Industrial color on a gray day

There’s something about gray, foggy, dreary days that make me want to go out and shoot photos.  Just such a day presented itself last spring when there was still ice on the Mississippi River, and the new Lowry Avenue bridge construction was in full swing.  When I went out that day, I had in my mind the landscape photos of Australian photographer Chris Round.  His photographs rarely depict a pristine, unspoiled landscape, but rather they usually involve man’s impact on the land, the man-made landscape, the industrial, the abandoned, the forgotten, the dirty and gritty.  There’s a simple, sublime beauty to his compositions and to the calm colors that make his work stand out among the current plethora of over-saturated photos.  The gray sky, even lighting, and overall muted colors of this day reminded me of his work, and I set out to try to capture some images inspired by him.

When I saw these images yesterday (after sitting on several rolls of film for months and finally sending them to Dwayne’s for developing and scanning), I was really pleased with what I saw.  I think I accomplished my goal of capturing what I was seeing and feeling that day.

These images are from a single roll of Kodak Ektar 100 film, shot in my Rolleicord III. These are the straight scans from Dwayne’s, with no editing done except for my standard Lightroom export, which resizes the images to fit the blog and ads the copyright watermark.

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3 Comments on “Industrial color on a gray day”

  1. Jim says:

    What is it about gray days that makes you want to get out? Because I have the opposite reaction; gray days make me keep my lens cap on.

    You got nice color, esp. the rich browns, from that Ektar. I shot my first roll of it recently and am awaiting scans.

    • Rick Schuster says:

      Good question, Jim. I think it’s because I like images like these ones where there’s not a lot of color, but just some small areas of nice saturated color, and large areas of very very subtle color, such as the skies with just a hint of pink and blue. And haziness can create nice contrast between foreground things being saturated with color and backgrounds fading in the haze (like in that last shot, I love how the houseboat is clear and crisp, and stands out from the background across the river — on a real clear day that would have looked totally different, and the background might have distracted from the houseboat). Plus I can shoot in the middle of the day when on a clear sunny day the light might be too harsh. On a day like this it’s like the whole sky is a big diffusing umbrella creating even overall light without harsh contrast.

      I’ve noticed really nice browns and reds in my Ektar shots, but I don’t know if that’s characteristic of the film, or just the subjects that I’ve happened to shoot with it. Haven’t really used it enough to know. I don’t know if these images would look any different if they were shot on Portra or something else. I can say that these photos seem to me to really accurately depict the color I was seeing on that day

      • Jim says:

        Those are good reasons. I took a weekend road trip with my camera and found that a partially overcast day made shooting easier even at noon — just enough sun so that there was good light, but it was diffused enough that nothing was harsh. Maybe I need to explore gray days more myself.


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