Shutters, apertures, nature and more

Bridge over the Niobrara River.

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument is one of my favorite places in the world. I like it so much, I’ve left instructions in my will to spread my ashes there.

A few weeks ago, KC Heath, co-owner of Nspire Today forwarded me an email about John Emery, a black and white large format photographer, who was going to be their artist in residence. KC thought it would be an awesome story. I agreed, but it’s not the kind of story Nspire does. We talked for a few minutes and I said, “You know what, KC? I like taking pictures and I love being in nature. They’re both good for my mental health, especially when I can actually go and do those things. I can write my column about it.”

John Emery was giving his talk on March 23. I marked it in my calendar. When the day came, I was struggling. I didn’t want to go, but 1) it was for work and 2) I promised a friend we’d go hiking there after the talk. So, I got my stuff together and went out for the drive.

I wish I could afford the storage space to upload the higher quality versions, but, alas, I am poor.

I tried to take this photo with only John Emery in focus. While it looks kind of cool, I got the settings wrong as I only wanted to background blurred, not so over exposed. It’s still a cool photo to me.

Me setting up the shot. By the way, the scene is upside down in these cameras, so manual focusing is quite the art.

John Emery uses a Chamonix 45F-2 View Camera, which he gave a quick lesson on before asking those of us who braved the cold and monotonous wind if we’d like to use his camera. This is the film, #47, which I used to take my picture. I had the option of doing it myself, but I didn’t want to screw it up

John Emery points to the many ways the camera can be moved to get the best picture. It’s a lot of things to remember and most of them were thrown at me in about 15 minutes, making it difficult for me to remember what to do. John was really nice about helping folks with their settings.

Figuring out F-Stops are confusing on this camera, even though it’s actually pretty simple. My trauma brain kicked into high gear, but I’m sure if I had a few weeks to mess with this camera, I’d get the hang of it all.

Me pushing the shutter.

I was just messing around with my Canon EOS R7 here. I kind of like the result.

John Emery also gave an hour lecture about the history of black and white photography and provided some quick quidance on what to look for when you are setting up a shot in black and white. This was taken with my Canon EOS R7.

This is my black and white result.

I tried to take the same shot as I did with the Chamonix 45F-2 View Camera. I will see in about a month how close I came to the exact spot.

This is the image in black and white and I’m looking forward to seeing the difference between my Canon EOS R7 and the Chamonix 45F-2 View Camera.


Stories by me, not AI


Second degree burn

1 Comment

  1. AJ

    John’s photographic talents was just the tip of the iceberg. During conversation he showed us a picture of himself with Alex Trebek. Yes,,he was on Jeopardy!
    His art is a blessed throwback of our photographic roots, where supplies were limited, and a series of detailed decisions went into a photograph.

    I really enjoyed your photograph comparisons. Both the boardwalk and river were participants in the color photographs, where they were the eye-catching focus of the B&W versions.

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