While reading East of the Mississippi – Nineteenth Century American Landscape Photography I became excited about creating impressionistic photographic prints and although I had to work the early morning shift at work, brought the big Pentax with the 120mm soft-focus lens and tripod along to capture some images of ordinary people enjoying their leisure – one of the central motifs of the Impressionists.
It was a rare warm sunny day at Ocean Beach where thousands gathered escape the heat and play in the surf. Finding a parking spot was a nightmare and I didn’t really expect to find anything reasonably close to the ocean but as luck would have it a spot suddenly opened up almost in front of the Cliff House – just steps from the overlook I had in mind and I exposed several frames of now expired Kodak Porta 160 color negative film that I had in the wine cooler. Earlier I shot the impressionistic-looking facade of an upscale apartment building I had spotted the previous week while checking-out MONET or the Triumph of Impressionism from the San Mateo public library. I was going to purchase it through Amazon but why do that when so many copies are available in the local public libraries.
It was great fun working again with the big Pentax – August will be its eighteenth birthday (so it starts college in the fall?). I remember when I first got that camera: I was so proud of it that I took it and the one lens (105mm normal) with me on a visit to a friends friend house to watch The Green Mile which was shot with 70mm film and starred Tom Hanks. The case was so large for the camera and one lens that it felt awkward carrying it as a tilt would start things inside rolling around. But over time I added to the lens and now it is packed with the camera and nine lens. Two more lens, the 300mm and 400mm, are housed in the separate factory hard cases that came with those lens. The Pentax 120 Soft is an interesting lens to work with. Focusing with it is tricky and a little time consuming but if you get it right it delivers outstanding results.
I checked my chemistry and the RA-4 and C-41 are still good. I have some Fuji Crystal Archive glossy in the refrigerator which should be also still good but I am thinking that maybe a semi-gloss or even matte paper may be best for Impressionism. Likewise Kodak Ektar, which has a ultra vivid color palate and high saturation, may be a better film for Impressionism but you have to start somewhere and with what I have on hand is the best place.