Random Snap

Mexico circa 1994

South of Nogales. A community living in old train cars. We stopped, got out, started walking about and shooting. People were great, fun, interested and living a tough existence. Leica, Kodachrome.

At the time, I totally took these moments for granted, heck, these trips for granted. Now, it seems like I never have the time to do any of this. So rare.

I’ve seen people living in train cars all over the world, Sicily, Mexico and in the Western United States.

In Sicily they have been living in government provided rail cars since the earthquake in the 1970’s. In the Western United States these things are considered art forms. Odd how this works.

This picture bugs me because I’m too far back and it’s tilted for no reason. Well, it’s tilted cause I’m walking fast and trying to bridge the distance to make another shot. I like how the one boy is framed in the window but the others are not right.

When I teach I often talk of the “picture within the picture” and this is a great example of a not quite there photograph. But, inside this, sure, there is a better image. Did I get it? Don’t know, have to look at my chromes.

What I do like is the memory, the color of the image, and the light, which for being overcast, still has a nice punch to it. Normally this light is “black and white light,” but I think color also looks great in flat light.

Kodachrome was unique in its pallet, which is partly to blame.

I don’t take these trips for granted any longer. They are far too precious. Heck, time to shoot is far too precious.

8 responses to “Random Snap”

  1. Jim says:

    Man – if only all internet photo discussions debated quality of light and not whose lens was better… 1/250, f/8, tri-x.

    • smogranch says:

      Hey Jim,

      Well, if you want guaranteed success on your blog or site, write about technology and equipment. As evidenced by many of the sites I see, you don’t even need to know anything about photography or actually making images. People in some cases don’t want to be slowed down by actual image making. Gets in the way of tech talk.
      But, I’m cursed. Gear is important, but at some point you have to show your portfolio. Yep, you gotta put it out there and if you don’t have a basic understanding of light, timing and composition, which many of the tech writers don’t, then you are only gonna get so far.
      I see this in workshops too. Classes like “advanced digital camera techniques,” will have a waiting list, and next to it an amazing class about how to produce a body of work by a brilliant photographer will have four people signed up. It’s a very odd thing.

  2. John Nelson says:

    Don’t have much sympathy for a guy who’s looking at Peru, Pismo Beach, Santa Fe in front of him and New York, London, DC and I can’t remember where else in the rear view. Okay well maybe a little sympathy…. good shooting in Peru.
    Are you fishing for a compliment? The color is beautiful in this shot. And the tilt adds to the fleeting moment of the kids running. I even like the white space at the top (helps that you scanned the frame). I did the hand crop thing and I think I like this shot better than the one you’re describing.

    • smogranch says:

      Well, I’ve been slightly lucky with travel, but you the difference between a work trip and a shoot trip. This Mexico jaunt was all shooting, no plan, just drive and shoot. Those are still rare for me, but man do I crave that experience.
      I like this shot, don’t love it. Know what I wanted and didn’t get it, which is what hurts. I’ll get over it. I do have images from this shoot I really like. For $49.99 you can buy my action set that places that train car in the background of any image.

  3. Eric Labastida says:

    Man, I don’t live in your boots, but there’s gotta be time somewhere for senor Milnor.
    good to see the Kodachrome though. Always good to see Kodachrome. HEAR ME KODAK, I said ALWAYS good to see Kodachrome. Ay Chinga!

  4. David Wissinger says:

    Some Random Comments:

    I had business in San Francisco that was to wrap up late afternoon, so I brought my camera anticipating some short but good shooting time. I forgot about the switch to daylight savings time and had just about the worst light of the day. So I took your advice, Dan, and just left the camera in tha bag. I knew all I’d get would be snapshots.

    I was following a young couple down California Street headed for the Embarcadero. They were speaking a language I didn’t understand or recognize. We got to the area where the cable cars turn around – always worth a snap or two – and the guy pulls out a pocket digital camera and starts taking photos while walking.Let me say that again: While Walking. I gotta believe that back in the film days nobody would have wasted film and processing by taking photos While Walking. A new era, indeed.

    I like the pop of color in your image that the kids’ clothes offer. They’re much more interesting with all the grey in the shot.

    • smogranch says:

      Well, I think there is an upside and a downside to random, willy nilly snapping. You can get lucky, get something unreal now and again, but I understand what you mean. For a lot of folks, picture making or taking is a somewhat trivial thing. But, if they are happy doing it, there are worse things they could be doing. Like tagging cars or wilding people in the park.
      I like the shoot randomly. Sometimes it works. Other times, not so much. But for me, most of what I do comes when I have light I can work with. Randomly snapping at high noon light, for me, isn’t a load of fun. Random snapping in great light, sure why not.

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