Summer Drought

Well, this has been a long dry summer in more ways than one. California is in a major drought and I feel like my photography hasn’t been far behind.  I’ve been busy, very busy at work.  This is the most hectic time of year for us.  We close our books on June 30 and support auditors till late September.  Work responsibilities make it hard to think about anything else.  But I do have a camera with me every day even though it may not get used.  To be honest, it just doesn’t feel right if my camera isn’t by my side.

Work and a focus on shooting  film slims down the quantity of shots that I take.  With film I’m much more particular about what I shoot and lately I’ve been reflecting on what I want to shoot.  While I really feel drawn to street photography it’s not a genre I can commit to long term. The time and expense to get to a favorable shooting location just isn’t practical.  Instead, my focus will increasingly lean towards places I go as I pursue my daily life.  Also, I’m inclined to take images that lean towards fine art.

Film is my medium.  I took a short detour and used Kodak T-Max for a while.  I like the film but didn’t fall in love with it.  So, I’m going to focus on Kodak Portra for color and Tri-X for black and white.  The latitude in both these films is extraodainary.  The forgiving nature in exposure range gives me room to explore various looks through the camera and in processing.

Johnny Patience has some great tips on exposing both films on his blog.  I read his post several times picking up several key points that I want to concentrate on.  The first is exposure.  I’m going to overexpose both fims by one stop in my ISO/ASA setting.  Both Portra and Tri-X are box rated at ISO 400.  I’m going to set my camera to expose them at ISO 200.  I’m also going to be religious about metering.  I’ve a bit aggressive in my exposure metering using the in-camera meter.  Generally, I’ve overexposed by a stop or two in addition to being at ISO 200.  While my Leica MP has an in camera meter and it works well, I’m going to use my Sekonic L-358 when the situation allows so I can get more consistent exposures.  Unless I need to get a quick shot off, I plan to use my light meter to measure an exposure in the shadows.  This will ensure a high level of detail in the shadows and let the highlights go.

For developing, I will develop Tri-X as normal for ISO 400.  I use the the Massive Dev app for iOS for developing times,  a great tool to have.  I also now use HC-110 for my developer and have gotten some nice results so far.

Over the summer I also finalized my purchase of a Rolleiflex 2.8f from a close friend.  She knows that this camera which has been in her family for decades is going to get some love and more importantly be used instead of sitting in storage.  The Rollei is another approach to shooting that is entirely different than shooting my Leica.  It’s a blast to use and the detail in the negative are amazing.  It came with a prism viewfinder which is really nice to use but I also bought a waist level viewfinder from a wonderful guy in Portugal who expects me to contact him if I ever visit.  Isn’t the world of photography awesome? I’m still getting used to using the waist level viewfinder which is a bit disorienting.  Looking through that glass with an almost 3D rendering of the scene is so inspiring, love using my new to me Rollei.

So, that’s my summer.  Busy but not so productive with my photography.  I have a few images to share but not as many as I expect to have as we move into the autumn season.

As always, thanks for reading!

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