Riley Joseph

A Photographer & Gentleman

292

4

Calgary on Film

I am born and raised in Calgary. After many years of taking photos in the downtown I had been very bored with it. I used the lose guidlines of this project to head back down there to shoot with different eyes.

I used my Rolleiflex medium format film camera for the bulk of the snaps and my Leica for the night shot.

1. Street Portrait

Before parking my car in the downtown I knew a location where I wanted to take a photo of someone walking by. Great brass doors into a historic buillding. When I got there I saw the front facade of the building was covered with scaffolding. I walked past this building a few times. When I walked on the opposite side of the street the windows drew me in. I have lived here all my life but couldn't recall seeing this beautiful building before. Where I was standing there was a car angle parked filling the bottom of the frame. I was using the waist level finder of my Rolleiflex so holding the camera above the roofline of the car was too difficult.

So this became a 'steak'-out.. see what I did there?

Eventually the car moved and I walked onto the street to frame the shot. There was symetry galore.. the windows, the entrance and even the dirty snow piles framing the entrance. I really liked the business man texting on the right. So I waited. I took a shot of this guy: 

I wasn't certain if I got the guy in the blue coat in the frame.. I hope I didn't.
I could see a girl approching while using her phone. I looked down into the finder and waited. Luckily she continued on her phone as she walked into frame. I wanted to get her in mid stride but pressed the shutter a little too soon. Motion blur courtesy of having to use a 1/30th of a second shutter speed. 

And this became my shot. Two very different people completely in their own worlds of technology while just a few meters away.

2. Motion Blur

I figured no one would try to do this with a train.... not really. I waited on a few main streets for some kind of interesting car to go by.. like I waiting for a while.. nothing. All Toyotas, Hondas and Fords. 

I eventually moved to the train platform. Currently Calgary has been upgrading their train fleet with more modern trains with a new red, white & grey colour scheme. But there is the odd old train left. Really boxy looking with blue & purple stripes. That is the train I wanted. I only had to wait for 2 trains and I could see the old style a few blocks down. I closed my aperture to f/8 and set the shutter at 1/15th of a second. I crowtched down and braced the camera with my knees. As the train approached I held my breath to be as still as I could. I hit the shutter as soon as the whole front of the train entered the finder.

3. Look-up

As I walk with my camera I typically am looking up anyways. It will always cause people to also look up to try and see what I am looking at.

I found a building that had some interesting angles to it. When I found this spot I realized how easy it was to do a look-up shot using a waist level finder. I can look straight forward while the camera looks straight up. As I was trying to frame a shot two birds were chasing each other off the top of the building. I watched as they flew across the street to another building.

In my experience if I waited a little bit the birds would likely come back to where I saw them. I framed, focused and waited. About 40 seconds later this bird sailed by and I hit the shutter.

4. Nightshot

My night shot is another look-up in the fog. I took two versions of this same shot. One in focus and this one out of focus. I cannot see focus because I was using a Leica so it wasn't until I developed the roll and scanned it did I see how they compared. 

I strongly prefer this one.. it isn't just a building in the fog. It is a hundred lights beep-booping up a fortress like shadow.

While my project is nothing ground breaking photographically going into a city that I was bored of, with a shot list gave me renewed vigor to go and explore and shoot. On both rolls I found buildings and scenes that I never remembered seeing before.

You can see more of my shots from these rolls on my Instagram and on my Tumblr. And you can hit me up on Twitter.

Comments

Please sign in or sign up to comment.