As promised, I’ll be starting to post some of the street photographs I took while on holiday. These are all 35mm and predominantly black-and-white; I shot only three rolls of Portra 160 against ten rolls of Tri-X in 35mm.
Before we begin, a few words on equipment, technique, and process. I carried two Canon LTM rangefinders – a P and an L1 – and three lenses – a Canon 35/2.8, a Canon 50/1.5, and a Leitz Elmar 90/4. The standard arrangement was the L1 with the 35/2.8 and Tri-X, and the P with the 50/1.5 and either Tri-X or Portra – the reasoning behind this was mainly that the L1 has an adjustable finder that makes it easier to use the 35mm focal length, while the 50mm framelines on the P are easy to see, and the 1:1 magnification of the latter makes focusing a bit easier when necessary (I zone focus most of the time, but the shallower DOF of the 50 meant that focus had to be adjusted more often than the 35) The 90/4 only came out a few times, and always ended up on the P due to it having framelines for 100 (which is close enough for government work). This is my standard travel kit, and I find it works quite well.
All the Tri-X was processed by me in Caffenol-C-H (RS) – 15 minutes @ 20degC, agitate for the first full minute, then 10 seconds of agitation every minute thereafter. This formula works quite well with Tri-X, as well as with HP5+.
Enough rambling – on to the photos.
I had exactly one day – well, more like half of one day, by the time I got started – to shoot in this old Venetian town, so I had to make the most of it. The streets are very narrow, so the 35/2.8 got the bulk of the work. It’s a bustling place in the summer, with tourists and locals intermingling. The cafes and restaurants are full, people are swimming and lounging (sometimes in unlikely places) – in other words, lots of opportunities for the motivated street photographer.
So you might expect, then, that I shot a lot of photos of people doing their respective things. I didn’t. Sure, I took some, but I concentrated more on the town itself, the alleys and doors, the laundry hanging from windows and streetlamps along the shore. In retrospect, I suppose I was trying to capture the character of the place itself rather than that of the people within it.
The streets are only streets in name – by any modern standard, they are narrow corridors between buildings at best. The surfaces are worn by centuries of footsteps, salt from the Adriatic, and the rain that washes it back into the sea.
The streets are in shade most of the day, offering some respite from the sun. When the light does pour in, it casts long shadows across anything in its path for a few moments before continuing to swing to the west.
It wasn’t all sunshine while I was there. In the late afternoon a downpour blew through – we watched it come across the sea toward us – and took with it most of the people who had been out all day. When the rain stopped the streets were empty. Only as the sun set did they return, their numbers diminished now, still carrying their umbrellas.
Thus ended the day. It was a whirlwind tour, but Your Humble Filmosaur tends to work well under pressure. I shot five rolls of film, and while I got some photos I’m happy with, I’m quite sure there’s more work to do there. And photography aside, it’s a fairly idyllic little place, at least from a summer visitor’s perspective. Who wouldn’t want to go back and stare idly out at the boats slowly crossing the horizon under the warm Adriatic sun?