Saturday, August 10, 2013

Patience - We don't haz it.

Ugh. Is there anything worse than waiting for things on a computer to process? Talk about first world problems. I am working on editing some weddings, and my least favorite part of it is waiting for the images to copy to new locations, or load into Lightroom. It would probably help if I didn't take 6,000+ photos of each wedding, but I am a digital addict and so spoiled after shooting with film for so many years. Not that I don't love film, and lord knows that was a lot of waiting for things to process, too. But, I will say that there was a lot more magic and mystery with film that I found irresistible.

Go into a dark room with the precious roll, use a can opener in pitch black to rip the lid off, take out the tiny spool of what you hope are brilliant images, thread it on to the developing reel, seal it away from the light and then emerge into the processing room where you measure the temperature of the developer and calculate the length of time the film must process. Pour the developer into the light-proof canister, cap it off, and begin the gentle agitation of the film with a slow twist of the wrist. All the while remembering how you took the photos and how this part of the process is vital to ensuring that just the right amount of silver sticks to the film substrate to assure that your vision comes to life. Times up, and you add the fixer, then rinse the film. Then it has to dry, hopefully without gathering dust. Dust is film's evil nemesis.

After it's dry, you snip it into tidy rows, then maybe make a contact sheet so you can see positive images to view through a loupe and determine which ones are worthy of printing. After selecting the candidates, the printing process starts with test snips, dodging and burning, and on and on... and with that my processing is done in my modern dark room and I can get to work on this gorgeous bride and her wedding.

Whether film or horses, there is certainly a process to follow. The nice thing with both is that there is always room for creative license, and sometimes the most satisfying part is knowing that the final image is a culmination of those small steps, sometimes taken in darkness and uncertainty, that lead to a thing of beauty that is a joy to behold.

Patience is a virtue. Have it if you can. Seldom in a woman... never in a man.

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