Sunday, April 22, 2012

Haunted House

Driving down a back highway on a cold rainy day with windshield wipers going and heat on high, I come across this incredibly dilapidated, abandoned house that looks like something from a Hollywood horror flick.  

With camera in hand and nobody around to deter me, I decide to venture in.  I step through the open doorway and my eyes adjust to the dim interior.  The smell of porcupine feces is overwhelming.  I choose each step carefully, mindful that the next one might cause me to plunge through the rotting floor;  large holes reveal a deep, dark cellar that I'd prefer not to visit.   

I glance up the stairway to the second floor where a dim light glows and reminds me of a scene from the Exorcist.

Moving to what was once a kitchen, I tilt my head to clear the cobwebs that stretch across the doorways.  In every direction, the walls, ceilings and floor are missing large chunks and look as though they are about to collapse.  A damp, cold wind blows through open windows that once held panes of glass.  Now, thick vines, like tentacles of a beast, wrap the house and reach in through openings as though they are searching for the inhabitants.  

And yet in all this, I see remnants of a family that loved their home; rotting remains of expensive wallpaper and delicate wood mouldings that once decorated a family's home.  

With a collections of photos in hand, I decide not to push my luck further and instead depart.  As I drive away, I picture a family living in this home, Christmas dinners and family get togethers, and I wonder how a home could have become this.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A return to film

This evening was an exciting time for me as I processed my first roll of Ilford HP5+ 120, medium format film.  I shot film many years ago but always had a lab process it.

Getting back into it with medium format film, I wanted to own the entire process from the shoot to the print.  The image was captured with my Pentax 645N and then processed in my kitchen.  My bathroom served as the darkroom for handling the film prior to processing and then again for hanging the film to dry after processing.

Doing this reminds me of how "easy" digital is.  You really have to work with film, especially if you process it yourself.  Unlike digital, you get zero feedback from your camera at the time of the shoot.  You carefully meter the lighting in the scene, set exposure for the lighting conditions and depth of field, and hope that you got it right.  When the whopping roll of 16 exposures in finished, you spend a few hours getting the chemicals mixed, measured and to temperature. 

With everything ready, you head into the dark and fumble around unloading a reel of film and loading it into the processing tank while completely blind; the entire process is by feel.  I have a hard time finding things in the light ... you can just imagine with the lights out!

With high hopes of having gotten it right, you return to the light and begin the processing.  If everything went well, another 1/2 hour or so of careful timing and swishing chemicals yields a magical experience; the roll of film is unrolled and images appear as negatives.  With another few hours for drying, they're ready to be cut and taken to the scanner.

All in all it takes several hours to get 16 images.  And, like every shoot, many of them aren't great.  So out of 16 shots, you hope that you have a few good ones.  And, when you do, it makes it all worthwhile.  Knowing the work that goes into 16 frames, it sure does slow you down, and that makes you a better photographer (at least that's the theory!)

This was the very first image that I scanned from the first roll processed.  There is definitely a distinct look to film that I enjoy and the process is something fun!  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Childhood Innocence

Pictured here is the wonderful innocence of childhood.  At not even three years old, my lovely niece sits by window light and I am granted brief seconds where her endless energy is stilled and a moment is captured.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Blue Scilla at sunset

About the size of a dime, these tiny flowers are a sure sign of spring.  As a warm sun turns browns to greens, these saturated purple flowers pop through a carpet of new grass. Seen here is a single flower in the setting sunlight.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Artist

She sits patiently laying down layer after layer of acrylic on canvas, creating just the right shapes, colours, textures and shades to fulfill the vision that is in her mind.

Monday, April 2, 2012

A beautiful moon

I've shot the moon many times before but tonight it just grabbed me again.  There's just something awe inspiring about staring up at a giant floating rock.