For anyone who has been a long time reader of this blog, you’ll know that Montreal, Quebec holds a special place in my photographic story. So with my first wedding anniversary, last month and a great deal on hotel and the train my wife and I celebrated our anniversary in the city.
Of course, this trip wasn’t solely for photography, I mean I had refreshingly packed light, sort of. You cannot really call the Nikon F5 light-weight, but I wanted to bring my best 35mm kit with me and have a level of automation. So with the F90 on loan, the F5 got to go on the trip. Oddly enough last time I was in the city it was the Nikon F4 that was my primary 35mm camera and some of the same lenses even came along, the 35mm f/2, 50mm f/1.4, and the 105mm f/2. Then there was the choice of film. I had some five rolls picked out early, hoping for sunlight and good weather. I also was holding out hope that my shipment of Silberra film would arrive before leaving (sadly it did not, so my review of those films I’m pushing to September at this point). So, of course, I went with five slower films, RPX25, Panatomic-X, Fomapan 100, Efke 100, and P30. Well, the weather failed to cooperate, so then I decided to just run with five rolls of Tri-X, knowing that I could push, pull, and shoot at box speed to my heart’s content no matter what the situation required. But as the departure date came closer it seemed the weather would break, so I went with a pair of Tri-X, a pair of Eastman Double-X (which you’re looking at in this post), and a single roll of the new TMax P3200. Yes, a total Kodak fest, but hey, I am a fan of our big yellow father.
As Sunday was our actual anniversary, and the nicest day temperature and conditions wise it was Sunday we decided to just wander outside, poking our heads into small shops all through my favourite part of the city, Old Montreal. Now having been to Europe and France I can see the parallels, no surprise between Old Montreal and a place like Arras or Gent. Though far newer (Montreal was founded as Ville-Marie in 1642 when much of Europe was already the same age Montreal is today if not older). So it only made sense to pop in the cinematic Eastman Double-X. I stuck to shooting just my F5, while my wonderful wife took command of the a6000, which she handles rather well I have to say. I stuck to two lenses, much of the first roll was shot on the 105mm f/2 lens while much of the second on the 35mm f/2. I find that I often stick too much to the normal/wide lenses but in Old Montreal, you get wonderful detail in many of the old buildings. While none date back to the 17th Century, there are plenty from the whole range of the 19th Century and into the 20th. A wonderful mix of old and new, comparatively speaking that is.
Yet if you compare Old Montreal to Old Quebec City, you see two different sides of New France/Lower Canada/Canada East. Montreal carries a far more English flare in the old city, while still clearly French, the British influence, which I’m assuming happened through the 1830s and in the 1840s era is rather clear. Whereas Quebec City retains it’s ancien regime flare and styling. Oh, the churches remain clearly French with the grand sweeping Roman Catholic Cathedrals and Chapels. And while you can find them, you have to venture into the newer parts of the city to find Protestant places of Worship. But as I walked the streets again nearly a decade later everything seems both the same and different. I saw the buildings in a new light, probably because there was a lot more light than the last time I walked the narrow streets. And everything seems far more alive, vibrant, and active. While I shot the area extensively the last time I was there, everything looked new. Sure I saw plenty of familiar sites but there was a lot of new sights as well. The streets were full of people, not crowded, but enough to give a new life to the old city. Patios and cafes were murmuring with the crowd and my camera just kept shooting scene after scene. Look, Seek, Find. And yes, I still enjoy taking pictures of doors.
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D/AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Eastman Double-X (5222)
Kodak D-76 (1+2) 11:00 @ 20C