I am just east of Spokane and have a minute or two to post a quick update before pressing onward, finding a place to park for the night and varnishing all the tintypes from the past couple of days, so here it goes.
Washington state is beautiful and I truly enjoy exploring it to the best of my ability. That ability is hampered somewhat by the fact that the bus is so big and I can't just go on any old road in fear of not being able to turn around and by the fact that I am on a tight budget, so going even on every possible highway is not something that I can do at this point... If the funding campaign does pick up and reaches the goal I'll be able to explore a lot more and come up with even better images. Fingers crossed....
Let's start in Seattle. Seattle is a place I have not been to in a while and I was pretty eager to reach it. As much as I like that city I don't think it was kind to Gilli-the-Gillig and I am not sure I'll go back there unless I have business there to attend. First off a tire was blown in a really tight parking lot turn (it would have been all good if there was not construction and a piece of concrete was not missing from the sidewalk... but I won't bore you with details) and then I tried parking in a tight spot (probably the last time I ever try doing that) and a very resilient branch has messed up one of the cool little eye brows that used to house a flashing red light. While I am hoping to find a place that may work that housing back into its original shape, the tire thing is going to be more problematic. I did have a spare, but it's brand new and the other three tires are worn. Ideally all the 4 tires in the back need to be the same height and so I am stuck finding a used tire that will match the other three. Seattle didn't have anything at all, so I am riding with no spare... In the best case it's going to cost me about $200 with the worst case (buying all 4 tires matching) $1800. Well, let's see what happens. In either case I did make a few plates there and I rather like them. Here is but one of 4 for you to enjoy.
In Seattle I met with a wonderful photographer with whom I only wish to have had a chance to spend more time. Daniel Carillo makes daguerreotypes and is in the process of building a studio, so we met in the parking lot of Home Depot where he was picking up supplies. Next time I'm in the area I'll have to stop by and see some of his plates live. I had a nice surprise at that same Home Depot lot - a random guy walked over and asked 'So, what's the story with the Gillig?'. I'm always happy when people notice the bus for what it is, but to see someone adress it directly as a Gillig is rather unusual. Turns out his father was a salesman for Gillig in Hayward CA for over 25 years and we had a nice chat complete of course with lots of picture taking of the interior. I think his dad will be happy to see the work that was done to Gilli and to hear that she could have been sent all the way to Germany, but fate kept her in USA and now she is continuing to work in education.
While in Seattle I stayed with Heather Perera - one of the admins in the Film Shooters group on Facebook, a place I like to visit and post in. She shoots a lot of film and does it well, so it was really nice not only to take a load off and to stay in a bed for a couple of nights, but to converse with a fellow film-head and to also make a tintype of her and her lovely son.
After Seattle I headed east on I-90. I took a few detours and followed some highways that run parallel to the main one to find some more shooting opportunities. First one came as I passed by Yakima River. I couldn't resist stopping to capture its peaceful flow.
It was getting toward the evening and the clouds were really the only thing that one could lay their eyes upon on this rather desolate stretch of the highway, so I decided to pull over at a rest area by some windmills and to experiment with capturing clouds on collodion. Wet plate collodion is actually blue sensitive, so seeing clouds is rather rare and getting them to show up on purpose requires a little bit of trickery, especially if you want to get any detail at all in the landscape below. This was my second attempt and I think it worked out rather well save for some strange small black spots that decided to show up out of nowhere. Normally I would be worried about them, but since they were nowhere to be seen on the previous plate nor on the next ones I am writing them off to some malicious collodion fairies that decided to play a trick on me. Still, the detail in this plate is rather sweet and the distant hills actually surprised me by showing a faint hint of tone. No iPhone can capture the depth of a real tintype or the experience of holding one in your hand and seeing the light play upon the surface as you tilt it back and forth. Alas, here's the best I could do.
Next on the map was a sleepy little place called Vantage. It lays right on the side of the Columbia river and I decided to stop there for the night. While waiting for the sun to come down I made this tintype and Polaroid.
In the morning I pressed on and decided to take a longer road that eventually met back up with I-90. Along it I passed by a place with a grand name of Royal City - nothing could relate its grandeur more that this tintype.
Next was another place with an ambitious name - Ritzville. I did not explore it too much, but here is a nice place from there.
Driving on toward Spokane on 90 I noticed a town just off the highway that looked like it was full of possible shooting opportunities and I decided to pull over by a church there. The place is called Sprague and it seems to have been completely untouched by recent history. I spent a couple of hours there with the four following plates resulting from that stay.
While passing through Spokane I did stop to capture two more plates with the clouds at sunset, but upon looking at the quick copies that I have done with my phone I see that they are way below par and you my dear reader will have to wait until the next update to see them as right now is not the time for me to go make another copy - it's dark, I'm getting tired and should really get to a place where I can focus on varnishing and sleeping. Tomorrow I'll be exploring Idaho and then on to Montana I go! What a great trip...