I woke up this morning at 8am. That’s pretty unusual for me on a Saturday, but my son spent the night at a friend’s and he was back mashing the doorbell real early. Anyway, I sat around for a couple hours drinking coffee and watching Magic the Gathering Arena championship matches and watch repair videos, but decided I wasn’t going to waste a day without making some photographs. Since I’ve recently re-upped my Dixon Gallery membership, I was determined to go shoot some film in the Gardens, and I was really in the mood to use the Bronica since it’s been sitting upside-down in a box under my camera shelves. Ugh, I should be ashamed of how I treat my cameras.
At the Dixon, I was surprised at how much I missed it — starting with the fact that I couldn’t even remember how to get there — and made a beeline right towards the greenhouse. It was only 86°, but it was 86% humidity. Phew, I was sweating. While wandering through the garden paths, I noticed a young couple taking selfies together, with the man occasionally stopping to photograph the woman in different areas. I chuckled a bit and thought to myself that selfies are taken at the most horrible angle, arm held high while crouched together using a low-res front-facing camera.
I wandered around the gardens for half and hour and managed to walk up behind the couple as they were taking another selfie. I jokingly offered to photo-bomb them, but then turned around and asked if they would like me to take a few photos of them with their phone. They didn’t hesitate to hand me the phone, and I was grateful for the opportunity to save them from their selfies — kidding…
It did allow me to give their photos a different perspective. The problem with selfies is perspective. Selfies are generally taken looking down on the subjects instead of up. When you and I look down on something, it’s like we tower over whatever whatever we’re admiring. In that instant, the admirer is in a position of power, but the subject should be powerful in a photo. I knelt down and took the photos looking upward at them. It wasn’t a sharp upward angle but it made a huge difference.
I handed the phone back to them with several shots I took. They thanked me and I wandered off again to take more photos. I heard the man comment to the woman that these shots were the best photos they’d got that morning. A minute later, the woman approached and said “Excuse me, do you only take pictures of flowers ?” I’d never been asked that before, but it was funny. It turns out they’ve got a little baby on the way, are engaged to be married, and are looking for a photographer. I congratulated them on both and humbly stated that I didn’t really do a lot of freelance work, but gave them the name of a good photographer (I think I did, now I wonder if I forgot to give them the photographer’s name???) Regardless, I wish the beautiful young couple many blessings on their new journey and the new life they’re bringing into this crazy world.
Honestly, the encounter with that beautiful young couple was more memorable to me than the photography walk. I kinda wish I had taken a couple of film photos of them that they could have had printed and frame. That might well have ruined the whole encounter, though. The rest of my walk through the gardens was more about sweating profusely and watching the shot counter on the camera. That last shot took forever!
I really like my Bronica. It’s the only professional medium-format camera I own. I was shooting the 50mm lens today, which is basically like a 28mm wide-angle lens. It’s nice because I can get super-close to things or pan out for wider shots without having to monkey around with a zoom. The camera is heavy at 4.3lb (1. 92kg) and it feels like a boat anchor around my neck! It’s not a “walking around” camera, and I’m fat and out of shape! The real downside to medium-format film isn’t really the camera, it’s the dust on the negatives when scanning. I spent more time blowing dust off negatives than actually scanning them tonight.
I look forward to more time with the Bronica. I have 5 rolls of new Kodak Ektachrome 100 that I want to use, but I’ve got to find the right time and place. I’ve got plenty of Tri-X, Lomography 400, Portra 160, and even an Ilford XP2 roll or two! It feels good to shoot film again.