Nothing on my mind, 19 May 2009


Another photoblog today, since my brain is all gelatinous and such. Half a dozen margaritas three hours ago means, well. Oh sure, objectively, I know that the room is not actually spinning, but try telling that to my somewhat less than coherent brain. I suspect you will not be successful. [1] That, and I just don’t feel like thinking, either; I spent most of the afternoon wandering around with my camera (shocking, I know), so now, I’m tired and just waiting for late-night TV to send me into the sweet numbing embrace of nocturnal quiescence. Yeah, yeah…I start using fancy words when I’m not quite sober. So, enjoy the photo.


This one is actually reaching back into ancient history (okay, ancient for me – its a relatively thing). I shot this photo when I was in undergrad back at UVA. The location is the now abandoned Woolen Mills on the eastern outskirts of Charlottesville, VA; the small creek in the foreground feeds into the Rivanna River. Unlike most of my more recent photos, I also hand-processed this print in a darkroom myself. This print actually took roughly five minutes to process, [2] since the center part of the image was overexposed. The reason that this happened is that while this is one of my personal favorite photos, it was entirely unplanned. I was not having a particularly inspiring day when I started shooting on this particular day, so I did not really have any specific goals in mind when I started out this roll of film. I had picked up a rock at random, and was idly tossing it around in my hand, until I threw it into the pool in the foreground of the image. When I looked at the ripples in the pool, I saw this composition, and it just worked for me. Of course, I wanted to capture the shot before the ripples in the pool reached the current flow from the creek, so I had to work quickly; as such, I did not properly meter the scene. Since the Mill building in the background was in direct sunlight, while the rest of the scene was not, so the Mill itself was overexposed in the resulting negative. As a result, I had to burn the center portion of the image for roughly five minutes to give the buildings a reasonable exposure.

Mostly, I think it worked out well, but the shadows on the wall below the Mill are a little exaggerated, as a result of the burning. Otherwise, the photo did not require too much additional manipulation; I did a little dodging on the ruined brick wall on the right-hand side, as it was a little deep in shadow. Otherwise, I am very satisfied with the composition. I have even tried to recreate this photo under more controlled circumstances and using different film formats, but alas. I have not been able to capture the scene in quite the same way as I did the first time. Ah well, I suppose that I should be satisfied with the original results, but you know them creative types…we’re never satifsifed with our work!



[1]: Yes, I know, you’re probably wondering why I can still write coherently when I’m also convinced that the room is spinning. So am I. See, we have something in common! Let’s be bestest friends forever! Okay, maybe I get a little more snarky than usual when I’m not quite sober.

[2]: Those of you who have processed prints yourself will probably realize that this is somewhat atypical; usually, I wouldn’t have to expose a negative for more than a minute (assuming, of course, that the negative was properly exposed). This worked for the rest of the scene, so I spent the remainder of the exposure time burning the overexposed portions of the negative.


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