West Coast Monochrom by Phillipp Wortmann

West Coast Monochrom

by Phillipp Wortmann

These are photographs taken along the California West Coast during a trip in march 2015. The route was roughly LA – San Clemente – Joshua Tree – Morro Bay – Big Sur – Santa Cruz – Point Reyes – San Francisco.
As I like to keep it simple I brought only my M6, 35 Summicron IV and a bunch of Kodak TriX film. It doesn’t matter if it’s cameras, lenses or film – if I bring more than one I can never decide what to use so limiting myself in that way actually gives me a lot more peace of mind.

For the past year or so I have been almost exclusively shooting 35mm color film but for this trip I wanted to give the black and white another go. This decision was actually made a couple of weeks prior to the trip when I went through my archive and rediscovered some of my older black and white film photos. You can check my little user report on that HERE.








Another reason for going with black and white was that I had already been to do southwestern US the year before where I shot all Kodak Portra 160. So to avoid ending up with very similar photos from two different trips using Kodak TriX 400 made sense. If you like you can see the color shots from last year here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/derphilipppp/sets/72157648794789646/

So overall the trip was a blast and although I didn’t shoot as much as I had hoped/planned/anticipated I’m really happy with some of the shots I got. I will probably need to find a darkroom to do some prints soon.

The entire album can be viewed here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/derphilipppp/sets/72157651692347201/

You can also see more of my photos here: lifeon35.tumblr.com and instagram.com/derphilipppp/

Best regards and thanks for the opportunity to showcase my work!



  1. The first shot is my favourite. It’s a nice photo in and of itself, but that sort of architecture is far superior to the post-modern style which is spreading like cancer today. And I appreciate the care you took with framing.

    The single-lens idea is one which I rather like. As you say, it prevents paralysis and gives you no choice, so you can concentrate on photography. But it creates a super-problem: it’s bad enough to decide which lens to use for a given shot, but it’s also a problem deciding whether or not to take one lens or several. Ah, the tyranny of choice. Progress is nice but also punishes us. 🙂 Well, I don’t mind my phone having a fixed lens, so it should translate well to a bigger camera.

    I think b&w is my favourite medium – perhaps not by much, but it has depth which colour usually doesn’t have.

  2. Wunderbar Philipp, loving your “back-to-basics” approach here 😉 … Your pics are great – composition etc.. you clearly have “an eye” ^_^ …

    Even if we’re all digitally (well/super/over for some..) equipped, each time you reach for a great combo such as your (mine too BTW: got the same set-up!) M6 + cron 35 IV ( I do love that pre-Asph pancake type lens 🙂 – it’s just such a joy , and you concentrate on the essential .. w/o any super functions, electronics and battery concerns … Same goes when I simply grab my Nikon FM3A with the great 28mm Nikkor…

    Simply complement the M6 with a nice 75 or 90mm (the Nikkor add-on would be the famous 105mm Ai/S 2.5 !!) and you have a rather small, compact, unobtrusive and quasi eternal Kit to put in a small Billingham or Think Tank Bag! Well as long as they produce 35mm film :o/ …

    • Ha, I have never really thought about it like that but actually yes! 🙂 I remember exactly taking every single one of those photographs and the moments leading up to it. Spotting the subject, composing, evaluating the light, setting aperture and shutter speed, focusing and the subtle yet satisfying “click”. Kind of a beautiful process if you think about it like that. thanks for the hint 🙂

      regards, Philipp

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