In honor of International Day of Forests, here’s an image I shot in Bali, Indonesia in 2005. This scene is from high up Gunung Agung near Pura Besakih, which is the largest and holiest temple in Bali. Luck would have it that I timed my trip to coincide with an annual pilgrimage to the temple by the Balinese people. So with several Balinese friends, I remember driving in the dark on winding roads through the forest in the early morning hours before sunrise. We arrived at this location just as the sun was rising, and I was able to photograph it before visiting the temple.
In 2007, I traveled to Bali, Indonesia for the 2nd time and wanted to bring my 4×5 camera. Two days before departing, I was going through my gear and realized that my camera wasn’t functioning properly. Basically, the rails for the rear standard were bent and prevented it from fully extending. Well, I’ll be damned if I was going to travel to the other side of the planet with a broken camera, so I ended up buying a new one that arrived in the mail the day before I left. Things were looking good.
Once I arrived in Bali and settled in, it was time to explore and capture some images. However, I quickly realized that in my haste when packing the new camera, I forgot to transfer the quick-release plate from the old camera to the new one. Huge mistake! After a lot of stammering and frustration, I figured that I could use the quick-release plate from a Canon 5D-MKii. Although it worked, the plate had a raised edge on one side that prevented it from sitting flat when mounted to the bottom of the camera. Although a bit awkward, this solution worked, and I was able to use it throughout the trip.
This image was made at Tanah Lot in Bali, Indonesia with a Toyo 4×5 view camera on Fuji Provia.
Although I’ve been able to make some appealing images with my Zone VI 8×10 view camera, there were a couple shortcomings that began to bother me after about a year of use. First, because it’s made of wood, I always felt that it was a bit imprecise, and this goes against my nature. Next, since my 4×5 camera was made by Toyo, I couldn’t easily share lenses between the cameras unless I swapped out lensboards. Therefore, when a Toyo 810M view camera came up for sale, I jumped at the opportunity and purchased it.
Interestingly, I purchased this camera from Chris Jordan, an artist and photographer who is well known for several projects: “Midway”, “Intolerable Beauty”, and “In Katrina’s Wake”. I highly recommend you check out his work at www.chrisjordan.com
For this particular image, it was made at the Salton Sea in 2007 with a Toyo 810M view camera on Fuji Provia. Who says you can’t shoot directly into the sun, especially on transparency film?
This image was made in Point Mugu State Park in April of 2006 with a Zone VI 8×10 view camera on Velvia 50. This is one of those photographs that I didn’t like originally, because I felt the color was distracting. But after revisiting it years later, I showed the transparency to my wife, and she suggested I convert it to B&W. She was right, and I think it works much better now.
Here’s another photograph from 2006 where I experimented with color transparency film. The combination of warm light at sunset, two ND filters, and a 2-minute exposure caused the film to react in such a way that colors of a normal landscape transform to something a bit more surreal. This image was made with a Zone VI 8×10 view camera on Fuji Provia.
After my successful outing in 2005 with the 4×5 camera for the first time in years, the photography bug bit me hard, and I’ve been shooting regularly ever since. It wasn’t too long afterwards that I purchased my first 8×10 camera, which was a wooden field camera made by Zone VI. This image is from that camera and was shot on Fuji Provia in early 2006.
I injured my back many years ago and had surgery in 2001. Despite being out of pain, this was still a very dark period of time for me, and I wasn’t photographing much at all. In November of 2005, however, something awakened in me, and I broke out the 4×5 camera. Without any planning, I ventured down to El Matador State Beach in Malibu, CA to play around. Little did I know how fantastic the light was going to be. Anyway, I was really rusty with the camera after not using it for many years, but this was one of the resulting images I made and has served as a great source of motivation ever since.
This image was made with a Toyo 4×5 large format camera on Fuji Velvia 50.