Fried Green Tomatillos

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35 mm, A New Analogy for Life

I like film. I had forgotten how much. It's been over two years since I shot a roll of film and before that it had to be at least three or four. I've had digital camera after digital camera and I've broken them all save my new Rebel [which if broken Jeffe will kick my ever-loving ass]. Somehow I still have retained this very old, very heavy Pentax ME Super [circa 1979] that actually spawned my on-off love affair with photos. I lose and break everything but apparently not this lil' baby. I finally got some old rolls of film developed and they turned out interesting, which was awesome since I had actually thought they would be crap. They look aged and subdued, but I notice so much more about each picture, congratulating myself on some little rock in focus or superb colors. Probably because normally it's easy onsite to check every shot for the correct white balance or fix the curves later in Camera Raw [never, however, will I give up my passionate love of Adobe products]. Film leaves no prisoner behind.

The four rolls are from two very different quintessential days that I had, until recently, forgotten. One day was camping with old friends on my favorite San Diego beach for the first time in years and it truly marked my dive back into photography. I got to explore a grimy homeless grotto and appreciate the simple, but happy and profound messages and images hidden from those not daring enough to find them. This would be the first day I was inspired by Erin.

The other 'lost film day' was the first time I had gone back to the house my family had built on Palomar Mountain to explore the devastation from the 2007 fires. It was my first look at what I can only remember as a truly Martian landscape. Nothing but gray and black, half the roll came out gritty from the copious amounts of dust in the air, which additionally had made it difficult to breath. Everything in view of the house had burned. This was a place of peace for me, Nature at it's absolute best, one I've had compared to a real life, Middle Earth Shire. This is what it looks like two years later. But to remember it burned and desolate still breaks a little piece off my heart. Right after I moved off the mountain, the fires came, and licked the sides of my house. The dogs were let out to fend for themselves and my dad literally escaped with a wall of flames behind him. For those that weren't in San Diego, it is hard to express what it felt like, not able to reach friends and family, feeling like the fire was closing you in on all sides, and just waiting for that automated ring telling you to evacuate. Everything turned out okay, we rebuilt what was burned, and spray on fire retardant gel [which I'm sure is horrible for the environment] saved a lot of memories.

Back to the film after the ramble. The digital vs. film horse has been beaten to a pulp. With a limit of 10, 12, or 24 exposures [compared to the 350+ allowed by my 4GB card] you take a hell of a lot more time setting the aperture, the shutter speed, focusing on the object in your viewfinder. I suppose what I wish is that I took that same patience with every photo, but also with every day, in general, to most of the aspects of life. I'm so busy all the time that I forget to notice details [in my viewfinder] far too often. I don't take pictures just to shoot anymore, and like life, I generally think mistakes in photos make them more interesting. So this is my Tuesday resolution for the week. To focus on my life and my moments as if I have a limited number of exposures, to strive for great or striking color but maybe not perfect focus or composition. It's often said we can learn from the past and I have to say that my old adventures with an out-of-date machine have been truly eye-opening. I'm leaving soon, this gorgeous paradise I was blessed to grow up in, and I feel the time is slipping away too quickly.


mariel4985 said...

just reading your blog for the first time. yay! can't find where to follow you though.

anyway...i am trying to go back to the patience of film myself these days; just got a Lomo and am excited to see what pops out of it. love that mural picture from encinitas, btw. :)

May 1, 2009 at 1:14 PM  

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