Tuesday, May 10, 2022

A city walk in film

My intent was mainly to go for a film walk with friends. It's always more fun with friends. Kelly had to bow out at the last moment, but Cam and Ann came along. Cam was shooting infrared, Ann was shooting both film and digital, and I only brought the GW690 and 2 rolls of Ilford Delta 100. I was looking for contrast and texture, and places where there's some detail to see how it shows up, although I'm still getting the hang of B&W. I put a yellow filter on the lens. 

We met up in Kensington mid-morning. The day started cloudy, and gradually cleared. It ended up being a lovely day to stroll and look for photos. I took careful notes so if you really want the settings, and ask nice, I'll tell you.

If you've skipped ahead you know there are only 12 images, out of the 16 you were expecting. No, I'm not holding out on you. I blew focus on one of them, even though I was trying really hard. Maybe I moved the camera a smidge. I don't have a lot of luck shooting up at buildings so far.  Two of them were the same shot with different settings and neither worked out, not even a little bit. And the last was another skyline shot with different settings. Trying to expose to bright and dark clouds is tricky.

These are generally fairly lightly edited in both Negative Lab Pro and Lightroom. I'm still trying to get a feel for how much to edit film photographs, and which program to do it in. There were only a few dust spots and one hair to deal with.

1. I was liking the tangle of vine stalks on one side of the window, and the shadow of the tree on the other, but I didn't 'see' the vertical shadow. Then I saw it on the negative and wondered what had happened. I'm pleased with it as a focus exercise, and to get a grip on the detail the lens can capture on film.

2. The textures of the white wall, the concrete, and the newspapers caught my attention, but somehow the photo doesn't capture what I saw.

3. We all loved this house. It took forever to get the shot because there was a group of kids picking up garbage along the sidewalk, and they hung out in just the wrong place. I'm not sure what the pentagonal reflection above the door is, but the same thing showed up in the Plaza shot later, so I'm wondering if there's something on the lens or yellow filter that catches the light just like that.

4. This really should have been a colour shot. 

5. Cam working on an idea.

6. One of the better images from the day. I liked the contrast between the two buildings and the trees. Kind of a pity I didn't have someone posing in front of the gate, but they would have been tiny in any case. That building on the right was dark, and it took a bit of doing to brighten that up, (and nothing else) to bring up the texture of the brick. The detail in the tree branches is just amazing! Embiggen and enjoy.

7. This image turned out exactly like I envisioned it! I loved the play of light on the stairwell and door, and I'd love to try to convince you I saw the hand rail and shadow alignment. This is my winner from the two rolls.

8. I wasn't in quite the right spot for this shot, but there was a car in the way. The difficulties of street photography and all. 

9. There's that pentagon of light again. This was one of the shots I wanted to get from the walk, and it's mostly what I envisioned. I needed a bit wider of a lens, but the other problem is that they've parked an Airstream trailer just out of frame on the right. I just thought of this; I don't have a lens hood, so maybe the solution would be to have someone holding something so the camera is in shade. Or I could clean the lens and filter really well.

10. Photographers have taking black and white portraits since forever, and I wanted to see how this film would work out. We're in pretty direct sunlight, and in hindsight, I should have got a bit closer. I'm pleased about how the skin tones and textures are handled. We actually got a tour of the Plaza and chatted to the nice lady running it, and she was happy to pose with Cam and Ann. I'm not sure if she is the manager or the owner. Their coffee is good. 

As a side note, Linda and used to go there all the time, back in the day. We'd get their magazine and plan out the month taking the movie showings into consideration. I can no longer recall when we stopped, but I suspect it was late 90's or so, when we started ballroom dancing lessons. 

I'm glad to see that someone bought it after the former owners sold, and hope these guys can make a go of it. I sometimes wonder how movie theatres are still in business when you consider the amazing technologies available now to watch just about any movie or TV show ever made, at any time you like, in the comfort of your own home, with the sound at a comfortable level, and being able to hit pause whenever the bio-pressures make it necessary. But then, why did I let people know I was going for this walk? Like I said, it's more fun with friends.

11. You're probably wondering what the heck is going on here. This used to be a Mexican restaurant at the corner of Memorial and 10th st. I don't know what else it might have been. I'm shooting through the filthy window, trying to get both the reflection of the intersection behind me, and some of the interior details. I'm pretty pleased at how it turned out, since I had no expectations.

12. I ended the walk with 4 shots left. The next day I was off to find them. I was thinking about Strathcona Ravine, but I couldn't figure out where to park. I had to go into the Signal Hill mall anyway, and saw the giant numbers behind it. At the same time I was looking at the dramatic clouds, with a little hole to see some of the mountains. I walked up the hill to the lookout point and tried a couple shots with different exposures. I'm not going to show you those. They're mostly grey clouds with no definition, though my eyes could see it. Even the digital shots didn't show any detail.

Two shots to go. This is a spot I knew existed, and had almost been to it before, stymied by snow. Another try produced this view, which I was  quite pleased by. I used the light meter and took several digital photos trying to figure out exposure and composition. I did better here than the mountain view.

I'm not entirely sure what I think of this. I've done lots of skyline shots, but this is almost more a cloud shot than skyline. (For those that don't know, Calgary is an amazing city for skyline shots. They can be had from almost every direction.) The buildings kind of blend into the the ground, rather than stand out from them, yet trying to brighten them up didn't go so well. Nor am I convinced this composition is good, but just cropping doesn't seem to make it any better. What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Shooting in B&W is cool, eh? I really like the staircase too. One small suggestion - I think the image would be even stronger if you edited it to remove the left-hand side of the image. The white car top is a little distracting.


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