Tripod holes 25

moon through branches of tree laden with Spanish moss
N 28° 8’18.14″ W 80°37’49.41″ Google Earth location

This one’s precise – not of where I was standing, because the angle isn’t perfectly recalled, but certainly of the tree itself, which is still there despite this image being taken in 2003, I believe. I was cruising around at night on my bicycle looking for good subjects for B&W film and realized that I could frame the moon within the limbs of this tree. I was working with an Olympus OM-10, partially because it was light and easy to carry on the bike, partially because I could leave it loaded with Ilford Delta 400 while shooting weddings with my workhorse Canon, but this meant only guessing at the exposure and not even knowing how close I was until I unrolled the negatives from the developing reels. Yes, I was doing my own developing too (which I really need to get back into again,) and this was a little problematic in Florida during the summer months; the ideal chemical temperature for film developing is 20°C, but since the water lines weren’t buried very deep the water would come out of the tap at 25°C. I could either try to maintain an ice-cube bath at the proper temperature, pretty tricky for the half-hour that it takes to develop a roll of negatives, or adjust the development times, knowing that contrast would be altered.

I don’t recall which I did for this, but it came out just fine regardless, and the guess at exposure time was perfect. The sidelighting on the tree and mosses, clearly not from the moon, was actually from the floodlights of the old school that owned the property, which would have produced an ugly amber color cast had it been on color film – here it just adds texture.

While I’m not fond of picking favorites or even qualifying photos in this manner, I think this is probably the best true B&W image that I’ve shot – it’s not a huge selection, after all. But this also throws down the gauntlet – gotta dig out the film cameras again…

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