Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Carlos Diving in Point Pleasant Beach

I was on my bike and needed to find a port-a-john (52-year old bladder on a bike for two hours ... of course I had to find one). I had the good fortune of finding a nice facility in a little tiny public park along the Metedeconk River in Point Pleasant, NJ. Upon emerging, I realized that the parking lot was filled with middle-aged folks, mostly men, getting suited up for some scuba diving.

As I began to roll out of the parking lot, I came upon a fellow in a full wetsuit sitting in a wheelchair.  I asked this fellow, Carlos, what they were diving for today ... local wrecks or whatever. He explained that he was getting re-certified as a disabled diver since he was finding it difficult to get dive boats to take him out over fear of liability/insurance issues. Turns out he lost most of the use of his legs due to what his doctors believe was Agent Orange exposure while he was serving in Vietnam.

To make a long story short, he graciously agreed to let me take his portrait and even encouraged me to hang out long enough to watch he and his buddies (many of whom are also vets though not all from the Nam era). Unfortunately, I only had the roll of film that was in the camera -- nothing more.

When Carlos got out of his chair and into the water, the peace that came over his face was hard to describe in words. The fellow who trying to help Carlos don his air tank kept having to tell him to slow down he was so happy to be freed of the land.

Two new rules:

One: My first experience with Agfa Copex Rapid. Never take a critical picture with a film you've never used before. Too nerve-wracking worrying over whether you'll screw it up.

Two: Don't add to the worry by using a film developer combination that no one recommends. I had no clue how well or poorly the Agfa Copex Rapid would work in Rodinal. The word is that you need to use Spur Modular (there are two different ones ... one for this stuff and one for the Adox CMS-20 supposedly). I think I got lucky here. The contrast is a challenge and I suspect I would have had less or smoother grain with the Spur (but it's about $35! at Freestyle).

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