Preston Richey

HP #9: Late August Update

This is a version of an update I sent out via my email newsletter. If you’d like to follow along, you can sign up here.

Hi all,

It's been a while! (Only 6 months, but who's counting?)

Recently, I’ve been doing that thing where I put off writing a newsletter because things keep on happening (so much, truly) and the compounding effort of covering everything in a single update postpones its completion, ad nauseam.

I’m tired of being ad nauseous. Here are some updates:

In March, I turned 30! To celebrate, I took a few days off and flew to California with my friend Holly. I had been enjoying film photography with my Olympus point-and-shoot but was interested in something a bit higher resolution so I decided to rent a Mamiya 7 and tote it around for the trip. We spent a few days in LA eating as many tacos and fresh fruit cups as possible, then drove out to Palm Springs and Joshua Tree. I had been to LA previously but never to the Mojave, which was incredible: massive and martian. I shot 5 rolls of Portra 400 over as many days and was blown away by the quality of the exposures. I posted a few here, if you’re interested:

Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree

Aside: the above photo album is on Flickr, and yes, I know it isn’t 2007. It’s been years since I’ve actually enjoyed posting on Instagram and in lieu of a better alternative (if you have one, please tell me!) I’m giving Flickr another go. I’m currently in the process of rebuilding my personal website and eventually it might be a good enough alternative that I can homestead 100% but in the meantime, Flickr is good enough for me. Follow me here, if you like!

The itch for large(r) exposure film photography never went away, so in May I pulled the trigger on a 90’s Mamiya 645 Pro I had been eyeing on eBay. It’s a bit big-boned but features an economical 16 exposures per roll - a nice intermediary between the 36 per roll of a 35mm and the paltry 10 of a 6x7.

After a few rolls of test shots around the neighborhood, I lugged it to Dallas for a few candid shots of my niece Rowan, who that weekend was celebrating her 1st birthday (!). I shot Kodak Gold (fitting for the Texan sun, I thought) and Kodak T-max 100. I’m particularly fond of this one of my dad, at Rowan’s party.

Over the 4th of July, I visited Maine, again with my friend Holly. This was my first time in New England above Boston so we made a few stops (after a requisite pit stop at Row 34): first in Salem, MA (couldn’t not go to the eponymous witch museum), then in Maine to Portland (incredible lighthouses and clam rolls, terrible parking), New Harbor (the puffin tour!), and finally Bar Harbor, to Acadia National Park. We did the greatest hits (Beehive Loop and Jordan Pond trails, Thunder Hole, Cadillac Mountain sunrise) and averaged 1.25 lobsters a day over the trip. Again I lugged around the Mamiya, this time with Portra 400 and Ilford HP5 - here are some favorite shots from the trip:

Bug Light
Bug Light

At the end of the July, after more than 4 years of working at Postlight, I decided to leave for new opportunities. I had grown immensely over that time (starting out in Kansas City, later moving to NY, and being promoted to Senior Software Engineer, and then Lead and becoming a manager with 6 reports of my own). I cherished working with the team, but I was ready for different challenges.

I decided to take some time off between roles and hastily threw together plans for a solo trip. I took the opportunity to go somewhere I’ve wanted to for a long, long time: Iceland. I rented a campervan and did a whole circuit around the ring road with plenty of stops along the way. It was absolutely unreal. The trip demands more than a few sentences here so suffice to say, I’m planning on sharing more. I was there for 10 days and shot 19 rolls of film (💸) so there’s absolutely no shortage of material. Expect an upcoming update with more from this trip.

Spoiler alert: puffins
Spoiler alert: puffins

A few days after getting back to the States, I started to feel sick and finally tested positive for COVID. The first few days were rough but I’m already feeling nearly back to 100%, thank goodness.

And that brings us to now (today, in fact!).

Today’s my first day joining the team at Observable to work on their collaborative data visualization and exploration platform. I’ve followed Observable for a while (and D3.js, created by Observable co-founder Mike Bostock, for even longer) and am thrilled to help build out the platform. The team is very impressive and I can’t wait to get to work.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Thanks for reading along. (And if not reading, skimming. Skimming is okay too.)

Wishing you all the best,