Thursday, August 19, 2010
Lock Me in the Cemetery Vault
I shot a few frames and then my camera jammed. What to do? No darkroom nearby. No changing bag, either (all you digital newbies are probably wondering what that is...). See, you can't just open the back of a film SLR without exposing the film to light (which ruins it). In some cases with regular film, you can shut yourself up in a closet or bathroom with the lights out and unjam your film. Infrared is different. This film has to be loaded and unloaded in pitch darkness. So where in a cemetery could I find such a place?
So I allowed a perfect stranger to lock me in the unlit vault and close the door. I nervously asked him to give me 10 minutes. I managed to unjam the film, which, upon my release, allowed a very productive day of shooting. Sometimes you just have to trust people! Over the years, we became good friends, as I have with many people who work at Laurel Hill. Unfortunately, my relationship with infrared film ended, as it is no longer being produced by Kodak. Neither is their SO-283 satellite tracking film, which was a great choice for shooting celestial beings like cemetery angels. Just kidding. Wanted to see if you were still paying attention.
As an aside, an even stranger thing occurred around 2005 with regard to this vault. Two armed men came into the gatehouse near closing time and demanded that the vault be opened. When the cemetery director tried to explain that there was nothing of immediate monetary value inside, they pistol-whipped him until he opened it! On finding no cash, gold, or jewels, they left. They'd obviously heard the cemetery had a bank-type vault and mistakenly assumed it was full of money.
Click here for more info on infrared photgraphy.