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.