Old Saint Hillary's Chapel

January 25, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Ladders on Old St Hillary's ChapelLadders on Old St Hillary's ChapelFuji GF670 with Ilford XP2

Every photogenic old church in the Bay Area has had Ansel Adam's sublime treatment. Usually St Ansel's image is so superb that it puts you off going anywhere near the same territory he's already marked. Even worse, when he was photographing, the Bay Area was much less built up so he rarely had unsightly powerlines, encroaching houses and highways to deal with. So I count it as something of a coup that I have taken an image of an "Ansel" church that I'm proud of!

About a year and a half ago, during one of our hot dry summers I decided to go to Old Saint Hillary's Chapel in Tiburon st midday at the sun's harshest height. Fortunately for me, the church was being painted by a solitary man using several ladders. At times, he would head back to the utility shed behind the church to clean his brushes or get new materials. So in one of his absences, I captured the North side of the church with three ladders leaning up against the simple white structure. 

My tool of choice that day was one of my favorite medium format cameras the Fuji GF 670 paired with my favorite medium format B&W film - Ilford XP2 Super. Scanned at high resolution, slightly sharpened in post processing, and with the gamma level turned up a touch, the image really spoke to me with it's harsh shadows, and high contrast between the windows and the walls. The digital image really doesn't do the final printed photograph justice. I used Epson Velvet Fine Art paper to give a painterly quality that comes pretty close to the look of a silver gelatin print on matte paper. 

Maybe now I've satisfactorily taken one image of a former Ansel Adam's subject I'll reconsider staying away from remainder of his Bay Area subjects!


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