By the time I started to get serious about photography, film was already a thing of the past. A few months ago a friend gave me most of her old film equipment, an old Konica, several lenses and a Canon AE-1, which I used to shoot all of these photos. I shot my first roll around Middletown, Sausalito, and along the coast at Fort Ross. Most of them didn’t turn out too well, overexposed or underexposed, but a few turned out OK.
The Sausalito docks and yacht club. I used an old roll of film that my mom dug up from somewhere around the house. When film gets old the colors can get a little off, which is probably why most of these photos look a little yellow. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but I think it adds an interesting effect.
I brought the AE-1 along with me to a weekend visit to Fort Ross, an old fur hunting outpost that the Russians maintained from about 1812-1842 as they sought to colonize North America. It was the southernmost of Russia’s holdings in the new world and a hub for trade between Natives, Russians, and the newly independent Mexican government.
Russian Orthodox chapel at the fort. Though it was technically a military settlement and heavily fortified, Fort Ross was so far out in the middle of nowhere that no one ever bothered to attack the few hundred Russians stationed there. On the contrary, relations with the Indians were almost always friendly and visitations by Mexican soldiers were too infrequent to ever be a problem. A docent at the fort told us that every few years the Mexican government would send a contingent up to kick out the Russians, and every time the Russians would tell the Mexicans that they weren’t authorized to abandon their post and to contact Moscow directly, which of course back then had to be done in person or by mail, both of which could take as long as six months to a year. Even today it’s pretty far removed from the rest of California’s bustling population.
Rugged coastline at Fort Ross state park.
South of Fort Ross at Jenner, where the Russian River exits into the Pacific.