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Tuesday, October 06, 2015


My bike commute takes me through the West Bottoms and if the weather is even halfway decent, there are invariably photographers all over the place. I like the neighborhood for shooting portraits, too. It's an interesting combination of urban decay and safety. There's a few winos who live down there, sure, and there's a halfway house type facility that releases prisoners for the day, but really it's pretty quiet. That matters for the people having their portrait, family picture, portfolio shots, etc., taken, but also for the photographers. For one, you need your subject to be at ease, for another, if you're carting $15,000 of camera gear around, you don't want to get rolled.

It's also a target rich environment for urban landscapes and architectural photography. And that's what this photographer was doing when I rode by. I had to go back and ask, it looked like an unusual camera. And sure enough, it was a Crown Graphics press camera, approximately 75 years old. No preview screen to see if you got the shot, shoots a 4x5 inch piece of film.

I've toyed with the idea of getting an old medium format film camera, one of these or a Hasselblad for shooting long night exposures, star trails, moon time-lapses, that sort of thing. But I doubt my photography chops are up to it, you have to really understand exposure, meter things, etc.

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