Sunday, February 26, 2023

V Island beaches on Gold 200

We wanted to go somewhere warmer than Calgary and get away from winter for a bit. Much as we love New Zealand and want to go back, there was still enough uncertainty about travel that we didn't want to ante up that much money. Having a thousand dollars held by West Jet because a flight was cancelled isn't so bad. We know we can use that. Having something on the order of $10K to $15K held by an airline that might not be flying to Canada again is a different proposition entirely.

Vancouver Island is about the warmest winter place in Canada. We hadn't been to Sooke, and decided to stay in an Airbnb to explore the coast up to Port Renfrew. The house was huge and perfect for us. The flight experience was about as good as it gets, and no problem with the camera film. The car rental company upgraded us. We managed to sneak in a lunch with one of Linda's buddies she'd worked with for a long time. 

Most of you probably know it's kind of rainy in BC year round. We were prepared for that, with temperatures typically in the 'wear a sweater under the rain jacket' range. Seeing lots of liquid water is a treat, even if it complicates carrying a film camera.

I took the digital with 3 of my most used lenses, plus the GW690 with a bunch of Kodak Gold 200 and a couple rolls of Acros II 100. I took along a laptop, but hadn't intended to edit photos during the trip. It makes for a heavy carry on. The problem with my film cameras is that they are not water resistant. There's no battery or electronics to short out, but there's lots of delicate mechanical mechanisms that probably wouldn't like salty water at all. 

So the film camera lived in the bag most of the time. As did the other two lenses, and some other stuff. It slows down the beach walking even more than the coarse pebble beaches. Some of the places for the best digital photos (the long exposure, the Potholes, the water fall, the beach rocks) I either didn't think of the film camera, or didn't want to risk it getting wet. Plus there's the whole having to put the bag down somewhere mostly dry, open it up, dig out the other camera, put the digital somewhere, get the photo(s) and then put it all back again. For the long exposure, it was me and the camera bag on a big rock, surrounded by water. To say I was careful about putting on the ND filter and all the other changes is an understatement, and even with the care I still got my feet wet. I would have liked to try the long exposure on film after doing digital to get the settings, but the tide was coming in fast. Typically it was too damp to be carrying the film camera on a strap. I even put the digital in a plastic bag for part of one walk.

There are, of course, some photos that are almost duplicates between film and digital. I'm not deliberately creating images for the purposes of comparing film to digital. That ship has sailed, as one of my managers liked to say. It might happen because I've used the digital as a sophisticated light meter, or I get the digital, and decide I want a film version as well. The portrait photo below is one of those. The photographer in the photo was amused that anyone was still doing film. 

If you've been following along, you know I took that camera and that film to Yukon last September. I nearly swooned when I saw the photos. That film was PERFECT for Yukon colours. Not so much for BC beach driftwood. I think many of them came out a bit more orange than I liked, and playing with the settings didn't seem to do much good. Even though I typically expose for the shadows, and let the highlights take care of themselves, I'm thinking I underexposed several of these, leading them to be a bit more orangey red than real life.

1. Like this one. Playing with the settings in Negative Lab Pro got weird very quickly.


3. The colour here is mostly good, but Linda's purple outfit is considerably more vibrant. I was trying to expose for her face, but I don't think the light meter is that precise.




7. I was fascinated by how the wind has shaped that tree.


9. The promised portrait. I asked these nice people if I could capture them, and did film and digital. This image is cropped in a bit, and I should have got a bit closer. There are subtle differences between the digital and film versions.  I should have moved the square of whatever it is out of the left side of the image. Live and learn.

10. The GW690 has a fixed 90mm lens, about the same as a 40mm on a 35mm camera. The zooming happens with your feet. The ocean is right behind me, and I do mean right behind me. A big wave came in and I had wet feet again. Good thing the Airbnb had a hair dryer. I was chatting with another photographer and showed him the digital versions. He's been back several times to get that photo because often there isn't a place to stand at all, with the waterfall going straight into the ocean for most of the tidal cycle.

11. Part of the Sooke Potholes gorge, giving just a hint of the fabulous light I had. This is cropped in quite a bit to get rid of some lens flare and a stupid branch in the upper left of the image.



14. This is part of the Galloping Goose trail built on an old railway line. This is distinctly more orangey red than in real life.

15. What you can see of the bridge deck is considerably closer to the real colour. 


Overall I'm glad I took the camera. I quite like some of the images, even if they don't quite overwhelm me like the Yukon ones did. I'm wishing I'd taken it out for some of the forest photos to see how it dealt with dim light and all the deep rich fabulous greens and browns. But then, those digital photos were at ISO 1600, f2.8 and 1/100 of a second, and were still a bit dim. If I've done the math right I'd be down about 1/8 or 1/4 second and I wasn't carrying a tripod.

I'm coming to realize that I need to decide if a photo ramble is to expose film, or digital. It's hard for me to do both. If I was going to be doing those beach rambles with just a film camera, I might still be there.

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