Large Format In Tucson

In January, I had the opportunity to travel to Tucson, Arizona. It was a work trip so I didn’t have a lot of time to go out shooting and had to work with the time of days that were available but I decided nonetheless to try taking just one camera – my new Chammoix 45F2. I brought with me Pancro 400 for black and white, and a few sheets of Ektar and Velvia. It was a bit of an experiment to see what life is like with only a large format camera. It shaped my creative decisions, I think, in a positive way.

The black and white shots are maybe just ok. I had been trying to figure out where to take a photo of a sunset and, in fact, have been trying to nail a sunset since the last trip I took to the same area the year before (where I brought my Intrepid 4×5 but also my X-700 35mm camera). I may have perhaps missed the best sunset of the trip, but I nonetheless was graced with a gorgeous sunset on the last evening, having found a composition I liked.

The Velvia shots didn’t turn out how I wanted – but the Ektar ones really turned out beautiful! Velvia has been a hard one to figure out and am wondering if perhaps the accuracy of the shutters on my lenses might be playing a role.

Here’s the thing though, that sunset was so gorgeous that honestly it didn’t matter to me much, certainly at the time, if the photos came out. Fortunately they did, but if they hadn’t the memory of the sunset is one I’ll keep with me.

I love lots of things about film photography, but in this case, the need to slow down ring true here. Of note, I only had 4 sheets of color – that’s it. I had to decide when to take the shots and that largely allowed me to enjoy looking at the sunset with my own eyes over starting at it through the LCD of a digital camera snapping countless images.

Sometimes film can be frustrating but it’s times like that sunset that make me truly love it.