Tag Archives: black and white

The strangest

These are photos from August 2016 that I never published anywhere because I got swept up in the rush of packing, moving, and school.

My homeboy Link and I were feeling super inspired to be creepy after watching all of Season 1 of Stranger Things. One afternoon, we were sitting in my living room and he asked, “Have you ever been to the old cemetery in Antes Fort (the village across the river from my town)?”

He started explaining it to me, how it was tucked away in the woods and filled with crumbling Revolutionary War graves. So we decided it was IMPROMPTU ADVENTURE TIME and hopped in my car with some black-and-white film to go take creepy pictures. It helped that there were cornfields and a steepled church nearby.

I forgot about these for a while, but I was telling my friend about this cemetery the other day and it reminded me that I still had them. Enjoy the strange.

1234567891011121314

Advertisements

Step outside, the summertime’s in bloom

In the middle of August, I am going to be moving to northern California for graduate school.

I feel very “right” about my decision to do this–about the area I’m going to be living in (the redwood forest!), about the field I’m going to be studying (neuroscience!), and just in general about the way I’m going to live my life going forward.

But I spent the past year absolutely working my ass off in order to make it happen. There were a lot of times when I would feel sad or frustrated or worried about the future, and wonder whether I was ever going to be able to get the things I wanted. At those times, I’d usually start working even harder–and I asked myself, “When will I ever feel that it’s okay to rest a little?”

At the beginning of the summer I was still humming on all that nervous energy. I thought I would spend the summer like I spent this past year: by myself with a bunch of textbooks.

But then I realized that this is the perfect time to rest and enjoy things. While I am, of course, doing all the preparatory stuff that I need to do before I move, I’m also savoring all the time I have and taking good care of myself in the meantime.

After all, this is going to be the last time that I’m in my Central Pennsylvania home for a long while. Although a large part of me still celebrates my departure on a regular basis (most often when I encounter the extremely conservative social and political opinions of the people around here), I am also taking time to appreciate the natural beauty of my surroundings, the familiarity of home, and the company of longtime friends.

I’ve also been indulging in art, writing, and music on a daily basis and it just FEELS SO GOOD. I am the queen of never having enough time for everything I want to do, and I often push my creative cravings to the side when they don’t have due dates or paychecks associated with them.

But I’m getting better at treating artistic expression as what it really is to me: an outlet for my feelings and a means for me to relax and play. It’s much easier to prioritize creativity when I look at it as an important component of my emotional well-being.

SO, one of the things I’ve returned to is film photography, of course.

I was only shooting black-and-white for a while, ever since the beginning of the year. I still want to keep using it regularly because I like it stylistically, but then last week I discovered like, 8 rolls of unshot color film that I’d forgotten I had.

I’ve been shooting with my Olympus OM-10, which has proved to be the most reliable and lovely film camera I’ve ever had. I’ve also been TRYING to use my Zenza Bronica medium format camera, but medium format and I just don’t seem to get along too well. I’m not familiar enough with it to troubleshoot it yet, and so that’s frustrating.

I’ve been the only one to touch any of my films, processing-wise, for the past two years. I am now very comfortable with the whole routine–spooling film with my eyes closed is second nature; I can judge approximate temperatures  just by putting my hand in the water. I used to worry every time that I was going to somehow screw up my film, but that’s only happened to me maybe once in the entire time I’ve ever processed it.

I know how to adjust timings, temperatures, and agitation/inversion cycles for each chemical in order to get the effect I want, and since I’m confident I won’t ruin my film anymore, I have been playing around with it a little. I’m going to probably start playing with it even more.

I am also going to be stretching the limits of my C-41 Tetenal chemicals and seeing what comes of that. The current batch I’m using was mixed over a year ago, and they’ve been used to develop many more rolls of film than is deemed “ideal” by the manufacturer.

I actually wasn’t sure if they would still work on the 35mm rolls I processed last week, but I added time to the developer and Blix steps to account for the degradation of the chemicals.

Usually I develop for 3:30, so I added a minute to that to develop for 4:30 (at approx. 102 degrees F). In hindsight, I shouldn’t have added as much time because the developer is so time-sensitive. The photos came out all right, but the highlights blew hot. Adding 30-45 seconds would have been better.

Following a guide I found online, I also Blix’d them for SO MUCH LONGER–15 minutes, actually. I’m glad I did though, because some of the medium format film I processed before the 35mm rolls definitely started to do some alarming things (change color, grow spots) while it was hanging to dry, and I guarantee it’s because it wasn’t fully fixed.

I have been vacillating about buying new color chemicals, but I don’t see the point in doing that since I’ll be traveling across the country so soon and don’t feel like worrying about their temperature or security while they’re packed in my car with my other stuff.

So I’m going to be doing some more experimental stuff for fun with these chemicals until I leave! Look forward to some weird stuff, I guess.

For the following photos: the black-and-white is mostly Tri-X 400, although there is one roll of Ilford HP5 mixed in there (CAN YOU SPOT THE DIFFERENCE?). The color is one roll of Ultramax 800 and one roll of Agfa Vista 400. There’s also some of the medium format in there, which is Lomography Color 100.

The time period they span is varied. Some are older that I just hadn’t developed; most are recent. One roll is double-exposed, which was something I vaguely remember doing but had completely forgotten about until I saw what came out of the roll. My scanner is terrible at detecting and cutting in the right places with the double exposures and the medium format shots, so I just embraced the weirdness of it and let some of the photos bleed together.

12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031323334353637383940414243444546474849505152535455565758596061626364656667686970717273747576

Lost and found

Reason # 18 why film is more ~magical~ than digital:

Sometimes, you take photos and never get them developed. Sometimes you forget about them for months or years.

But they’re still there! Lying in wait, chemically existing but physically invisible inside a little dark canister. And there’s something about developing old photos that has an air of archaeological discovery–when were these photos taken? What are they of?

Yes, I am waxing too romantic about it, but it truly IS fun to develop film long after you’ve forgotten what you shot with it.

Recently, I finished off a disposable camera that I started sometime last year (my best guess is around March 2013) and had it developed. A few are from this summer, but most of them are from last spring.

I also found an old roll of black-and-white Ilford HP5 that I shot over three years ago, and I finally developed it in my sink. I found a ton of photos from the big budget cut rally at LHU, plus apparently hanging out in a cemetery?

Anyway, I’ve also recently discovered several rolls of UNDEVELOPED MYSTERY FILM in a box of photo supplies that someone gave me. I want to develop them too, but I’m half-afraid that this is exactly how horror movies start.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve got now.

aug 25

img353

aug 28

img350

aug 31

aug 29

img345

img354

aug 27

aug 26

img335

aug 33

img351

aug 32

img336

img347

aug 34

img343

aug 30

img342

img338

aug 35

img344

img352

TMax 400 Test roll

As of right now, I’m currently working three jobs.

I don’t mind a bit. I love being busy, plus I’m doing everything I can to save money so I can move far, far away!

Besides that, my most recently acquired job is straight-up awesome. I lucked out and fell serendipitously into a job at a photography store, where we sell cameras, camera accessories, film, and more. We also offer services like printing, camera cleanings, and lessons.

I’m in heaven there! All this knowledge of cameras and experience with photography that I’ve accumulated over the years solely for the sake of my own interest and enjoyment is finally USEFUL and APPRECIATED!

In addition, my job there comes with some pretty unique perks.

For example: There is a massive amount of old stock in the basement that needs to be organized. Last week, I was feeling adventurous and went down there to look through some boxes.

Guess what I found? A whole box full of old films!

Portra, Ektrachrome, Tmax, and more–in both 35mm and 120mm. They’re all expired, but we know that some of our customers are film enthusiasts who might like to shoot with expired film to achieve some sort of effect. Before selling any rolls, though, we decided we should test some out.

So, my co-worker and I are the lucky girls who get to test the films out!

film

I took home these three films with me last week to try out. I had to finish up a roll of Ultramax 800 I was shooting, but after that, I loaded up the Tmax 400 to shoot with.

This was really just a simple test. I shot a little bit over the past week, but I shot the majority of the roll this past Saturday night out at my cabin.

I was surprised by how clean the images were. I truly expected a lot more fogging with expired film (all the rolls were 6+ years past the expiration date), but you wouldn’t even guess it was expired by looking at the photos!

I did get a little higher contrast than I’d prefer, but I’m not sure I can really blame the film. I processed this myself using D-76, and I was a little unsure of the developing time.

I went with 11 minutes after researching a little, and it seemed adequate, but in retrospect I probably could have done 10.5 instead.

I think the main problem may be that I agitate a little too much. I agitate every thirty seconds for five seconds, and I hear most people say they only agitate once a minute.

I sort of like a higher contrast on my images, though, so I don’t want to agitate too little. I think I just need to strike a better balance. Maybe the next roll I develop, I’ll try agitating every 45 seconds?

Anyway, here’s how my test roll turned out!

img376 2

img375

img374

img373

img372

img377

img378

img379

img380

img381

img382

img384

img387

img388

img389

img390

img391

img393

img395

img396

img397