Maine - July/August 2017

Honestly, I probably should’ve posted this a year ago or like whenever I started doing heavy updating to my website/blog on a regular basis, but y’know -- whatever.

This was a while back, when I was in the habit of carrying around *three* separate Minolta XD 11/7/s cameras. Yeah I know, I’m cringing too. Around the same era as the trip out to the Trona Pinnacles. -- Actually some of the film from that trip got processed in the same batch — also in fairness, it’s not like 2 years is that long of a time — it kind of is, but it’s not — really.

Anyway, I typically take one trip home a year, in addition to the holidays. In 2017, I went home in late July or early August. Maybe both. I can’t quite remember the dates of the vacation. Either way, I did a lot of shooting. Too much to be honest.

I hate tech specs, but, this was one of my first real multiple day landscape outings with the  24mm, so that tends to dominate a lot of the photos I took. I think I was also trying out the 100mm/135mm and making a last stab at telephoto landscape -- two years later, I think I’m willing to say I’m not much of a fan, but in selected uses, it’s alright.

I also decided (stupidly) to have a professional lab develop my bnw film. They fucking ruined 8 rolls of it. I had to pull teeth to get to my money back for a lot of the service/film. The owner of the lab is a really nice guy. The lab shall go unnamed, but to this day, it still really pisses me off when I see some of the botched photos -- some of them would’ve been really great. Beyond thaft I still think their scan/dev (on black and white) is way way overcranked/overcooked/contrasty (to my taste). Their interpolation/correction on the color is actually still one of my favorite jobs/batches of film. Also they kinda fucked up the Bergger Pancro 400 (I think this was actually my first time shooting the film). Bergger’s low contrast but this is… special. I’ll also throw in that as much as I generally dislike lab-done bnw development for my own work, there is something really nice about the low amount of dust contamination in the scans. I’m not naming the lab because we more or less reached a reasonable settlement, and genuinely, the seem like nice people, and it was an unforeseeable accident.

At any rate, Acadia is really beautiful, though I doubt these photos are really doing it any justice. That said, I honestly think the ultra-muted Bergger Pancro actually is a fairly accurate representation of Portland Head Light, and probably some of my favorite shots of it, ever.

At any rate, I also ended up taking a few walks around Portland during the trip. I think I finally started to get the city “right.” in terms of portrayal, etc -- I incorporated a bit of that photography into Chaplet of Divine Mercy, but always have looked for a good place to put up some of the rest of my photos from that same period. I’d like to believe I started to get the city “right” but time will tell. I’m actually covering the city for Around the World in 80 Cameras (a Kosmo Foto project) with my Minolta XD-11 (don’t worry, I’m going to produce new content/photos for it, and y’know an actual XD-11 review instead of me joking around about the camera for a couple pages -- I’m going back soon, in May, and plan to cover it then).

I guess of note, also, is that I was shooting mostly Fujifilm Pro 400h for color around this time (I think there’s like one roll of Ektar snuck in -- it’s pretty obvious -- and I think some Ultramax 400), I probably have enough to do one of my writeups/reviews, but for the life of me, it’s just so poorly documented -- I don’t know if I could conscientiously do a decent writeup. Also I wasn’t really in the habit of pushing a film’s limits or exposing 1 stop over for color. Likewise, the same thing follows for Acros -- Shot a lot of it, but the documentation isn’t really there so I have no clue what I’d really report on aside from like “ACROS GOOD” “XTOL and ACROS GOOD.” Or like Pro 400h (and it’s slow speed sibling, Fuji Pro 160NS) is actually really excellent for the East Coast/New England and the color profiles that pop up there, or like the greenery in that region is more conducive to using cool tone film for the blues/greens, where the sunny, warm-toned west coast makes it maybe a little more feasible for Portra 400. I could probably also do a similar thing with Ultramax 400 -- but I dunno -- the documentation just sucks, and while I’m happy enough to share weird (old/past) plateau moments or photosets, providing bad documentation or just another mediocre film/camera/lens review that basically amounts to “look at these photos I shot with this, with no real insight” isn’t really something I’d feel great about doing or posting up.

Anyway, I think this trip is also kind of a weird important piece of chronology for a few reasons. Primarily that A: It was the last time I saw my friend Matt. B. After shooting that much in quick succession, my eye did a huge leap forward. Because these things run in plateaus and spikes more than anything else. C. This was the last trip or set of hikes/walks I took without my Pentax 6x7, and was done entirely on 35mm cameras. I may revisit only using a 35mm camera in the future. I’ve got a lot on my mind gear-wise, most of it seems to involve stripping back more or continuing to limit myself.

One other odd thing is that I had a crappy point and shoot, A pentax 110 iq-zoom I think — nothing special but fun to mess around with. I’ve been kinda re-thinking my stance on zooms lately, so funny to see this here.

I still wish I’d spent a little more time in Lewiston or shot more there. I’m finally making some time to do that, but it’s still a bit of a sore point. I feel like the years of not shooting it or kinda avoiding the city (I’m using the Maine definition of “city” -- not really a city per-se, but definitely a city by the population standards of the state) finally added up into me wanting to take a serious look at it, from both a personal standpoint, and one that lines up with my own family’s history with it. It is what it is.

This is probably the most informal/actual blog-ey post I’ll do, but I just wanted to put some (a lot of) photos up, and keep some kind of stream-of-content running so the website stays up and ranked. So, I dunno -- Don’t read the text if you don’t really care about me grousing and complaining about photo processing -- just look at the nice (ish) photos of Maine, and hope that it helps sell you on why tourism is the number one industry in the state, and rich Bostonians and New Yorkers bought up half of Portland on the cheap, because they’re carpetbaggers.

Anyway, if you’ve enjoyed this content, pick up a zine in the shop or swing by the Independent Art Book Fair in LA next weekend.