Sunday, July 10, 2016

Acatenango Day 2

For day 1 click here

The view is 360°, every part of the 3 dimensional world feels below us. Fuego continues to smolder in the south, and the sun is making an entrance to the east. A cloud blanket separates us from humanity below, it is only us and the triangular volcanic islands in every direction. Interestingly enough, one of the best views is the dark ridgeline to the west. Being in the shadows of giants to the east gives a low-key, painterly look. 

Looking west; 1 8x10 silver print available 
Time is irrelevant. None of us left wishing to be anywhere but here.This feeling of timelessness lasted for what could have been 10 minutes or an hour, till we were brought the heartbreaking news it was time to descend. The twisty two hour ascent left us with a straight 10 minute run down to camp, just lift your feet and pretend to ski down the scree field.

Everyone knows the worst part of any camping trip is the clean-up. A quick cup of instant coffee and the tents are rolled up. 


Fuego Eruption

"In its bulletin this morning, INSIVUMEH reports strong tremor accompanying the rise of new magma. An ash plume has been rising to 5,500 m a.s.l. and drifting 25 km to the S, SW and W, where ash fall is occurring. Strong shock waves from the explosions at the summit can be felt in several kilometer radius." Volcano Discovery April 13, 2016


Only a mile across the col from us is the show of a lifetime for everyone but the guides, who were still thoroughly impressed. It feels as though the only thing preventing our cremation is the wind blowing the 6,000 foot high ash cloud away from us. For an amount of time I could never quantify, we sat in awe of this phenomenon, no thoughts in our minds.


Moments like these help me reflect on the duality of power and fragility in our world. Though it was hard to leave, entering back into the clouded underworld became our new occupation. The walk down stayed quiet, seemingly more beautiful than the tiring walk up, leaving us to contemplate and enjoy our return to 'normal life'.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Color Film, Black and White Paper

Digression: I have attempted to make this post cover a relatively complicated process, while still making it available to people who have never been in a darkroom.

Making a black and white silver print with color film. If you look at forum and blog posts in the rather hypocritical internet-film world, it is nearly impossible to do. Well, unless you want a low contrast print or have a panchromatic paper which is much more difficult to attain and use. The issue behind this is that silver gelatin paper is very resilient to warm light, and intentionally so. This is because the safelight is red/orange, and the paper would be exposed if it weren't designed for this process.

I have only just started printing color film on black and white paper, and it doesn't represent the scene as accurately as black and white film. But who said accuracy is the intention? Below is a print you have most definitely seen before if you follow my work. It was shot on cheap, expired 400 speed Fuji Superia color film. I had it developed at a lab, then printed it myself on Ilford Glossy Fiber-Based paper with a high contrast filter (4.5). Not bad, eh?

Here you see an un-altered scan of the color negative next to a desaturated version. Kinda nasty, huh?

Now is a comparison of the print and the scan's blue channel. 

For those who don't know, the blue channel in Photoshop is one of three black and white images the program combines to choose the tones and colors of a color image (RGB). That is for another post on another blog, but essentially this is the equivalent of placing a blue filter in front of a camera shooting black and white film. Notice how in both the silver print and the blue channel the warm tones in the gravel have been darkened a great deal.

Though this image was shot and printed well before I saw Eric Erlenbusch's Death Valley Photos, seeing these was one of the reasons I've decided to continue this process. His concept is very similar in that the images are shot on color film and converted to black and white. Rather than letting the film and camera do the 'conversion' to grey-scale, we've both decided to utilize the colors on the film to give us choices in processing on what tones (lightness/darkness) are created by different hues (colors). The difference comes in that he is using Lightroom and I am using Dark Room.

As I said this print was the first in a long ordeal I see myself pursuing. I currently have a roll processing with images intended to directly compare the way different colors are affected. In the future I also hope to analyze the effects of actual color filters, as well as pushing the color film to eliminate necessity for a high contrast filter.

Thanks for reading, I appreciate any feedback from all perspectives!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

(De)Composition #1

Order Framed Prints Here
Direction 3; Abandoned hotel in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico
 Framed Print Here

The intent of this series is to showcase abandoned buildings becoming part of the natural environment once again. Each one has its own story, whether a pre-Columbian Mayan temple or a 1940's steel mill.

Reduction; Reduction Mill in Murray, Utah- Framed Print Here

When entering these buildings, you are bombarded with new smells, visuals, and sounds that give each one a unique feeling.  Many are filled with beer cans, shitty tags, and ripped clothing. Some are kept as monuments for tourists to explore. The most surreal though are the ones left untouched by all unwilling to take a pair of pliers to a bolted door.

ToninĂ¡ Mayan Ruins in Chiapas, Mexico

Though each is so different, with some millennia apart, they all share one commonality; windows.

Dance Hall in Ogden, Utah
This commonality is not as merely as simple as having holes in the walls. These windows control exactly how one perceives the entrails of the buildings. The windows create a sharp distinction between inside and out, new and old, light and dark.  Order framed prints Here
To be continued...