UPDATE on 6 January 2019: I’ve put the photos for this project on my blog web site here. http://bracketthis.com/images/31goldenhours/
UPDATE on 5 January 2019: I’ve torched my Instagram account. I’ll go into the reasons why in my next post, so the links to the project won’t be there. However, I’ll upload the project to my flickr account.
I spent December of 2018 doing my #31sunrises31sunsets project on Instagram and on film. I only mention film not for pretentious reasons, but because it was so time consuming. In this blog post, I want to tell you how I made my process more efficient, and the trials and tribulations I faced.
The task sounds simple: photograph something during golden hour for both dawn and dusk for 31 days straight on film. That’s at least two photos a day.
Most folks make their resolutions for January 1st, and most people fail with their resolutions by February. I thought to myself, how much easier would it be to do a December resolution, and have nothing to worry about during the new year.
But lots of things went wrong.
- My Leica M-A could no longer focus at infinity leading to blurry landscape photos. This happened 5 days in. I sent it to Leica for repairs.
- I ran out of budget for color chemicals and did days 16 to 31 on black and white film. Black and white is pennies on the dollar cheaper than color.
- I ran out of budget for gas. This really sucked since I wanted to get out of the bay area.
However, through sheer will power, luck, and planning I made it through. For any future project that will take this long here are a few tips.
- Always have a back up of everything you need. I had multiple film camera bodies to full back on.
- Always shoot a scene with more than 1 camera and more than 1 roll of film.
- Budget for twice as many chemicals as you think you’ll need. You never know if your developer or fixer will mysteriously get exhausted. I’m still trying to track down the cause of this.
- Try and really expand your notions of what is photogenic. Traditional landscape shots no longer seemed appealing but cliché so I worked on finding new comps and more spontaneous ways of photographing. Street photography is your friend.
- If your project allows for it, shoot what you feel and not what you see. This lends more personal impact to your project.
To make the project efficient I did the following:
- Warm up chemicals first and then load film into dev canisters.
- Just scan what you need. If it’s a roll of 36 and you just need 2 shots, then scan those 2 shots.
- Be aware of how the sun moves, so you can shoot two locations for just one golden hour. I would shoot at the Embarcadero and then work my way to California Street as the sun rose. This allowed me to have shots in multiple locations. An app like photo pills is good for this.
I can’t say I would do this project ever again. Something in my photographs became very toxic when I photographed like this. It was as if the world was telling me Instagram is a dying platform, and that photography is more than just golden hour and landscapes.