Hot in the City
I ventured out today. My legs and camera bag carrying back implored me to either never do this again or take steps to ensure that it gets easier. They also suggested that I should have chosen one path or another when it was cooler out. It’s hot. My Arizona childhood has abandoned me.
I’m eyeing a move back to the southwest to be closer to my family in these strange times, but I don’t think I’ll be able to do Phoenix. Not unless I go full-time ice cream truck dude. Maybe I can invent a completely no contact ice cream truck or beer truck. You pay in advance, and then I swing by and drop the growler or cone through a chute. The dexterity check is on you. (Dungeons and Dragons humor, a la Jesus Saves…and takes half damage.)
I didn’t have a destination in mind. I just knew that I needed exertion. I needed my body to be worn out from something other than lethargy. It wasn’t long ago, but I’ve already uncharacteristically forgotten the first part of my route. But I remember the first stop, the first milestone. I saw that Ghost Note coffee was open, and I went to it like a moth to flame. I was out of coffee at home, and even though it was hot out, I wanted that god damn cup of coffee. It was a stark reminder of our current circumstances. It was the first cup of coffee I have bought since about mid-March. Or BC. Or During COVID but before we grasped the situation.
I walked north towards City Market. Police tape and loads of police vehicles. Another reminder that I am a bad photojournalist. I had a 50mm lens and shot photos from a football field away. The entire time Robert Capa’s voice was in my head, Paraphrased – if you’re not happy with your photos, you’re not close enough.
The police were in fairly close consultation. They can’t avoid it. Bullhorns don’t work very well for “canvas the neighborhood and shout questions to witnesses.” Still, they were further apart than normal, and when other police arrived on the scene, there were no handshakes. Residents milled about, too, also keeping a safe distance that still allowed the “do you know what’s going on?”
There was a hat in the street. I saw a police officer drop a numbered evidence tag next to it. I walked up the hill and – through my mask – asked a bystander what happened.
Someone just got shot in that alley.
I carried on, headed north, and walked back by City Market, heading downtown. A reporter had her video camera and massive tripod set up near The Crescent. I wanted to be far away from there.
I made my way downtown and ducked into a Bartell’s. I want to buy a Wahl hair shaver thingmajig for a buzzcut. No luck. I’m trying to avoid getting one from Amazon, but that may be my only option. Striking out everywhere else.
Walked up to Belltown. Stopped for a few minutes at the Cinerama. A great movie theater. The signs on the windows harken back to BC – renovating! I can’t remember the last movie I saw there – it was either Fury Road or Ghostbusters. My friend Edyn is great about organizing movie outings, and those were both great to see there. Imperator Furiosa and Mad Max. Sigourney Weaver and Bill Murray. To top it off, my friend Kenna had never seen Ghostbusters.
I’d like to see Fury Road in Monochrome again at Cinerama.
Belltown. Shuttered businesses and heartfelt, inspiring murals. Rocco’s is still serving pizza. I took a photo of a Mexican Restaurant that I always wanted to try and can never remember the name. Its sign is down, which has me guessing it’s not coming back. Don’t quote me. Queen City Grill was closed, but that closed BC. I went in there a couple of times and liked it. The restaurant business is a mystery. Restaurant expert Linda Derschang decided to pull the plug on it and start over. I hope they get to open up soon to a brave new world.
South to Pike Place Market. There were definitely people there, and several businesses were open. My anecdotal one hour assessment? People and businesses were acting sensibly. Perhaps even that amount of activity is setting us back, but I don’t think things are going to slow down beyond that. I’m probably using this word incorrectly, but I suspect we’ve hit a stay at home equilibrium unless things rapidly get worse. I stress that these are all observations of a flailing photographer, half-assing blogger.
Time to wrap this up. I had two cameras with me. That’s always a bad idea. Keep it simple idiot. Nope.
I wanted to finish the roll that was in my Canon Ftb. I picked it up at a vintage shop in Phoenix in January. It looked like a beautiful machine, and I couldn’t resist. I think the only roll I’ve loaded in it was some Ilford Ortho 80+. I don’t know what much of that means. 80 ISO, it renders the reds…uniquely…and can be developed in red light.
None of that means anything to me except the 80 ISO. I shot it using the sunny 16 rule, and I know I am going to be all over the map with the exposures. I can’t even remember what’s on it. I do know that there’s nothing on it that I’m excited about, because there won’t be many (any?) people on it.
I finished the roll. I waited until it got dark. And then I did my worst film developer ever act. When am I going to get better at this? I got all my equipment and headed into the bathroom. I laid everything out meticulously, knowing it was for naught. I suck at getting the film onto the reel. I don’t want to think about how long I was in that bathroom, cranking the reel and starting over. Sweating bullets, legs cramped. I finally wound it on, but I am not optimistic about the results. I think I ended up touching most of the film, probably ripped some of it. And in the end I just winged the monobath times – approximated HP5 because I read it on reddit.
Hmm, that’s some serious rambling. How about I cut this off here. Goodnight.
*** In case you were wondering – I just checked the film hanging in my shower. Looks like 80% was completely underexposed. Fail.