Montara Beach - Spring Tones
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Peaceful, yet forceful

Just south of San Fransisco, Montara Beach provides a quiet, almost calming atmosphere for spending a day exploring. Spring in the Bay Area was a gorgeous combination of fog and cool weather, always setting the mood for photos that look straight off of a a movie set. No matter where you look, everything appears shrouded in mystery, the roads and buildings holding secrets. Here's two rolls of film shot one afternoon while exploring Montara Beach. The tones perfectly frame an area with relaxing vibes balanced with crashing waves.  


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The Process

These images were taken with a Nikon FE2 and both the 28mm f/3.5 and the 50mm f/1.8. I exposed Portra 400 at 200, and Portra 800 at 800, but pushed one stop. I found the Portra 800 gave beautifully vivid and balanced colors with large grain, while the Portra 400 lacked some punch but had less grain and a more neutral look. 

Paris - With Love
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Deep down, we probably all have an image of Paris in our minds.

Romance and love, style and fashion, mystery and beauty. For many, this seems like the quintessential European trip - albeit with a bit of expectedness. What I didn’t realize, however, is that there’s a reason everyone feels that way about a trip to the Parisian epicenter. There’s meaning and history backing the beauty. Not the other way around.

What’s there to say about one of the most romantisized cities in the world. You can’t talk about Paris without mentioning food. Like any city, to truly experience the culture, you have to experience the food culture. Our mornings were filled with almond cruisaunta and coffee, lunches were spent with cheese and Champaign and baguettes sitting in front of the Eiffel Tower, and our evenings were spent at a brasseria dining on roasted chicken and duck.

Finally, there’s the architecture and city design. There is of course the Eiffel Tower. There are times in life you will never forget, spending time completely awe struck by such an iconic symbol feels dream like. Maybe it was the violinist playing my favorite tracks from la la land right as the tower lit up, or maybe it was just the shear size of both the physical structure and symbolism, but it’s hard to imagine a city with more preconceived-emotional connections ring true.

 

Here’s what I saw.


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The Process

These images were taken on a Fujifilm X-Pro 2 with the 35mm f/2 using the Classic Chrome profile applied to the RAW file using Lightroom. I loved the 50mm equivalent for straight lines, but could see the benefit in having something wider to capture some angles. 

EuropeSaxon McClamma
Madrid - A Weekend Exploring Creativity
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There’s something incredibly freeing about film photography. Maybe it’s not knowing how the photos will turn out or not worrying about digital distractions. But on this trip, a weekend jaunt across the pond for much needed relaxation after a busy winter, was about something more. 

You see, over the past 8 years photography has been a huge part of my life. Whether film or digital, somewhere along the way the spark, the joy was lost. It turned from curious experimentation and spontaneity into a business. Which was fine, it allowed me to peruse my passion while capturing memories for others. However, even with my personal work, it became less about me and more about the likes, the hearts, the page hits; it became about how other people felt when viewing my work, not how I felt when creating it. 

A Turning Point

This trip was more than just a few days away from the city. It was about simultaneously exploring somewhere new, while exploring a passion, one that I’ve somehow forgotten.

The night before I left while packing, I made a spontaneous decision to just bring one film camera. I was going to leave everything else behind and just have fun taking photos. I ended up taking an old Olympus OM-1, the only camera I had that didn’t require batteries (all of my others had died long ago). Little did I know this trip would ignite creativity in ways I haven’t felt in a long time. I was able to freely create with little regard for the outside world, I was able to create for myself. Never mind the technical issues with the camera (light leaks and expired film), these photos are beautiful for the fresh start they represent.

Maybe it was being isolated in a new city, speaking the language but seemingly oblivious to life outside of my own, but this trip was exactly what my soul was asking for. From the terrace at my Air BnB just minutes from center city, to overlooking the city at Parque Cerro del Tío Pío, here’s what I saw. 
 

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*For those wondering, I'm going to try and put together a technical recap at the end of each post. Here's a quick note about what I used and how I created these images.

The Process

These images were taken on an Olympus OM-1 with a 28mm f/3.5. Photos were over-exposed 2 stops onto Portra 160 and Fuji 400H which expired several years ago. I had these images processed at Indie Film Lab with minor retouching performed by me in Lightroom. As you can tell, the camera had severe light leaks that lead to some wild images. Additionally, the lack of a working built in meter made exposures a guessing game but the overall experience enjoyable and freeing.