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The Old Alexandra Bridge | Yale BC | Aerial photography

My blog has always been a place where I only ever post work shot on film and these days there are only 2 non-film cameras that I pick up; my iPhone, and my Phantom 4 Pro drone. I’ve been toying with the idea of posting some of my aerial shots from my drone on here for a while but because they’re digital I have been hesitant…I suppose I felt I wanted to keep my blog purely for film and didn’t want to ‘dilute’ it. But since there is currently no accessible method for shooting one of my film cameras using a drone, I’ve relaxed my self-imposed ‘film only’ rule and I’m going to start posting a few select aerial images. First up are a few shots I took of the old Alexandra Bridge just outside Yale.

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Merritt and the Nicola Valley | British Columbia

The Nicola Valley enjoys a dry, sunny micro-climate, and if it’s rainy in Hope it’s probably sunny in the Nicola Valley. We’re lucky to have easy access to this ochre-hued ranch country – just an hour or so up the Coquihalla from Hope – the temperature drops by around 13 degrees or so over the course of the journey and then goes back up again to be warmer than the temperature in which we started out. We’ve been through Merritt and surrounding areas a few times and anyone who knows this area knows that there’s little else around for quite some way, so ‘Mandolin’s’ coffee shop in Merritt has always made a good pit stop when on long road trips. Here are the photos I shot on our recent trip, starting off in Merritt (Canada’s country music capital, as you will gather) and then taking a drive through Nicola and Quilchena.  Shot on my ailing Leica M6 (which despite a recent repair still has a malfunctioning shutter) and with Kodak Portra 800. Film processing by Canadian Film Lab.

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Pulled Portra 400 | Coquihalla River Walk

It’s funny the things you sometimes don’t do even when they’re on your doorstep. If we walk down our driveway, turn right and then right again, there is a short walk to the end of a dead end road where it then becomes forest with the Coquihalla River immediately behind. Its literally no more than 5 minutes from our front door. For some reason, we have never walked all the way down the street and through the trees despite knowing that there is a trail. Today, though, wanting a walk close-by because I was wanting to spend time in the afternoon clearing up the garden (considering it has been under too much snow until recently) we ventured down the street and walked the trail. To our surprise we found it cut through the pine forest and then followed the river, eventually bringing us round in a circuit back close to home; it’s definitely going to be a location we walk to more often. I took along my Pentax 67ii and a couple of rolls of Portra 400, and as I usually do when shooting this film stock, I exposed for the shadows and pulled it one stop during development. I find it really works well particularly for contrasty scenes and allows great detail in the shadows and highlights. Camera: Pentax 67ii | Film stock: Kodak Portra 400 pulled one stop | Lab: Canadian Film Lab

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Hope on a Rainy Day | Kodak T-MAX 400

Being in the mountains, the weather and view from the window is constantly changing. That has benefits as well as drawbacks, as I found this weekend! Being in a valley we get a lot of low cloud and it clings to the treetops and drifts by quickly but silently. I was amazed the other day when returning home to find cloud hovering a few feet above the road outside our house, skirting around the front garden (or ‘yard’, as Canadians say!) but neatly going up our driveway; as I looked down the road I could see cloud hovering above the whole road and forming a regimented pattern as it swirled low up each driveway it came to. Seeing all of this lately has made me want to go out with my camera to capture some of this more subdued yet atmospheric weather, so when the rain stopped yesterday we headed out to the nearby marsh to a spot I had driven past recently and made a mental note to return to it with some film. I got into place, tripod up, mounted the camera, and then sure enough the rain started to come down. I managed a couple of shots in the rain and then made a run for the car and returned home. A few hours later the rain stopped, so we jumped into the car again and headed back to the marsh; walking quickly back to the spot I’d been at before, I put my tripod up, metered, and mounted my camera. And then the rain promptly came down again. I squeezed in one more shot, feeling annoyed.

Today the forecast was saying rain for the afternoon, but in the morning the cloud was low and just what I was looking for so after waffles for breakfast we got back into the car and headed out. As we reversed down the driveway a few spots of rain landed on the windscreen but not wanting to abandon hope we carried on and drove out towards Silver Creek and the airport. The rain started to get a little bit heavier just as I mounted my camera onto the tripod (as I have now come to expect) but I carried on and used various random object to try to keep rain from the lens and filters I was using. I still have plans to capture more of this atmospheric weather and I’d like to get more into trees next time, but I’m pretty pleased with how these turned out. Film stock: Kodak T-MAX 400 | Camera: Pentax 67ii with 55mm lens and grad filter | Lab: Canadian Film Lab

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Thacker Marsh | Hope BC | Portra 800

This afternoon we headed out for a walk and I took my Leica to check that a recent repair had done the trick. There is something particular I have noticed here in Canada, and it’s how often there are incredibly fleeting moments that appear one second and are gone literally the next. So many times I’ve been confronted by an amazing moment of light, and by the time I’ve raised my camera to my eye, the moment has disappeared. This afternoon, however, was not one of those occasions. It was the last few minutes of sun before it would dip below the mountain behind our house, and suddenly the sun came streaming through the forest and the trees and water started to steam in the sun. I was there to see it happen and after taking 2 shots I blinked and it was gone. This first photo below is the first shot I took and I love how it captured the sight in front of me. It also shows that my camera appears to be working!
Film stock: Kodak Portra 800 | Lab: Canadian Film Lab | Camera: Leica M6 with Leica 35mm f/2 summicron.

 

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Downtown Chilliwack | Pentax Zoom 90 | TRI-X 400

I discovered that my Leica M6 shutter needs some attention, so at the moment while it’s being repaired I am without a small, compact 35mm option. Consequently when we headed to Chilliwack recently to run a few errands and walk around the old downtown area I decided to dig out my dad’s old 35mm compact Pentax Zoom 90 and load it with a roll ok Kodak TRI-X. I’m really quite impressed with this camera; admittedly I tried to shoot mainly directly lit shots and the few backlit shots I took did not have quite as much exposure as I would’ve liked, but overall I like the way the auto exposure worked and the autofocus was also pretty good. I quite enjoyed strolling around not having to consider focus and exposure and I definitely see me using this camera more in future. Processing: Canadian Film Lab

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This is Hope: Part 3 | Portra 800

Continuing with my theme of shots around Hope, a few days ago we had a walk around some of the places in Hope that are within walking distance of our home. When we arrived in late summer we walked by Thacker Marsh and the Coquihalla River, and I knew back then that I would look forward to seeing these particular places change with the seasons. We’ve had snow on the ground for a few weeks now, and generally low temperatures have meant that it’s not yet disappeared and in fact has been added to at regular intervals! It’s quite unusual for this area, but because Hope is located on the edge of interior BC its weather can really go two ways; affected and tempered by the Pacific, or influenced by the same systems that affect the interior. For example at the moment we’re experiencing an ‘arctic outflow’ that brings cold temperatures from the interior of BC to the lower mainland and coastal areas.

So here are some shots around Thacker Marsh along the old Kettle Valley railway, and down by the partly frozen Coquihalla river. These are all shot on Kodak Portra 800 with my Pentax 67ii. Film processing by Canadian Film Lab.

 

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