Today is Christmas morning. It is easy to forget what truly lies behind Christmas – thoughts of peace and hope, the turning of the year as the solstice brings back the light of longer days, and the values that are at the core of most of us. Community. Family. The world around us.
For me, much of what I truly love in this world is ephemeral. My family, my friends – we all will vanish at some point. How many of us will be remembered in 100 years? There is one thing, though, that never ceases to amaze me, and that is the natural beauty of the world, its diversity of life (human, animal, plant), and the fact that it is even here at all.
With this in mind, I wandered through some of the myriad photos I took on our trip last summer. Here, a view out of the car window on the way from Mesa Verde, Colorado, to the state of Wyoming. Here, the American West – sparse, grand, barren, and filled with life. Merry Christmas!
The last few days of July 2017 and the first few weeks of August 2017 were devoted to a family trip, leaving California and thence traveling through Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and home. In that time period we covered about 4000 miles, spending 2-3 days in each place. There were four of us – my husband’s parents, my husband, and myself. It was a family trip, to see places never before seen, as well as to see places where family ancestors lived and worked – specifically, Ft. Laramie, Wyoming.
On this trip, there were two photographers – my FIL and myself. Tom has a Nikon D810 and D610; he brought the D610 along and shot numerous images, which I hope to see soon! Myself, I brought along more toys than I should confess to, but enjoyed using all of them. In particular, I brought along a new-to-me Olympus OM-1n, an OM 50mm f1.8 MC, and the OM 35-70mm f3.5-4.5. Each has a 49mm diameter, so I also brought along UV, polarizing, orange and red filters, and used the latter two to see how JCH StreetPan 400 would work as landscape film.
It was gorgeous! Combined with the Oly, I was incredibly pleased. StreetPan comes in both 35mm and 120mm, so a lot of people will be really happy.
What I like about the StreetPan is that it is contrasty, yet has a good, long grey scale. The orange and red filters helped to make the skies pop, and the landscape. I didn’t have to do too much in post, perhaps modifying highlights and blacks to meet my own (artistic?) desires. Detail was good, too.
The image at the top is a panorama I stitched together in CS6; below are individual images which can give you a good idea about the beauty of this film for landscape. These scenes were shot in the Mesa Verde National Park and the Grand Canyon National Park, both in Arizona.
Too often, black and white landscapes don’t interest me, and the reason is the difficulty in differentiating small details. Dramatic landscapes don’t have to look dramatic, but they need something to make them dramatic. This can mean contrast, composition, and a number of other elements. In all honesty, I do not consider myself to be a good black-and-white photographer simply because I find it difficult to think in terms of value. I see color before I see anything else, and certainly my gaudy photos show this tendency. Therefore, using the filters and an already contrasty film produced a number of photos that pleased me no end. This experience is whetting my appetite for more!