Last Sunday we were out with Olivia and Sophia, and their  Mom and Dad, for dinner and during the evening Olivia asked me if we could spend a day together taking pictures. She wanted to go on a photo walk. I didn’t know that she was interested in photography but it was good news and an excellent idea.  So we agreed that it would be today, Thursday, the 1st day of September.

I loaded several cameras into my camera bag, from modern digital to old film cameras and I picked up Olivia at 9:00 AM on the appointed day. I asked her what she wanted to take pictures of and she said she wanted pictures of nature. Well Susan and I have a beautiful walk we do frequently that involve park land and forest so we came back to the forest path that Susan and I walk often and we began our photo walk. Olivia chose a Canon FP SLR  from 1964. We loaded it with Ilford Professional 100 film and I showed her how the camera worked. I carried my Leica IIIf which dated from decades even earlier  and so armed we set off.

My picture of Olivia taken with my Leica IIIf as we set of on our walk. It was a beautiful day, very warm, but under the trees where we were mainly it delightfully cool.

At the same time I took my picture of Olivia she took this picture of me. Not  bad for a first portrait!

We walked through the park, into the trees, and all the way to the Second Narrows Bridge, taking pictures all the way. Olivia seemed to pick up how to use the camera and the light meter easily. We talked about picture taking, about cameras and their history, how find one’s own photographic voice, one’s own style of photography. I just hope I did not bore her too much with my rambling answers to her questions.

Olivia took this picture of our walk through the forest. She picked up the concept of shutter speeds and f stops quickly. I had to explain things only once.

Walked all the way to the Second Narrows Bridge, about three kilometers, before we called it enough.  Shooting film as we were we still had a lot to do. So we went back to the house for lunch and to develop our film.  Lunch was neat. We went up into the garden, picked tomates and lettuce and basil and then added a toasted bun and swiss cheese. It was an amazing tomato sandwich!

After lunch I showed Olivia how to develop film. We talked about how it was done, about light sensitive silver compunds and gelatin coatings. We even did a little experimenting with old exposed film. Then we developed our films.

Looking at Olivia’s film, her pictures were beautifully exposed and, for a first effort, amazing to see. Exposures were even and consistent and you could see she tried to find interesting subjects. 

After the film dried we got to work scanning the negatives and then did some post processing to bring up  shadows and control the highlights. In a forest setting with the sun shining through the tree canopy the contrasts are extreme and the film does need some help.

We then printed two of her best shots on some good grade matte photo paper. And by the time that was done it was time to go. We were so busy the day had flown by and Olivia needed to be home.

So I dropped her off home with her prints, her film, and a couple of books to read about photography. It was one of those days with this intelligent young lady that I will remember and cherish. I hope we will repeat it in the future.

Another picture of Olivia I took along our walk. She looks every bit like a photographer! 

This last picture was created by Olivia. This was her idea. She posed me as she wanted and took the picture from the  angle she chose. Totally her picture.  I think she has a good eye for composition and creating interesting images.