I had hoped to have had this posted a few days earlier, but I'd also hoped to have more of my film developed by now. Last Wednesday, I was up north at Bill Schwab's place near Cross Village for Photostock 2008 -- a gathering of photographers, mostly all of which are members of the Analog Photography User's Group (APUG) on the web. Bill has been offering some interesting wet-plate workshops, and his collodion workshop preceded the gathering. I arrived for Photostock on the 25, and had a great time meeting a lot of photographers. I only knew a couple previously, and a few I knew by their APUG names, but still, it took me the whole 4 days to associate names with most of the people -- as there were around 30 at any given day. I camped out at Bill's woodlot, as did a few others, and it was pretty darn nice to wake up to the birds in the woods in the morning, make some coffee, and think about little but photography for several days.
Marc Akemann and I teamed up for our excursions, and we got along really well - he's an excellent and very dedicated film shooter, and like me, shoots a lot of 35mm and some medium format. Probably the worst combo would be a large format and a 35mm shooter, since our approaches are so different. We had a great time going down to Sleeping bear Dunes on the Thursday and finding lots to occupy our time -- especially the ghost forest, which was the purpose of the trip. Driving around and photographing anywhere in that part of Michigan virtually guarantees that the trip will be lengthy, and we shot until after sunset.
In the evenings, we viewed other photographers' portfolios, and it was a real eye-opener. There are some really talented photographers out there and most of us don't see their work. From 35mm to Cirkut cameras (a specialized panoramic camera), the quality of work was astounding. It also made me realize that I need to get my ass in the darkroom and start printing. A LOT.
The relaxed atmosphere and sharing spirit of the Photostock was really refreshing, and getting out into the area and shooting so much film (over 20 rolls) was very rewarding. I've just processed a few rolls already, and the shots from the Ghost Forest on TechPan look excellent and surreal. I had a great time partnering with Marc, and made a new friend or two during those 4 days.