Brian Adams – The Field

The Image

Brian Adams

Resides: Anchorage, Alaska Image Taken: Rochester, New York

Time / Date:
October, 2006

The Technical

Camera Body: Hasselblad 500CM
Lens: 80mm F/2.8 CF
Film: Kodak Portra 400NC
Support: Gitzo G1297

Camera Settings:
Shutter Speed: 1/8 sec
Aperture: F/2.8 ISO: 400
Focal Length: 80mm

The Story


The woman in the image, is my good friend Michael Franklin. We had just driven cross county from Anchorage, Alaska to Rochester, NY. Michael was starting her first year at RIT in the Biomedical Photography program. After helping her get settled into her dorm, each night I would walk back to my hotel near the campus. Every night, I walked by this beautiful grass field that was softly lit by a street light above. The moment I saw it, I knew, that before I left New York, I wanted to make a picture there.

The Scene:

I knew I wanted to make a picture in this location, and I knew I wanted it to be of Michael, but I didn’t know what she should be doing in the image. The first frames on the roll of film, are of her standing ghostly looking straight at the camera, after that Michael took over and started striking other poses, I am not sure who’s idea it was to have her lye on the grass. But, of all the images it was by far the best. In 2006, I was in my second year of freelancing. I remember getting the film back and thinking, this is the direction I want to go and this is the feeling I want my images to convey.


The image was taken with a Hasselblad 500CM, on a Gitzo G1297 Basalt Tripod. I still use that same Hasselblad and tripod to this day. 

Making the Shot:

Once Michael wan in place and the camera was on the tripod, we only shot one roll of 120 film  (12 frames). I bracketed a few exposures and once the roll was done, that was a wrap. 

Editing & Processing:

Once I was back in Alaska, I brought my film to Keller’s Custom Photo Lab, they developed it and scanned it. The version above, is a newer high resolution scan. I prefer to do very little editing, for this photo, because it was taken with such a long exposure, and it was lit by a street lamp with daylight balanced film, I had to do quit a bit of white balancing. Other than that, this is how it was shot.

Looking Back:

Looking back, because she is lying down, I wish I had flipped my spit screen focus vertical and focused on her that way. I think it could have been sharper.


Slow down, really look through your view finder and compose your photo. Thats one of the things I love about medium format film photography, you only have 12 photos and every photo counts. If you have the time to think about your image, take the second to figure it out.


So many photographers inspire me! Cig Harvey, Keith Carter, Allison V. Smith, Ash Adams, Matt Eich, Ture Lillegraven. I regularly look at all their work for inspiration.


About the Photographer

Brian Adams is an editorial and commercial photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska specializing in environmental portraiture and medium-format photography. His work has been featured in both national and international publications, and his work documenting Native Alaskan villages has been showcased in galleries across the United States. His first book of photography, I AM ALASKAN, was published in October 2013 by University Of Alaska Press. 

Twitter: @badamsphoto
Instagram: @brianadamsphotography

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