I do a lot of hiking. Fortunately, I have a variety of options relatively close to home, but it is inevitable that even those many varied trails will sooner or later become familiar. From a photography standpoint, this tends to reduce substantially the interest in shooting in those places, as I’ve already shot them many times before. Sure, they make for good places to test equipment or kill the end of a roll, but there is little expectation of finding great inspiration or producing much that is new or different.
In an effort to overcome the photographic curse of familiarity, I decided to head out with the specific purpose of taking a series of photos that looked different than what I had produced before. After a bit of thought, I settled on the idea of trying to create a slightly surreal, unsettled, vaguely mysterious look. I loaded my Canon L1 with Tri-X and mounted my recently-acquired Serenar 50/1.9, a lens known to produce some funky effects wide open, with a #25 red filter mounted to shift the tones around from where they would normally be and to allow me to open up the aperture even in good light.
As you might expect, the results were a bit hit-or-miss. Some things just looked normal, some were too dark, and some simply didn’t work, but there were a handful that captured the feel I was after to some extent. I decided to present them here in the order they were shot rather than rearrange them – a hike being a sort of self-contained journey, it seemed appropriate to use the photos as mileposts.