ryan stufflebam

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Posts Tagged ‘Canon AE-1


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Sedona is a strangely magnificent place. Home of some of the most interesting geologic formations and landscapes. Home of the modern New Age movement. You can visit a monastery in the hills, or you can take the grand tour of the mystical vortex. Still not entirely sure what that is…







We drove around Sedona to film at a couple locations, but the real winner was driving up to the Merry-Go-Round formation. To get up there, what’s supposed to happen is you go downtown and rent an off-road ATV. Oversized go carts with monster wheels for adults. They’re made specifically to get you up steep and rocky trails that cars shouldn’t be on. We did not know this. And our formerly new age guide somehow managed to forget to relay this valuable information, even though he was in the car with us. But we managed to make it up to the top in a GMC SUV that has less clearance than a minivan. I don’t know how we’re not still stranded up there…







I had some time to climb around while my coworkers flew the drone. Still shooting the AE-1. After having shot with it for a while, I really like having all the features a 35mm camera can have. Auto exposure (or at least metering), large viewfinder, easy to focus, lots of exposures per roll, portable… But I’m not quite happy with how the lens performs. It is the standard lens that came with the camera back in the 70s after all. So it’s not incredibly sharp even stopped down to f8 or so. It’s fine for snapshots and fun, but any kind of enlarging will be impossible. Maybe I’ll try to find something a little faster, a little sharper.

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May 5, 2016 at 9:00 pm

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S.P. Crater

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Filming the documentary took us back out to Arizona to see S.P. Crater and the rock formations around Sedona. S.P. Crater was first on the docket. That’s “shit pot” crater, for those not in the know. Evidently, who ever owns the property has naming rights, and this particular rancher was pretty colorful, if not down to earth.

It’s a cinder cone volcano of somewhat recent origin with a 6-mile long basalt flow coming out its side. We ended up filming on top of the basalt rather than the cone, which was definitely for the better. I can’t imagine trying to steady myself on a 45 degree slope made of loose scree.


That was probably one of the nicer roads we traveled on this trip.


That’s S.P. Crater in the background.



The basalt flowed out as liquid lava once upon a time. The reason it’s all rubble now is that as the puddle of lava cools, it cools from the outside in, and it’s got the right chemical composition so that instead of creating one big rock, it cracks. And as it cools more and more, it cracks deeper and deeper until it’s cool the whole way through and there’s nothing left but a bunch of rocks. Giant’s Causeway was made the same exact way, but it’s composition allowed for the cracks at the surface to follow the same path all the way through, which is pretty cool.



We spent a day here and got most of what we needed. In documentary work, you really just kind of hope you walk away with what you need, but you never know. We spent the next day in Sedona, which will be in another post.



Written by ryanstufflebam

April 1, 2016 at 10:11 pm

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Grand Canyon – B/W

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I’ve logged a good few miles for work over the last 6 months shooting for a documentary. We’re going to some really awesome locations, too, so not taking a personal camera was NOT an option. All my medium format cameras were way too big to throw¬†into the already over-full video camera bag, so I thought it would be a good time to see if I still enjoyed shooting 35mm.

I had gotten my Canon AE-1 repaired not too long ago to take on the Roan Highland backpacking trip, so that was the weapon of choice. The sound guy, who is also an Assistant Director, was pretty excited to see someone still shooting film. He’s shot more rolls than he could count back when he was learning how to do more than just location sound. Our camera guy was not as enthusiastic. I think I started to realize how much of an anomaly I am working in a digital video industry.

But we flew in to Las Vegas and drove all the way around the Grand Canyon with our scientist, stopping at various locations to interview him. All in all, a successful 5-day 900 mile road trip. First roll was b/w. Color to follow.


We stopped often so Steve, the scientist, could teach us something. Above, he is explaining the formation of the Red Wall Limestone at a random road cut. Evidently these are great places to go rock and fossil hunting, if not the safest place…


Most of our driving was along state routes, but we did a number of off-road trips. We were in minivans. Zero clearance minivans. But we never got stuck, though I’d be lying if I said anxiety wasn’t an issue that whole time.


Written by ryanstufflebam

March 9, 2016 at 9:48 pm

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