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More from this series can be found here: www.joelaron.com
The place I go to.
Several miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, in a hidden cove that faces east, is China Camp.
In the fall of 2006, after a very stressful production at work, I decided to take 6 weeks off, and just do nothing. Not one single thing.
That lasted all of 2 days. I woke up, and decided to grab my camera gear, and just drive. The road out to China Camp is an old favorite from when I would storm it's turns on my motorcycle. So, thought I would head out that way. On the way, I also decided to take on a challenge. I wanted to shoot film again.
Even though this image is digital, It marks a very dramatic turn in my photography. For nearly 5 solid weeks, I shot every type of black and white film I could get my hands on. Developing it all in the kitchen sink when I would get back home. I was falling in love with photography again. This time, it was very real.
At the end of the 5th week, I had found my 40th Birthday present when I was buying some film at the local camera shop. I made the jump to medium format, and my schooling in composition went into overdrive with my used/used Hasselblad 500cm.
This image.. taken on the very quiet beach of China Camp, was after a very long day in the rain (it rained nearly every day I was there). I was just about to roll the last shot from the Hasselblad. I slapped the DSLR on the tripod for an exposure and lineup test, and when I got home, and saw the image (even in color), I knew that the 5 weeks of film immersion had educated me to a new level with digital. For once, I was blown away with a digital image that rivaled that of what I was getting with the 6x6.
I still resort to film before digital, and for fine art, even more so with the 500cm. I just love the slow pace of film, and the relaxing mood that radiates from the images when you slow down to get the shot. That is what I learned from China Camp. That is why this image is so pivotal in my photography. It's the cross over image.. the image that told me that anything is possible if you are in control.
I still visit China Camp, but not as regularly. When I do go, it's not just for a visit.. it's an all day thing.
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