I usually frame, focus, meter, and hope for the best. Practice has improved my odds considerably, making hope less a part of my photography strategy. But given that I shoot with whichever of my classic cameras feels right on a given day, it’s hard for me to know most of them deeply and be sure of what I’ll get from them.
But a well-designed, highly functional tool sometimes makes up for what I lack. I had one of my last rolls of discontinued Kodak Plus-X spooled into my Nikon F3HP and was driving through Crown Hill Cemetery looking for interesting subjects. The cemetery is bisected by 38th Street, but a grade separation featuring a concrete-arch bridge creates easy connection between the north and south portions of the enormous grounds. There was more light under that bridge than this film and my 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor lens captured — but didn’t the F3 do a great job of setting exposure to keep detail in both the light and dark areas? This might just be my favorite shot of the year.