Images

Respect the light

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Today’s image was taken this past Monday while out on a fun photo outing with two other women pinhole photographers, Gretchen and Donna (do go check out their photography. It’s stellar.). We went up to Trillium Lake and had a fantastic time. I even swam in the lake. I haven’t gone swimming in a lake for at least 10 years. It was awesome. Lots of pinhole photos were shot, including this one. I took this with my Zero Image 45, a large format pinhole camera. Arista 100 4×5 sheet film was used.

I am still struggling with the wide angle on this camera, but every time I use it I warm up to it. I want to really get to know this camera. I want to become one with it and feel comfortable with it. I have almost talked myself into starting a “sheet a day” project in which I shoot one sheet of 4×5 film a day. I am pretty certain I am going to do this, it is just a matter of deciding when I want to start. I probably won’t post all of the photos I take, though. This will be for myself, so I can learn. Hopefully I will be able to shoot a few things worth posting.

Midway on life’s journey I found myself in a dark wood

20140803-085533-32133287.jpgThis was taken with a Canon EOS Elan ii and Fomapan 100 film (I think. It might have been Fomapan 400).

I am taking a Coursera class on literature and online video games and am really enjoying it. I was a literature major in college and at the time was addicted to video games. It was a fun way to let my brain relax. As I played through the various narratives I realized that video games were a form of literature and thought that this might be an interesting area of study. It never pursued it because I moved on to other things. So when I saw this class I jumped at the chance to take it.  I will blog more about it in a few weeks, after I am finished with it.

During last week’s lecture the first line of Dante’s Inferno was quoted and it made me think of this photo. The quote just felt so appropriate for me, being middle aged. This idea of facing one’s demons at this time in your “life’s journey.”  This might be the subject for yet another future blog post. :)

There are several translations of Dante’s Inferno and in my internet searching I couldn’t find one that used the exact words that I used here. I like it though, and I am keeping it. It works.

 

Blue (a cyanotype tutorial from a cyanotype newbie)

BlueI spent some time last Monday doing more cyanotypes. I made them 4×6 so I could use them as postcards for the postcard swap.

I am really enjoying this printing process. I am learning all kinds of things about printing in general, and specifically contact printing (which I am finding myself interested in).

In case anyone is interested in how this is done, here is how I made this particular print:

1. Find a photo that you think might make a good print. I am still trying to figure what kinds of photos make good cyanotype prints. I have read a few things about this but I learn best via trial and error. Her is the original shot I used. I took it last year in Vacouver B.C. at the farmer’s market on Granville Island.

Sunflowers

2. Invert your photo in your favorite image editing software. The idea is to make your photo into a large negative, as cyanotype is a contact printing process. I use Adobe Lightroom so for me to invert my image I had to adjust the tone curve (using the instructions here).  I created a develop preset for this function.

3. Make your digital negative printable. This, oddly, was the hardest part of this whole process for me at first. Then I discovered Lightroom has a printing module . It makes this part really easy.  I save my file as a PDF.

4. Print digital negative onto transparency paper. You can buy  transparency paper at office supply stores or at Amazon.

5. Mix chemistry. I use the Photographer’s Formulary liquid kit. Mix even amounts of A and B. You will not need very much of each. A small cup used for cough syrup works well to measure out your chemistry. I mix it into a small glass jar recycled from the bin. Once the chemistry is mixed it is photo sensitive so you must mix it in a darkened room. I have a safelight, so I keep that on so I can see. I don’t think the room has to be pitch black dark. I’ve done this in the bathroom with the lights off and light streaming in from under the door and everything turned out fine.

6. Apply chemistry to watercolor paper. This is the part I am still struggling with, so I am not sure I can give much instruction here.  At the moment I am using an art sponge brush and it seems to work OK. I brush it on in horizontal strokes, and then go over it again using vertical strokes. The idea is to get it on evenly and just the right amount.  After you have applied the chemistry let it dry in the dark.

7.  Place your transparency negative on the paper and put a piece of glass on top (sandwich the transparency between the paper and the glass). You want the transparency as flat as possible  on the paper.

8. Place your paper/transparency/glass sandwich in the sun. When your image turns army green it is done.

9. Rinse in running water for 5 minutes. You will watch it develop before your eyes like magic.

10. Place in a hydrogen peroxide/water bath of  for a second to bring out the deep blue color. 50 ML of hydrogen peroxide to 500 ML of water.

11. Let dry.

If I can do this anyone can! It’s fun and easy and a great way to learn about making prints. It would probably be a great thing to do with kids.

 

 

My foray into cyanotype

Produce

I am fascinated by alternative processes when it comes to photography. I love to experiment with stuff (when I can find the time for it). I am especially interested in printing techniques. I’ve been wanting to try cyanotype for quite some time. I tend to procrastinate trying new things for an inordinate amount of time but, thanks to my husband, I jumped into cyanotype faster than I normally would have. it was to my benefit that he was interested in cyanotype as well. He ordered the chemistry and the day it arrived made some prints for himself. Since then it has been something that we do together when there is (the rare) sunny day. Here is my latest effort. I still have a lot to learn but I am having fun with it. The next time I do this I want to make postcard sized prints to send out to my next swap partner.

here are some instagram shots from when we did this

Time

Time

“Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
Fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.”
– Pink Floyd. Time.

I have a large format pinhole camera that takes really, really wide angle shots. I have been struggling with it since I got it. I can’t quite figure out how to compose a shot, or even what the best kind of shot is for this camera. So I decided to burn film through this mutha so I can maybe learn something about how it works. I’ve spent a lot of quality time with this camera lately.

A few weeks ago I was in a “Dark Side Of The Moon” mood and listened to this album several times from beginning to end. This song, these lyrics, really stood out for me at that time.  As these lyrics were rattling around in my mind I came up with the idea for this photo (this is kind of rare for me: coming up with a concept for a photo before actually taking the photo. I usually just take my camera out and see what inspires me in the moment). I was curious to see what would happen if I pinholed a clock’s arms moving around in a circle. So I tried it. My original idea was to start the photo at 11:11 (I have a thing about 11:11) and I did do that, but the shot turned out over exposed. This was the second shot and it came out better exposed.

Is this the best photo I have ever taken in my life? No. But I learned some things from it. I learned that having an theme, or an idea in your mind is a good way to get inspiration. I may kick around more photos around “time” as a theme.

I also learned that for this camera you have to get in very, very, very close. This was close and it wasn’t even close enough. Also, I like the way still life looks with this camera (using 4×5 sheet film), as opposed to landscape. I think the crazy vignetting works well with still life. So. Note to self.