I finally ended my analog hiatus when I took a short hike on a familiar trail. I grabbed my SLR loaded with an unfinished roll of Kodak Portra 160 and took a hike at Cheek’s Bend. This roll of film has been in my OM1 since January of 2017. Lately, my DSLR has been getting a workout. Between shooting my son’s school baseball team and doing some projects for work, I just have not had time to shoot for myself. Well, the itch got to the point where I had to scratch it. With 14 frames left on the roll, I decided that I would expose these remaining frames on some landscapes.
Hiking on a trail can be therapeutic. I find photography alone therapeutic, but being out in the middle of nature with nothing but the sounds of the natural environment is uplifting. I usually go light on these spontaneous nature trips. When shooting film, that means the Olympus OM1 and the 50mm and 28mm lenses along with my light meter, no camera bag. The camera is in my hand or across my shoulder and the extra lens and light meter are in my pockets. On occasion, I carry my small lightweight tripod. A tripod can be cumbersome, but you can capture some shots that you normally would have to pass up without it. Nonetheless, I left the tripod in the car this time. I figured I should be ok on this short hike under abundant sunlight.
Cheeks Bend is roughly a two mile loop trail. The highlights of this trail is the bluff overlook above the Duck River and some caves down below. I have walked this trail numerous times, but I have yet to seek out the caves. I also have never taken the entire loop. I normally stick to the trail leading along the bluff and then back. The trail itself is easy. There are no steep grades and the trail is well marked. As you get close to the overlook area, you will have to climb some rocks as you make your way to the top. I say climb, but it is more like a hop. You will see some pictures of the area later. With 14 frames left, my goal was to expose all 14 frames on the trail.
So, if a tree falls in the forest, and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?
As you get closer to the bluff the terrain becomes steeper and more rocky.
On the way back to my car, I saw a family emerge from the lower end of the overlook. They were climbing back up to the trail from the river. Did they just come from the cave? I decided to climb down to the banks of the river to check out the scene. When I finally made it down to the edge of the river, I started to figure out just where those caves might be. I bet a trek along the river’s edge, which included navigation over rocks, water and mud would lead me to the caves. I was not really prepared for any serious hiking so I elected to stay where I was and grab a couple of photos.
I usually save my more adventurous hiking for the late Fall and Winter months. This is mainly because of two things, the temperature is cooler and the critter count is low. I’m not fond of venomous snakes. I will make it to the cave, and when I do, I will be sure to capture it on film. Well, I made it back to my car with one frame left on the roll. I did not see another shot, so I left with the 13 shots. Since I was eager to complete this roll as I had images on this roll from January of last year, I was determined to find the final shot before returning home. With the light fading and a haze in the sky, I thought I would capture a sunset shot. I was too far from any interesting foregrounds like a city skyline or a lake, but I was near a local icon that would make a great silhouette.
After finally finishing this roll, I was pumped! I forgot how much I love the simplicity of film and the tactical experience. I will be sharing the other frames from this roll on my upcoming posts. I will also be sharing some shots taking on some old Fuji Superior X-Tra 400 film I had setting around, so stayed tuned. Thanks for stopping by!
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