Saturday, October 06, 2018

Refining Processes in the Field

My goal this fall was to get in at least one productive outing with my P.120 camera so that I could gather more variety of images to use for my 2019 calendar.  I prepped my camera bag ahead of time and kept my eyes on my schedule and the weather forecast, and this past week the stars aligned for me on Thursday.  No appointments to be at, no evening events to be back for, and (as it turned out) no rain.

In anticipation of this outing, I made a few changes to my pinhole shooting processes.

First thing: I returned the center post to my tripod.

I had removed the center post last January (see my story about that here) so that I would be able to get my tripod down to ground level for more interesting camera angles, or extreme closeups using a macro lens.  It was effective, and also made the tripod slightly easier to pack in suitcases and lighter to carry.  The downside, however, was that when I shoot at high angles (which turned out to be 98% of my shooting) I would have to adjust all 3 legs to make any height adjustment.  I told myself this helped me stay "in the moment" longer in the field, but the reality is, sometimes I just want to bring the camera up 3 inches without a fuss.  The piece that makes ground-level shooting possible is a disk and bolt which is smaller than the palm of my hand, so I found a small pocket in my camera case to keep it safe.  Now I can shoot with the full tripod, and if I come across a situation where I want to be ground level, I can just remove the center post as-needed and use the disc/bolt combo.

My second time-saving decision was to create a spreadsheet to help calculate the exposures.

This is actually something I've been meaning to do for a while.

I'll try to explain the need for this as briefly as I can.
My previous process to shoot pinhole went like this:
Take a reading of the light with my light meter (which hangs around my neck)
Go to the Pinhole app on my phone, and convert the reading from F/5.6 to F/200 to get the exposure length of time
Go to the film reciprocity app on my phone to then calculate the reciprocity failure of the film I'm shooting with.
Write down the exposure length, expose the shot.

This process required me to have my phone easily accessible and readable.  In sunny conditions I would have to turn up the brightness on my screen and huddle over my phone to create enough shade to read the settings.  Switching between apps could be time consuming if my phone decided to move slowly.  Sometimes I would forget to calculate the reciprocity failure.  Then there was always the worry of batteries getting low in the field.

With this chart, I take a meter reading for f 5.6 and look across to the film I'm shooting with to get the exposure time.  Done and done.  

If the calculations do not make sense, I'm happy to "talk shop" in the comments :)

My chart only includes two films because I made it just for this outing, I printed it out and it fits perfectly in the cover of the notebook I use to make notes on my exposures.  As I continue shooting with various films, I will add those reciprocity failure calculations.

These two adjustments made my time in the field far more productive.  I walked with the P.120 on the tripod and my DSLR on my shoulder sling, along with the green camera pouch attached to the belt of my camera bag for easy access to additional film.  For the DSLR I packed along my medium telephoto and macro lenses, which were accessible without taking off my pack, but as I was concentrating on landscapes for the P.120 I - once again - lugged along glass that I never used.  I brought my new photography crystal ball along with me as well, but never took it out.  In hindsight, I think I would have used it if I'd put it in the side pouch instead of in the main compartment of the camera bag.  Out of sight, out of mind I guess?  

My outing took me to Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island.  The location itself deserves it's own blog post, but suffice it to say, I had plenty of variety in which to shoot, and my 3 hours of wandering the grounds have only barely scratched the surface.  Upon returning to the gate house I immediately signed up for an annual family membership.  I shot 3 rolls of film with the P.120, and only didn't shoot more because I already know I'll be returning as soon as I possibly can.  The maples haven't turned yet, and if I can get out there again in a few weeks I expect to see some astounding yellows and oranges. 

My film is at the processor, I expect to pick them up next week.  In the meantime, here are a few of scenes I captured with the DSLR
The Bird Marsh - the stillness of the water made for some amazing reflections

The Japanese Pond - surrounded by layers of green, the maples are just beginning to turn here.

The gardeners at the reserve have set up a squash scavenger hunt for fall. These are stuffed into the root system of a tree long fallen.

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