One Side to the Other

Images made within moments of one another. Wandering amid the masses of beach dwellers. Just shaking the dust off. A snap here, a snap there. Looking more than shooting. The distance is what is troubling at first, after so long in front of the screen, protected. Not here. Everything is open to the elements, including my eyes which dry and then water like a newborn. My depth is not quite right, but I know it and take visual precaution. My fingers tremble over the dials, a routine that comes back quickly no matter how long I’ve been away, and now, when I look down, the numbers are fuzzy. Yes, I’m that guy now. The one who lifts the spectacles to see what is so clearly right in front of him. Age destroys ego in most, and I can see myself leveling off in regard. “Know your limits,” someone wiser once said. Mine are clearly, or not so clearly, defined. I need no map to see the edges of the flat Earth. One boot hangs on the edge, but the other is dug in, braced and defiant.
The camera allows me to become invisible. I know, I know, that’s impossible, but I beg to differ. A physical meditation if you pursue it long enough. I swear. You are there, and then you blend into the swatch kit of color that life provides. I turn one way and slow the shutter, pan through the railing. People running. A rangefinder so I need to compensate for not seeing clearly the frame I need to see. Who knows? And then a slow path to the other side where a woman in white strikes a pose for me, only not for me, but for someone I can’t see. Thank you.
Spacing. It’s all about the spacing. I know this isn’t something that will live on paper, or even in my mind for any length of time, but this image deserves respect only for the spacing. The elements are there, in harmony with the environment. Open, sandy, spacious, limitless, broad, minimal. Ya, that’s it, broad but minimal. We all have a wheelhouse and this is mine. I like to dissect. Need to actually and when I do I’m so happy it feels guilty. A secret I tell to only myself. You want to know this feeling? Just go. Just go and press the button. Again and again.

Shark Encounter Caught on Film

Not to blow my own horn here, but there are maybe THREE people in the world who could have made this shot. Me, this German shark expert and one Paraguayan special forces photographer. It was only my cat-like reflexes that allowed me respond to such a rare encounter.

But hey, I’m trained and specialize in getting in and out of danger zones. I’m a wedding photographer and that is just what we do. Thought I would share this with everyone.

I feel lucky to be alive.

Kodak Ektar 100


Birds doing what they do, Corona del Mar, California.

I don’t think I’m a great film tester. In fact, I know I’m not a great film tester. Thank God for serious photographers and the work they do because I could never do it. Running a film through its paces is difficult work, and frankly, I’m not sure I’m man enough for it. So, when I test a film, I grab a few rolls, take a quick look at the speed then head into the void. Today’s void was the beach in CDM, or Corona del Mar for those of you from any backwater that isn’t The OC. It might have been Newport. I don’t really know anymore. If I was guessing, and trying to get a permit for this place, I’d probably….go….with…..CDM? Who knows?
Kodak Ektar 100 speed film, in 35mm. In short, it looks good. Thanks for reading.

Pretty yellow things growing from the Earth near a beach where lots of people go and where there are security cameras, Corona del Mar/Newport Beach, California.

I like the color. I like the contrast. I like the grain, or lack there of, and I like the texture in the non-critical focus areas, or for the average citizen, the blurry areas. Might be a little warm for skintone, but you know, with Photoshop 1.0 we kinda solved that. I use Portra for skin, and most things, but I have a plan for this film, one type of image that it will be perfect for.
So, when I head to Peru, there will be Ektar, 120 in my bag. In fact, it’s already there.

So dust off the old jalopy and head out to your nearest film peddler, if you still have any around, and get ready to endure the painfully tired question from the counter guy as you ask for your twelve exposure roll of Ektar, “Film, they still make that?” Hahahahahaha, never get tired of that one.

On a side note. Most of the time, when someone slaps one of those lame film statements on me like “Film, oh ya, I remember that stuff, heh, heh,” it is a sure sign that their work really sucks. Like really sucks. Like it has unicorns in it and the painter tool and shots of their kids with purple fog around the edges.