Tomales, CA

Confessions on Technique

I know this about myself: I often make photographs and then don’t look at the actual images for a year, sometimes more. I can easily ignore whole bodies of work as I shoot them. I am not kind of photographer who shoots, reviews, edits, prints, then shoots more. For me, the best part of photography is in making the photograph in the field;  it is exhilarating and much better than post processing.  I find that when I edit as I work on an idea, the subject  gets stale.  

That said, one problem arises as long as I am hooked on film (and all my images these days are shot on film). It is absolutely necessary to write down the following soon after making the photograph:  location,  the date, the film type, exposure time, ISO, and of course the camera and pinhole size. I quit taking notes and writing down what I did when I got my first digital camera several years ago. Now after shooting film again for the last five years, I find I want to return to certain subjects and find the portals, the little river, the big trees, the end of a road campground, the slough. It is impossible to tell where many images were made. Good images and bad record keeping exists in my life. I vow to do better. I will take concise notes I will.

Of course with digital, one has lots of metadata but without GPS turned on, no location exists. But what is photography about anyway?  Pinhole photography is about pausing for 30 minutes or more and just looking.  Not that I eschew technique in pinhole photography.  I am just not a  technical kind of gal and refuse to pretend that I am.  After all,  the image is about feeling, the light, the moment, the weather and of course it is about the ISO of the film and the size of the pinhole aperture and the exposure times.  I have began a notebook just for keeping film and camera data with little drawings of my photographs at the time I make them. Hopefully, this will help me be able to return to the scene.  The featured image was taken on a road trip to California I think in 2016.  It is a happy accident.  I decided to try an all night long exposure and had a hard time getting up before dawn to close the camera.  I actually closed it sometime after the sun came up. This image is easy to find again.  But the exposure/film combo was not recorded.

The images below have  unrecorded exposure times and location and were based on knowing that a good photograph could be made from what is in front of me.  That is the exciting moment in photography.  These are just a few of the total shot this way. Some can be found again easily, some can not.