I loaded the Yashicas into the saddlebags yesterday afternoon and rode downtown to shoot Raincrosses. The temperatures hovered in the mid-seventies and the sky was relatively clear of haze. Both the Mat 124 and the Electro 35 were loaded with black and white film, but I only shot with the “Mat”.
I’ve been very aware of the Raincrosses lately. The symbol has become associated with the city and is found everywhere throughout the city, it seems, incorporated into architectural elements, street signs, and light posts. Architect Arthur Benton and Mission Inn Owner Frank Miller are credited with the design, which is reportedly a merging of the native American symbol for the dragonfly (the double cross) and the mass bell, which is a nod to Junipero Serra, the founder of the California Missions.
I had the idea that the south end of Main Street beyond City Hall was probably the best area to photograph, because the street is lined with lampposts incorporating the symbol design, and it typically has little automobile traffic on the weekends. When I arrived, I liked the way the late afternoon light was throwing shadows and walked up and down the street shooting with the Yashica twin lens reflex camera.
When I carry the Yashica Mat 124 in a public area, it is likely that it will draw attention and create comments and questions. It was no different on that photo walk. After shooting the first eight frames on the 120 roll, the camera prompted a half-hour conversation with Preston, another photography enthusiast.
I like talking to other enthusiasts, though I’ve noticed that the majority of the conversational content is about equipment, not photography. In this case, we talked as much about photography as the equipment, which was a nice change. Preston was shooting with a Canon 7D and legacy lenses. After a time, we realized we were getting distracted from our individual photo walks, then wandered off in different directions.