I received the photography gene from my granddad, who’s spent much of his life behind a lens. A lot of what I know came from him, and I look up to him often for advice and approval.
Last week he gave me a bunch of his old gear, including the very camera he used in his studio. It’s surreal to be able to hold these artifacts, especially knowing just how knitted a camera can be with a photographer’s sense of self. It’s like holding a piece of my granddad’s soul. They are him in the past, and him today, and now they will be a part of me–and hopefully my daughter–as well.
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.
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.
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…
Winter here was a bust. Two snowfalls, neither amounting to much of anything. Goo got to use her brand-new sled only twice, and the only snowman she was able to build was no taller than her shin. Though she and Chris had a blast, the dry, brown winter has left me in desperate need of a vacation.
Still, our trip to Cedar Point isn’t for another few months, and money is tight. So we went to the zoo instead. Perhaps surrounding ourselves in exotic animals–despite the sixty degree temps–would jolt us back to life.
You take a picture, and even before the post-processing it’s one of your favorites. Your knowledge in the manual settings, your skills–and maybe even a bit of luck–made this work of art. You did this. You’re a badass.
But then you share it with the world, and one of the first questions asked is: “what kind of lens did you use?”
A recent article written by Steven Dempsey showed up on my Twitter feed Saturday. I was drawn to the eerie quality of his work as I read about his passion for pinhole photography, which he achieves with a DIY lens he made with a body cap.
Not one to pass up an opportunity to destroy a camera accessory for the sake of art, I immediately sent my engineer husband the wikihow directions. He’d already taken apart my 50mm and removed the rings so I can use it better during freelensing, and he needed a new project.
When I think about my childhood, I’m often consumed with images of blue skies and crisp mornings. While our parents worked, my brother and I spent our summer days at our great-grandma’s house. It was an adorable little thing with blue siding and white shutters. The backyard was wooded with oaks and mulberry trees, of which we’d pick clean, and the limbs above always seemed to be alive with birds, the cheerup cheerup of robins and cardinals in the morning and the scream of jays in the afternoon. Hummingbirds buzzed by to take sips of the nectar Grandma hung for them on the porch. And the grass below was always filled with treasures: the powdery blue shells of robins’ eggs, bird feathers, pine cones still sticky with sap, and more mulberries. My brother and I would stain our hands purple and red as we popped the ripest ones into our mouths.
And when I look back on it all, I see the color blue. Blue eggs and blue skies and blue flowers and blue birds and the blue siding of her quaint little house.
It was a cold day yesterday. Nothing like the beautiful, spring-like weather we’ve been experiencing lately. Not wanting this flu thing to relapse (again), I spent most of the afternoon indoors. I’d thrown some chicken into the slow cooker earlier because I knew I wouldn’t feel like doing anything elaborate for dinner, and while I boiled some noodles to go with it, I figured I’d get some indoor practice with the new 50mm.
I never actually planned on sharing any of these, so I didn’t mind the “character” of our seriously lived-in house. The dead rose on the kitchen sink, the wilting flowers my husband gave me for our anniversary on the dining room table.
I’ve been sick for a week. At first I thought it was the roller-coaster temperature changes, but in less than a day I became couch-ridden and I spent most of the week sneaking mom-aware naps during Studio Ghibli movies, and pouring cans of soup into a pan for lunch. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been this sick. At this point I’m positive someone sneezed on me and gave me influenza.
I’m getting the shot from now on.
On one of my more delirious mornings I had to take Howl out and I was surprised by how foggy it was. It was also pretty mild for mid-February, and more spring-like than ever. The still, muted air smelled like damp earth, and there were drops of rain lingering on branches from the night before. Despite being feverish and feeling miles away from where I actually was, I grabbed my camera, and for a little while I forgot about being sick.
This snowless winter has me burned out. It’s cold and bitter and everything is brown. I discussed in my last post how this winter is affecting me emotionally.
BUT FINALLY we got lucky and received a Saturday that reached temps nearing the 67 degree mark. After dealing with the seemingly neverending ice-biome lifestyle, it was–and we dared to say it later on during our walk–a little too warm.
So, we decided to get out of the house as soon as we could and head to the nearest hiking ground to enjoy the dewy morning and the earthy breeze. It wasn’t spring, but I pretended it was only a thaw away. I ignored the brown everything and drunk up the sunshine like a teen on a summer afternoon.
And I brought the 50mm I’d been given on my birthday, the one I had yet to be given a chance to play with.