Freelensing & Caffenol

Caffenol, freelensing, photography

For a few months I thought about selling my Pentax K1000. The mirror was sticky, it needed new seals, plus we really, really needed the money.

But then I realized…my Pentax is the only one of my film cameras I can freelens with.

I have only one other film SLR: the Canon EOS Rebel T2, but it refuses to take pictures without a lens attached. Even in manual mode, the mode where I’m supposed to be in charge.

So I sold my speedlight instead, then sent out my Pentax to have the seals replaced and the shutter looked at, and I came home from Cedar Point to a box on my counter. I quickly tore off the tape, loaded the camera with some HP5 and immediately began to marvel at the dreamy world beyond my viewfinder. Moving the 50mm up and down and this way and that way, I felt a calm I haven’t felt since I first plunged into film.

I was me.

What is Freelensing, and How Can You Get Started?

freelensing, photography

I’ve been freelensing since 2015, so I often forget that it’s still not a well-known craft. I find myself talking about it casually with friends and fellow photographers, only to stop short when I notice their blank stares.

But freelensing has changed my photography so much since I first learned about it from another photographer, so I feel a strong desire to spread the word. Freelensing rocks, and EVERYONE should give it a try at least once.

Assuming you’re in for the risk…

Made A Batch of Caffenol CM-RS

Caffenol, film, photography

I recently got my Canonet QL17 GIII fixed (YAY!) and also bought some batteries for my Canon EOS Rebel T2, which means I’ve been living in film-land for the past week or so. Still, despite my excitement, I didn’t finish my first roll–a roll of FP4 that had been sitting in my Rebel since the battery died eons ago–until over the weekend when we went to Graham Cave.

With my LegacyPro Eco-Pro still on its way, I figured I’d just sit and twiddle my thumbs over a growing pile of used film until it arrived. But last night I couldn’t take it anymore. I had the tools to make caffenol, and after a quick trip to GNC to get some real vitamin C powder, I pulled on some rubber gloves and located the CM-RS recipe in the Caffenol Cookbook.

My Very First Caffenol Experience

Caffenol, film, photography

I’ve been contemplating developing my own film for some time (years). It’s cheaper than sending it in, and would give me a more hands-on experience with photography. Merely uploading and editing has started to lose its pizzazz.

So, last Saturday I decided to just go for it. I bought a two-reel tank and the ingredients for caffenol. For those who don’t know, a recipe usually calls for washing soda, iodized salt, vitamin C crystals, and the best ingredient of all, coffee.

I Went Monochrome for the Entire Month of April. Here Is What I Learned

challenges, monochrome, photography

Monochrome for a Month was a challenge I gave myself so that I would be forced to overlook color when shooting. I love black and white photography and it used to be my go-to edit, but during 2016 I went through a color phase. B&W became something mundane and drab. I shrugged at photos that used to invoke inspiration, and I ignored most of the Lightroom presets I’d made the previous year and instead created a whole list of new ones with cool-toned hues and mattes.

Then, at the end of March, I went to the zoo and decided to shoot in monochrome when I reached the zebras. Seeing their stripes and tweaking the settings to make them the most invasive pattern on the LCD display, I began to experiment with the other animals and their unique textures and patterns. I spent the entire day shooting in monochrome and my love for black and white was rekindled.

So, I decided to forgo color for the entire month of April to re-acquaint (hopefully) myself with what drew me to B&W photography in the first place.

Where My Freelensing Journey Began

freelensing, photography

Freelensing was first introduced to me over two years ago on a photography forum I belong to. Someone shared her experience of experimenting with detaching her lens to take pictures, and I marveled at what she came up with. The works were dreamy, flawed, blurry, photographic prose. I immediately grabbed my Nikon to try it out.

But…it didn’t work. I couldn’t see through the viewfinder, and only saw a black screen when I pressed the shutter button. What was going on?

Monochrome for a Month: Lost in the Wilderness During Week 3

monochrome, photography, projects

Snickering and making married-couple jokes, Chris and I should have expected an adventure, but I wasn’t aware just how elaborate some of the trails were at the nearby hiking ground. It had been raining all week, and I was looking forward to the fresh air, to getting some good cave shots for my cave series, some woodsy stuff, maybe even a group of tiny white flowers to add to my “flowers in the dark” series. We already knew one cave was closed–the bats are nesting–but the other was only a short walk away from where its trail began. I was planning on climbing out of the car and heading right up.

First time we went here as a family, we had no trouble at all finding the right parking lot and heading up (then again, we had no end in mind that day). This time, however, we had to pull a few u-turns before finding the right parking lot–still snickering and poking fun and marveling at the speckles of rain on the windshield.

“A little rain never hurt anyone,” I said. Goo excitedly announced from the back seat that she was going to splash in puddles. Howl licked at his closed window. Chris parked (finally) in the right lot.

Monochrome for a Month: Week Deux

challenges, monochrome, photography

For those of you who don’t follow the blog, I decided to go entirely monochrome for the month of April. Week one was a bit of a struggle, but this week I was determined to make better progress. I went out and bought a polarizing filter for bright sunny days and planned a family trip to a hiking ground that has a few caves on its maps. Chris urged me to try to d choose only ONE camera, so I chose my Nikon D5300, but wound up bringing four lenses: the deconstructed 50mm, the 40mm, the 35mm, and my 55-200mm.

Monochrome for a Month: Week One

challenges, photography

All images © 2017 Lina Forrester

A week ago, I decided I would go monochrome for the entire month of April. I changed my camera’s settings and loaded my Instax and Pentax with B&W film. After the dull and snowless winter I’m ecstatic that the trees are greening and the flowers are blooming, and so I knew this would be a big challenge for me, but I suppose that was the point. Challenges, no matter how frustrating, are often great learning experiences.

I learned just how difficult this challenge might prove to be on day one, when we headed to a nearby cave for some exploration.

Monochrome for a Month

challenges, photography

Going monochrome always changes my perspective with photography, even if it’s only for a day. I begin to *see* the world in lights, shadows, tones, shapes, and patterns, and it really improves my skills.

This year, I’ve decided to challenge myself to go monochrome for an entire month. And I’ve chosen the month of April because it’s no doubt one of the hardest months (for me, at least) to go monochrome. Everything is blooming and the sky is finally blue and the grass is finally green.

But I am eager to witness these spring changes without the distraction of color. In black and white, nature tells an entirely different story…