Sometimes you just know you have something good, that your film was in just the right place. After that, it's a matter of getting it over the final hurdle to the negative stage. This one made it through.
This one was one of the first taken on the camera with the new bellows, new darkcloth, and new lid, supported by the new cantilevered shafts. The rear rails and flip locks had been modified, making them much more responsive, and the film holders had been improved, allowing the use of two sheets in the packet. It felt like a new camera, compared to the one I was using a few months earlier, in Colorado and New Mexico.
Conditions were perfect, a beautiful autumn morning, and I quickly identified this scene as offering some promise, compositionally.
Grand vistas, dramatic skies, they all have their value, but smaller scenes can be more evocative, more personal. There are very few places in the world that are completely untouched by the hand of man, even if some might appear so.
Kent, Connecticut, is a crossroad town running parallel to the Housatonic River. Bull's Bridge is a few miles downstream. It's a chichi town, coffee shops, antique and gift shops, and a very nice new Art Gallery in a very newly developed part of town. Behind the town, away from the river, the meadows roll up towards the hills, wrapped in those autumn colours we had travelled to see.
I made this picture while waiting for midday light on the Bull's Bridge site, and only exposed one sheet. Using film this large forces you to work economically. I had three 7x17 holders loaded, six sheets of film, and I knew I had to keep some for just a bit later. However, I knew at the time I took it that this would be a good one, and remarkably, none of the things that could have gone wrong did go wrong.
A little technical note- this picture was made using a Nikkor M 300, which doesn't cover the format, there's some softening at the extreme ends of the picture, although the leaves on the right are softened more by the depth of field limitations- they really were quite close. I know some people need to have their pictures sharp edge to edge, but a little definition vignetting on the edge of a picture doesn't bother me too much, as long as it doesn't detract from the picture as a whole. in my opinion...
I'm actually really happy with this picture, and it has printed beautifully- so much so that I'm offering it as my first ever online print sale.