Since I’ve started using film more, I’ve found myself continually impressed by the engagement of the online film community, particularly on the Twitters and such. Maybe it’s the inherent delays involved in film, but in the age of “Instagram it and forget it” I’m seeing a level collaboration, feedback, and sharing of ideas and knowledge from this community that reminds me of the good old days of Flickr or even Instagram in it’s infancy. It’s been fun to come across this community and see it develop (bad pun intended).
Starting a couple weeks back, my film Twitters have been abuzz lately with talk of Expired Film Day, a good excuse to try something new with something old and share with the community. I had just the right roll on hand: A roll of Walgreens Studio 35 film that I found in a random bag amongst the trash and treasures on the shelf at Urban Ore in Berkeley. Presumably diverted from the trash bin, this roll was a bit of an unknown, which could have been through pretty much anything in it’s lifetime.
Since I was planning to be out snowboarding on the scheduled day of March 15th, I loaded up one of my least obtrusive and least valuable cameras, an Olympus Stylus 120, tricked it to overexpose by one stop, and slipped it in my jacket for a few shots from the mountain. Overall, I’m pretty pleased with the results, given that the film has been sitting around somewhere in unknown conditions for at least a decade.
Moon, orange, even years, and calm nights on the bay. As insanely expensive as it is around here, the love never dies. My temporary hometown of 10 years, I still love you, San Francisco.
Available on aluminum as a 12″x18″ print, displayed at the recent Through the Lens show in Oakland, for just $200. Other sizes and materials available. Contact me and I’d love to work with you to place this on your wall.
Los Ojos del Salar, in northern Chile’s Atacama Desert. I tried, but was able to learn pretty much nothing about the origin of these two small round natural lagoons situated just steps apart in the dry expanse of the desert. I did learn a couple things about them on my visit, however: They’re deep enough to dive into from the edge without hitting bottom and the water is quite refreshing (cold, really) on a hot summer day. Almost as refreshing as the obligatory sunset Pisco Sour that followed.
This was another photo that I had featured in last weekend’s Through the Lens Show in Oakland. I still have one of this image available as a 12″x18″ metal print for $200. Other sizes and materials available, please contact me for more details and I’d be happy to help find a way to put this on your wall.
Last night, I had a print of this photo showcased as part of the fantastic Through the Lens show in Oakland. The 12″x18″ aluminum print from the show is still available for $200. All photos available in other sizes and print formats as well. Contact me for more details.
The Ha’iku Stairs, also known as The Stairway to Heaven, is definitely not a climb for the faint of heart. Dating back to World War II, this stairway was originally installed by the US Navy as part of a project to use the natural shape of the valley as a giant transmitter dish to send signals to fleets across the Pacific Ocean. These rusted narrow ship ladders remain today, climbing 3,922 steps from the valley floor to the top of the ridge some 2,300 feet above. At some points climbing nearly vertical the cliff faces and at other points crossing ridges with sheer dropoffs a mere inches beyond the railing, this climb is sure to bring out any latent fear of heights. However, the views from the top are guaranteed to make it all worthwhile.
Though the stairs themselves are on public land and were restored in 2003, nearby neighbors have blocked attempts to provide a solution for public access to the trails in the years since. This, along with lingering liability concerns, has caused the stairs to remain closed off to the public to this day. Until that day comes when the stairs are opened for public enjoyment, the only ways to access this amazing place are to either volunteer with the Friends of the Haiku Stairs for a service day, take your chances avoiding the guard and a potential trespassing citation to sneak onto the stairs illegally, or to take a long muddy hike along the Moanalua Ridge to reach the stairs from the back side.
It’s a place like none other, and I would love nothing more than to see a resolution that opens the stairs for everyone to enjoy someday.
Harney County, Oregon:
I discovered this beautiful area on a road trip this summer, camping for a night on public lands, kept natural and accessible to all through federal government protection.
Today, many people around the country are discovering it for a very different reason: The radicalized “militia” that is occupying federal lands north of where this photo was taken, threatening violence against anyone who would remove them and frightening local residents. It seems that the main goals of this terrorist action are to gain the release of two convicted arsonists and to privatize these public lands to be fenced off and exploited by corporate ranchers, loggers, and miners.
Those are some noble ambitions you’ve got there, fellas…
Whether in San Francisco or far away, in your hometown or the town that feels like home, relaxing indoors or out on an adventure, may your holidays be filled with the joy of family, old friends, new friends, or people you haven’t even met yet. I hope everyone finds a bit of joy of your own and a way to share that joy with someone else.
Merry Christmas, and happy holidays, no matter what you prefer to celebrate.
(Shot on Tri-X 35mm, pushed to 1600 and stand developed. Who says film can’t keep up at night?)
A ghost of the past, the eloquently named Communications Control Link Station stands as the only shelter on a foggy, rainy night, high above the Haʻikū Valley on Oahu. Technically illegal to reach, and accessed by a strenuous pre-dawn climb up a series of ship ladders bolted to the valley walls, the hike to the top is not for everyone, but if you dare to climb, you’ll be rewarded in the end.
Having started at 2am to avoid any complications reaching the site, I was left with quite a bit of time to hang out in the CCL station, waiting for sunrise with a crew of compatriots from all ages and walks of life. From the travelers like myself who didn’t want to miss this on our visit, to the local who claimed to enjoy a morning run up the stairs several times a week, carrying bags to haul down any trash she might find on her way out, everyone I met at the top was cheerful, appreciative, and respectful of the site.
Years after my visit, and over a decade since the stairs were intended to be opened to the public, this amazing hike remains officially off limits, threatened by government bureaucracy and NIMBY neighbors preventing development of legal access routes. There has been talk for years of opening up access for a fee or else tearing the stairs down entirely at great cost, but little seems to have changed. For now, there remain two options to access this treasure: hike the legal back way from the Moanalua Valley, or take your chances at finding a route to the bottom of the stairs and getting there before the guard shows up for duty. I will refrain from making any specific recommendations here, but if you do make it to the stairs, climb carefully, and be sure to enjoy the moment; It’s truly something special.
I hope someday to hear that the access issues have been resolved and a legal means of visiting these public lands initiated, but given the pace of things so far, I won’t hold my breath.
The ghosts of old San Francisco are out there. If you keep your eyes open, you might just catch a glimpse. Happy Halloween!
Day 260: September 17, 2014: Twin Peaks
I suspect that this expired roll of Velvia probably spent a good portion of its life in a hot car in the Washington desert. While that’s not usually the best way to treat your film, it has resulted in some interesting purple tones in this particular roll. It doesn’t work for everything, but I do like the way it accentuates the weirdness in these unusual low clouds. Overall, good for sunrise and sunset, not as good for most else… Unfortunately, this was also the only roll I had, so I can’t use this information doesn’t do me much good for the future. However, if you happen to have an abused roll of Fuji Velvia 50 laying around, maybe you’ll find some use in my random experiment.
For reference, this was taken at sunset, so it’s pretty far off from the reds and oranges that you would expect at that time.
(Expired Fujifilm Velvia 5o slide film, exposed 1.3 seconds at sunset in a Canon EOS 3)
Day 249: September 6, 2014: Lombard Street
Late night on Lombard Street in San Francisco, shot on Fuji Provia 400x slide film using a little Olympus point and shoot. I must say I’m pretty impressed how well these worked out, considering the darkness and the general sensitivity of slides to getting the exposure just perfect. It’s just too bad that Fuji killed off this film, the last most sensitive lower light slide film around, shortly after I picked up this roll.