Jan 7, 2018

Winter light = Ektar time

For me, the best and longest-lasting light for landscape photography occurs in the winter months, roughly Dec-Jan. Of course, that might be different depending on where you are at in your hemisphere. But it's ideal here in the inland Pacific Northwest. That afternoon sun just hangs around as pleasantly as an old childhood chum who's come to visit.  It never gets more than 45 degrees above the horizon, and it takes a good long time to go down.The only problem is, where I live, we can get low-hanging, lifeless clouds for much of that time. Or fog. Or just ice without snow. Just not ideal times for color film photography.

But once in awhile the landscape gods smile down on us and treat us to some fresh snow and a nice, sunny day with a few clouds overhead. That was the case for me just before Christmas of 2017. School was out, and snow had fallen throughout our region, a good 6-10 inches on the ground depending on where you were. I had spent the morning paying a visit to my mom, who lives about an hour away, and was lucky enough that I brought my camera with about a half roll of Ektar left in it.

Ektar can go really blue in the shadows while leaving sunlit areas with good colors. It was cold out, after all.

Some morning cloudiness had given way to sunny skies and clear conditions, so I took advantage of the situation and left mom's house to take the long way home. Having brought my 4WD pickup along, I managed to make my way through some snowed-over gravel roads that made up most of my trip that afternoon.

I love the comp here, but I scanned a lot more turquoise than I should have.

These images represent about 2 and a half hours of cordial light and lengthy shadows, something you're never going to get around here in the summer months.

I'm getting the hang of developing c-41 myself at home. For the most part, my colors are coming out well. When they're not, it's a result of my scanning, which I'm still trying to improve and perfect. And in the end, my goals for these images aren't scans for the computer screen, but optical prints that get physically handled. That is what I have in mind now when I'm shooting.

We might or might not see any snowy weather the rest of this winter. Temps are supposed to be well above freezing for the forseeable future, but it's only the beginning of January. There's still time. If we don't, I'm glad I had the chance to get out and burn some Ektar. And if we don't get any more snow, I'll be patiently waiting for spring!

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