As I have reached the midpoint of my journey, I’m happy to report that I am slightly ahead of the game with 130 towns behind me, though one or two need to be revisited since for one reason or another I was unable to do photographic justice during my first attempt.
Walden, which almost lured me off course last week, Cavendish which was covered in mud, though most likely by the end of April I will have developed a new sense of respect for mud, and a few others where I’ve managed to capture only one image, I will need to revisit. I’m sure I’ll find my way back, as I’ve found several times since starting my journey that sometimes an unplanned return to a place affords a new perspective, like it’s easier when I’m not trying so hard as it was in Stannard last week or that beautiful day in January when I found myself back in Ripton.
At the halfway point I find myself a little sad; the first half has gone so quickly, and every time I go out I find more and more satisfaction with this project. What will I do after I’m finished? I’ll certainly miss the focus and the challenge of scheming how I’ll make it to every town. I love adventure and every time I venture out there’s the promise of something new. Perhaps I’ll use my galleries as a road map to go back to those places and dig a little deeper.
Also, I wanted for this project to help me find more subject matter for my black and white photography, though I have to admit I’m loving the spontaneity the digital camera affords. I took my clunky 6x7 rig out a few weeks ago and felt so clumsy as I struggled with the wooden tripod legs and my fixed focal lens. Then upon removing one of the rolls of film I had shot it appeared as though I had loaded it backwards, though I’m not throwing in the towel since I still don’t know how that’s physically possible. I suspect a manufacturing defect resulted in the backing paper being inside out. Time will tell though, when I finally do get back down to my dark room.
For the time being I need to stay focused. While I have visited more than half of the towns, most of those in front of me are more than an hour away, many are more than two, so strategy will be an important factor. While it helps to be looking forward to lengthening rather than shortening days, the sun’s higher position in the sky will surely prevent me from going out in the middle of the day, and it will force me to get out of bed earlier in order to capture the best light.
Whatever comes from this project, and whatever I end up doing with the images, the greatest satisfaction I have achieved is that photography has become an integral part of my life as opposed to being the thing I put off until tomorrow. Whether it be a spur of the moment trip back to one of the towns I’ve visited for further exploration, a carefully planned trip with snow shoes and field camera in tow, a day of experimentation with my new old sx70 land camera, or building a pin hole camera and finally participating in worldwide pin hole day, photography is once again a significant part of who I am.