new mexico—part 5

These last photos are a bit of hodgepodge. They are shots taken at various points during our week in the Santa Fe area, although a good chunk were shot on our last day in town. Most of these are of structures—churches, missions, etc.—or the city's scenery. The first photo in this slideshow, fittingly, is of the last sunset we saw before we came home. It was a lovely sight, and a nice way to end a pretty wonderful time out west.

new mexico—part 4

On our penultimate day in Santa Fe, we drove out to Bandelier National Monument to see the cave wall dwellings and take a nice hike. (The weather out there was amazing.) It was also a great opportunity for me to get my inner Ansel Adams on. The contrast of the sky and those geological structures made for a few pretty strong photos. The one I want to highlight is up front, a shot that emphasizes the size and scale of the cliffside. I haven't received my negatives yet—I sent these photos off to be developed by my lab—but when I do, that is the first one I'm taking to the darkroom.

new mexico—part 3

Okay, so these photos are from that aforementioned drive, and specifically Taos, where we took a visit to the Taos Pueblo, one of the oldest continuous settlements in North America. I'm not even going to feign humility here: I love these photos. And I think this first one, in particular, is one of the best photos I've taken since I've been in this photography game. I like the composition, I like how it show cases the geometry, and I love the tonality. We get bright white from the clouds, black from the deep shadows on the pueblo, and everything in-between. I give myself a solid A. (Which, I know, is a bit conceited.)

new mexico—part 2

We spent one of our days in New Mexico just driving, taking the road from Santa Fe to Abiquiu—home to Georgia O'Keefe's Ghost Ranch—from Abiquiu up through Carson National Forest, across the Rio Grande, on to Taos, and then back to Santa Fe. It took the entire day, and while I'm not a huge fan of long drives, this was worth it. At every point, the scenery was beautiful. These photos are from that drive. My favorite, as always, is the first. The scenery is nice, but what I like here is the composition, and the sense that the subject—my wife—is walking into the distance, but not quite the unknown. It works.

new mexico—part 1

We went to New Mexico last month! 

My wife is a teacher, and her spring break was at the beginning of April. We used that as an excuse/opportunity to travel to Santa Fe, which we were both interested in visiting. Our plan was straightforward; we would hike and we would eat, taking plenty of pictures along the way. I have a particular camera for vacations: An autofocus 6x4.5 medium-format rangefinder, made by Fuji. With 15 exposures per roll of film and fairly large negatives, it's perfect for sightseeing. I brought it along to New Mexico, where it got a lot of use.

These photos are from my first two rolls of film in the Santa Fe area. They were taken during a three hour hike of the tent rocks, a well-worn but still fantastic sight about 45 minutes from the city. For the color shots, I used Fuji Provia, for the black and white, I used Kodak T-MAX 400 and a a yellow-orange filter to darken the skies. There's also one photo from the 35mm point and shoot I brought with me. My favorite shot is the first one in the slideshow. It's of one of the narrow passage ways you have to walk through to get to the main climb. The light kind of creeps in, illuminating the formation and revealing the many layers of rock. By the time you reach the foreground, the shadows are dark, but there's still detail. Nothing quite goes to black. I like it quite a bit.

march 2017—roll 10

Ah, my last roll of March was in color and shot on medium format. My wife and I had taken the metro down to the National Mall to catch the annual kite festival, an ideal subject for color film, especially Kodak Ektar, which gives great saturation to primary colors like blue, red, and yellow. You see this in the first shot in this batch, of the Washington Monument with surrounded by kites and flags.

That is my favorite photo from this roll. The best photo, I think, is of the MLK Memorial. It's a different perspective than the black and white shot from earlier. This one captures the scale of the memorial as it compares to its surroundings. And the cherry blossoms that border and frame it are a nice touch. Obviously I'm a fan. What do you think?

march 2017—roll 9

Hey, we're back to 35mm! I hardly ever shoot color negatives on small formats, but this was a special occasion. Lomography released a new color film—allegedly aged in for some time—and I was eager to give it a shot. I was traveling when I loaded this into my camera (a Leica M5, equipped with a medium wide lens), so some of these shots are of airports or other places in the country (like Iowa City).

My favorite shot is one of the last ones on the roll (but the first one in this set). I took it while walking along the tidal basin in D.C. There were some fraternity guys posing for photos, and being me, I offered to take a photo for them, then asked if I could take their photo. I didn't ask them to pose or smile—my only direction was a simple "be natural." I liked how it turned out.

march 2017—rolls 7 & 8

I shot these photos on my other medium format rangefinder—a wide-angle 6x9 camera that gives you 8 exposures per roll. Despite this, I managed—once again—to get just a few photos that I was happy with. Part of this was just the weather. It was overcast and gloomy, making it difficult to get good contrast and proper lighting, which you can see with the meh photo of the Marine Corps Memorial. 

I was happy, however, with this photo of the cemetery proper. There's good tonality, helped along by the contrasty lens. And the seemingly endless rows of graves, coupled with the distortion of the wide-angle lens, creates an interesting effect.

march 2017—roll 6

Oof. This was a roll of Provia 100f—a slide or "positive" film—in 35mm. I shot it in a Nikon point and shoot I have since sold. I mostly just snapped away and it shows in the fact that, out of 36 exposures, I've picked just 6 to keep. The main photo is of a wine bar in D.C. that my wife and I like to visit on occasion. There's a neat mural in the main room, and I'm frankly surprised I was able to capture it without any blur, since there wasn't a ton of light.  The rest are just snapshots from around town, you know, the usual.

march 2017—roll 5

This is another roll where I wasn't thrilled with half the shots I took. With that said, let me talk a bit about this first photo, of a older woman protesting in front of Donald Trump's hotel in Washington D.C. I love this photo. There's her expression—one of determination and resolve. There's the fact that this is a candid shot (which I somehow managed with my massive camera), so her expression feels genuine. There's the technical aspects of the photo: it's well exposed with deep blacks and bright whites and every tone in-between. It was also easy to print in the darkroom, which is always a plus.

Yeah, I'm pleased with this one. As for the other shots, they're fine, I guess.