Bowman Lake Cross-Processed

Note: This post was originally published a few days ago on Exposure. It can be found at https://cwcapella.exposure.co/bowman-lake-crossprocessed

This is Bowman Lake.

Bowman Lake is a pretty decent-sized lake about 40 minutes outside of Nevada City, California; it’s about the size of Lake Spaulding, which you actually drive past along the way. The road up to Bowman is pretty rough. It’s unpaved for the majority of the way once you turn off the highway and in many spots is only wide enough for one to one-and-a-half cars to drive on it, making backing up to let someone pass a frequent occurrence. It’s also riddled with large rocks and deep potholes, so you’ll probably want to be in an SUV or truck with four-wheel-drive that you’re not afraid to get dirty. The lake’s campgrounds aren’t too much more than flat grassy spots, some with fire pits, and apparently one bathroom somewhere along the shoreline (we couldn’t find it). However, despite all of these challenges, it’s one of the most beautiful places to camp – and if you like the outdoors, you’ll never be bored while you’re there.

Fujichrome Velvia 6001
The Lake as seen from the rocky hilltop next to our campsite

This is our camping trip.

We spent three days up at Bowman, from August 1st – 3rd, this last summer. We loaded up our Jeep on the morning of the 1st and (despite me losing the car keys twice) eventually made it up to our campsite. The road was pretty sketchy going in, especially because it was my first time doing what was essentially off-roading, but once we got used to it it wasn’t too bad. We didn’t book a campsite going in, as it’s first-come, first-served, but we ended up getting one right off the dirt road leading around the lake. Nothing too fancy, just a flat grassy area with a fire pit (which we couldn’t use as the whole area was no-burn because of the drought). We pulled over and set up camp. Then we started to explore.

These are the photos.

I took photos of the trip with my Canon A2E loaded up with a roll of Fujichrome Velvia 50 color slide film, which I ended up cross-processing in C-41. I attached a panorama I shot with my iPhone below so you can draw a more direct comparison between the true-to-life colors and those altered by cross-processing the film. The only post-processing done on my part was to crop the rough edges off that were left by the scanner. The dust and scratches are natural.

IMG_5009
A panorama of the lake from the hilltop next to our campsite (shot on my iPhone, used for comparison of colors for film)

Exploring the first day

After we set up camp, we went out to start exploring. We hiked up this little hill next to the campsite, then took a shortcut down the other side of it to the lake. As it turns out, you can walk across to the far side of the lake on top of the dam at one end. NID maintains the lake, and more than the dam was there to clue us into it – there were other bits and pieces of NID property are all around it, too (like the little shack with an “Authorized Personnel ONLY” sign plastered to its front below.)

If you walk across the dam and hike along a trail for a little ways, you get to this little rocky beach, where you can swim out to an island a little ways from the edge of the lake. We swam out to the closer island; there were a couple more much farther out in the middle, but we decided not to venture out too far since we had more exploring to do.

Fujichrome Velvia 24001
The island we swam out to (plus more out in the distance)

After exploring for a while, we went back to camp to make dinner. We tried fishing off the shore (one of my buddies hadn’t been fishing before, while another was an old pro) but we didn’t catch anything despite the flashes of fish jumping out of the water in the evening. Defeated for the time being, we headed back and (luckily, as it turned out) put the rain fly on the tent before calling it a night.

That first night a thunderstorm rolled in, so we were doused with rain and woke up to flashes of lightning throughout most of the night. We were pretty tired though, so it didn’t do much to phase us.

The next morning

The morning greeted us with the smell of damp pine needles and vibrant colors after the rain. We went fishing in the morning again and were once again met with no catch. So, we had cereal instead. One of my buddies had come down with a pretty bad cold during the night, so I drove him back home (one of the benefits of living less than an hour away from where you camp.) When I got back, one out of the three of us left took a nap, while me and my other buddy went hiking.

We hiked along the trail we’d taken earlier, but it didn’t go very far past where we’d stopped last time, so we had to improvise and just kind of work our way along the rocks. Others before us had clearly had the same idea because there were some areas where it looked like a path had been previously.

If you look out to the left along the hike, you can see the NID buildings at the base of the dam and out in the distance the river that gets created by all of the water they let out of the lake, littered with little buildings along its sides.

Along the hike we came across this flat, gravelly flat area that had a really interesting rock formation in it. I don’t really know if it’s natural, or how it ended up the way it did, but it was definitely one of the coolest bits of the hike. It also ended up with some really cool colors when I cross-processed the photos of it.

And if you keep going further, you reach a point that you can stand on to look out onto the rest of the valley.

Fujichrome Velvia 23001
Looking out from the point (mind the edge)

We’d kind of reached the end of that part of the hike, so we backtracked a little ways and went further down to the right to check out the second dam. This one felt a lot more dangerous to get down to, as the only path to cross it involved hiking down a steep rock face in the wind with nothing to guide you except some loose wire (shown below.) I made it about halfway down before I decided that going further probably wasn’t in my best interest, but the view of the dam from there was pretty spectacular.

It was getting later in the day, so we headed back for swimming and dinner. Luckily, the storm from the previous night had cleared up by the time I’d gotten back from dropping my buddy off back at home and hadn’t returned for our last night at Bowman.

The last day

Our last day was spent fishing for one last time – still no catch, unfortunately – and then packing up our campsite to head back home. We did one last hike to the top of the hill next to our campsite to take it all in before we left. And then we piled back into the car and made our way back over the dirt roads to the highway, back to home. But I can say one thing for certain about this trip: we’ll be back again soon. And hopefully I’ll bring more than one roll of film this time.

 

Advertisements

The Lomo LC-A+

I recently got the Lomo LC-A+ (which is a really awesome little camera) and decided to take it for a spin with some different films than those I usually use since I was feeling a little wild. To be honest, though, I just wanted to try everything out, and taking them on a little photo excursion seemed to be the best way to do so. As a kinda of welcome-in-the-new-year post to represent forging ahead and trying new things (and taking another look at old things, too), here are some of my photos from my first attempts with my LC-A+. More details about each set follow.

Double Exposure

This was shot with my LC-A+ and took two exposures on Rollei Superpan 200 which may have snuck ahead of T-MAX as my favorite black and white film for more artsy prints. Scanned in versus photographed and then inverted, which some of my other photos were since the scanner was unavailable later on. My second scanned photo was a single-exposure of my friend Becca, seen below.

Despite the blur (due to my inability to focus the camera, not my shaky hands – bummer) the scanner really worked well on this image I thought, versus the following that weren’t scanned.

Photographed versus Scanned

Later on, the scanner was unavailable for me to use, so my instructor David Arnold advised me on how I might accomplish some film “scanning” on my own. The process was relatively straightforward: place the film negatives on a light source that would illuminate them from the back and then use a macro lens to photograph the image with a regular DSLR, which would produce a positive after inverting the digital image. The hard part was setting everything up to the point where I actually had a smooth system of “scanning” my film in. For the B&W Superpan, it was no problem, and the scans turned out pretty decent (not true scanner quality, but definitely usable) after inverting them.

The color scans, though, were a different story. Since this was new film (and I was relatively inexperienced with shooting it in the LC-A+) it could also be due to those facts, though “photoscanning” it in didn’t yield quite as good of results as I’d hoped. Still interesting, however, and since the whole point of this project was experimentation, I consider it a success. The post-processing definitely helped thanks to my instructor’s advice and the awesome tutorial found on Jeffrey Sward’s website that got me through it.

I plan to scan the rest of my first batch of images in and post those as well as taking some more on some good old T-MAX and seeing how those turn out. Until next time, keep experimenting, and thanks for reading.

Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and veggies are really cool to take pictures of for two main reasons in my mind: their colors and their shapes. From reds and oranges to bright greens and deep purples, the vibrant colors of uncooked (and even sometimes cooked, if they’re super rich in color) vegetables always stand out, especially when coupled with their various shapes and textures. So, taking these into consideration, I decided to do a series of fruit and vegetable photographs focusing on the vegetables themselves, stark against a white background.

After looking at these, I decided to get extra artsy and take the camera off of the tripod and do some handheld close-ups with my macro lens (except for the broccoli, which was so large that I was able to get close like that on my tripod.)

My original idea was to do just slices of all of the fruits and vegetables, but the feasibility of that was something I didn’t really consider beforehand; namely, the fact that fruit and veggie slices don’t easily stand up on their own, and since they’re so thin, anything used to prop them up would likely be visible through them. So, I went with halves of fruits and veggies instead, which worked a little bit better.

I have to say that I actually really enjoyed taking these photos, and sometime in the future I will do another series, maybe this time with slices (or go for a more humorous route and put googly eyes on them – I sense some serious chopping going on for those photographs.) Really, the possibilities are endless.

Until next time, this is me, signing off.