Unintended Creative Experimentation

Redemption: Cropped from overexposed Velvia 50

I spent the evening organizing my photos in an archival binder.  Sorting through the various sheets of film got me thinking about previous shots. I seldom discard a piece of film — only if the exposure is horrendous.  I of course try not to make hideously bad errors in exposure, but accidents happen.

Partway through my first box of Velvia 50 8×10 film, I took a photo along the coast in La Jolla.  For whatever reason, I goofed up the exposure and my film was about 2 stops over exposed.  I prefer to think of it as unintended creative experimentation.

For those who are not familiar with transparency film, 2 stops overexposed results in a photo that is WAY too bright (4x).  That sheet of film would typically end up in the trash. For whatever reason, I kept this photo.

The original composition was a horizontal photo featuring a rock in the lower left corner.  Upon finding the film today, I decided to scan just a narrow vertical section of the film.

The overexposure results in a soft palette of pastels.  The only thing I have done to this scan is increase the black levels so it has a bit more contrast.

Since there is a lot of open space to the left of this crop, a triptych is possible.

3 Responses to “Unintended Creative Experimentation”

  1. David Patterson Says:

    What? No more Colorado Plateau stories? Am already having withdrawals!

    Your “creative experiment” worked well here. I like the vertical panoramic format, especially how the palette in the sky mimics the ocean. There are waves to be seen in the “mid-ground” – that area to me is fascinating.

    • Ben Horne Says:

      It must be a surprise to see a purple shot compared to all the orange sandstone. 🙂 Believe me, I wish I was still out in AZ and UT, especially as they head into monsoon season with the dramatic skies.

      With the way that shot turned out, I plan on experimenting more with simple horizon seascape shots. I never quite know how the shot will turn out until I get the film back from the lab. Long exposures combined with overexposure can do some strange things at times. My friend didn’t believe me that this is how the film looked, so I held it up to the monitor next to the on-screen image — nearly identical.

  2. Tom Nevesely Says:

    Ben, this turned out really well! I love the simplicity in this vertical panoramic.

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