A Road Trip to Aspen + Impossible Project + Leica M2 & 15mm – Part:4/4

July 16, 2012 § 11 Comments

We decided the night before, that we’d wake up early on Sunday and take the jeep to check out The Crystal Mill.  From Aspen, it takes about an hour to get to Marble and the mill is 5 miles outside of town, only accessible by way of the Crystal River Jeep Trail.  I’ve seen it books in the past and have always wanted to see it in person. After it was built in 1893, it used a water turbine to power an air compressor, for use in silver ore processing at two nearby mines.  The drive in was gorgeous, but was no comparison to what was in store. Once we reached it, we were stunned!

Crystal Mill - Colorado - Impossible Project PX-70 NIGO Edition

Crystal Mill – Colorado – Impossible Project PX-70 NIGO Edition

Crystal Mill - Colorado - Adox 20 - Leica M2 - 15mm CV Heliar

Crystal Mill – Colorado – Adox 20 – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander

I ran around like a nut snapping pictures with the SX-70, Leica and the Polaroid 100 (for an emulsion-transfer collage). We stayed there for the better part of an hour and when we were about to leave, two jacked-up jeeps came roaring around a bend in the road and parked by us.  One of the drivers hopped out and started walking towards us and Kat asked him if there were other roads to take besides the one we drove in on. He smiled. “It depends on where you want to go. You can go all the way to Crested Butte if you like. But if you’re trying to get back to Marble, if you take this road just past the town of Crystal, the Lead King Basin trail will loop around and take you back into town. If you’ve never done it before, it is totally worth it. A little sketchy at times, with some challenging switchbacks and steps (he motioned his hands to represent about a foot’s height), but if you take it slow you’ll be fine.”

As soon as Kat confirmed some of the more important turns on the route, we hopped back in the jeep and drove up the road into the quasi-ghost town of Crystal, CO. The town (10 or so homes & structures) is only occupied in the summer, as it’s completely uninhabitable in the winter. When we drove into Crystal, it was a sight that I had always imagined but had never seen. Nestled deep in the Rocky Mountains, was this little slice of heaven .. an outdoor-lover’s paradise.  We pulled up a bit but then we all decided, for the sake of time, we’d backtrack our way in. We busted a U and I snagged a quick frame of one of the homes on some PX-70 NIGO film.

Crystal, CO - Impossible Project PX-70 Nigo Edition

Crystal, CO – Impossible Project PX-70 Nigo Edition

When we drove back towards the Crystal Mill, the gent we had talked to earlier was standing near the middle of the road. He raised his arms in the air, put his hands on his hips and had a look of total disbelief. Kat chuckled and said “Oh lord, the Sheriff of Crystal …” He started shaking his head .. “I’m telling you guys, it’ll only tack on 30 minutes to your route. We’ll be right behind you if you come into a problem. We’re headed up the Schofield Pass, but we’ll be taking Lead King Basin on our way out.”

You just have to go with the flow sometimes. We busted another U and went back up the road into Crystal. As we were driving through the town, we passed a couple of kids who were playing with their dog, aptly named Crystal. The last home was deep inside a giant grove of Aspens before a fork in the road. As soon as we passed through the town, we all knew the man was correct; this was the way to go.

Crystal, CO - Adox 20 - Leica M2 - 15mm CV Heliar

Crystal, CO – Adox 20 – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander

To the right was the trail to Crested Butte and to the left was our trail. In between the fork, was a giant sign that read “Extremely Rough Road Ahead – Vehicle Traffic Discouraged – 4×4 with Experienced Drivers and Narrow Wheel Base Only”.  Kristina asked Kat “Uhh .. Kat? Are you an experienced driver?” “Yes, Kristina.”

Lead King Basin Jeep Trail - Colorado - Impossible Project PX-70 Nigo Edition

Lead King Basin Jeep Trail – Colorado – Impossible Project PX-70 Nigo Edition

Lead King Basin Trail - Adox 20 - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander

Lead King Basin Trail – Adox 20 – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander

Lead King Basin Trail - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Adox 20

Lead King Basin Trail – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Adox 20

It took us about 2 hours to drive 8 miles in some of the prettiest parts of Colorado I have ever seen …

When we went through Marble earlier on our way to the Crystal Mill, we passed a barbecue joint;  Slow Groovin’ BBQ. We all were starving by this point, so we stopped in for some grub & beer.

Slow Groovin' BBQ - Marble, CO - Adox 20 - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander

Slow Groovin’ BBQ – Marble, CO – Adox 20 – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander

When the first round of brews arrived, we saluted Kat’s driving abilities and then sat back and enjoyed the Colorado summer day.  After some pretty tasty BBQ topped off with a root-beer float, we started to make our way to the Yule Marble Quarry.  It only took about 10 minutes to get there, but when we arrived, it was yet another spectacular view.

Yule Marble Quarry - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Adox 20

Looking towards the Yule Marble Quarry – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Adox 20

Photo: Synthia Goode - Marble, CO - Spectra SE - Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600

Photo: Synthia Goode – Marble, CO – Spectra SE – Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. We headed back to the house, to enjoy one last evening of hanging out before we had to leave in the AM. Due to a little bit of car trouble we had during the week (no road trip is complete without right?), we left a little later than we wanted to. As we were driving through the mountains on the way back, we both had that “why don’t we live here?” feeling.  It’s just so nice in Colorado …

The drive out of the mountains was beautiful. Even though it was a little chilly, I rolled down the windows so I could breathe in the crisp mountain air one more time.  I stopped a few times to take some snapshots …

Aspen, CO - Mamiya C330 - Fuji Acros 100 - Rodinal

Aspen, CO – Mamiya C330 – Fuji Acros 100 – Rodinal

Independence Pass - Leica M2 - Voigtlander 15mm - HP5 Plus - Rodinal

Independence Pass – Leica M2 – Voigtlander 15mm – HP5 Plus – Rodinal

Independence Pass - Leica M2 - Voigtlander 15mm - HP5 Plus - Rodinal

Independence Pass – Leica M2 – Voigtlander 15mm – HP5 Plus – Rodinal

When we passed through Westcliffe, about 30 miles outside, everyone was being stopped. Construction workers were telling everyone to turn around because the road had been washed out by a storm.  The lady directing traffic told us that we’d have to go back into Westcliffe, and then make our way back up to Colorado City (about 60 miles away) to get towards I-25. She said from there, it would take about 20-30 minutes to get to the highway.  Boo.

Synthia and I rode quietly in the car together for about an hour until we crested over a one of the mountains in the San Isabel National Forest. To my right, was something I hadn’t seen in years; The Bishop Castle. About 25 years ago, my family used to occasionally come to Colorado in the summer, to stay near Wescliffe. We had taken this route at one point, and I vaguely remembered visiting this castle as a kid. One man, Jim Bishop, has built this castle by himself over the past 40+ years …

Bishop Castle - Colorado - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Bishop Castle – Colorado – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

As a scale reference, there is a man on top of the right tower in the image above …

Bishop Castle - Colorado - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Bishop Castle – Colorado – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Once the initial excitement of seeing this structure wore off, we hopped back in the car and made our way towards I-25 ..

Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

We merged onto the highway and cruised down to Raton, NM. When we started heading east towards Dumas, we drove right into a rainstorm ..

Raton, NM to Dumas, TX - Leica M2 - Voigtlander 15mm - FP5 Plus - Rodinal

Raton, NM to Dumas, TX – Leica M2 – Voigtlander 15mm – FP5 Plus – Rodinal

After a while the storms gave way, and we drove the 400-ish miles we had left on our journey through the clear of the night …

Cruisin' down 287 - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Cruisin’ down 287 – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

It was a trip that I will remember for a lifetime.  Synthia and I can’t thank Kristina and Kat enough for showing us such an incredible time, yet again, in Colorado.  We love you guys so much!

BTW, Impossible Project – A big thank you to the chemistry of your product; from the way the film “sees” a scene, to the soft colors, to the painterly quality of the images, to the rich analog life it has .. all make me crave its photographic substance a little more. Diving deeper into instant photography is something I do not regret. Thank you for making such a quality product and for the inspiration.

-Justin

www.goodephotography.biz

BUY IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT FILM HERE

Part: 1/4 

Part: 2/4

Part: 3/4

A Road Trip to Aspen + Impossible Project + Leica M2 & 15mm – Part:3/4

July 13, 2012 § 2 Comments

The following day, we decided to drive up Aspen Mountain to play some frisbee golf. When we got to the top, the signs read “highest disc golf course in the world!”. At 11,200 feet, it was an awesome place to play some disc. The course had 18 holes which zig-zagged their way down & up the side of the mountain.

Aspen Mountain Disc Golf Course - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Aspen Mountain Disc Golf Course – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

We ended up playing about 1/2 of the course and then decided to walk over to The Sundeck to take a break.

Enjoying a Fat Tire & the view from The Sundeck on Aspen Mountain

Enjoying a Fat Tire & the view from The Sundeck on Aspen Mountain

The view from The Sundeck on Aspen Mountain - Leica M2 - Voigtlander 15mm - Ektar 100

The view from The Sundeck on Aspen Mountain – Leica M2 – Voigtlander 15mm – Ektar 100

When we were finished, we took the jeep down the backside of the mountain towards Hunter Creek Rd. to get back into town.

Cruisin' down Aspen Mountain - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Cruisin’ down Aspen Mountain – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

We eventually parted ways and Synthia and I decided to go up Independence Pass to check out the Lost Man Lake trail. The trail goes up to two lakes, Independence and Lost Man, which are near the top of the continental divide. We started at the Roaring Fork Trailhead and once we walked in about 1000 feet, it was like we had stepped into another part of the world. Dense, lush, spongy landscape rich with wildflowers and moss covered rocks. Just beautiful …

This was one of many moments on this trip, in which I was really glad we brought our boxer with us. Seeing her run up and down the trail, prancing around was a sight to see. She was so happy!

Maybelle on the Lost Man Trail - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Maybelle on the Lost Man Trail – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Taking a break on Lost Man Trail - Leica M2 - Voigtlander 15mm - Ektar 100

Taking a break on Lost Man Trail – Leica M2 – Voigtlander 15mm – Ektar 100

While we were en route, we could see a few people alongside a ridge about another mile up the trail. That was our goal. I knew that over that distant ridge was either Lost Man Lake or at the very least, an amazing view. Once we got to Independence Lake, we knew that Lost Man was just over the ridge. We passed a hiker on the way up, and mentioned something about it being our first time on the trail. A broad smile appeared, and he assured us that the view the first time, was something we’d never forget … he was SO right. When we reached the top, I was completely wowed. All I could do was stumble around in awe, as I gawked at the wondrous display of nature that was before me. We stayed up there for a good 30-45 minutes, just soaking it in …

Synthia at Lost Man Lake - Impossible Project PX-70 NIGO Edition

Synthia at Lost Man Lake – Impossible Project PX-70 NIGO Edition

Independence Lake - Aspen, CO - Leica M2 - Voigtlander 15mm - Ektar 100

Independence Lake – Aspen, CO – Leica M2 – Voigtlander 15mm – Ektar 100

Lost Man Lake - Independence Pass - Leica M2 - Voigtlander 15mm - Ektar 100

Lost Man Lake – Independence Pass – Leica M2 – Voigtlander 15mm – Ektar 100

Photo: Synthia Goode - Lost Man Trail - Independence Pass - Impossible Project PZ600

Photo: Synthia Goode – Lost Man Trail – Independence Pass – Impossible Project PZ600

Lost Man Trail - Independence Pass - Impossible Projct PX-70 COOL

Lost Man Trail – Independence Pass – Impossible Projct PX-70 COOL

Photo: Synthia Goode - Independence Lake - Aspen, CO - Spectra SE - Impossible Project PZ600

Photo: Synthia Goode – Independence Lake – Aspen, CO – Spectra SE – Impossible Project PZ600

It was nearing 7 o’clock and some storms started rolling in. We put on some parkas and made our way back down the trail. We were supposed to have dinner at Steakhouse 316 with Kristina and Kat at 9, so it was a good thing the impending storm nudged us along.

Dinner was scrumdiddlyumptious! If you’re ever in the Aspen area, you have got to go check this place out. Kat is the ridiculously talented executive chef at Steakhouse 316, and everything, I mean EVERYTHING she makes is fantastic. Hands down .. the things she has cooked has been some of the best food I’ve had in my life. The four of us enjoyed a delicious spread at the restaurant which included jumbo lump crab cakes and savory steaks, along with many highly delectable sides. By the time we finished our food, they were closing down so we walked back home to relax the rest of the evening …

Synthia: Relaxed? We actually went home to enjoy our 4th bottle of wine …

To be continued …

CLICK TO READ part 4/4 of our road trip to Aspen, CO

A Road Trip to Aspen + Impossible Project + Leica M2 & 15mm – Part:2/4

July 12, 2012 § 4 Comments

The next morning, Kristina & Synthia went to breakfast while Kat went to do some prep-work at the restaurant.  I took the jeep out and cruised up to The Grottos to check out the ice cave.   When we visited last year in June, the entrance was blocked with ice and there wasn’t a path.  I was anxious to see if there was a clear route through the ice this time around.  Luckily, there was and I made my way down and crawled inside …

The Grottos - Aspen, CO - Leica M2 - Voigtlander 15mm - Ektar 100

The Grottos – Aspen, CO – Leica M2 – Voigtlander 15mm – Ektar 100

The Grottos - Ice Caves - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

The Grottos – Ice Caves – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

The Grottos - Ice Caves - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100

The Grottos – Ice Caves – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100

Later on that day, I found some info on this cave in Hiking Colorado’s Geology ebook online.  “The Grottos formed when the Roaring Fork River was swollen with meltwater from receding Ice Age glaciers about 15,000 years ago. The meltwater coursed over the granitic bedrock carrying rocks and other debris that sculpted the cavern’s walls through abrasive action.  Today, the river has abandoned the channel through the Grottos, leaving behind a slot canyon with windows open to the sky. Unlike most caverns, which are created where limestone is dissolved by water, the Grottos are carved in solid Precambrian granitic rock (1.4 billion-year-old quartz monzonite).”

Once I was done chillin’ in the ice cave, I walked around for a bit and eventually sat down at this bench to watch the cascades …

The Grottos - Aspen, CO - Leica M2 - Voigtlander 15mm - Ektar 100

The Grottos – Aspen, CO – Leica M2 – Voigtlander 15mm – Ektar 100

I made my way back down the mountain and met up with Kristina & Synthia at Victoria’s coffee shop.   By the time I downed the best Cafe Mocha I’ve had in my life .. literally, Kat had cruised up on her bike.  Maybe it was the coffee, but I was antsy to get back out there and ‘do something’ but Kristina & Synthia were content just hanging out sippin’ on their wine (I can’t particularly blame them now can I?).  Something about hiking the Ute Trail was mentioned, and both Kat and I decided that was a good idea.

We brought the dogs with us, Diego & Maybelle, and made our way to the trailhead.   Kristina & Kat had both warned me that this hike was BRUTAL … I had no idea.   It was literally like being on a stair-master for almost an hour .. intense.   The hike is about a mile up and you gain 1,300 feet of elevation during the hike.

Hiking The Yute Trail - Aspen, CO - Leica M2 - Voigtlander 15mm - Ektar 100

Hiking The Yute Trail – Aspen, CO – Leica M2 – Voigtlander 15mm – Ektar 100

The whole way up, we were both huffin’ and puffin’, but as we passed people who were hiking down, they all said the view was completely worth it.   Kat mentioned, that there are people that have lived their whole life in Aspen and have never made it to the top.    A shame, considering the stunning view that awaits its victors …

On top of The Yute - Aspen, CO - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

On top of The Ute – Aspen, CO – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Submission for Impossible's Vacation Contest - PX-70 COOL

Picture proof that we made it! – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Top of the Yute Trail - Aspen, CO - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100

Top of the Ute Trail – Aspen, CO – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100

Unfortunately, it started to rain and Kat had to make it back into work.  We hauled booty back down the ever-increasing slippery trail, but by the time we got back to the jeep, the rain was letting up.

Once we got back to the casa, Synthia had made a picnic dinner for the two of us and wanted to go lay out somewhere to enjoy the scenery .. uhh Ya! 🙂

I wanted to show her the ice cave, so we drove back to The Grottos and made our way up to this great little nook at the top of the cascades.   It was away from the traffic of most of the visitors and to be honest, we saw maybe 10 people in the 3 hours that we were there.

Synthia @ The Grottos - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100

Synthia @ The Grottos – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100

Photo: Synthia Goode - The Grottos - Spectra SE - Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600

Photo: Synthia Goode – The Grottos – Spectra SE – Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600

Hanging out @ The Grottos - Leica M2 - Voigtlander 15mm - Ektar 100

Hanging out @ The Grottos – Leica M2 – Voigtlander 15mm – Ektar 100

My Beautiful Wife @ The Grottos - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

My Beautiful Wife @ The Grottos – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

When we got back, I ‘pulled the old man card’ and relaxed the rest of the evening.  I had to get a jump start on writing about our trip 🙂  Synthia eventually met up with K&K when they got off work, and the ladies came giggling back after the bars closed.

To be continued …

CLICK TO READ part 3/4 of our road trip to Aspen, CO

A Road Trip to Aspen + Impossible Project + Leica M2 & 15mm – Part:1/4

July 11, 2012 § 6 Comments

A road trip to Aspen.  Two of my favorite people, Kristina & Kat, are fortunate enough to live there and my wife and I have visited them a couple of times since they moved.  We have vowed to make the trip every year at least once.  If you drive to Aspen it’s about ~ 16 hours from Dallas, but totally worth it.   Granted, it takes 10 hours to get out of Texas, but who cares .. the last 6 are filled with an inspiring landscape worthy of any road trip.  Colorado just makes you feel so good.   Being there replenishes my soul ..

The plan was to leave on Tuesday night, July 3rd.    We’d drive through the evening, take a nap for a few hours in Raton, NM and then hit the road again.  Luckily, the adrenaline of being on a road trip usually just keeps me going.    We decided to take Maybelle, one of our dogs, with us.   She’s a 2 1/2 year old boxer and we knew that she would have the time of her life up there.

I brought a variety of cameras with me; a Leica M2, a Polaroid Sonar SX-70, a Polaroid 100 Land Camera and a Mamiya C330.  For film, I brought some PX-70 COOL & NIGO, Kodak Ektar 100, Fuji Acros 100 & Adox CMS 20.   🙂  Synthia brought her Spectra SE and her grab bag of Spectra film.   She’s been shooting a lot with it and is loving the black frame PZ600.  It has this really cool vintage look and it ended being a perfect fit for the images she shot on this trip.

We packed all of the other essentials and ended up leaving at 7 o’clock.   After we drove 6 hours and made it into Amarillo, we chose to just make the push to Aspen without stopping, and took turns driving and sleeping through the night.   I can’t believe we had it in us to drive straight to Aspen from Dallas.

The Road to Westcliffe, CO - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

The Road to Westcliffe, CO – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Twin Lakes - Colorado - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Twin Lakes – Colorado – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Once we got over Independence Pass and were making our way into town, we stopped at a grove of trees and Synthia snapped this killer B&W shot with some black frame PZ600 …

Photo: Synthia Goode - Aspen, CO - Spectra SE - Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600

Photo: Synthia Goode – Aspen, CO – Spectra SE – Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600

Our little Scion arrived in Aspen at 11am,  just enough time to take a quick shower and find a spot to relax before the July 4th parade started.    The four of us sat down at Hunters Bar and enjoyed some good ol’ fashioned ‘merican food (beer, burgers & dogs) while watching the parade from a distance.  We both snuck up for a couple of frames of the festivities …

Three-wheeled Unicycle - Aspen 4th of July Parade 2012- Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Three-wheeled Unicycle – 4th of July Parade 2012- Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Photo: Synthia Goode - 4th of July Parade - Spectra SE - Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600

Photo: Synthia Goode – 4th of July Parade – Spectra SE – Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600

After the parade was over, Kristina and Kat had to head into work so Synthia and I went back to their place and passed out.  When we woke up from our much needed nap, we decided to grab a quick bite to eat.

We ended up going to New York Pizza.  Last year, I had met a local photographer by the name of Michael Brands there when I was in town.  He had mentioned that his friend had just opened up a photography gallery in Aspen called The Nugget that was worth checking out.  I made a point to stop in again this year to show Synthia and to introduce myself to the owner, Ross.     When we walked inside, there were some fantastic photo-realistic paintings that a friend of his was showing.  We started talking photography and about 1/2 way through our conversation, I asked him if he still shot instant film and if he had heard of The Impossible Project.  He had not 🙂  I filled him in on the details and his interest seemed to pique when I mentioned that Impossible was now making 8×0 film as well.  Later in the evening, when Synthia and I were walking around, she chuckled and said that TIP needs to hire me as a spokesman for their product.    I’m practically an evangelist for them!  But you know what?  They deserve all of the positive press they can get.

The next morning, we all woke up and hiked part of Lost Man Loop.  We probably hiked about an hour or so before turning around.   It was a great warm up for us and I’m glad we ended up taking it a little easy.  I think Synthia and I were still a little beat from the drive and adjusting to the altitude.

Fly Fishing @ Lost Man Reservoir - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100

Fly Fishing @ Lost Man Reservoir – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100

Maybelle grabbin' a quick drink - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100

Maybelle grabbin’ a quick drink – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100

Hiking Lost Man Loop Trail - Leica M2 - Voigtlander 15mm - Ektar 100

Hiking Lost Man Loop Trail – Leica M2 – Voigtlander 15mm – Ektar 100

Photo: Synthia Goode - Lost Man Loop Trail - Spectra SE - Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600

Photo: Synthia Goode – Lost Man Loop Trail – Spectra SE – Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600

After we got back, we were starving so we all ordered some grub from The Big Wrap.   Kat recommended I have the Babs-E-Que and I’m so glad I did .. it was CRAZY good!  Apparently this joint is packed all the time and rightfully so.

When the ladies went off to work, Synthia and I took their jeep out and drove up Hunter Creek Rd. to the ghost town of Ashcroft.

Representin' - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Representin’ – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

We had snowshoed right by this place in Feburary of 2011.  To see it again in the summer was really cool.  The town sprung up in in the early 1880’s when there was a silver boom in the area.   At its peak, there were about 2,000 people living and working there.   The mines initially produced 14,000 ounces of silver to the ton, but unfortunately for Ashcroft, it turned out to just be shallow deposits.   As quickly as it boomed, Ashcroft went a bust.

Ashcroft Ghost Town - Leica M2 - Voigtlander 15mm - Ektar 100

Ashcroft Ghost Town – Leica M2 – Voigtlander 15mm – Ektar 100

Ashcroft Ghost Town - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100

Ashcroft Ghost Town – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100

Ashcroft Hotel - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Ashcroft Hotel – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

The view from Ashcroft Hotel - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

The view from Ashcroft Hotel – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

After a little while, a family met up with us and asked Synthia to snap a photo with their camera.   When she was handing it back, she asked them if they wanted an instant photo.   At first they said no because they didn’t want us to waste our film, but after showing them a photo that Synthia took of me on the hotel steps, their attitudes changed.

Photo: Synthia Goode - Ashcroft Hotel - Spectra SE - Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600

Photo: Synthia Goode – Ashcroft Hotel – Spectra SE – Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600

“Did you use some sort of filter for that?”  “No.   It’s just the way this particular film looks …” Synthia replied.   After she shot their family photo and tucked it away in a brochure, we explained to them that they had to wait a little while before taking a peek.   They were grateful and went on their way.

We moseyed our way back through the ghost town and then stopped at a nearby picnic table so we could just soak in the surroundings …

Ashcroft, Colorado - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Ashcroft, Colorado – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Photo: Synthia Goode - Ashcroft, CO - Spectra SE - Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600

Photo: Synthia Goode – Ashcroft, CO – Spectra SE – Impossible Project Black Frame PZ600

To be continued …

CLICK TO READ part 2/4 of our road trip to Aspen, CO. 

Shaving the Beast – Stop Motion Haircut Video

May 25, 2012 § 4 Comments

Last year, I got stuck on the idea of recreating an image of Forrest Gump at Monument Valley with my friend Justin.    We talked it over and about 7 months later we set out on this incredible trip joined by our friend Richard.  Justin (JV as we like to call him) had been growing out his beard specifically for this trip/image and by the end of the year was growing tired of his beastly beard.    The trip (another blog post I need to write) was a success and we captured some awesome images around the four corners area of the US.  Here are a couple of the images of JV in Monument Valley …

Monument Valley - Mile Marker 13 - Mamiya C330 - Ektar 100

Monument Valley – Mile Marker 13 – Mamiya C330 – Ektar 100

Monument Valley - Mile Marker 13 - Nikon D700 + 85mm f/1.4

Monument Valley – Mile Marker 13 – Nikon D700 + 85mm f/1.4

Once we got back home, JV was ready to shed the beast on his face.  It was pretty out of control and understandably, he wanted that thing gone.  I mentioned that it would be really funny if he let my wife shave his beard & head completely while I did some still photography in the studio for a stop motion video.   He laughed and told me that he wasn’t interested in shaving it ALL off.     A few days later I was talking to him and he said something about the video.  It seemed he had come around and was willing to make the sacrifice 🙂

The video clip is comprised of about 1800 still images taken in a studio, then imported & converted into a short segment in iMovie.    The music in the background is Maxwell (on a Maxwell kick lately – please don’t frown on its unauthorized use) .

Enjoy!

-Justin

www.goodephotography.biz

A Polaroid Spectra + Impossible Project PZ680 + The Ballpark

May 16, 2012 § 4 Comments

At the end of last year, I was lucky enough to break away for a bit to visit my good friend Billy in San Francisco.   He was the first person that I knew that was shooting Impossible Project’s film and he had been raving over it for months.    I spent a handful of days there and ventured throughout the city with my Leica M2 and Mamiya C330.   While I was there, we visited the coastal town of Pacifica and Billy had been shooting some IP film through his Polaroid Spectra AF.    I was stunned by the results.   The aesthetic qualities of the b+w’s are something that have imprinted themselves on my mind.   Ghostly images bathed in degradation that I thought, up until then, only happened with time.  He was shooting Impossible’s PZ600UV Silver Shade.

I started shooting IP’s films about a month ago and I’ve been actively looking for some other Polaroids to shoot their film with.   I picked up a nice black Spectra AF from Ebay for about $20 a couple weeks ago.    The day I got it in, my buddy at Archinal Camera, handed me another Spectra!   And just the other day, one of my wife’s co-workers gave us another Spectra.   I think somebody’s trying to tell me something …

Polaroid Spectra AF - Impossible Project PZ680

Polaroid Spectra AF – Impossible Project PZ680

The Spectra is a cool looking analogue camera.   I’ve seen them before but never really paid any attention.   They have a unique optical system utilizing a 135mm f/10 quintic lens.   The focal length equivalency is about about 40mm in the 35mm format.  Like most Polaroids, you don’t have a ton of control over the exposure.   The most important options at your disposal are: an exposure lighten/darken switch, a switch to toggle the flash on/off, an AF override switch to set focus to infinity, a self timer and a tripod mount.

The autofocusing feature on Spectras, and many other Polaroids, is done by sonar.   When you press the shutter halfway, it emits an inaudible sound wave to measure the distance between the camera and what you’re shooting.    It sends the sound waves to the center of what’s in the viewfinder, the sound waves bounce back, and the distance is displayed at the bottom of the viewfinder (there is a little switch to toggle between showing ft/m on the camera).   There is an autofocus lock feature, in the sense that after you press the shutter halfway, you can hold the shutter and move your viewpoint to keep that particular distance focused.

That’s basically the gist of the camera.

I picked up some film and waited for the right time to shoot it.   A baseball game with some of my family came up so it was a great opportunity to test out some shots at The Ballpark.  I loaded up my camera bag with the Spectra, a pack of PZ680 and an icepack to keep the film cool while developing.  Why not right?

Before I left, I called the Impossible Project space in New York to ask them a quick exposure question.   I doubled checked to make sure that the PZ680 I was about to shoot was indeed 600-ish speed film.    The reason for the “ish” is that Impossible’s film speeds sometimes are a little faster than what’s intended. Up until this point, with the PX-70 film in a SX-70 camera, I have been cranking exposure wheel all the way down.   She told me that with the Spectra and the regular PZ680, it was spot on and no adjustments needed to be made.   She did mention that the PZ680 COOL that just came out was running a little faster than 680 ASA, so an underexposure adjustment might be needed.

With the SX-70, I use a dark slide to protect the film from any direct light the moment it ejects out of the camera.   I had planned on using a home-made dark slide but I ended up ejecting the film directly into the box after the photo was taken.   The Spectra’s have a cool feature with their self timers.   If you shoot a photo and hold down the shutter button, you can switch the timer on and it will keep the photo inside the camera until you toggle the switch back off.   Since Impossible’s photos are so sensitive to light, this is a great feature to utilize.  I used this method for all of these shots.

The Ballpark in Arlington - Impossible Project PZ680 - Polaroid Spectra AF

The Ballpark in Arlington – Impossible Project PZ680 – Polaroid Spectra AF

I cranked the exposure all the way down for this image.   Otherwise the sky would have probably been completely blown out.   The rest were shot in the neutral position on the exposure slider.

Home Run! - Impossible Project PZ680 - Polaroid Spectra AF

Home Run! – Impossible Project PZ680 – Polaroid Spectra AF

The Ballpark in Arlington - Impossible Project PZ680 - Polaroid Spectra AF

The Ballpark in Arlington – Impossible Project PZ680 – Polaroid Spectra AF

The Ballpark in Arlington - Impossible Project PZ680 - Polaroid Spectra AF

The Ballpark in Arlington – Impossible Project PZ680 – Polaroid Spectra AF

Overall I’m pleased with the film.  However, I do think that it’s still probably sitting about a 1/2 a stop faster than what it’s advertised to be.   But otherwise, it gives you a unique, vintage palette of colors. I really do like how Impossible films render scenes.    Yes. It’s not perfect .. but that’s the point.

-Justin

http://www.goodephotography.biz

Kodachrome: The One & Only

May 7, 2012 § 8 Comments

Leica M2 - Kodachrome 64 - Zeiss 35mm f/2

Leica M2 – Kodachrome 64 – Zeiss 35mm f/2

Back in 2010, I was given one roll of Kodachrome from my Dad when I was visiting over the holidays. He informed me that I had less than a week to shoot it and get it to Dwayne’s Photo. As many of you might know, Kodachrome is no longer being made and/or processed and Dec. 30th, 2010 was the deadline to get your film turned in to have it developed. For a film lover, I was excited to have the chance to shoot it. To this day, I still kick myself for not shooting more of it while it was around.

Anyhow, my visit ended and I returned home Monday night (Dec. 27th). The next morning, I loaded the roll of Kodachrome in my M2 and knocked off a couple of frames. Unfortunately, it was a dreary day in Dallas and the forecast was calling for rain the rest of the day. Kodachrome’s film speed was pretty slow and this particular roll was ASA 64; not ideal for the day ahead. When I had returned home I thought the deadline was noon on December 31st. When I went to visit Dwayne’s website and figured out the deadline was noon on Thursday the 30th I started to panic. Whoops! I quickly looked up shipping options to get it there by noon on Thursday. The cost was about $35..

Hmmmm .. why not just drive up there, shoot the film on the way and document one of the final days at Dwayne’s? I started making some calls and ended up finding a travel buddy with my friend Mike Hawkins. He is a phenomenal shooter and one of the few photographers in Dallas that I enjoy hanging out with. We agreed to leave at 8am the following morning.

The chariot if you will ...

The chariot if you will …

Mike cruised over in the AM and we quickly packed up his car. It was an ugly overcast morning and I prayed that the clouds would lift in Oklahoma and we would at least have somewhat decent light to work with.

- Leica M2 - Kodachrome 64 - Zeiss 35mm f/2 -

– Leica M2 – Kodachrome 64 – Zeiss 35mm f/2 –

We started cruising up 75 and thought about what we might encounter on the way. The consensus; not much haha. There were a handful of things I thought were worth photographing …

Leica M2 - Kodachrome 64 - Zeiss 35mm f/2

Leica M2 – Kodachrome 64 – Zeiss 35mm f/2 – Durant, Oklahoma

The coolest thing encountered in Oklahoma was a McDonald’s built over the highway in Vinita. It was formerly the world’s largest McDonald’s but now I believe it ranks #3.

- Kodachrome 64 -  McDonald's in Vinita, Oklahoma

– Kodachrome 64 – McDonald’s in Vinita, Oklahoma

- Kodachrome 64 -

– Kodachrome 64 – A countryside driveway

We crossed into Kansas and chuckled at the insignificance of the sign. Mike mentioned that whenever he’s entered back into Texas from another state there’s typically a GIANT sign that exemplifies Texas in all its glory.

By this time, only a handful of frames had been burned on the roll of film. As we were nearing Parsons, I realized we had some work ahead of us. If there was going to be anything worthwhile on this roll we had to find something in town and around the area. Parsons is pretty plain. Set in the southern part of Kansas, I imagine that what we saw here could be encountered around most of middle America in its many small towns.

Mike and I drove straight to Dwayne’s Photo and I gawked at the size of the building and its operation. I had read online that they employ about 100 people. Parsons has a population of about 12,000.  Walked indoors and initially we weren’t too impressed. I hear the ringing of phones and noticed about 5 people answering phones in a front office crammed with envelopes. Most of the phones calls we heard were “No. It’s been posted for over a year. The deadline to get your Kodachrome in is noon on Thursday the 30th not Friday the 31st.” I’m glad we decided to drive up and drop off this roll. We told one of the employees that we’re going to knock off some frames around town and we’d be back before they closed at 5.

Leica M2 - Kodachrome 64 - Zeiss 35mm f/2

Leica M2 – Kodachrome 64 – Zeiss 35mm f/2

- Kodachrome 64 - Dwayne Steile of Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, KS

– Kodachrome 64 – Dwayne Steinle of Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, KS

I knocked off a frame of the drive thru window (what film lab has this anymore??) and we went back into town.

- Kodachrome Drive-Thru Window -

– Kodachrome Drive-Thru Window –

- Leica M2 - Kodachrome 64 - Zeiss 35mm f/2 -

– Leica M2 – Kodachrome 64 – Zeiss 35mm f/2 –

Grub time @ Chick’s Diner.

- Kodachrome 64 - Chick's Diner - Parsons, Kansas -

– Kodachrome 64 – Chick’s Diner – Parsons, Kansas –

We were greeted by a friendly waitress that looked happy to have customers. The country-fried steak was calling both of our names. The food was decent . . .

We went to the front to pay and I snagged an image of our waitress.

- Kodachrome 64 - Chick's Diner - Parsons, Kansas -

– Kodachrome 64 – Chick’s Diner – Parsons, Kansas –

We cruised around town and stopped a few more places (which included a park to throw 2 holes of disc golf I might add) and then made our way back to Dwayne’s Photo lab.

Got back to Dwayne’s and asked one of the ladies up front if there was any way we could go in the back and photograph the lab. “Of course! The VP of Operations, Grant (Dwayne’s son) is giving a tour right now. As soon as he’s done you can go check it out.” I looked out the window and noticed three guys walking around the front snagging images on film cameras. I thought to myself “Well .. we’re not the only crazy ones that made this trip.” They walked indoors and we quickly find out that they’ve come from Connecticut and have been shooting Kodachrome the whole way. They all had film cameras made about 30 years ago (Canon and Nikon SLR’s) and were happy to have made it to Dwayne’s. Mike and I were escorted back and I was a little shocked at how many envelopes I saw in the first room around the corner. That was only the beginning …

- Kodak Portra 160 - Dwayne's Photo - Parsons, Kansas -

– Kodachrome 64 – Dwayne’s Photo – Parsons, Kansas –

The place was nuts! Thousands and thousands of rolls that had been rushed in to get developed …

- Kodak Portra 160 - Dwayne's Photo - Parsons, Kansas -

– Kodak Portra 160 – Dwayne’s Photo – Parsons, Kansas –

- Kodak Portra 160 - Dwayne's Photo - Parsons, Kansas -

– Kodak Portra 160 – Dwayne’s Photo – Parsons, Kansas –

- Kodak Portra 160 - Dwayne's Photo - Parsons, Kansas -

– Kodak Portra 160 – Dwayne’s Photo – Parsons, Kansas –

We saw a tub of empty canisters (something I had thought about potentially seeing when we were cruising up) and immediately snagged some frames.

- Kodachrome 64 - Dwayne's Photo - Parsons, Kansas -

– Kodachrome 64 – Dwayne’s Photo – Parsons, Kansas –

Mike was about to take an image and his ‘Blad locked up on him.

- Kodak Portra 160 - Dwayne's Photo - Parsons, Kansas -

– Kodak Portra 160 – Dwayne’s Photo – Parsons, Kansas –

Oh boy … he was not too happy. I passed him my D700. He thanked me but did not look too pleased. If you’ve driven 6 hours and LOVE shooting film on a Hassie, the last thing you want to do is shoot a digital camera at the last lab that is processing this iconic film. It’s the principle of it! He quickly searched the Internet on his iPhone to find a quick fix for the lock-up. Meanwhile, we made our way back up to the front and were greeted by a group of people that had made their way from Belgium! They had come all of this way to film a documentary (shot on 8mm Kodachrome) about the last days of Kodachrome.

Mike found a quick-fix online and we were escorted back in the warehouse to the workshop to get a small flathead so the ‘blad could be unlocked (I believe the mirror locked up for some reason if I recall correctly). After the Hassie was fixed we were then escorted back to the developing room. *jaw dropped* I would have NEVER in my life thought that this machine would have been so big.

- Kodak Portra 160 - Dwayne's Photo - Parsons, Kansas -

– Kodak Portra 160 – Dwayne’s Photo – Parsons, Kansas –

- Kodak Portra 160 - Dwayne's Photo - Parsons, Kansas -

– Kodak Portra 160 – Dwayne’s Photo – Parsons, Kansas –

- Kodak Portra 160 - Dwayne's Photo - Parsons, Kansas -

– Kodak Portra 160 – Dwayne’s Photo – Parsons, Kansas –

- Kodak Portra 160 - Dwayne's Photo - Parsons, Kansas -

– Kodak Portra 160 – Dwayne’s Photo – Parsons, Kansas –

- Kodak Portra 160 - Dwayne's Photo - Parsons, Kansas -

– Kodak Portra 160 – Dwayne’s Photo – Parsons, Kansas – Night vision goggles –

For the next two hours we spent our time walking through Dwayne’s snapping off frames to document the end of Kodachrome’s era.

- Kodak Portra 160 - Dwayne's Photo - Parsons, Kansas -

– Kodak Portra 160 – Dwayne’s Photo – Parsons, Kansas –

- Kodak Portra 160 - Dwayne's Photo - Parsons, Kansas -

– Kodak Portra 160 – Dwayne’s Photo – Parsons, Kansas –

- Kodak Portra 160 - Leica M2 - 35m Zeiss f/2 -

– Kodak Portra 160 – Leica M2 – 35m Zeiss f/2 –

- Kodak Portra 160 - Dwayne's Photo - Parsons, Kansas -

– Kodak Portra 160 – Dwayne’s Photo – Parsons, Kansas –

Seeing and experiencing this was a journey I will never forget. I’ve always enjoyed looking at images shot on Kodachrome. So many iconic images have been captured through this particular medium. From iconic National Geographic images, to the thousands of Kodachrome slides that my great-grandmother shot in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. There’s simply nothing like it and it will never be replicated through a digital medium.

With that said, the variety of film that’s out there won’t be around forever so do yourself a favor and SHOOT IT BEFORE IT’S GONE.

-Justin

www.goodephotography.biz

Hawkins & I at Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, Kansas

Hawkins & I at Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas

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