Roll #46: Walks in Wheaton

Updated: Apr 15

There is a very special look you receive when you are in the wild with a old, boxy, medium format film camera. There is an even specialer (I know) look you get when you are in a location being frequented by hobbyist photographers. Let me tell you more about these looks because it varies greatly by person.


It's a look that says:


- I want to be you and I respect you.

- I'm ashamed to be breathing the same air as such a die hard photographer.

- I'm going to pretend I know what that is and google "large black box camera" as soon as I'm out of eyeshot.

- That must be a Polaroid---I saw one on Instagram once. #film, am I right?

- You got some real nerve walking around here with that thing exposed.

- I hope you didn't notice I'm using a kit lens.

- How many megapixels is that thing?

- I like turtles.


I know what you're thinking---and yes, I made several of those up for my own amusement. Nonetheless, if I walked around long enough, in enough places, I'm certain each fabricated look would become prophetic. But enough of talk of looks. Let's actually take a look at what was captured.


It all started here, in a humble greenhouse. A welcomed paradisaical sanctuary in a very drab winter landscape. 30+ degrees warmer than what lay outside.

Inside the greenhouse were two large chambers. One chamber appeared to be tropical themed with water features, free-hanging moss, and a massive palm as a central fixture. The other chamber, much smaller, was a weird mix of flowers and miniature fruit-bearing trees.

Once outside, everything but the grass was dead. Nevertheless, there were several eye catching products of nature. One tree in particular was quite alarming, looking like something out of a haunted forest as a result of "cork wings" that had grown on its branches.

Adjacent to the Japanese garden, taller trees created an interesting reflection on the partially frozen surface of a pond. Looking closer, geometric shapes created during waters transition from liquid to water being to appear.

The water on a separate pond in the same garden was perfectly still and fluid. The stilted tea house which hovers above the water's surface was perfectly reflected. On the hills behind the tea house was a gaggle of semi-aggressive Canadian geese which managed to place their feces anywhere you wanted to walk. If approached, the geese cock their heads backwards and let out a threatening hiss. When this gesture is returned in kind, the geese's eyes enlarge and they waddle away in fear.

Camera: Mamiya RB67 (w/645 back)

Film: Ilford HP5 Plus (120)

When: February 2020

Where: Wheaton, MD

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©2019 by Taylor Mackay