‘Sepia Bird Takes Flight’

capturing images post-Nor Cal’ Fires in September

Photography Pop-up Story: During the month of September, the wild fires along this whole West Coast of the United States, have been hitting us pretty hard. It even hit close to home, when recently, my dad was forced to evacuate his home in Medford, Oregon, where the Almeda fires have been burning uncontrollably. Fortunately, he’s ok, and all of my friends are accounted for, and have since, relocated to safer areas in the state.

But through all of these natural disasters, devastating effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic, Political strife, racial unrest, and economic hardship, caused by all of these combined, it just causes one to reach down deep, and look for something to do to carry you through, or someway to help those around you, who maybe going through something even worse.

I have found ways to get behind my wife who’s soon to become a ‘front line worker’ as a local school teacher is important. And even during the SIP mandates, supporting my friends and colleagues via social media & letters has amounted to being a ‘daily bread event’.

For my piece of all this, I’ve turned to photography & writing as a way to gain solace through these unbelievable times. This month, I was curious to reconnect with Japantown: shooting both film & digital to capture the dystopian views.

When it comes to digital capture versus shooting with film, it’s really an aesthetical choice: I like shooting with both film & digital, because film photography is such a different process of how one arrives at the final outcome. There’s a build-in economy since you only have 24 or 36 shots on a role. Shooting film really tests your photographic ability, and you can’t take that for grant it. It’s better to come to a scene or situation and know what you want, which could come from pre-vis or writing out a shot-list. Of course, serendipity usually takes over, and you never know what you’re going to get. That’s the excitement of shooting film.

For this day’s shoot, I shot with CineStill 800 T 35mm color film. Shooting with Cinestill 800T can give your shots exaggerated specular highlights – – it produces red halation around the highlights: like a halo effect seen the above photo.

The color certainly shifted giving my shots deeper greens and washed out blues – – which I think gave my shots a satisfying ‘crossed processed’ look. What I learned about this film stock is that the T stands for tungsten balanced, which usually best for indoor lighting. And the the film stock is definitely not 800 ISO, but rather it’s 500 ISO. This technically means that your shots may be underexposed.

One of the aspects I like best about shooting with CineStill 800 T is that everything has that cinematic look. The shots coming back, look deep and beautiful like an 1980’s movie shot on film. What else I learned about this film, is that it’s actually Kodak motion picture film stock. What a cool hidden feature.. and really puts in perspective the whole notion of Cinematic Photography.

And that’s the end of this filmic story: Thanks for checking out my photo blog where image making is the central focus. For my next photo pop-up check back next month, where I’ll be shooting 120mm Cinestill film with my Mamiya RZ67 Pro medium format camera.

ja mata! じゃ また
(see you later!)

Paul Mansfield
photographer & proprietor

Published by paulmansfield30

Photographer in the Bay Area. Education is what it's all about, that, and creating a genuine connection with others. Current Disney + binge: 'Star Wars: Rebels'. Next project: developing Japan Travel Coffee Table books and teaching visual storytelling to neighborhood students.

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