When I take a road trip I always bring my digital camera. I also bring my extra battery, because I take hundreds of photos when on the road and hate to run out of juice. My recent trip along the Dixie Highway in southern Indiana was unusual in that it yielded only 191 photos!
I like to take a film camera along too when I hit the road, usually whatever new-to-me old camera has film in it. But when I explored the Dixie, I wanted to try a particular film I’d not used before. I’d heard that Kodak Ektar 100 returns colors almost as vivid and true as slide film, and I figured that a road trip would be the right venue to prove it to myself. But for that I would want a tried-and-true camera. Increasingly I reach for my Pentax ME in such situations – for an SLR, it’s compact and comfy in my hands. And I find myself charmed by its aperture-priority simplicity. Knowing I would be shooting landscapes, I mounted my wide-angle 28mm f/2.8 SMC Pentax-M lens.
My friend Dawn lives out in the sticks, and her house is in the middle of a maze of country roads. Whenever I pick her up for a road trip her neighbor’s horses always come over wanting their faces scratched. They always walk up to me so boldly, looking me right in the eye, that I’m always a little surprised when they don’t speak to me. Then I’m surprised at myself for being surprised!
I’d so hoped for a sunny day for our trip, thinking it would bring out the best color to test Ektar with. But a thin cloud cover ruled the day, diffusing the light. I was a little disappointed all day, because I was sure it was robbing me of the best conditions for the Ektar to do its stuff. The 28 mm lens didn’t disappoint, though, creating plenty of dramatic perspective. Check out this photo on Flickr of this bridge, taken with my digital camera set to 50 mm equivalent. No drama there! You’d think it was a different bridge.
The Ektar really showed its stuff when we stopped at a little roadside pond. My dirty little secret is that I punched up the saturation in all of the fall foliage photos I got from my digital camera. I didn’t need to do that at all with the shots I got on the Ektar.
The 28 mm lens proved itself over and over when shooting roadscapes, adding drama and action to the road itself. I am not crazy, however, about the slight vignetting I got from this lens.
Just a little foliage up close.
I put the 28 mm lens’s great perspective to good use when shooting the courthouse in Paoli. Even with my digital camera set to its 28 mm setting it didn’t dignify this 1850 structure anywhere near as well as this.
Just for fun, I moved in close to the business end of this cannon in front of the courthouse.
The cloudy day probably had a big impact on the color I got from these photos – I need to try the Ektar again on a sunny day. I was glad to learn a lot about my 28 mm lens, though.