San Francisco 2021 • Botanical Gardens

I visited San Francisco three times last year, far less than in previous years due to the pandemic. SF day trips used to mean early flights from LAX to SFO. With the COVID spikes throughout 2021, I embraced road trips as the travel alternative. It definitely has a different vibe to it. There's an overwhelming excitement and seize the day feeling when I jump into the car at 5 pm after a full workday hyped on caffeine and a six-hour playlist ready for the long drive.

I write this and post shots from autumn, spring is right around the corner for 2022. As I balance new photography projects and social media, I keep this quote close to my heart:

You can appreciate the flowers in someone else's garden while still watering your own.

It's been a weird learning curve of balancing growing my social media versus growing outside of it. Late last year, I vetted out which platforms I wanted to focus on, and decided to focus on just posting consistently. On IG, I stopped actively engaging and tagging feature accounts. This year I'm toying with the idea of doing away with hashtags altogether. I will post an update on the results in a few months lol, so far it's been great in the mental health department☺

 

I drove up in September to celebrate my college best friend's birthday. We spent that morning catching up at a botanical garden, and it was the best photo walk I'd ever been on! I stopped at every single flower I wanted to take a picture of. She's recently picked up the quarantine hobby of being a plant mom, so it was fun to hear her stories of raising her own.


This was my first time shooting Kodak Ultramax 400, so I didn't really know what to expect. As you might have previously read, I have an awful habit of never checking the weather. I loaded Ultramax the day before ...and woke up to a very foggy SF. Not ideal shooting conditions, but the fog seemed to follow me to every city I visited in 2021.


Ultramax falls into the cheaper side of the price spectrum and is often compared to Portra 400. I have seen it heavily used by landscape photographers for its strong color saturation. Ultramax is also noted to have coarser grain than most stocks. After receiving my scans back, I learned that lighting really plays a huge part in the outcome. I was warned if underexposed, the colors in the shadows can get muddy, and they do - which I hated!! But the grain comes out more as well - which I loved!

The shots above were taken as the sun came out through the clouds. I really love the saturation and colors in these shots. Below are some examples of shots I took in lower light conditions - different color profiles (meh) and more grain (wooo!)

For the price point, I'm definitely going to give this roll another shot. Color profile-wise, it looks to be a grainier version of Kodak Gold, not Portra. After reading around and begging people on IG for tips, I've been advised to shoot at golden hour ...and to check the weather beforehand.


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