POST 026





Have any of you guys heard of Soda Springs, Idaho? I hadn’t either, but it turned out that it was the only place with a high school that had spots available for my sister to take the ACT. This was in October 2020 and something related to covid was making it difficult for my sister to take the test but she needed it for college applications, so, like any sane person *that’s sarcasm*, she registered for a test in a town 2.5 hrs away. And, well, I didn’t have anything better to do so I brought my camera and came with.

Nikon FM2 with Nikkor 50mm f1.8 on Kodak Ultramax 400

The test was on Saturday so we drove up Friday night to spend the night and then I had the whole day to wander around and take photos while she took the exam. I didn’t really have a plan other than to hopefully find some rural scenes and elements that I wouldn’t normally see while shooting in SLC.

And the first scene that I saw/went to was exactly that, it was sort of like a junkyard or collection of old cars but there was this incredible worn-down vintage ambulance sitting in the middle of it. I took a few photos, but this angle that highlights the old horn and the ‘AMBULANCE’ sign on the top of the car was my favorite.

Nikon FM2 with Nikkor 50mm f1.8 on Kodak Ultramax 400

That was my first-ish shot of the day and from there I just wandered around. I went through neighborhoods, along train tracks, past factories and abandoned shops, a cemetery, up and down mainstreet, to the little geyser that gives the town it's name and practically around the entire town... but it's not a big town. I finished a roll of Ultramax that I had loaded in my camera when I got there and shot about half a roll of Portra 400 before I left. I only had Saturday morning to shoot since we were leaving back to SLC right after my sister finished her test but I was very happy with the photos I took and honestly pretty exhausted by the end of it. Looking back at the images I didn’t take a ton and was pretty selective, but here are my favorites:

Nikon FM2 with Nikon Series e 100mm f2.5 on Kodak Portra 400
Nikon FM2 with Nikon Series e 28mm f2.8 on Kodak Portra 400
Nikon FM2 with Nikkor 50mm f1.8 on Kodak Ultramax 400

I would say that I was happy with 80% of the photos, the only problem looking back on them now is that they were all scanned with my Epson v550, so the quality is not great. I think soon if I have time I will rescan the one’s that I really like, but scan quality is something that can be changed again and again, the photos themselves and the scenes that I captured while I was there I am quite pleased with.

Nikon FM2 with Nikkor 35mm f2.8 on Kodak Portra 400

As far as gear goes, I pretty much brought all of it :/ I didn’t know what to expect in Soda Springs and I had most of the day to shoot so I figured I would bring everything to decide what worked best while I was there. Everything for this meant my Nikon Fm2, 100mm and 28mm Nikon Series e lenses, a Nikkor 50mm f1.8 lens and my most recent pick up, a Nikkor 35mm f2.8 lens. I also brought my L35AF but the batteries died so I did actually use it. And for film I had a roll of tmax 100 that I didn’t use, two rolls of Portra 400 and the Ultramax that was in my camera when I got there.

There is no question that I overpacked because I didn’t even get through a full roll of Portra and I pretty much only used the 50mm.

Nikon FM2 with Nikkor 50mm f1.8 on Kodak Ultramax 400

It didn’t feel like I had too much gear though and it was still early on in my photographic journey that I didn’t really know what setup I would prefer, so I just brought it all. Like I said I didn’t know what to expect and I would rather have the option and not use it in Soda Springs then not have the option because the right lens was back at home in SLC. The only downside was that I had to carry it all but even that wasn’t really a problem since they were all primes and really light to begin with.

My go to setup has since become a 50mm and 28mm with either the Fm2 or F3. This setup is so light and small that I can almost just carry the extra lens in my pocket and go without a bag, but for Soda Springs I didn’t know what I wanted yet so I was glad to have the options.

Nikon FM2 with Nikkor 35mm 2.8 on Kodak Ultramax 400

I also only shot 34 photos on that trip so I definitely overpacked on film, but that is a tendency that has not gone away. I will always bring more film then I need or expect to use, it’s such a small extra thing to bring but such a huge inconvenience to run out of. So yeah, I guess maybe that’s the point of this post….. bring extra film and gear if your uncertain.. Idk but I hope you enjoyed these photos from Soda Springs, it was a fun place to photograph and definitely a great opportunity for me to experiment with different focal lengths and find some cool subject matter.