One of the best perks of teaching that isn’t related to teaching has got to be the summer vacation. Every other summer, I try to take a worthwhile trip that lasts approximately two weeks. This past summer I finally made it out to the Pacific Northwest. I even got to see the Grand Canyon for the first time, albeit from an airplane, but I saw it nonetheless. I got to spend a few weeks with one of my closest friends, Ryan, who is also an amazing photographer & visual artist, as well as the person I started taking pictures with when we were just sixteen years old.
Most of the trip, probably about ten of the fourteen days, were spent in Portland and the surrounding area. The remaining days were spent taking road trips to various landmarks, parks, Cannon Beach, Astoria, and Seattle. The best part of staying for two weeks was that it allowed for a real good mix of doing the typical “tourist-y” things and really getting to spend enough time embedded in the city’s culture and feel like I’m living there for a short amount of time rather than just visiting.
Exploring a new place with someone familiar gives off a unique feeling, a certain type of “new nostalgia.” We filled a lot of the silence talking about our teenage years and listening to bands that we grew up listening to like Taking Back Sunday, Saves the Day, The Spill Canvas, and countless others. In a sense, many of the road trips we took during those two weeks in our fire red Hyundai Accent rental car felt just the same as the ones we took a decade ago in my beat up, blue Ford Taurus.
When it came to developing the 120 film from this trip, I had a few complications and it seemed like every time I developed and scanned a roll, something would go wrong. I sort of narrowed down the issues to occurring somewhere in the shooting and development process. Two of my rolls were so underdeveloped that they were basically unusable. The grain was so thick that it looked more like pixelated noise (which in a sense, it was), causing me to think that my scanner was broken. I am still not sure if I shot the film at the wrong ISO rating, if the film was ruined by security scanners in the airport, or if I did something wrong without realizing it in the development process.
I’m definitely not a professional by any means and as stated in my previous post, my images will be riddled with errors. These sort of issues come with the territory of developing your own film and you always run the risk of losing images that you only had one chance to take in that moment of time. I find it to be exciting and nerve racking at the same time; knowing you may or may not be able to salvage those memories in a physical form. I take a lot of time composing images with my Mamiya 6, and I vividly remember snapping the images that are unusable, so at least I still have those snapshots recorded in memory.