Local Elections Matter.

Back on April 15, the Islamic Center of Irving hosted the 2017 Candidate Forum for the local candidates. This year, Irving citizens get to choose a new mayor—Beth Van Duyne, who hasn’t really been the best friend of her Muslim constituency, decided not to run again, thankfully, and will soon be up in Washington, helping to fill the swamp—and some districts get to choose new city council and school board representatives.

If you live in Dallas County, and you haven’t voted yet, please vote this Saturday, May 6. You can find more information at Dallas County Votes. I know the National Elections are sexy and all, but Local Elections Matter: this is where we live, after all.

I went to the ICI Candidate Forum like some kind of gunslinger: dual-wielding the Nikon FE with 50mm E Series, and the FG with my new 35mm f/2 D. I finished the roll in the FE first, and liked the field of view I was getting out of the 50, so I swapped lenses at that point. For film, the FE had a roll of Superia X-TRA 400 in it; the FG had a bulk-loaded roll of Konica Pro 160, freshly rolled in one of the Bobbinquick loaders I picked up at Garland Camera & Repair in early March.

For the record, right here at the beginning: I don’t know how to shoot events like this. Rather, I know how to do it, I just can’t really bring myself to do it. There was a guy from NBC 5, and a pro guy from the Masjid there too, and I watched them some: the NBC guy with his GoPro and big TV Cameras; the pro (or semi-pro) guy with his big DSLR; both of them moving around, shooting from different vantage points, getting shots of the crowd, etc.; and me, glued to my chair, brazenly sheepishly snapping the shutters occasionally.

I mentioned the fear earlier this week, and, yes, it was all about fear. Ittaqullah, James, Ittaqullah.

Anyway.

I came home and immediately developed the film. It was dry and scanned a couple of hours later, and I made every attempt to get the files ready for distribution quickly, but fell behind, got busy with other things, and lost interest.

So here are the candidates:

I was impressed by some, discouraged by others, and absolutely neutral about at least one. I’ll keep further comments to myself.

I did manage to turn around once and shoot the crowd, largely in response to Ms. Espino’s discussion of “Bridging the Divide” in Irving. There is something of a divide here, between people that look like me, and people that look like my wife (or Ms. Espino, for that matter), and it need’s bridging. They’re all afraid of each other, intimidated by the differences and perceived strangeness, and I know something about that. May God guide us to better. As He tells us in Sura Hujurat, 13:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا ۚ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.

I don’t know why I get so intimidated behind the camera. It’s probably the same reason I get so intimidated in front of the camera, to the side of the camera, and with not cameras around. Shooting my neighbors was hard.

I had a really hard time with the Konica Pro. It’s very red straight out of the scan, and really hard to color balance. The walls in the gym at ICI are an almost military green, and with the cheap cfl florescents and daylight from the skylights, I eventually just gave up. Apologies. I may try again; I may not. (And this is the main reason I’m sharing these 2+ weeks late.)

It’s mostly fine for landscapes and interiors, still lifes, perhaps, but it struggles under mixed lighting, much like other films, and with skin tones, also like most other films.

So that was the 2017 Candidate Forum at ICI. May Allah guide us to vote for leaders who will work for everyone.

I think the Bobbinquick loaders leak some light around the door on the back where you load the bulk roll in. I get the same tell-tale tails of fog on the first and last 6-8 frames, for film loaded in daylight. For film loaded in the dark, it gets a bit better, but results are uneven. Overall, I’m having fun with the bulk loading: it’s exciting to be the sort of person who bulk loads his own film, but I hate fogged film.

Expect more from the Konica Pro 160 soon. I recently shot two rolls of it, and will have some results to share soon, InshaAllah.

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