The Best Picture I Ever Took

Posted on September 21, 2014


Emmie Rides the Merry-Go-Round

A few years ago I went to The Nutcracker with my friend, her daughter, and a friend of the family. It was at the Seattle Ballet with the Maurice Sendak versions of the sets, now retired, I believe.

After, the girls got on the merry-go-round and I snapped 2 rolls. I have no idea of the settings except that I managed to get shadow detail with black-on-black clothing, and not blow out the lights, all while it was going around in the dark. Even the one shot I “blew” is so artsy I’ll say I meant to do it.

EM-21WebI will tell you that the emulsion is so thin on some of the blacks that it actually has pinholes in it, which print as little white dots and are a bitch to spot. (Right? Because black in the print is nearly clear in the negative, but a hole is black in the negative so the print gets no  light and prints white.  Yeah, I know, it’s not a natural way to think, probably why I persist in the medium.)

Allie-24WebI will also say that while scanning a strip of film means some of them scan well and some do not, the negatives themselves are just gorgeous.  The white coat prints white, the shadow detail is there, the skin tones are luminous. I thought about rescanning or editing the roll, but in the end I don’t have time to scan and every picture has some merit.  Taken as a whole, it was one hell of a shoot.  They practically print straight! The only thing I did was burn the horses haunch a little bit, but the detail was in the negative. I’ve never printed anything so easily.

I actually entered this into a contest and they said “You can’t see where the shoes end and the stockings begin.” (!?) Well, actually,  you can see all of that if you look closely. I love how you c an see the filaments in the bulb. I probably could’ve risked another stop and still not blown anything out or had action blur.

Of course, technical details and setting aside, what made the images so awesome is the genuinely great and happy time everybody was having. It was not possible to take a bad shot. I have to say that is something you can’t arrange, and when I see the images I see through all of the craftsmanship to that, as I think it should be.  Look at the bicep on that kid!  It almost matches the attitude.

There is a kid in all of us, if we could but remember how to find her or him. I think that’s why I love that shot: in one moment, Emmie made an image that sums up that entire in-the-moment feeling we so rarely experience, and she continues to do so every time I look at the print.

Clicking any image will give you a “carousel” of images.

P.S. Who Are You and Where are You From?

Who is visiting me from the Ukraine?

WordPress gives me these awesome reports and I can see how people find me, where they live, how they found the blog, what pages they visited. I see people from Europe, Asia, South America, and I always wonder who they are. I would love to get comments from  you!


Posted in: Photography