Friday, December 14, 2012

A year ago

A year ago at this time there was an eclipse of the moon (12/10/11). I was living in Camas Washington. I got up early. I could see the eclipsed red moon as I went into Peets Coffee in Vancouver. I chatted with the folks working. It must’ve been a Saturday. It was very cold and dark. Then more clouds rolled in. Or was it fog? Down on the Columbia water front at the Vancouver side, the day gradually began without seeing any more of the eclipsed moon.

I was so excited to be using a Hasselblad! In the twenty days of shooting it prior, I tried several kinds of Kodak films and was on about the fifth roll. This back had Kodak Portra 800. After three frames on this morning, I blew out the rest trying to photograph musicians Joe McMurrian and Woodbrain in very low light. I tend to go slowly through rolls of film, especially 120. By the time I got this roll back from the Portland lab (with prints, oh the luxury!), I was becoming frustrated. It was only August that I began to shoot 35mm film. From the beginning I shot with manual exposure (Konica SLR had a broken meter). Once in Portland, I picked up a light meter (blog entry 11/15/11) and that helped a lot. A year and half later, I still have much to learn about properly exposing film. But when I first looked at my expensive stack of square prints, I was underwhelmed.

Here I sit in Reno in a pretty good place. I had much lower expectations a year ago than where things are. Finally, last night, nearly all of my 120 negatives made it into sheet holders. There are 29 rolls of film that I have put through the Hasselblad. Unfortunately, I have been having a terrible time getting Ektar 100 to look right when I scan with the Epson V500. So much so that all of that film (way more than half of it) is going to remain unscanned for a while yet. I have been having a much easier time making Portra 400 look good (such as here, here, and here). Then I found this early roll of Portra 800. I scanned in the first three frames recalling that bitter cold of that morning. This photograph, looking south and east across the Columbia, had an unexpected amount of personal satisfaction as I worked out all of the dust and scratches in Photoshop. I had a tough time in the Portland region. I had tougher times in Reno and Nashville before. In the end, I find it very difficult to be an aggressive, active landscape shooter in cities. The cites themselves seem to pull me into their attractions, which for me is music. I just wanted to take note here on this 23° night in Reno, where the foothills are all laced with a thin layer of frozen snow.
Columbia River from Vancouver, WA, Andrew D. Barron©12/10/11 [Hasselblad 500c/m, Portra 800]
This is exactly how it looked (except for the orange band at the top). But through time and the adventures of my life, this unexciting scene is a real treat for me to look back on. I am surprised to see those few days in December have no pictures in my blog. The locale was scoped out earlier, and presented in this entry from 11/5/11. Sometimes the reasons why I do what I do with photography occur with a momentary beauty of understanding. Then the words are gone.

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