Happy New Year everyone!
A quick update first: our road trip is over. We got to our final destination a few days ago, some 10 days earlier than we thought due to AirBnB cancellations and bad weather (it's -14F, or -26C, here while I write this).
But I wanted to talk about the place we are at now: Northwest Indiana (Michiana). We'll be here for a couple months staying with and visiting family and I really, really want to capture this place on film. How I am going to do that, that's the question.
You see, this place is pretty different from what I'm used to. Out West, where I lived for the last 4 years, it's pretty easy to get out, park your car and go hiking or for a walk far from houses and other people. Here, not so much.
Wilderness is not a thing, and you find private properties everywhere.
Walking or hiking isn't even a thought when there are wind chills that can cause frostbite in 10 minutes. It was my mother-in-law who called this place a "frozen tundra". I think it's accurate.
For the last 60 days, shots mostly presented themselves. Here, you have to look for them. Carefully.
Even "car photography" is a challenge: the already narrow roads are even narrower due to drifted snow. There are very few if any places where to stop.
So, what to do?
What's for a landscape photographer to do here you may ask.
Obviously, I will have more time to spend on other areas of my photography: be it updating this website, editing all the videos from the road trip, writing guest articles or working on a couple books I have planned for this year.
But I'm also embracing all these "difficulties" as things that will definitely push me out of my comfort zone.
This place offers things you don't have everywhere:
- it's a winter wonderland and it will be for quite a while. Not only is everything covered in snow, but lakes are frozen. Black and white will work perfectly for this kind of landscape.
- it is real flat here. No hills to be seen for miles, only trees in between you and the horizon. Backgrounds simplify a lot and that will be good for minimalist shots.
This is no different here: you have to do your research, both online and in person.
While spending time with family and running some errands, I saw some spots that have some potential and I wrote them down to visit later, maybe this week if weather permits.
Other than that, Google Maps is your friend. They are hard to see in person because everything is white, but there are parks and public lands out there I will be visiting soon.
As you might know, batteries drain much faster in cold weather. It's no problem to keep them cold, but using them is a different story.
Mechanical cameras here have the edge. I plan on using my Bronica on fast shots (out and back to the car) or from indoors / vehicle. If for some reasons I decided to be a bit longer in the frigid weather, the battery-less Rolleiflex will be my choice.
As I plan on using the Bronica from the car mainly, I switched the waist level finder with the prism finder.
At the end, it's all about getting out there even in far from perfect conditions. There's always something to see and photograph, and I'm very excited about being in a landscape that is alien to me and that honestly I don't know how I'm going to capture just yet.