Exploration of Film
Western Oregon and much of the Pacific Northwest is known for the dreary overcast weather that envelopes the region during Fall and Winter. This weather creates subtle but entrancing lighting conditions, combine this with the low angled Winter light bursting periodically through the clouds and there are bound to be beautiful scenes unfolding throughout the day, however briefly. I set out to capture these moments, the subtle beauty in the drab light. Sometimes the scene would only last an instant and would have passed before I could get my camera set up. Other times I could watch as a scene slowly unfolded in front of me, patiently waiting for the right moment.
I grew up during a huge disruption in the history of photography, the introduction and industry wide move to digital photography. Film photography dominated the industry for decades before and during most of my life. I started shooting images at a young age with disposable film cameras, graduating to shooting, developing and printing my own film images before digital became a viable solution for consumer and professional photographers alike. Like most others I ultimately made the transition to digital because of the ease and low cost. After spending six years largely apart from the medium this project was a welcome excuse to start shooting film again. Even as digital cameras make leaps and bounds in capability many consumer level digital cameras still pale in comparison to most modern films, the cost of film, however, has become largely prohibitive for everyday use.
Most of my previous film photography was shot in black and white. With this project I wanted to explore color film, specifically newer films with high ISOs. For me the biggest advantages of film is the dynamic range within the negative and the appearance of grain instead of noise. Because of this I chose to shoot mid to high ISO films. The images in this portfolio were shot on Kodak’s Portra 400, 800 and Agfa’s 800 speed films. Not only does the dynamic range and grain help to produce, in my opinion, a better image, but film also seems to capture atmosphere in a way digital does not. These were important elements for this project because of the subject matter.
The forests of Oregon and Washington’s Western mountain ranges can seem dark and dreary, but look hard enough and there are bursts of light, brief dazzling moments. The overcast skies may seem drab but there is a subtle pallet of color hidden there. The moments may be fleeting but they are worth the chase, the wait and the patience.