A couple weekends ago I backpacked Humphreys Peak (the tallest mountain in Arizona, located in Flagstaff) and planned on bringing a view camera with. Well…. I ended up using my digital slr instead. I have a field camera so the weight wouldn’t have been that big a deal, however, the snow made me nervous because the camera isn’t mine! Man it snowed like crazy the first day. The first half of our hike the first day was beautiful! It looked like a winter wonderland! It was terribly cold and neither my group or I were prepared! The snow clouds loomed over us the entire hike up and the wind soared. Each step was a total workout with our feet sinking into sparkling, white, powered snow. We were maybe five to six miles from the top and had to stop from exhaustion to set up camp around 4 pm.
I have never in my life experienced cold like this. My feet were frozen, aching from the numbness. All four layers of pants I had on were wet on the bottom and my fuzzy hat was snowy. Our group couldn’t start a fire (go figure!) so we went straight to our tents without eating. It was far too cold to be exposed without a fire. I slept for maybe a good thirty minutes that night and will never forget how unpleasant it was! My partner and I shared a “two” person tent and were relying on hand warmers from REI to help keep our 30 degree sleeping bags toasty and only two of them worked! They didn’t get hot though and were about body temperature. I didn’t think I was going to make it through the night. Any time I would find a way to burrito myself into my sleeping bag without any draught, my partner would start snoring and wake me up! It was a miserable night spent avoiding the condensation from dripping on my face and staying warm…. not to mention that at some point during our VERY long night I had to go to the bathroom. Yikes!
Around 9 am or so I could here a member from our group attempting at the fire once more for some time. Alas! I could here him cheer and the not-so-dry wood crackled. I poked my head out of the tent and the sky was clear. It was still very cold but definitely an improvement from the first day! My body was incredibly stiff and tender from shivering all night that the thought of getting up killed me! I tried putting my shoes on without success because they were rock hard. My shoes, my camel back of water, and my outermost layer of pants froze over night! Even my contact solution turned to slush. The sun started shinning on our camp site and the snow stacked on the trees was melting… of course it was warmer on the second day!
We planned on hiking all the way to the top that day and nobody (especially me!) wanted to camp on the mountain another night, especially at higher altitude! We decided that we would hike a little higher while leaving our stuff behind and then would head back down the mountain. We got back to our vehicles so much quicker than going up of course and the whole way down were wishing we had put our plans off by one day. It would have been so perfect had we done so.
I’ve certainly learned that back packing in the cold is not for me so much and next time if I ever trick myself into doing it again will be WAY more prepared! Here are some pictures I took on this trip. They go in order from the first day/ initial hike up to the day we left.
My ideal darkroom would be in the basement of an older home on the East coast. I’m not sure where yet, but one of the basement walls would be exposed brick and the floor would be concrete. The other walls would be painted black or covered with a fun wallpaper that is mostly black… that way when I turn the lights on I’ll still enjoy the space! I’d put laminate flooring down to look like wood. I think laminate is great because it’s relatively inexpensive and easy to replace if damaged. Unlike wood… I would hate to spill developer on it because it would soak right in and leave a stain.
My sink would be long with a hose and a sectioned corner to hold my prints before being washed. The sink would be made of stainless steel so it lasts long and there would be storage under the sink for things like chemicals and paper towels and such. I would of course have an enlarger with several lenses and negative carriers. I like hanging my prints to dry the most, so I think I would have a simple clothespins-on-a-string kind of thing hanging above the sink.
I think it would be so awesome to have a sectioned off area or the option to section the light tight area with a heavy black curtain so that if I want to view my prints right away I don’t have to go upstairs to look at it. There would be an inner ring of heavy curtains and a little space between for another ring of curtains so I could easy come in and out without light leak.
There would be a place for me to lounge in a hanging chair (I’ve always wanted on of those! I wonder if they are as comfortable as they seem) with lots of pillows. There would a couch in this space as well so that if I have visitors they have a place to sit. In front of that space I want to have a very large pin board for me to view my prints hung up. I imagine it taking up almost an entire wall.
I would probably store my prints in this space as well in chests with many thin drawers. Speaking of drawers… I would absolutely LOVE to utilize the space under the staircase down by installing drawers into them. I’m a sucker for have lot’s of pockets in bags and options to put things places for storage like drawers!
Any suggestions would be awesome! Next year I’ll be moving into an older house and want to be sure I pick one that will accommodate my wants!
Attached is a PDF of some pictures I’ve gathered that inspired me. This picture list will keep expanding so if you’re interested keep checking back! Their sources can be found on my Pinterest page @ http://pinterest.com/danielalalala/ on my board labeled as MY IDEAL STUDIO/ DARKROOM
This quote from Johnathan Greene’s American Photography, really resonates with me. Sometimes it puts my mind at ease, but most of the time I become more confused. I understand the world differently through the lens of a camera… I see that in my photographs, but for a while I thought I was gaining some level of truth. Now, I question if what I gain from photography is a different reality. A different sliver in time represented in an artistic form. That is frustrating to me and I often times find myself believing what I see in my pictures.
However, the trasnformative relationship photography has with the world is incredible. I admire it dearly and know this quality is what guides me through understanding many things and experiences in this world.