Photo Essay -- Riding on the Front Line

Friday, May 1st, the officers involved with Freddie Gray's fatal arrest were pressed charges. Protesters again took to the streets to rejoice.

I brought my bike along that afternoon to keep up with the front lines of the march.

Photo Essay -- The Monday Riots in Baltimore: Peacekeepers

Not all those present during Monday riots threw stones or looted a store. There were those out there begging for peace.

Factions such as the Nation of Islam begged for rioters to stop fighting the police.

Street medics stood nearby to offer support to those unfortunate enough to be pepper-sprayed.

Later that night, more cars and buildings were set on fire -- Maryland was declared a state of emergency.


What does photography mean to me?

Foremost, it's a way that I can leave my mark through life.  Photographs provide an evidence that I was there in that moment.  But photographs also preserve my perspective on that moment -- I was there, and this is what I, an individual human being, saw.

Secondly, it's a hobby.  Collecting old cameras and shooting film are a great way to admire the past.  Digital cameras and a technologies provide me a way to share (or not share) my work around the world.  However, photographs are not the end-all-be-all of this hobby.  No, it's actually taking and composing the photograph that provides me the most satisfaction.  You give me a pair of headphones, a rangefinder with 400 speedfilm and I will feel unstoppable.

That feeling of turning cold metal dials and knobs.

That feeling of loading a new roll of film in the shade.

That feeling of just looking through the viewfinder!

There is something photography is not for me, though: emotional expression.  I said earlier that photography provides perspective, you can see what I'm looking at; I can't show you my true emotions through emulsion or pixels, however.  And that's not intentional.  Additionally, I'm not talking about capturing and displaying the emotions of others -- I can do that all day -- I'm talking about the emotions from behind the camera, mine!.  There's this disconnect between the camera and myself that I can't quite put a finger on.

I'll keep on trying.  One day my photographs will speak.

For now they will whisper quietly.

National Gallery of Art Trip

The other day, a good friend of mine and I ventured south into DC to check out the National Gallery of Art! I brought my newest toy, the Polaroid Land Camera Automatic 240, and the OM-D with me to the museum.

I'm so glad that she was willing to put up with my typical photographic shenanigans!

Here are a few photographs I captured that day:

A photo posted by Patrick (@surfingsalmon) on

I'm absolutely in love with the Land Camera 240..  Amazon is definitely going to have more packs of FP100c in my direction soon.

Urban Spelunking?

My buddy and I decided to try out some urban exploration around town.

Sort of gives away where we spleunked.

Crazy airvent-duct-looking thing hanging off of the ceiling!  There was also a mountain of dirt conveniently inside the warehouse -- I wonder why?

This stall is taken!

Evidently not the first nor last time someone has been here.

Camera used: Nikon L35AF
Film: Kodak Tri-X 400
Scanned with Epson V600

A Look at Old Hampden Photographs

I picked up some old photos from a few antique stores in Hampden the other day.  As always, I'm inspired by local photographers, and try to take my own stab at things. oldHampdenPhotoWEB-1

I love the "meta" going on in this first photo.  This photograph has many layers.  First, there's the trio in the center-left seemingly posing for a photograph.  Second, there's the two men wearing white shirts in the background.  They're scruffier looking than the trio, as evidenced by their long hair and the ridiculous circular sunglasses.  Lastly, a woman holding a box camera, with a coat draped over her shoulders like a cloak, looks over the entire scene.

Examining this photograph, I actually feel like I'm the woman, in that exact moment, witnessing this event.  How can I connect with her so deeply?  It probably mostly due to her holding a camera, though there is something about her demeanor that reminds me of myself.  As a hobbyist photographer, I'm usually behind the camera, seldom in front of it.  I like how she's holding the box camera close to her waist, and how her arms aren't through the coat sleeves.  It's as if she's a ghost, always watching, but never seen.  I've been shooting in mainly in a documentary fashion lately, and this photograph hits home.


What struck me with this photo is the aspect ratio.. Look how long it is!!  It's definitely not 35mm or 6x6 120 film.  Perhaps it's a film size that no longer exists.

I'll be honest, I picked up this photograph because the woman is cute -- she reminds me of someone I know in person.  Just kidding -- well, only a little!  As I look at this photograph, I wonder what the thought process was for the person behind the camera.

Lucy, can you pose with Fido in front of our bush?  Oh, and take off your hat!

I mean, look at her facial expression -- that's a skeptical smile!  Aesthetically, I like how there is a hat -- probably of the large straw variety -- cut off on the right side of the frame.  I feel it adds depth to the picture, my mind filling in what the rest of the hat would look like, or even what it would look like on the subject's head.

It's odd the photographer chose a vertical orientation instead of horizontal for this particular shot.  If shot in landscape, a whole lot more of the house (maybe even a front door) could be captured on the emulsion.  The straw hat would be encompassed in the shot, too.

I love looking at these old photographs.  It makes me wonder what the thrify folks of the future will think of my photographs.

These photos are also in great condition.  Of course there are apparent scratches, but the actual images are so sharp in person!

A Sneak Peak: Knoxville Photographs

Still waiting for the rest of my negatives to flatten. In the meantime, here are a few Ultramax 400 frames taken with the Olympus OM4!

Thank God for flat negatives...

A photo posted by Patrick (@surfingsalmon) on

So, I went to Knoxville, TN last week.

I shot six rolls on film and picked up the finished negatives today from Full Circle Photo in Baltimore.

A photo posted by Patrick (@surfingsalmon) on

I really... really love flat negatives.

The Kodak Ultramax 400 I chewed up through the Olympus OM4 scans like a dream..  

The expired Kodak Gold 400 I loaded in my Nikon L35AF on the otherhand...  I actually like how the frames look after I throw them through Lightroom -- it's just the negatives aren't flat!!  I've got them inside a book right now, hoping that will straighten them out.  I can't wait to scan them later...  There are some fun photos sitting on those strips of emulsion.

A photo posted by Patrick (@surfingsalmon) on

Almost killed two rolls of black and white earlier...  Good thing I checked my developer by cutting off the film leader and developing it.  I think I'll try Kodak's HC110 developer instead of D76.  HC110's shelf life is much longer than D76's and isn't susceptible to air exposure.

Holiday Print Trade at the Leica Store DC

I always love heading over to the Leica Store in DC.  Lots of fancy things to look at it, and the people there are always exciting to talk to. A week ago, the store held a Holiday Print Trade show.  I RSVP'd, and was eager to see everyone else's work.

I was a little worried -- would my print be good enough?  I didn't know what sort of images to expect.  I decided to bring an 8x10 of my Central Park photograph.  8x10 was probably the happy medium of big enough, but not too large.

I arrived fifteen or so minutes early to hang up my print in the store's gallery.  The usual Leica Store employees were there (love you guys) as well as other participants.  Quickly scanning through the other prints that were already up, I found a sense of relief.  Of course there were some insanely well composed art-galllery-esque prints on the wall, but there were a few "middle-age-man-with-too-much-time-on-hand-and-likes-photography" style photographs.  You know what I'm talking about -- you scroll through flickr and see a super mediocre photo that has like 3000+ favorites and a billion views, with all of those comments like "WOW GREAT CAPTURE -- your photo has been awarded this super vague award blah blah."  I then hung up my print next to a bunch of other black-and-white ones.

I enjoyed talking to the other photographers; it's always intriguing to talk to the faces behind the cameras.  I particularly enjoyed talking to the new store employee, Kyle.  A very down to earth individual who shoots a lot of film -- he has like a billion Instagram followers though!.  Knowing he was into emulsion, I began to describe to him the Film in Baltimore facebook/flickr group.  Coincidentally, he's actually a member of the group!  I was in awe at how small the photographic community can be sometimes.  I'm looking forward to meeting him again at the January meetup next year.

As the event started to wind down, people started claiming prints.  I was scared that someone might not want my print.  Eventually though, a man asked me if the print he was holding was mine, and I happily replied yes!  Phew.  He commented that his daughter was moving to New York, and that my print would fit her new home well!  As for the print I put dibs on, I ended up snatching Kyle's print.  It's so wonderfully done; I love the dark blacks in the shadows and the direction of light in the photograph.



A photo posted by Kyle Myles (@kylemyles) on