"There is nothing better than the thrill of holding a great negative, wet with fixture, up to the light. And here's the important thing; it doesn't even have to be a great negative. You get the same thrill with any negative; with art, as someone once said, most of what you have to do is show up. The hardest part is setting the camera on the tripod, or making the decision to bring the camera out of the car, or just raising that camera to your face, believing, by those actions, that whatever you find before you, whatever you find there, is going to be good."
Over the last week I've been slowly reading Sally Mann's autobiography "Hold Still." It feels right to savor it, waiting for those moments where I can really immerse myself, rather than rush through. Several quotes and passages about making photographs (particularly the unique experience of shooting large format) have stood out.
"You wait for your eye to to sort of "turn on," for the elements to fall into place and that ineffable rush to occur, a feeling of exultation when you look through that ground glass, counting ever so slowly, clenching teeth and whispering to Jessie holdstillholdstillholdstill and just knowing that it will be good, that it is true."
"Many pictures came to me in that lucky rush of exultation, the ones for which I had time to shoot only one, one sheet of film, those where I sank to my knees after shakily replacing the dark slide, eyes shut tight in thanksgiving and fear, fear that I'd screw it up in the developer, fear that the fraction of a second I saw was not the one on film..."
I'll post a few more quotes as I continue reading.
On our recent trip to Napa, I decided to take the OM-1 and a handful of Kodak color film (a few Portra 160 rolls, an Ektar roll, and a Kodak Gold 400 roll). Scanning 35mm film is not something I typically enjoy, so when I made the decision to shoot 35mm on the trip, I also decided to send my film to Richard Photo Lab for developing AND scanning.
I’ve admired the work of a few friends who use Richard Photo Lab exclusively, but I have always struggled with the idea of sending my film across the country for developing - especially when we have so many great local labs. Pictures from a California trip, however, seemed to be a good match for the airy, muted color aesthetic that Richard delivers. I suspect my usual New York cityscapes wouldn’t be a good fit for the Richard look, but San Francisco and Napa turned out to be perfect.
Kate, Chloe (of course the dog made the trip), and I spent a day and a half in San Francisco before meeting her family at a rental house in St. Helena.
We stayed in the Fillmore District and immediately had to take a walk down to the Embarcadero.
On the second day, we went to the Mission District where I popped into Clarian Alley for some street art. I was just finishing up a roll of Portra, so I was able to switch to Kodak Ektar for these shots. And the folks at Richard Photo certainly delivered good scans of street art.
A note about Richard Photo Lab: their scans are fantastic; they needed absolutely no retouching. Being able to forgo scanning and every bit of tedious touch-up work in Lightroom made the splurge of having my negatives scanned worth it.
St. Michaels, Maryland is easily one of my favorite places. Kate and I are lucky enough to visit her parents there several times a year. We were in St. Michaels for a 48 hour visit this past weekend. On Sunday afternoon, I had a free half hour before lunch so I zipped into town to take some photos.
Always love this little sign. The fall colors behind it make a nice backdrop and this old Minolta lens from the 1960s has good character. Click on the Snuggery photo for a larger version on Flickr.
We FINALLY made it to the Jack Russell Terrier Races at the Inn at Perry Cabin. Every year before this one it seems like we were never in town during this annual event. It was hilarious.
I couldn't resist the Halloween decorations on Talbot Street.
On Saturday we had a perfect day for a boat ride and picnic anchored at Wye Island.
Last week, I spent an hour wandering around Bushwick checking out newish pieces by the Bushwick Collective. The Bushwick Collective is a sanctioned street art collective curated by Joseph Ficalora. Local building owners give their permissions and some of the world's best street artists contribute gorgeous large scale pieces.
Click for a larger version of Dasic Fernandez' 'Hand of Protest' on my Flickr. The colors!
Of course you can find street art all over NYC, but no other place can match the quailty and quantity of art you will find in this tiny area just off of Flushing Ave in Bushwick. If you have a few hours, you can find even more pockets of fantastic street art within easy walking distance.
I'm blown away by the details captured on Phlegm's piece using the Sony a7 and this old 1960s Minolta Rokkor PF 135mm f2.8 manual focus lens. You can see a larger version on Flickr. The Sony makes using old lenses quick and easy. The manual focusing problems you have on a DSLR are solved on the a7 by its excellent focus magnification. You can also use focus peaking, but I find magnification (programmed on the C1 button) more accurate.