August 8, 2005
Some of my photographer friends have asked for some geeky photo notes... The rest of you can ignore this post.
I brought my FM3, D70, Mamiya 7, and Polaroid SX-70 Land cameras, many more cameras than usual (but only one lens apiece). I was going to try to primarily use the Mamiya 7, but have found I don't work fast enough with it and have generally only pulled it out for landscapes and static shots. Also the Mamiya is large and intimidating. Not good when dealing with people wary of cameras to begin with.
The D70 emerges at night or when I'm in someone's house or yurt. It's also too big and I haven't found a lens I love for it. The FM3 w/ 24mm lens has been my primary camera. I've been using FM2's since high school so it's what feels most natural for me. It's small, unobtrusive and I shoot very fast with it.
I give away the polaroids. If I hang out with a family or take someone's picture I like to give something back. Many of the people around here only have a few photographs taken in a lifetime, some have no photographs at all...so the polaroids are a big deal for them. I brought 20 boxes and have 8 left. The problem with the polaroids is once you take one everyone in the village wants one, so I try to wait until I have the person one on one, take the picture, and move on.
I brought 35 rolls of color 35mm (mainly plain old Kodacolor 100), and 15 rolls of b/w 35mm (plusx and tri-x). I've almost gone through all the color (I think I have 3 rolls left). I've shot about 1/2 the b/w. When I exhaust the 35 I'm going to start shooting my 220 film (mainly NC160). Perhaps it will force me to quicker with the Mamiya.
What else... With the D70 I brought 2 4gig cards and 2 1gig cards. I've filled one 4 gig card. All shot RAW. Mostly hand held night stuff with the iso pushed up to 1600 and interiors.
I've shot much more on this trip than I have on previous trips. There are 3 main reasons. 1) I've now actually looked at the film I shot on previous trips which in a weird way has given me some direction, ie projects. 2) Shooting with the D70 has made me less cautious and freer to experiment (perhaps also a bit sloppier) 3)I'm traveling by car and can stop wherever I want. Previously I was always on public busses and passed many of the people and places I wanted to explore.
One final note. I really miss the simplicity of the FM2's plus minus metering system. The FM3 moved the display over to the left side of the screen and added shutter speed information. This is perhaps more accurate, but for me it goes against the simplicity of that makes this series of cameras such favorites. Also moving the display over to the other side of the screen makes me crosseyed. Westerners read right to left and I expect the display to be on the left. On the plus side I appreciate the really long metered exposures now possible with the camera, and apeture priority is helpful in a pinch even though it feels like cheating.
I think that's it. Let's see how the pictures turn out.