Analog Monthly: November 2016
- Canon Elan II
- Hasselblad 500CM
- Olympus Pen EE-S
- Canon AE-1 Program
- Olympus 35RC
- AGFA Vista Plus 200
- Kodak Portra 400
- Kodak Ektar
- Ilford FP4
- Sooters HR100
- Kodak Ultramax 400
- Kodak Plus X Pan
- Ilford Pan F
- Kodak Portra 400VC
- Kodak Tri X
- Kodak GOLD 200
- Fuji FP-100C
- Fuji Provia 100F
Looking back now, I see November 2016 came rolling in hot. On the Saskatchewan prairies, we were graced with weather that was favorably unseasonal and offered stunning sunsets, day after day. There's nothing like a steady stream of great weather to help with breaking that creative rut and getting outdoors with a camera (or two). After getting quickly covered in snow during the last days of October, it was refreshing to have a short reprieve from the inevitable grip of winter's cold clutches. As with most things that seem too good to be true, it didn't last. Before long, it was back to cold overcast days where not even the sun wanted to be out past 4:30pm.
I do believe, however, bad weather is only what you make of it. In this lull, I decided to buy a few cameras (Olympus Pen EE-S and Olympus RC35, among others). Let me tell you - nothing accelerates you out of a rut (even if just temporarily) more quickly than a new acquisition. I suffer from serious bouts of GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) from time to time but, luckily for me, these purchases filled specific needs. One of those needs for me was experimentation.
I ended up having way more fun with the half-frame Pen EE-S than anticipated. It's a fantastic walking around camera once you get the Zone Focus sorted. By no means am I a fan or advocate of Zone Focusing in any way whatsoever, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't learn something by shooting with the pint-sized Pen. Not only was it a different way of shooting, it also encouraged me to shoot images that tell a story, often through diptychs.
I enjoyed shooting paired photos in sets so much, I decided to print some. Another product of lousy weather is more inclination to set up my minimalist darkroom (read: bathroom darkroom). In the last two weeks of November, I set record numbers for prints produced and I really feel I've started to tighten up my workflow. I was able to get to a working print with minimal waste (and with a huge smile on my face).
My thirst was not quite quenched and I needed something more. If shooting the scene, developing the film and printing the photograph in the same day was not enough, I realized the need to take it a step further and experiment with toning.
Sepia has never really interested me much. To that end, I'm generally drawn towards cooler tones but in a mystery box of darkroom junk I bought last year, I found a stash of sepia toner packets. After reading a few tidbits and later watching some videos, I decided that I wanted to give sepia toning a try, regardless of the look the final print would have.
Like I said, I like the experimentation process and the fact that there are a million things that can, and often do, go wrong makes me that much more intrigued. After toning a few prints, I realized it wasn't the final product that gave me the most joy but the process of getting there. With this displaced motivation, I even felt more connected to the final product, despite its sepia-colored heart. The best part of it was setting out to do something, then promptly doing it. Success.
Somewhere, within the weeks of November, I managed to buy more film than I ended up shooting. All of it - expired film. There were lots of expired Kodak in the mix, which is always interesting. A couple exposure tests later, I was relishing in the grainy, muted mess of old film. Some of the fade was due to diminishing chemicals (I somehow managed to get 67 rolls out of my 2L C41 kit) but those were later replenished.
After years of waiting and calculated manipulation, Tashia finally convinced me that we should get a dog. Now that I've partly transcended into dog-persondom, I've found a beautiful specimen to play the lead in my conversion. Only a week into dog-fatherhood, I've blasted through 3 or 4 rolls worth of our family's newest addition. I'm not completely sure yet but I think even Felix is warming up to him.
Enough babble, here are the photos from November 2016 - enjoy!