Swimming in January

It’s fairly cold outside, at least for Texas. I can’t say our weather competes with the like of the Midwest or the Arctic, but it’s chilly. That being said, the last thing I figured I’d shoot this week would be swimming. Thankfully it was indoors. I have not shot swimming before so this was definitely a learning experience and timing is everything for a couple reasons. The first and most important is to get a face in the shot and some decent action and the second is to stay dry as the athletes splash quite a bit while turning. It was a lot of fun and I encourage folks who are just getting into sports photography to shoot this. It’s fast, indoors, and the action is pretty predictable. These folks have to swim in lanes after all. Of course, I say it’s a good place to get some sports action chops, I can see how this sport would take a lifetime of shooting to master.

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Outdoor concert and instant film

I was shooting a concert in Fort Wort at a bar called the Flaying Saucer (if  you’ve never heard of it, I’d say put it on your list of musts) and I decided it was a great time to pull out my RB67. I know I’ve posted quite a bit about this camera, but damnit I love it. I’ve been shooting digital for nearly a decade and I’ve come to a point in my career where I can slow down a bit. Digital photography is great. I would not be the same photographer without it — not even close.

However, digital cameras feel so clinical — cold, I guess. These machines have no soul, no personality — it’s very “what you see is what you get.” None of this is completely negative. In the pursuit of control, which should occupy all photographers chasing light, a camera should perform in that way. It should be mechanical, reliable, and cold.

What I get from my film camera is something different. It’s heavy, it’s limited and it’s manual focus. On top of all that, I love shooting instant film, so there is another complication. Instant film isn’t as easy to work with and get amazing results, but what you get can be great even if it isn’t perfect. Think about this: all the instagram, VSCO, and other nostalgia filters out there are just trying to artificially recreate what I’m getting right out of the camera.

I’m not in the business of pursuing perfection. I’ll let someone else have that headache. I’m more interested in being satisfied with what I’m producing. Sometimes that means getting in there and pushing work out so I can pay bills. Other times, it means smiling and realizing I’m truly enjoying what I’m doing. Perfection doesn’t really do it for me. First, nothing is ever perfect so there is a major cost benefit ratio when it comes to how much a project is worth vs. how much your time is worth. Second, seeking perfection is mind numbing and not at all satisfying — at least not for me. I’d rather produce work that I love.

Below are some shots taken with an RB67, Fuji’s FP-3000b and and FP-100c instant film. Some are double exposure and others are just straight concert shots.