Paul Roark Portfolio

Sunrise, Hilton Lakes
Generations color pigments on Archival Matte Paper


The Hilton Lakes basin in California's Eastern High Sierra is an easy backpack trip and, yet, amazingly free of crowds. At slightly over 10,000 feet in elevation, the high lakes in the basin share the usual High Sierra characteristics that keep me returning to that environment every year. While we usually enjoy the alpenglow just after sunset, the glassy surfaces of the lakes in the morning can make the sunrise alpenglow twice as beautiful.

This photo is clearly a real departure from my norm. I generally shot medium format black and white only. This shot, however, is not only color, but composed of five 35 mm frames, combined in Photoshop. The camera was a Ricoh GR 1 -- which has an excellent 28 mm lens and weighs all of 7 oz. This shot covers more than 180 degrees -- the shoreline is essentially straight where the shot was taken.

The Summer of '99 was the first time in years that I took color film on my backpacking trips. I've been experimenting with Konica Impresa 50 color negative film for several reasons. First, it has incredibly fine grain -- finer than my standard Tmax 100 black and white film. Second, the Konica 50, because it is the sharpest color film (best MTF) and has more latitude than slide films, just may capture more total information than any other film, under normal shooting conditions. Because I consider the original shot to be the "information capture" stage of the game, this is very important to me.

I am experimenting with color even as an original for black and white prints. This is not only because of the grain, but because the color information in Photoshop adds to the power of computer-based printing. One can, for example, apply different color filters to the same shot -- rather difficult with black and white film.

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