Broken Bronica: Redwoods
Back in May 2015, on a trip out to the Funding Circle office in San Francisco, a colleague and I drove up the coast for the weekend to meet some other 'Circlers' in Mendocino and then back through the Redwood forests. At the start of the weekend, I bought my first medium format film camera—a beautiful Bronica S2—at Seawood Photo in San Anselmo.
Over the course of that weekend I shot my first film in a few of the stunning places we visited and absolutely adored the feel and handling of the Bronica. Sadly, when I got back to the UK and had that first roll of film processed, every single frame was out of focus to a greater or lesser extent. Another test roll shot and a trip to a repair shop in London later and it was confirmed: the ground glass was out of alignment and the cost of repair was almost as much as I paid for the camera. Thankfully Seawood Photo were great about it and I had another work trip booked a couple of months later so was able to return the camera for a refund.
I'm still sad the S2 didn't work out as it was a beautiful camera that, like my Fuji digital cameras, just made you want to take photographs of everything. That aside, I still quite like a bunch of the few photographs I did make with it, despite them being out of focus, and that brings us finally to today's image: taken while driving through one of the Redwood forests north of San Francisco.
This image clearly hasn't nailed focus almost anywhere within the frame, but I think you still get a sense of that medium format 3D-ness that people talk about, as well as the beautiful light and colours. It's a good reminder that an image doesn't have to be technically perfect to convey the feeling of what it was like to be there (and, indeed, sometimes it helps not to be!).