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.
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?
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.
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.