Culture

Photo: Alameda Marina on Analog Film

Year: 2018

Camera: Leica R7 with 70-210mm lens

Film: Kodak Ektar 100

This photo shows Marina Village in Alameda, California. It was shot on Kodak Ektar analog film, using a Leica R7 camera.

Photographing boats is tough because they’re very reflective. The yachts docked here on Alameda Island are bright white. Keeping them from looking washed out while still maintaining detail in the darker foreground is no small task.

Film makes the process a lot easier. Because it responds nonlinearly to light, the Kodak Ektar film used for this shot keeps the boats well-exposed without losing shadow detail in the foreground or the mountains at the back of the scene.

Boats in the Bay Area also feel special. This is such an impossibly expansive place to live that keeping a boat in the Bay Area feels like the ultimate unattainable goal. 

At the same time, the Bay Area has a strong community of permanent lives aboards who call their boats their homes, sometimes in an attempt to bypass the Bay Area’s amazingly high rent and home prices.

This posh marina probably isn’t playing host to many of them. But there’s still a bit of that Bay Area nautical mystique seeping through in this shot.

Ektar film is known for its strong, saturated colors and dramatic blues, which makes it a perfect film for capturing the water and sky here. And the R7 (which was fitted with a 70 to 210mm lens) crops nicely into the shot.

We’ll probably never get invited aboard one of these boats. But with a long enough lens, we can feel as if we’re among them, or at least capture something of the joy of a Bay Atea day spent by the water.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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