Mixed Format Stories: Maine and Boston — 12/18
As I do every year, or at least every year since I stopped living there for most of my time, I returned home to Maine for the winter holidays.
During my holidays, I typically mean to go shoot quite a bit, and end up sitting around on the couch in the den room of my father’s home, getting drunk. Given, the last couple years have been significantly more draining on me, but still — my point remains the same. Big plans. I maybe half-ass a single shooting day, which is always ironic considering the amount of gear I tend to lug home, Minolta XD (at least one), my Pentax 6x7, at least three lenses per each camera, and then a smattering of film (which I then [stupidly] end up buying more of from the transdimensional photography store.)
This year was different, I mean, I still packed the Pentax 6x7, the Minolta XD 11, and the three lenses each, but it was different this time I had a few projects to do (well really one big project, that I’m still working on, and will definitely not be featured here) — I was going to go shoot. A lot, and y’know what, I did. From the minute I showed up early in the morning at Logan Airport in Boston, I slapped some of my last Agfapan Apx 100, and dragged my Minolta XD 11 with me everywhere, through the shockingly mild (by my standards) Maine Winter. Between going to Lunch with my father, days of just driving around doing errands and wandering, and other days working on my project from/in the most hated city in Maine — if you’re from Maine, you know exactly what city I’m talking about. And then finally, a couple rolls from a live-meetup in Boston with an @iwishiknewwhatiwasdoing AKA Andy Romero, who I’ve known for a minute on the internet, but never in person.
Anyway, below are my galleries from that trip. I’ll include small write-ups for each gallery, etc.
Set One: Arrival, and other Passing Notions. — Logan Airport, Portland, Maine, Lewiston, Maine.
(35mm, Minolta XD-11, Agfapan APX100, Rokkor 50mm f/1.4 MC PG)
This is loosely what I’ll call the “behind the scenes” or “direct to instagram” segment/photos from or of the trip. I’m sure I’ve probably talked about this before, but because of the relative cheapness of 35mm when compared to medium format, I tend to shoot off or snap a lot of extra or bonus photos on whatever side-arm camera (let’s be honest, on the Minolta XD11), as fill in, or when I’m actually in transit-in transit, and can’t really point the big clunky Pentax at people, without serious repercussions and it makes no sense. Or finally, if I’m just being lazy because carrying around the Pentax as an every day shooter is a bit much. (if you do carry a Pentax 6*7 or other large camera as a daily shooter, leave me a comment or something, cause I wanna know how you do it.") At any rate, the film here is all more or less the standard order APX. The last bit of lewiston is Tri-X 400. Developed normally, on the APX, shot at 16, then developed to 32 on the Tri-X. Minolta XD11, 50mm only.
Set Two: Cumberland Fairgrounds, and Surrounding Farmland
(Medium Format, Pentax 6x7 MLU, Various Lenses, Arista EDU 200/Fomapan 200 if the rumors are to be believed.)
So, for my first dedicated afternoon of shooting, I wanted to get some rural/landscape imagery. I wanted to shoot black and white, and I didn’t wanna have to travel far, far out into the boonies. That being said, going into the boonies in Maine is easy. Throw a rock and you’ll hit five trees and a farm. For reference, Cumberland is like 20 minutes outside of the largest city in Maine, Portland, and it’s most defintely “country.” Cumberland is also home to the Cumberland Fair/Fairgrounds where they have harness horse racing, a carnival, and the typical county fair stuff. Unbeknownst to me, people actually also use the space as horse raising land, and people live there as well.
Fomapan 200/Arista EDU 200 — I’ve cornered a Freestyle (who manufactures/owns the Arista Brand) employee and asked them if the two are the same — while furtive he seemed to agree — I feel reasonable confident in asserting that they are, or if they aren’t they’re close. Dev times and all. I like the film a lot, but I feel like it’s volatile, and it needs a lot of extra light. Hence why it worked well for my Antelope Valley zine. The film does have a pleasing profile, but I find even shot at 100 and developed at 200, it needs more light, or more development, which is why my negatives that were shot at 100 and developed at 320/400 (all development here done in Xtol) seem to have turned out the best to my eyes. Considering I was half metering by eye and half by cell phone light meter, I probably should do more extensive or conclusive testing/just flat out meter better. I still like a lot of the images I got here though.
Set Three: Fog Chasing in Portland, Maine. (And a brief hangover into a major shoot day).
(Medium Format, Pentax 6x7 MLU, Takumar SMC 45mm f/4, Takumar SMC 105 f/2.4, Expired Kodak Portra 800 accidentally exposed to X-Rays and god knows what else.)
Admittedly, I’m no huge Lomography/alternate processing fan. I think it can work to one’s advantage, and I think it should be intentional. But every once in a while, through sheer dumb luck, these distortions, created unintentionally, actually pan out to help the images rather than just turn them “quirky” I feel like a lot of the images here, actually y’know benefitted from the color casts from the expired Portra 800 in 220 (bought while on my trip), and the peripheral X-ray damage. Admittedly, this is also home-devved (and home scanned), so that’s a whole ‘nother vector of problems that could’ve occurred. I will say, I think Kodak film scans better at home than Fuji does.
I also had another day of shooting around Portland and Falmouth, but for the life of me I can’t get the photos to upload, I think I may have hit a hard limit on how much data you can hold etc, here but who knows, not all the photos will upload as of writing this so I’m holding off on uploading them. I’ll get them all up eventually, maybe give them their own subheading/post/platform. But, when it does show up, know to look out for Ilford HP5+, Bergger Pancro 400, and that it was all shot on my Pentax 6x7.
I wanted to get out and go test the Expired Portra 800 film (in 220), and attempt to capture some imagery I’ve wanted to shoot for a long time. I’ve always loved the look of mist from snow melted by rain, and thought it’d make a nice accent. I did have to pack up early that day because my lenses would fog over in seconds if I wasn’t careful. I ended up borrowing some industrial desiccant packets (ie the kind they put in containers when shipping large items from china) from my father to ensure that my lenses didn’t develop a fog or fungus. Anyway, because I packed up early, there’s the remaining/hang-over shots from Lewiston on the Sabattus border, the next day, which also, are suprisingly un-horrible given the circumstances.
Set Four: Boston’s a lot prettier than I remember. Also way less People.
(35mm, Minolta XD11, Rokkor 50mm f/1.4 MC PG, Kodak Tri-X 400, and Fuji Reala 100)
I’ve never lived in Boston. I stayed in Cambridge and Belmont for three weeks while I took a program in Guitarmaking (I still own the guitar, it’s kinda shit). I don’t particularly know the city, or at least this part of it. Most of my time was spent in the North End near North Bennett Street School, or in Harvard Square near where one of my host families was located. Either way, I absolutely do not remember the city being like this, ie empty or even well lit, aside from glimpses of the architechture from other trips. I definitely never remember the light being this nice, ever. I must’ve caught the city on a good day. Anyway, huge thank you/shout out again to Andy for walking around with me and showing me the city or this downtown area. It was a good day. Also because of him I got to try out Fuji Reala 100 through the Minolta XD 11, which for my money, is maybe one of my favorite discoveries or new/old things. Even with my crappy scans/home dev, I cannot find a fault in the film, except the blue cast. Personally I really like the blue it has, it’s like an odd warm blue. It’s comforting.