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Thursday, May 13, 2004


Photo Archeology

Rivers of Color
Last night I did some excavating among several hundred Kodak Elite Chrome slides from last July. And I did find a nice artifact, this photo, Rivers of Color - a hot-air balloon lying deflated in a field.

These slides make up the last batch of film I've ever had developed. I took them at a fantastic workshop, lead by Karen Gordon Schulman of Focus Adventures. Karen is an exceptionally talented photographer and a wonderfully gifted teacher. If you get a chance to learn with her, take it!

The workshop lasted from Saturday until Thursday, and now I know why it's called a workshop and not a playshop! Karen had us up before dawn every morning to catch the beautiful dawn and early morning light, and out again around suppertime to get the equally expressive late sunlight. But I haven't enjoyed myself so much in years. I learned a lot and had a great time.

Out of eight of us in the workshop, I was the only one that came with "3M" (manual, mechanical, metal) cameras - two East German Praktica MTL 5 screw-mount bodies, a 135mm tele, and a 28mm wide angle. Oh, and a 1948 GE light meter! Everyone else had one or more late-model SLRs - Nikons, Canons, Pentax.

I grew up on these "3M" cameras, and figured I'd be using them for the rest of my life. I mean, how could a camera focus better and expose better than me and all my experience! But when one of my classmates lent me her camera during one session, it was a real eye-opener.

Instead of sweating over the technical details, the auto-everything camera afforded me the luxury of concentrating on composition, lighting, angle, and all the other things I had leaned over the years plus the new ideas I'd gotten from Karen. I was hooked.

Once I got home, I did a little research and figured I'd buy a Nikon N75. But then I decided to skip the auto-everything film stage and go directly to a Digital SLR. I waited a few months, still using my little Canon A40 2MP camera, but by Thanksgiving, my patience gave out and I bought a Canon Digital Rebel (300D.)

I took two more roles of film once I got back from my workshop, but I still haven't had them developed. Since late July, I've been strictly digital (well, OK, except for the Commie Camera Day this past April...)

But there's still that stack of a few hundred slides from the workshop that I need to go through. I scanned and printed a few right away, but I know there are at least a few gems hiding among those plastic sheets. Gotta go excavate a few more.

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