My third visit to Fort Knox was by far the most successful - first of
all, I arrived with plenty of time to work, second of all, the light
was reasonably co-operative, and third, I knew my way around
sufficiently that I had ideas that I wanted to work with when I began
I could spend a month working with Fort Knox -
especially now that I have seen the result I got on my initial visits.
The light and repetitive nature of the architecture calls to me in a way
few things do, and I found the days I photographed there among the most
pleasurable sessions I've had in years. I had the time to work, the
subject to work with, and the skills and tools to achieve my
pre-visualized images. The only limiting factor was the changing light,
and the inevitable end of the day. I would have worked with colour
extensively on this day, but my 6x12 back gave me technical difficulties
early in the session, and rather than fight with it all day, I
swallowed hard and put it away, instead relying on black and white to
convey my vision of the day.
The one element which has always been elusive for me in the past has been a way to capture the sense of space within the forts I work with. Cameras inherently distort and change one's perceptions though their nature, and it is difficult to use these factors to one's advantage. With the view camera though, and extremely wide lenses (like the 65mm super-angulon) it is possible to give some sense of the incredible visual spaces that exist in the forts. Fort Knox was the first fort where I extensively used my 65mm, and the sense of space which resulted is wonderful - the exposures, some as long as 25 minutes, provided enough depth of field for the image to be sharp throughout, but the sense of receding depth is wonderful. There are no forts in Halifax which have the long, well-lit shooting galleries that surround Fort Knox, but seeing how the 65mm lens performed in such conditions makes me eager to apply it to the sites that surround Halifax.