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.
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.
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?