I expected my 2021 calendar to feature photographs from Arizona, Hawaii, and British Columbia. Instead, I offer a couple of new photos, several reimagined photos, and eight classics.
Cover - Bakersfield, CA
This is my favorite all-time photograph. I use it on my business card and my home page. Why do I like it? There are a number of reasons, including: it’s black and white, with a wide range of grey tones; it was shot on my first-choice film format, medium; it was taken at my preferred time of day, early morning; it’s symmetrical, except that it’s not (the light coming in low from the left creating great shadows that break up the symmetry); it’s a train; but most importantly, it perfectly matches my visualization and I’m able to nail the print every time in the darkroom. Fuji GW670III with its 90mm Fujinon lens, T-Max 100.
January - Mendocino, CA
I know - the color isn’t true. That’s because this photo was shot on LomoChrome Purple XR 100-400, which is designed to give unpredictable color that leans toward, you guessed it, purple. This was one of my last photos before the pandemic and it was made with a new (for me) Nikon F from 1967 with a Nikkor-H 28mm lens from 1962 (both pristine). The Nikon is unmetered, the recommended ISO for the film is anywhere from 100 to 400, so it was the perfect opportunity to totally guess at exposures. It is also a reimagined image, as my initial presentation was panoramic, showing more of the fence.
February - Boonville, CA
This was also shot before the pandemic, with the Nikon, on the film that was absolutely made for it (and for any classic Nikon or Leica), Tri-X from Kodak. For the uninitiated, the Nikon F is basically the model for every SLR and DSLR made to this day, arguably the most significant camera of the 20th Century. I borrowed one in high school and hadn’t put my hands on one since. It feels - and sounds - exactly like I remember.
March - Stockholm, Sweden
This is a reach-back to my first European trip in 2010. I walked right past the bench, but fortunately turned around after ten or so steps. I had a 16x20 print before I saw the cigarette butt - it’s gone now (the wonders of digital). The sign reads “baskets 30% off” or something like that. Canon Powershot G10.
April - McCloud, CA
This is one of my few successful attempts at view camera movement - front rise to keep the film plane, lens plane, and subject plane parallel (avoiding the pyramid effect from tilting the camera up). McCloud is pretty quiet, but it was really quiet when I was out before sunrise waiting for the light, this time from the right. If b&w is made for lines, then this church was the perfect subject. Sinar F1, Caltar II-N 150mm lens, Kodak T-Max 100.
May - Jamestown, CA
I took this the morning after a Bonnie Raitt concert in Murphys, CA. She was amazing as always, as was her opening act, the Blind Boys of Alabama. As you’ll see, this isn’t my only Bonnie Raitt photo. You can tell from the muted shadows that direct sunlight had not yet reached the subject (I did, however, rework this to provide a little more contrast). Fuji GW670III, Kodak Ektar 100.
June - Glen Ellen, CA
These stairs are part of the ruins of Jack London’s house, which burnt down before he could occupy it. It’s now called Jack London State Historical Park. I’ve always presented this as a square image, with the left side cropped out, but now I’m thinking the rectangle provides better balance. I half expect the ghost of London to emerge from behind the rocks. Fuji GW670III, Kodak T-Max 100.
July - Humbolt Bay, CA
Full name: Humbolt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, just south of Eureka, CA. I spent the day photographing the refuge, the bay, and old buildings like this while Suz was doing one of her quilt retreats. Canon EOS 3, Sigma 400mm APO Tele-Macro lens, Kodak Portra 400.
August - Redding, CA
Here’s the other Bonnie Raitt photo, taken the afternoon before her concert at the Redding Civic Auditorium (where we learned, to our delight, that the alphabet starts with “X”). This was originally a color photo, the sky a deep, moody blue, and the white of the clouds and the Sundial Bridge perfectly matched. I converted it to b&w for this calendar and have to say . . . I like them both. Fuji GSW690III with its Fujinon-SW 65mm lens (the wide-angle, 6x9cm version of the GW670III), Kodak Ektar 100.
September - Kelseyville, CA
These British phone booths outside an antique store are now probably each in someone’s garden. The scene was such a nice combination of shape, color, and incongruity that I couldn’t resist. It’s also my only successful large-format color photo, something that is not likely to happen again as I’ve pretty much given color over to digital. Sinar F1, Caltar II-N 150mm lens, Kodak Ektar 100.
October - Fort Bragg, CA
This goes back a few years, prior to the Pudding Creek Bridge restoration. Another early morning outing, this time under overcast sky allowing for the soft shadows. Fuji GW670III, Kodak T-Max 100.
November - Dubrovnik, Croatia
This is a photo that didn’t make the cut for last year’s European calendar. I reworked it from the image I had previously posted on my website, giving it brighter highlights and cropping it a little tighter. It’s pinch-hitting for a Glacier National Park image that was benched for visualization non-fulfillment. I know that kayak patterns are a cliche, but hey, it’s my calendar. Fuji X-Pro 2, Fujinon Super EBC 90mm lens.
December - Skagway
This photo is from our first cruise - ah . . . cruises! - not likely to do that again. I had been alternating color and b&w in my one camera and fortunately was in the middle of a roll of color film when I spotted this old rusty stove at a salmon b-b-q. Fuji GW670III, Kodak Ektar 100.