Driving to Arkansas

I had some vacation time eating a hole in my timesheet and to maximize it, I took off November 17-23. Thursday-Wednesday may seem like an odd choice, perhaps, but add in the Thanksgiving holiday (November 24 and 25 this year) and I got 11 days for the price of 5… I spent the first 4 days on a road trip to Arkansas to visit Mom and take some pictures, came home, developed most of them, and then she drove down to Wednesday spend Thanksgiving with us, so I got to spend nearly a week with my mom! It was great!

In the first 4 days, shot 9 rolls and 10 sheets of film and over 700 with the X70 and iPhone: entirely too much, really. (More on that later, perhaps.) From the film shots—I haven’t even looked at the digital stuff yet—I selected maybe 80 to share (also entirely too much), and I’ll be dribbling them out over the next hour or so, God willing. Part of my plan, maybe my only plan, was to shoot readily available consumer films to test and see how they handled and what sorts of characteristics they have during and after development and processing.

tl;dr: both performed admirably. I may have further comments as I go.

For now, let’s get this road trip started!

I got up Thursday morning at my usual time, rolled up to the McKinney masjid for the Fajr prayer, and then got started. My usual route to and from Eureka Springs involves a long slog up Highways 75 and 69, through Sherman, Atoka, MacAlester, Eufala, and the like, across 40 into Arkansas, up 49 to Fayetteville, and down some combination of 412, 45, 12, and 23 to Mom’s.

This time, though, I wanted something different, and so I took a bit of a different route: 75 to 121 to 82 to 271 through Oklahoma up to Fort Smith, Arkansas, where I stopped to pray Dhuhr and Asr, and then 40 to 21 to 62 through Berryville and into Eureka. Sure, it made the trip longer, but it was so worth it beautiful scenery, interesting twists and turns, little traffic and no trucks, very well maintained roads: it was great!

I planned to stop regularly to shoot, and I did, at first anyway. I turned off of 121 and wandered down a country road for a bit, where the batteries in the FE died suddenly and without warning. I stopped again at the WalMart in Bonham, TX, but they didn’t have any SR44s (or much of anything else: it was perhaps the least-stocked Walmart I’ve ever seen, and one of the smallest I’ve been in in the 21st century). I tried to let it go, but other than one stop at a scenic overlook-type pull off, and one to pray and get a fish sandwich, I didn’t stop again. I swapped the half shot roll out of the FE and into the FG on the road, finished out the roll, and picked up batteries in Berryville.

I’m going to keep these posts short, I hope, but I want to call out a couple of things quickly… I like some of these first shots more than any of the others I shot on the trip…

1) Fuji film and early morning light…

2) a swarm of birds of prey somewhere in Southeast Oklahoma, the Talimena State Park or one of the wildlife conservation areas nearby. I saw one, then 2, then 4, and then I came over a hill and there was this swarm or flock or whatever you call a group of eagles or hawks (a convocation of eagles; a cast or kettle of hawks). This isn’t a particularly nice picture, but I’ve never seen this many birds of prey in one place… buzzards and carrion birds, sure, but fresh-meat types? never.

3) Once at Mom’s, I wondered why the FG frame counter was counting up past 25, 26, 27, 28… I forgot that it sometimes doesn’t reset all the way back to 0 and opened the back, worried that I hadn’t wound on properly. Purposeful light leaks FTW.

4) these consumer films have some interesting quirks/errors sometimes, from light-leak looking things, to images burned into the film from xrays or something, to stuff that looks like mud. This light leak showed up in frame 2 and did not appear on any other frame… I’ll call these in a separate post later, maybe. If you have any ideas, I’d love a hint! Maybe from swapping the film out? Allahu Alim

Ok. That’s enough. I’ve got 70 more pictures to share…

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