Thursday, 15 August 2013

Ramona Falls

Guest Post by: Zeb Andrews

Here is a brief write up on the process of making this particular image. Hope you enjoy it.

waterfall photography
Photo by: Zeb Andrews

So I suppose a great place to begin this conversation is to let you know that this image was made on a film camera. A toy film camera in fact. Now don't worry, I am not about to tell you how much better film is than digital, I don't buy into that whole argument. I use both and for good reasons. My process changes with each camera I pick up, and the process of making photos is very important to me, perhaps more so even than the photos themselves.

But back to this photo. It was made with a Holga camera. The Holga is this craptacular piece of plastic camera that makes square 6cm negatives on 120 film. The body is plastic. The lens is plastic. It is basically all plastic. And primitive. And it tends to leak light. Oh, and it costs all of $35. Yup, $35 dollars plus a couple of bucks for the roll of film that was in it.

This is pertinent to the conversation in a couple of ways. For one, this camera fits 12 photos per roll. I get 12 chances of taking what thoughts, feelings and reactions are in my head and turning those into potential photographs before I have to stop to reload. This changes my process. For example, on this particular day I was up at Ramona Falls on Mt. Hood. It is a beautiful spot and definitely photogenic. If I had had my digital camera up there I would have made 200 images. But I didn't. I had my Holga with its 12 potential frames. So instead of spending 20 minutes running around helter skelter making those 200 images (198 of which I probably would have deleted) I spent 20 minutes walking around and I made two images, this one and one other where I experimented with double exposure. And that is what I mean about the process. My digital is very much about shoot, shoot, shoot, look and learn, then shoot some more. And that is fine for what it is. But my Holga forces me to think, think, think and then shoot. And sometimes, ok often, I enjoy that process more.

The second aspect to this conversation deals with the difference between the quality of the equipment and the quality of the photographer. In short it goes something like this, your most valuable piece of photographic equipment is yourself. Put a $1000 lens into the hands of a photographer who doesn't how to use it and they will make poor photographs. But put a $35 toy piece of plastic into the hands of a photographer who really knows how to make it sing and magic can happen. This is good advice to remember in your quest to become a better photographer. A photographer's main limitation is not the quality of their equipment but the quality of their abilities. 

Having said all that, the rest of the conversation is much less abstract and goes something like this: 100 ISO film, 4 second exposure with a polarizing filter and tripod at about f11. Of course, having a pretty falls like Ramona in front of you and your camera doesn't hurt one bit either. ;-)

Related Reading