Currently listening to: SHITMACHINE! - Days N Daze (Missing ya'll)
A couple paid me to drive them over the continental divide. They were stranded here. They didn’t ask for help, but I heard one of them talking exasperated on the phone outside to their family. After they did their business, I gave them my phone number and told them I would drive them over the pass in the early hours before opening the store. They were both satellite designers.
I stopped after dropping them off at a lake overlooking the jagged cliff side road I had taken to get them to their destination and took some photos on the M3. A family pulled up and were quick to ruin the serene quality of the green, still water by throwing rocks and climbing into a red, leaky canoe with the words “COMMUNITY CANOE” stenciled on the side, which the Dad promptly sunk. When I arrived at the store, I cleaned hurriedly and sat down at the counter, ready to unload the M3, only to realize that the film had torn. It had split into three neat sections, the sprockets attached to the take up spool, wound nicely in the appropriate place, while the main body of the film was curled crudely inside the cloth shutter. Luckily, this time I was able to calmly unload the camera without causing an expensive jam. Still, that roll of Neopan F was a wash sadly. What makes it even worse is there is almost no evidence of Neopan F online at all. (Just this blog entry) I still have the box and may scan it just for the historical value.
My most recent FPP order came - trying out Ilford Delta 100 to scratch my Acros itch. $11.99 (~$20 a roll after dev/scan) a roll is too much for my day to day. I may stockpile some in the fridge in anticipation of the GS645’s return. It really is such a magical film. There is such a rich quality to the mids that I haven’t seen matched by other films. People have told me to try Delta for ages, and somehow I’ve always avoided it. I shot Ilford’s FP4 a few years ago and wasn’t super impressed with the results, but I was also a much less experienced photographer at the time... A bunch of Kodak P3200, which has slowly become a consistent favorite of mine, came as well. Almost no mids here, but versatile enough for shooting at night and for some of my more personal work.
A local artist came into the store and geeked out about art history with me and told me some insane stories about the area I live in currently. Not only had William Henry Jackson been here, but his photographs of the area had been used as a basis for works by my favorite painter, Thomas Moran. He showed me prints of Moran’s engravings of the area he had acquired over the years. I was in awe.
Took the long drive to Denver over the last few days to do some shopping. It was bizarre to be in a big city again. Has it really been a full year since Tokyo? I get a lump in my throat thinking about it. DPR Live’s IS ANYBODY OUT THERE, the feeling that anything was possible, the sweltering humidity of Tokyo summer, living as Johnny Walker, marching endlessly between Ryogoku and Shibuya, snapping away on the M3. Shaving my head inside a Cajun restaurant...
Denver has seen better days. I hadn’t been before, but it was obvious the downtown area was on the ropes. At IKEA, I was stopped immediately by an older man working there who recognized the Leica. He was so excited. I showed him all the lenses I had on me, described what I knew of it’s provenance. He paid me an immense compliment - that it looks brand new! If only he knew what I’ve put this camera through! Ripping the shutter, snow, rain, pancake syrup, stuffed in packs, blood, dropping on the street, swinging into elevator doors, holding out of car windows… New!
The new lens I acquired for the M3 has arrived and testing is underway. I found a great deal on an early L39 W-Nikkor・C 3.5cm f 3.5. It’s a tiny little coated Tessar clone. It was this series of lenses that put Nikon on the map though, with lots of photographers ditching their Zeiss/Leica lenses for the much sharper, affordable Nikkors. I guess it has been a year since Tokyo, where I walked to just about every single camera boutique in the city seeking an affordable 35mm lens.
My new photography friend and I drove out to Lake San Cristobal on a little film road trip. It was fun, but upon getting home I felt sort of hollow. Just two weeks until I move. I think I’m ready. I don’t feel that same sense of optimism I did coming back to the States.
Currently listening to: Wingo Wongo II (DJ Re:Code Paranoia Mix) - Le Snake
Site redesign launches today. A few dozen hours of work later... Not sure about the new log, but the other pages function better and have a much more positive feel. Not sure about mobile or legacy compatibility just yet. Let me know in the new guestbook if you find any issues.
For the time being, I've removed the thoughts tab. I may actually write some articles at some point, but would like to focus on photography right now. I am working on a list of photographers I find inspiring, and would like to expose further via this site.
Things are coming to a head again. I leave the Rockies in about a month for the big city.
I'm trying to go out on the town more before I leave... I always end up enjoying places the most right before I'm about to leave. Bringing the Hi-8 video camera everywhere and just filming random interactions around town, from dogs to travelers at the bar.
My new photography friend and I took a little trip to the next town over and walked around shooting film and talking all afternoon. It was a blast. Rare I meet someone whom with I share so much in common. Sad that we met right before I leave.
I've been riding my bike a ton as well. Only wrecked and cut myself up a few times. It's been so long since I mountain biked, I forgot how much I love it. It is a really wonderful summer companion sport to skiing.
I bought a new (old?) weird, wide angle lens for the Leica... Too good of a deal to pass up on a lens I have been looking at for awhile now. Arrives at the end of the week. Images forthcoming.
Currently listening to: Police State - Pussy Riot
Recently returned from a trip east, over the Continental Divide I took on a whim to see my friend from the inaka for the first time since my birthday. It was so much fun. I missed that feeling of spontaneity - I told him I was coming over the night before, packed my things and left. Nurture is a great soundtrack for the beauty of summer mountain passes.
We shot so much film - laughed, reminisced, hiked mile after mile in the dry heat of Rocky Mountain summer.
Driving the Outback in the passes between our two valleys, I encountered one of the most incredible sights I’ve seen in awhile. The Climax Molybdenum Mine. Something about these massive, imposing and seemingly empty structures put a glint in my eye. They stand in contrast with the alien landscape of the high altitude earth. Just down the road are massive vistas overlooking the tailing ponds, which look like cursed lakes, the green-blue and orange-red slurry of poison crystalizing in the sun. Despite being hours away, I think I may drive back there to take some pictures at some point this summer. Leadville, the highest city in the United States, is not much further, and also provides a lot of inspiration for images. I also would love to do some trail running or hiking around there, although probably not solo.
I think that leaving town and seeing my friend put things in perspective for me, and made me realize that it’s not a rural area I am tired of being in. In fact, I’m just blaming the inaka for my problems - problems that probably would be no different anywhere else. I need to break the cycle more, to find the beauty in where I am in the moment and not covet what was and what could be. Too often I get stuck in my own head, trapped by the routine of going to work on time, running the same 5 miles, cooking the same terrible food, and retiring to scroll the internet tirelessly. Those few days helped me reset a bit, geeking out about cameras and film over bottomless cheap coffee and red-dyed gin. It’s a good headspace to be in, this close to the next major step. This last winter may have been the worst place I've been in many years, honestly. It was as if my success tried to bloom last August, only to wilt in the cold, icy winter. Round 2 starts in New England.
I am having the Fuji GS645 Pro repaired this week. I sent it off to Advance Camera Repair in Portland OR to have them take a look at it. I have the money and I miss shooting medium format! Especially with this camera, which has one of the best form factors and lenses. 6x4.5 is probably the most ideal aspect ratio for medium format for me personally, as it closely mirrors 35mm, and allows for 16 exposures per roll. Price to repair is ~$300. I asked them if they can fabricate custom red bellows.
Oh, and I broke the Olympus XA. Oops. Locked up the shutter. Luckily it seems Mr. Lezot can repair it. He has done a lot of work for me in the past. At the moment though, I think I will leave it as is. The Leica and 28WB occupy sort of the same spaces of the XA. The XA just doesn't have a place in my workflow right now. Considering it’s a family heirloom though, I’d like to have it working again soon (along with my Grandfather’s Canon IVSB).
I’ve been sitting at a busy tea café on my days off, reading and studying Japanese, and met another young film photographer who works there! He develops his own color film, which blows my mind. It was always way too much of a hassle and expense for me to ever try. His work is really nice though, and reminds me a lot of my own. I gave him a fiber print I had made in the darkroom some months ago from my “Couples” series. He shoots on a Canon FTb with the FD 50mm 1.8 and the Mamiya 645 with the 80mm. We walked around town yesterday, shooting randomly and chatting about different photographers we like. It was really fun!
Mercifully, I know where I am going to live in 4 months. Not psyched about having roommates again, but what can you do. They all seem very interesting though! It’s always been an expensive city to live in. Excited to be genuinely busy again.
I bought tickets to see Porter this fall. I'm so very excited. I missed Worlds because I was overseas. I hope he plays Flicker.
Site redesign in progress. Maybe giving my private place a happier, calmer feel will encourage me to be more positive here too. I also want to use some of my new knowledge to rebuild this place from scratch - it's held together with popsicle sticks back here.