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.
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.
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.
Goo normally wakes up around 8:30am, and then we go downstairs at around 9 for breakfast. Yesterday, however, Goo woke up at 8:00am and so we headed for the stairs at 8:30. As I was gathering my things–Kindle, phone, journal, etc.–Goo asked: “what’s that?” I entered the hall and followed her tiny little finger with my eyes. She was pointing at the wall, where the sunrise drifting through the blinds had created a pattern. Apparently, sometime between 8:30am and 9, the sun is in just the right spot to draw lines on the wall.
I said: “hey, want to take some cool pictures?”
“And then I can have cereal?”
“Yes. And then you can have cereal.”
What better time to start a photography blog than on Friday the 13th, during a full moon cycle, as an ice storm approaches outside? I’m sure I’ll be at my back window with my camera when the thundersleet arrives.
I decided to start this blog because I’ve reached something of a milestone. I’m turning thirty in a few weeks (maybe less, I’ve stopped counting) and after spending my entire twenties pursuing a traditional career as an author, I’ve finally had enough of plotting, revising, writer’s block, and empty goals. This same “epiphany” happened around three years ago when Goo was 8 months old and I closed my writing program for two years.
But I still love to write, and I love photography. I’ve always toyed with combining the two. I think this will keep me in the present and remind me of the real legacy I’m creating. Because, if I’m being honest with myself, my books are not the greatest thing I will leave behind.
Life is short. It’s gotten even shorter, it seems, since Goo was born, and I can’t spend it working tirelessly on a dream that may never arrive. But I can celebrate life with this blog, and with this blog I can also celebrate my family, and myself.
Have a good Friday! To those stuck in this storm: stay safe and warm.