Posts in Europe
Venice Italy - Another World
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Unlike Anywhere Else

There exist several locations in this earth that hold a special place in our heart due to a romantic connection that’s not often acknowledged. When one thinks of Venice, they are likely to remember days gone by, days when boats were rowed down narrow canals amongst a busteling city that seams to exist once removed from another world. It’s not often that our society experiences a life so unlike our own typical day to day, but this city provides a small look into what truly is, unlike anything else.

Kicking off our week long tour of central Italy, Venice gave us our first look into the carefully preserved culture present in Europe. We were fortunate to stay in a beautiful hotel in the central part of the city, with a room that quite literally, was on the water. Looking down out of our window revealed a fully operational waterway. This environment, combined with an amazing staff (and breakfast) ensured we felt right at home in this other world.

We are often asked “what was the best part of your trip” this question always leaves us biting to reduce an unbelievable trip down to a single sentence. But, if I had to say one thing about Venice, it would be the silence. It’s hard to imagine a city without the sound of automobiles. These days the constant rumble makes anyone feel as though they are just floating through life amongst machines. Maybe it was the connection one feels with water, but there’s something primal about walking everywhere while being surrounded by canals. The one moment I remember most was running through the rainy streets, completely lost, but completely calm.

Venice, to many, represents life 100 years ago. It shows what could have been, if our species hadn’t advances to the point where water proximity was no longer a life sustaining necessity. Here you will find no cars, no trucks, and an almost unimaginable quietness that has to be experienced to be believed. While it’s often thought of as the theme park of European vacations, the true Venetians are alive and well.

This is the first of 3 posts from Italy on Film, Here's what we saw.

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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. Just like my photos from California, I exposed Portra 400 at 200, and Portra 800 at 800, but pushed one stop. I again found that both Portra stocks and the Ektar performed great, but at times the lack of contrast and cloudy weather made tones more subtle. 

EuropeSaxon McClamma
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.