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Friday, September 11

Going over old ground

Hand-held at 1/15th with the Rollei - not difficult with a TLR.

The campus of Dundee University has been a useful hunting ground for me and Phil Rogers. It's not far from where Phil lives and it's close to the city centre where I often drop Cath when she wants to do some shopping. It's also got a mix of old and new buildings and students and lecturers who show little interest in middle-aged men wandering around with cameras on show.

The problem is that we've both done it to death. Sometimes it can seem like I've done everything to death that's worth doing within an easy drive of where I live. But the uni campus is particularly familiar territory.

I was there again on Friday last week. I remember getting out of the car and thinking "why am I doing this" but I couldn't think of anywhere else to go for the three-quarters of an hour I had spare. So I decided as I was walking up the brae leading from the Perth Road to the campus that I wouldn't allow myself to photograph anything I've photographed in the past.

That would mean having to look for new subjects or at old subjects in a new way which is a good discipline to force upon oneself every now and then. The downside is that the worthwhile photographs were all spotted in previous outings so I'd be scraping the barrel, but no matter. Sometimes it's just good to be out with a camera, a roll of film and no schedule to stick to - beyond remembering to pick Cath up when she'd finished shopping!

I'm still in Rolleiflex mode so it was the 2.8F stuffed into a Domke F803 satchel that was hanging from my right shoulder. An exposure meter would have been nice, too, but I couldn't find my trusty Sekonic. I looked for it everywhere before leaving but gave up. I realised later that it was in the big custom case that houses the Kodak Specialist II, somewhere it hadn't occurred to me to look. I was just going to go by the Sunny 16 rule - or Sunny f81/2 as it is in my neck of the woods - but my iPhone has an exposure meter app which is fairly accurate so I used that instead.

Sure enough, it wasn't easy finding anything worthwhile to photograph that was new to my lens. Sometimes, no matter how hard I look, there just isn't a photograph there. At least, I now recognise this situation quite quickly which can save a lot of time and wasted film. The pics here were about all I could come up with - nothing worth mentioning but just enough to exercise the shutter finger and the wee grey cells.


marty said...

Hey, Bruce. Nice series, as you got us used...They're simple and simplicity always pays in terms of photography, at least that's my experience, And besides, exercise the finger, as you put it, is just what we need sometimes, for the peace of mind and to remind us what a beautiful pastime we have... I often find myself in that state of mind when everywhere at driving distance has already been photographed at will and maybe no longer worth, but I force myself to get the car in spite of that and sometimes something new to photograph arises, maybe just with a different light... that's the beauty, and then we lose the sense of time at the risk of almost forgetting of our dearest persons :-).
Cheers, M.

Anonymous said...

I agree with marty, Bruce, nice series. I am going through the same emotion you wrote about here in shooting in the same area (our town square) for the last three years. Since I have been shooting mostly digital (Fuji X-E1 & X100S), I have not worried a lot about "wasting" anything. If I don't like the image I just delete. Problem is I have been doing a lot of deleting these days. So this past Tuesday, I decided if there wasn't anything there, I would not click the shutter button. I also decided that instead of roaming the square, I would just set myself someplace and see what, if anything, presented itself.I took only four images Tuesday. And three were in a sequence but one was worth keeping. Since leaving the newspaper business, I have struggled with finding purpose in photographing. After seven years, I seem to have come full circle back to the days when I was photographing for fun.

Really enjoy your blog as it quite often gives me "food for thought."

DougH said...

Really like the 1st image, and very encouraged that its hand-held at 1/15. My next trip up North I'll be taking a TLR without tripod (flying;-( Glad to see what one can do.

Dr. Elliot Puritz said...

Nicely done....the feeling of nostalgia is conveyed well.


Donato Chirulli said...

A well made Rollei shot.... is never banal... ;-)

Anonymous said...

If I'm not mistaken the first shot is inside one of the physic's dept building by the Geddes Quad? memory jog.

Bruce Robbins said...

Good spot! I've been sneaking in there for the odd pic for quite a few years now.