Continued Learning | High Contrast Landscape

Location | West Loop, Chicago

Mark Hentz and I explored the frozen beaches of Uptown after a snowstorm covered the city. The storm clouds moved on quickly and gave way to sunny skies which created a complex shooting environment. We skipped the golden hour in order to put our gear and workflow through a challenging lighting situation. Snow and ice are extremely reflective and can throw off camera’s metering systems. Creating images with dynamic range that are not blown out or under exposed becomes a problem quickly with hard mid-day light and reflective surfaces.

This small collection is from our day at the beach.

Continued Learning Origin Story

Switching from film to digital photography opened the door to new and exciting opportunities from the moment I first picked up my first Pentax K10D. I could actually get out with my camera and actually shoot. Throughout the years of shooting film I began to resent the endless hours mixing and maintaining chemicals, rolling film, buying expensive paper, and the various periphery accouterments and rituals required to go from ready-to-shoot to a finished image. Digital photo would set free a creative beast who had been caged by the restraints of the analog arts.

Without a DeLorean and a sweet puffy vest I won’t be able to return and warn myself about the terrible habits that I would form when shirked the restraints of the darkroom. Diving headfirst into the digital world surely reduced my time between shutter and finished image. I also began stripping away all of the good habits that film had instilled in me: composing images one frame at a time, waiting for light and shadow, confirming aperture and shutter, and slowing down in general.

Recognizing the error in my ways took much longer to than creating a path to recovery. Throughout my three months in Europe, way back in 2009, I produced a handful of useable images. I had shot so many frames that the process of reviewing, rating, and editing took far longer than shooting with film would have taken in the lab. We can skip past the malfunction of the K10D, but remember that my k1000 still works perfectly.

M. James Thompson


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