As I write this, my Kickstarter just ended, and I figured I’d be stuck indoors babysitting printers for the next good long time, so I took the morning to scoot around Albuquerque’s West Mesa to take some pictures.
I am always thinking about water in the desert. I like to shoot pictures of where the city meets the desert, where people could not live until recently. I am always looking to shoot a series of identical rooflines, abutting open desert, with the Sandia or Manzano mountains in the background.
I had been out on the West Mesa last week, couldn’t finish five pictures that day, my alternator tensioner chucked a bolt somewhere along Route 66 at the edge of town. I did some redneck engineering in the closest AutoZone parking lot, under the one merciful tree. It gets hot in the desert, and I drive a convertible with no air conditioning. I’d rather the light at 6pm, but I pretty much need to be indoors by noon.
A devoted photographer, I am not.
I did a slightly more professional job securing my alternator bracket, and this morning returned to some of the things I had passed and missed shooting last week. This time, while shooting a strip of eerily desolate, identical suburbia, I met Steve, the only man out in his driveway, owner of a naughty 500HP boosted VW Jetta with a hole sawed through the front clip to expose his intercooler to more hot breeze. We talked VW’s and gyrocopters for a bit, and he gave me some tips on where to find the views I had been looking for.
I shot with my CAMERADACTYL 4×5 field camera, a Kowa 300mm f/9 lens that I can’t remember where or why I bought it, but its pretty sharp and flat, and I like it. I used a beat up old Bogen tripod and I shot Kodak Verichrome pan 100, which expired in 1992, and has been stored in a hot closet. I hand processed the sheets in a tank with T-MAX RS developer. The photos were scanned on an Epson flatbed, laying flat, no carrier. contrast and sharpening done in Lightroom.
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This series is being produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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