Steph & I had talked about shooting together for months - I think I have to get used to these things just taking their time, especially when it's purely a creative endeavour. After a good deal of plans falling through, we were able to connect for a brief, unproduced shoot on an unseasonably warm but still chilly day in January, and I was able to FINALLY shoot some medium-format film again.
I have a problem with talking about the things I'm working on before they're ready to be consumed by the general public. It's something I know I need to work on - I even bought a book about the subject to try to convince myself to be more transparent - but as it stands, I manage my obsessiveness towards perfection and the crushing feeling of not doing work that is satisfactory to me by not talking about it - I've done it with my music, my photography, anything I do for/by myself that's remotely creative. I don't mean anything by it when it happens, it's just how I've dealt with it. If I'm honest, most times, the results tend to prove the cagey methods unnecessary. It's just very difficult for me to know that before hand. So I sometimes don't promote anything I'm working on.
Anyway, enough about that. The shoot was cool. I can't remember the name of the location, but it's an abandoned warehouse (factory?) in Philadelphia that Steph suggested - not my aesthetic generally speaking, but a great location nonetheless, albeit cold and pretty spooky. I brought 2 cameras, my Pentax 645n with the 80mm 2.8, and the massive Pentax 67 with the 105mm 2.4 (my back was killing me!), and a grab bag of random color film:
- Portra 160
- Fuji 160C (expired)
- Kodak Ektar 100
We wandered through the space for about 2 hours, generally following the sunlight, and I shot as much as I could. Pentax glass is so good. I shot almost everything at ƒ4.0 and up, with the exception of some wide open stuff in the darkest areas we visited. The color rendition and sharpness are fantastic, and so forgiving, seeing how I wasn't being extremely precise with my focusing for speed's sake. The shoot wasn't hiccup free thought - I was very worried that I wouldn't get anything out of it, actually. It wasn't until I finished the roll of portra and removed it that I realized I'd shot the entire roll at 400. Not a huge thing, but color film can be very testy if you try to push it. I'd forced myself into that situation. The rest of the film I shot at box speed, but as we were losing light quickly, I ended up losing quite a few shots to camera shake blur.
The 645n's mirror started sticking after every shot, which was very disconcerting. I wasn't sure that I wouldnt have a roll of extremely overexposed shots, so my confidence was zapped at that point. I'm still not sure what was up with that, and it's still doing it - I'll chalk it up to being an old, second-hand camera that I probably could stand to replace - but the shots came back okay. So far. I still have a roll to develop, but maybe everything worked out.
We happened across another photographer, Israel, doing some UrbEx stuff - exchanged information and what not, and he was kind enough to share a great location on the other side of the building, in the middle of an overpass bridge, complete with broken glass, a desk and chair. We went searching for it and when it appeared, it was like a creepy vista. Very cool indeed.
Steph was great - her work that I've been privy to is fantastic, so even though we'd never worked together before and had no pre-existing chemistry, I was confident that if I managed to do one thing correctly, we'd have at least one keeper. She was a trooper too, it couldn't have been more than 30º inside the building, in the sunlight. Hoping to have the opportunity to shoot her again.
Overall, it just felt really good to shoot again, especially now that I see the results and had a few pleasant surprises. In spite of second-guessing myself every step of the way, and stifling myself about it. lol. It is what it is, as they say.