Monday, August 15, 2016

120 Film Series: SWLA Cypress and Oaks

The pick of the litter from the film results of the recent trip to southwest Louisiana turned out to be oak and cypress portraits. For whatever reason, that appears to be what was grabbing my eye when it came to trying things for film. The remainder in the roll were either underexposed brackets or overexposed wetlands shots, better caught on digital this time around.
Looking them over I silently said "oh shit" to myself when Richard Sexton's Terra Incognita popped into my head - the collection that has a lot of really awesome live oak porn - but that's in black and white, and Sexton's photos are mostly on the Mississippi coast, with none at all from my personal haunts of Cameron and Vermilion parishes.
The tricky part for me with film photography under giant live oaks was what to expose for. It always ends up having to be a compromise; something is always going to be a little blown out or underexposed, and that's the challenge. (The other challenge is composing with a backwards image in the viewfinder.) With no photoshoppy "shadow removal" or "adjust highlights" or other magic gizmos to toy around with in post processing, once you click the shutter, there it is. Notice the difference in the photo taken under oaks of the two decaying structures - the sun momentarily ducked behind a small cloud, and it was the easiest shot of the day to make, with no heavy shadows and light to worry about. I took a break on Rutherford Beach and made the one seascape; the clouds here eventually became the massive supercell that blew around 3PM later that day. For some reason I was moved by the view of the front door of the camp I stayed at - reason enough for a photograph. The photo at top looks toward the Cameron coast from inside the oak canopy of a small cheniere. The film is Kodak Portra 160; photographs were made in Lake Arthur, Lowry, Creole, Rutherford Beach, and Avery Island.

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