memories aren't good. 400 ASA Tri-X, even pushed to 1,200 still demanded a big flash gun for basketball and night football and hockey and accident coverage and.. and…

My shoulders hurt just thinking about it. And all of the hours that followed in the wet darkroom. Still, the Coe folks say there's a good market for the old cameras among kids who are nostalgic for film. It's easy to be nostalgic for something you've never experienced I imagine.

Out in front of the steps leading into our historic home there's a boot scraper. You know why that was built right into our brick sidewalk maybe a hundred and fifty years back? I'm not nostalgic for the hot summer days when on returning home… you needed that thing.

Nope, not nostalgic for film and its cameras and I'm totally happy about how we can crack into what a searing sun will do to contrast today. Hmmmm…. wonder where this is all going, eh?

Lancaster, PA… USA

Here's The Geek Stuff: Canon 7D w/Canon EF70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM, 1/1000-f/11, Bokeh as captured through my lens cranked out to 300mm.  ISO800: Square cropped & processed in PS4 where I reset the dynamic range of a 9:30 AM capture under direct spring sun.

Converted color palette and grain structure with *Alien Skin Exposure 6* to Polaroid Time-Zero Film for its edgy hard contrast punch - inserted Holga light leak to "explain" main light.


oneowner said...

I'm not nostalgic either but some days I get out my ole film cameras and think I'll use them again someday. I used to lug around a Speed Graphic with flash and heavy battery years ago, too, but I don't miss that at all!

Ted said...

Uh-huh, it was wrenching to sell all of my film stuff. But… but… I did it in time to get a healthy buck for the truckload of cameras, lenses, equipment, darkroom stuff (including TWO enlargers and assorted lenses), Etc. But I've not looked back once on that process even if it's cozy to heft an old Nikon or Hassellblad.

Fact is, I NEVER want to go down into a wet darkroom again, and there was no way I'd ever let anyone else process my film or prints… So….. The page has turned. Kodak is a term for an ancient age… Like The Jazz Age, or the Gay Nineties, or The Hippie Years… The Kodak Era's DEADER N' DISCO!!! Heh heh …

Cedric Canard said...

I'm more than happy with digital but I still find myself shooting a roll of film whenever I get my hands on a friends film camera. It has no battery, no meter and it's fairly heavy but for some reason I still find it fun. When I've shot the roll I usually just get a contact sheet printed, look over the pictures and that's that. But if I was never to shoot film again, I wouldn't be upset. As for being completely dead, I don't know. There's still a healthy community of film shooters over here.