Tuesday, November 06, 2012

más muertos

20th Annual South Valley Día De Los Muertos Marigold Parade

Photographing events like this parade is always something of an emotional rollercoaster for me.  When I first come on the scene, everything seems chaotic and unphotographable.  I wander around in somewhat of a panic state until I manage to get a picture of the first thing which catches my eye.  That seems enough to connect my eyes to my brain, and I am able to start finding subjects and themes to explore.  I get a bit manic at that point and tend to make a pest of myself, poking my camera in people's faces.

Back home with whatever pictures I've harvested, I often get obsessed in thinking about all the pictures I missed.  Depending on the quality of the results I've gotten, that obsession might last through the night.  Usually, by the next day I've found some images I like well enough to show.

As always with the Ansco Panda box camera, I like these pictures.  I think it is partly that the Panda always surprises me by making pictures better than I expect.  I often miss a few shots due to camera or subject movement, but most of the images have a sweet spot that can be enlarged to surprising size for a picture made by a simple meniscus lens.

My obsessive phase was lengthened a bit when I was processing the pictures.  About half-way through the Panda shots, my ten-year-old scanner stopped working.  On lifting the lid I could clearly see through the window that the drive band had come off the capstan.  Luckily, if improbably, there is a Yahoo group for the Epson 2450 photo scanner, and I was able to figure out from that how to open up the thing for repairs.  Took me a couple of tries, but it was also a good excuse to get the underside of the glass clean, and the scanner seems to be working for now.  Hard to say how much longer, though.

Well, to top it off, my barber who doubles as my wife informs me that the hair on the back of my head is getting thin.  Also, I find myself at times carrying around three pair of glasses.  So there you have it.


Jim said...

It's nice to know that the anxiety never goes away. Now I can just relax and accept it as part of the process.

I always enjoy your work with your Panda. The subjects are always so crisp, yet there's an otherworldly quality to the skies.

PS, here's a photo blog I'm currently enjoying: http://streetlifeedinburgh.wordpress.com/ He's been in the darkroom lately and it is almost inspiring me. Almost.

Mike said...

So, are you considering doing some processing and printing? There are few experiences which seem more magical than seeing your first prints come up in the developing tray.

I think the last time I did anything like that was about 40 years ago in San Francisco. There was a community lab on upper Market that you could just walk into and use at no cost as I recall. I think you had to supply your own paper, but the trays of chemicals were all set up and and replenished as needed, and there were nice Besler enlargers all around the room.

Jim said...

I'm charmed by that fellow's experiences but know it's entirely too impractical for me to do it at home.

I regret that I wasn't into this in college. The school I attended had a stocked (for b/w) darkroom for anyone to use.

Julio F said...

Beautiful series about a great tradition, Mike. I feel a lot of empathy with your obsession! It also takes me at least 20 minutes to find the pulse of the events, or at least to start finding possible shots.

Hope your scanner keeps working for a long time.