Elephanta Island Mooring

January 24, 2020 at 11:43 am
Moored craft off Ele­phan­ta Island. Provia 120 slide film shot with Fuji GA645. May 2019.

TN 134 Railroad Bridge, April 2017

April 21, 2017 at 8:15 pm

Run­ning Water Tres­tle over TN 134 and I‑24.

April 2017, expired 220 roll of FP4+ with Mamiya 645 Pro TL.

Leah, Film. March 2013

April 9, 2013 at 3:26 pm

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Spring, Leah” Ektar 100 and Por­tra 400 Film. Bilt­more Estate

Lauren and Laila, Film

February 13, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Grey day in Feb­ru­ary. Lau­ren, Mod­el and Laila, Pho­tog­ra­ph­er

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Supe­ria X‑Tra 400, Mamiya 645 TL Pro

Wallpaper: Toy Truck in Film

February 3, 2013 at 10:34 am

Did you know that when you are tak­ing a pho­to up close with a c300 (or any oth­er TLR I would imag­ine) you have to cor­rect for par­al­lax? Oh? You did? Well, yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re all so smart. So now I know. But when I shot this roll of film from the oth­er day I did­n’t have this knowl­edge. I thought I was mak­ing the appro­pri­ate com­pen­sa­tions (and I was, only it was just for expo­sure not for fram­ing) — and I shot a few frames with­out correcting.

But some­times that’s OK. And they did­n’t turn out all that bad — just kin­da, I dun­no, sur­re­al? Like dreams that we half remem­ber. Yeah, we’ll go with that. In fact, here is how I will present this pho­to in the future:

“An explo­ration of mem­o­ry, per­tain­ing to an adult’s sub­con­scious ren­der­ings
of the van­tage points inher­ent in the vision of a child”

Truck, Film.

Behold, your week­ly wall­pa­per offer­ing! Click to down­load the set of files.

Photo Exploration: “From Inside” Railcar Photo

November 17, 2012 at 1:27 pm

We all have walked on a rail­road, and any of us who have ever tak­en a pho­to have prob­a­bly pho­tographed along rail­road as well. Seem­ing­ly end­less tracks stretch­ing for­ward and back­wards. Merg­ing and diverg­ing curves and impos­si­bly straight lines cut­ting through and rid­ing along the earth. I’m hard pressed to think of a more acces­si­ble metaphor for human­i­ty’s eter­nal strug­gle to con­trol and uti­lize our environment.

I remem­ber some of my first 35mm pho­tos (10th grade, K‑1000, 50mm lens…some kind of bulk-loaded b/w film) were of tracks in Natchez, MS. Those neg­a­tives (and all the rest from that age) are unfor­tu­nate­ly lost, but with a lit­tle work I’m sure I could find the same places on again. I like­ly fol­lowed the tracks from in front of Grand­moth­er’s house down Broad­way, across Canal and into bust­ed up park­ing lots and ram­bling kudzu that led into the bayou.


This image was from a walk with Andrew Fedy­nak on River­side Dri­ve in north Asheville/Woodfin. Andrew is gra­cious to let me bor­row a Mamiya c330 with an 80mm lens, the “nor­mal” lens for that film size. The c330 is the first cam­era I’ve shot that does square for­mat shots, in the 6x6cm size. Shoot­ing with a square viewfind­er (and one with­out a pen­taprism to “cor­rect” the view) is a bit star­tling. Beyond the nor­mal left-and-right rever­sal, for the first half of a roll I was tilt­ing my eyes in the viewfind­er to see the addi­tion­al mate­r­i­al that would nor­mal­ly be present with the 6x45 or 2x3 ratio formats.

Once I set­tled down into the for­mat, there was an appre­ci­a­tion with the free­dom from hav­ing to fill all that extra space. I could frame a square shot and not to have wor­ry about what’s going on with the edges. I was able to com­pose much tighter, where­as before an image like the one above would have been emp­ty and too cen­ter-weight­ed in a wider format.

Andrew and I walked a good half-mile of track with tem­per­a­tures in the low 50’s and driz­zle all around to get from a park­ing lot to a small set of rail­cars that have been idle for years. I knew to con­serve frames for shoot­ing when we reached the cars, but it took dis­ci­pline to adhere to that behav­ior. I’m a suck­er for rails and there were plen­ty of amaz­ing pho­tos to be had along the way. Shoot­ing a 400 speed film (specif­i­cal­ly Fuji Supe­ria X‑Tra 400) was much faster than the usu­al col­or film I shoot, and I was enjoy­ing being able to hand hold all my shots. There were aban­doned ties, rocks, switch­es and more.

But at the cars there was the dis­trac­tion of abun­dance. What to shoot, how to shoot, should I brack­et, should I conserve…so many options. There are plen­ty of oth­er pho­tos from the rail cars, but this last pho­to before walk­ing back was my favorite. Some­how grass had seed­ed over four feet in the air into the grime and muck accu­mu­lat­ed inside a car. Every­where were warn­ings on the cars say­ing “Doors Open from Inside” (or some­thing) but I saw those words as a direc­tive for nature to take advan­tage of the oppor­tu­ni­ties pre­sent­ed. Maybe to win a lit­tle space back from the rail­roads we use to carve our way through the nat­ur­al world.

Print of this piece avail­able for pur­chase here.

Rome: Slide Film

November 8, 2012 at 11:45 am

A selec­tion of the Velvia 100F, 6x45 for­mat, shots tak­en with the GA645. Rome, Octo­ber 2012.

Photo Exploration: Mountains to Sea Trail

November 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Once back from Rome, we tried to get out and see the leaves and col­ors as much as pos­si­ble. Once very suc­cess­ful out­ing in that respect was a Sun­day after­noon walk on the Moun­tains to Sea Trail just out­side of Asheville. The image below is from that excursion.

Slide film is one of the more recent media I’ve come to explore, and real­ly only in the past year have I done any mean­ing­ful work with that sort of film. This par­tic­u­lar shot was with the Fuji GA645 (same as the cam­era used here)and Fuji Velvia 100f.

There is a strange feel­ing work­ing with a large-ish for­mat film and yet work­ing with a small-ish piece of equip­ment. Com­pared to the RB67 or even the 645 Pro TL, the GA645 is light­weight and ultra-portable. Tak­ing it for a spin in the woods, when one has to poten­tial­ly car­ry plen­ty of oth­er equip­ment, is a real plea­sure. The glass is immac­u­late and focus­ing is dead on (or you can man­u­al­ly focus if you pre­fer). And the result of the slide film is breath­tak­ing. I wish there was a way to relay the feel­ing of hold­ing a slide over the inter­net. Even view­ing a print does­n’t quite have the same “WOW” fac­tor for me as a slide does. Maybe the trans­paren­cy? Maybe the com­pact­ness and clar­i­ty of the slide. What­ev­er it is, in the fall with the col­ors and tex­tures I don’t know if I’ve seen any oth­er pho­to­graph­ic medi­um that mea­sures up to slide.

Regard­less of your pho­to­graph­ic equip­ment, there is also the ques­tion of HOW to pho­to­graph a scene. And pho­tog­ra­phy of strik­ing col­ors are way up on my list of “Hard Shots.” I think a large amount of the dif­fi­cul­ty is that we expe­ri­ence a walk in the woods with sea­son­al foliage quite vivid­ly, and our rec­ol­lec­tion is often even greater in sat­u­ra­tion than real­i­ty. Thus, pho­tograph­ing such scenes in ways that evoke the same emo­tion is sub­stan­tial­ly more dif­fi­cult than oth­er, less “oomph” dri­ven shots. But I do have some basic ideas that can help.

The first is com­po­si­tion. When pho­tograph­ing nature, it is easy for me to get swept up in the “pret­ty” shots that don’t tell any sto­ry. But when I focus on com­pos­ing an image with a lit­tle bit of nar­ra­tive, my sat­is­fac­tion down the road is much high­er. Espe­cial­ly when shoot­ing film which has such poten­tial for qual­i­ty repro­duc­tion that fail­ures are that much more evi­dent. So be sure to shoot every image, or every series of images, to bring the view­er to the scene and envel­op them in the moment.

Sec­ond­ly, unless you are inten­tion­al­ly tak­ing a pho­to of some­thing sin­gu­lar, I’d stay away from small depth of field­’s. I know my impulse is often shoot wide open and get some rock­ing bokeh, but I’ve found that the effect can be jar­ring. Part of what makes col­or foliage so amaz­ing is that every­where you can look and focus there is col­or. Sharp and bright and sat­u­rat­ed. When you blur that back­ground (and/or fore­ground) in the pho­to, the “being there” effect can be decreased dramatically.

Last, I try as much as pos­si­ble to cut through the mist. I use a polar­iz­er, haze fil­ter, what­ev­er I’ve got handy to increase clar­i­ty through the entire scene. That is, unless  it is a long expo­sure with enough time for the mist or fog or what­ev­er to move about. Oth­er­wise I have found that, like the sec­ond point, the reduc­tion in over­all clar­i­ty can do harm to the entire photograph.

With every­thing there are excep­tions to the above, but those three guide­lines above cer­tain­ly increase my grat­i­fi­ca­tion when review­ing the pho­tos after a ses­sion out in the woods.