Photography Archives, page 2

About cameras and taking photos

My Leica year comes to an end

A year has passed since I began my delayed gratification photography project—an attempt to broaden my horizons by limiting myself to a Leica M3, one lens (50mm), and one type of film (Tri-X), for one year (as recommended by Mike Johnston). In the end I shot 18 rolls of film—about one and a half per month—a far cry from Mike’s recommendation of 2-4 per week! I had all of my negatives scanned, so one could argue that this was “analog photography” in name only. Early on I had designs to take a darkroom class, but the timing never worked out. It’s something I could always pursue in the future.

I filtered through the 650-odd photos I took and whittled them down to the strongest 18 (technically 19, as the panorama below was stitched together from two separate photos). It’s purely coincidence that I shot 18 rolls of film and ended up with 18 winners. I didn’t constrain myself to picking one shot per roll. Several rolls, especially in the beginning, had no winners, and several had more than one. Not surprisingly, the majority have appeared in prior blog posts (as indicated). I’ve arranged them below in the order that they were taken.

16th Mission BART Station
16th Mission BART Station (from A hybrid commute)

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Hanging on the wall

Occasionally people reach out and ask if they can purchase a print of my color-accented Golden Gate Bridge photo. But of course! Here’s a photo I just received from someone in Quebec who did. It coordinates nicely, don’t you think?

Photo of a print of Justin Watt's color-accented Golden Gate Bridge photo
Photo of a print of my color-accented Golden Gate Bridge photo

What my smartphone sees

So I got this new camera (that also happens to make and receive calls). And like any camera that’s always with me, I use it to take the occasional photo. The quality is not great, but it’s better than my first foray into cellphone photography.

I’ve never been much of a street photographer—I don’t really like taking photos of strangers—but I do like taking photos of interesting street scenes. Anyway, I’ve had the camera for 2 months now, so I decided to go through all the photos I’ve taken and pluck out a few that I thought were noteworthy.

Legs sticking out of a box
One morning just around the corner from our house

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The 2012 Photo Book

The exercise of creating an annual photo book, but more importantly, flipping through it later, serves as an encouraging reminder of all that we managed to accomplish in the space of a year—especially in the absence of that elusive sense of purpose.

What a pleasant surprise.

2012 Photo Book cover
The front cover of our 2012 photo book

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Yosemite in black and white

Stephanie and I visited Yosemite for the first time six years ago, on a whim. We ended up hiking to Vernal Fall, but once there we got into a disagreement about whether to keep going (towards Nevada Fall) or turn back. It was so rare for us to disagree—we’d not yet known each other for a year at that point—that we really didn’t know how to react. After taking some time to reflect, we decided it would be wise to turn back, but via another trail—thus forming a loop, which incidentally was more intense than either of us had anticipated. In a way we both got what we wanted (without realizing it).

So it was particularly meaningful for us to return to Yosemite the weekend after Labor Day and revisit that hike, now six years wiser. In fact we were both willing to up the ante this time. After surviving an 11 mile day hike in Point Reyes this spring, we had a pretty good sense of our upper limit. The round trip to Nevada Fall, returning via the Muir Trail, was a mere 5.6 miles. That’s all? We could do that—as long as we got an early start and came prepared with food, water, and gear.

It takes about three and a half hours to get to Yosemite Valley from San Francisco, and I’d wager that it takes another hour and a half to get from one end of the valley to the other—because the park compels me to pull the car over at every turn in order to take it all in. I came prepared with two rolls of black and white film, but after burning through 25 shots just driving into the park, I started to worry that two rolls would not be enough. (A roll has 36 exposures, by the way.) Conveniently they sold black and white film at the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Village, so I picked up a roll of T-Max 100. (I figured the lower sensitivity, as compared to my usual Tri-X 400, would be better in the bright outdoors.) In the end my concern was unfounded. I almost finished the roll of T-Max, and I never touched my backup roll of Tri-X.

El Capitan at Yosemite National Park (black and white)
El Capitan

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