Thursday, June 18, 2015

Back To My (Photographic) Roots

Mount Hood at Trillium Lake, Oregon
Fujifilm X-E2, ISO 200, 18-55mm @ 29mm, f/16 @ .6 sec

I started in photography -- fourth grade, to be exact -- shooting black and white film in a $20 Sears camera that was so advanced it had "electric eye."  Color film and processing were very expensive at the time, especially for a kid.

Later when I moved to a series of more advanced cameras I continued to shoot black and white film because it was (1) cheaper, (2) I could process and print it myself and (3) it was considered the film of the artist.   The learning curve was fun, especially watching prints come to life in the tray under the safelight.  Photoshop wasn't around then so most adjustments had to be made up front.

But the 1990's began a new era where people saw things in color and learning color photography was a new, steeper learning curve -- especially with digital imaging.  Dynamic color was expected.  Pretty much been the same thing ever since.  Mostly.

I am probably a Pacific Northwest guy by heart.  Some of my favorite photography hotspots are there, including Mount Hood which is about 90 minutes, give or take, southwest of Portland.  On a good day when the wind is light, the sky is colorful and clouds cooperating the photography can be exhilarating.  But on a lackluster day…meh.

My last trip to Trillium Lake to photograph Mount Hood started out with promise but turned more or less to lackluster.  The "mojo" just wasn't there.  What would Ansel Adams have done?

I'm not sure I can accurately guess the answer but most of his work was in stunning black and white.  So I pretended I was shooting with a red filter, sharp polarizers and was printing on Agfa Brovira Speed and what was "meh" turned into "it wasn't such a bad day, after all."

Life is like that, too.  Sometimes we start out along a path we think is correct but things don't work out as planned and it turns to a "meh" day.   That's when I think it's helpful to consider whether it's possible to turn a lemon into lemonade.

Does that always work?  Nope.  But sometimes it's worth a shot.

Pun intentional.

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