Changes

After a long rainy season, there was a break in this gloomy month of January with a little warmth from the sun.

I’ve been M.I.A. in my photographing in the new year, due to a few life changes. Who knew menopause plus a job loss would rock my world. I’m still suffering through anxiety, depression and figuring out where I fit in in this big old world, but I continue to find holistic relief where I can. One of treatments being pinhole. This slowed down process lets me find joy again and reflect what my goals are for the future as an artist while possibly leaving a career with no growth behind me in the rear view mirror.

I want this second stage of my life to be better than the first.

5 minute exposure

I would say most people resonate emotion with art. Why is that? We go through these changes and try to make sense of these fragmented times in our lives.

Taking my pinhole camera out about for a walk on Cottage Lake, loaded with three sheets of film. I wanted to see what I could capture in this beautiful breezy moment. For me it’s cathartic.

6 minute exposure

Here is to healing days ahead with the help of a good clean diet, exercise, some film, developer and fixer.

Pinhole

Ah pinhole.

What an awesome phenomenon of the camera obscura. I must admit I have been intimidated by the process and I am not sure why that is. Maybe its the exposure timing or maybe the developing process. Either way, I’m glad I did this patient process.

I made some notes for the lighting conditions, time of day and exposure times. So the next time I experiment, I hope to get a more clear picture.

5 minute exposure film

I was over ambitious with attempting to try and do pinhole astrophotography. Although I didn’t get the results I wanted, (which I’m not even sure what that was). I set up for an 6 hour exposure and come to find out I didn’t have enough developer so I got this funky bubble art.

6 hour exposure

Overall, I am so happy with the images. I find pinhole to be of a beautiful haunting result of an art that gives a powerful feeling and longing.

 

Trial and Light

We finally had a brief sunny day here in the Pacific Northwest and low and behold, I’m hunkered in the makeshift darkroom (laundry room) developing and drying film.

In this session I used two different sheet films and two different developers.

For the sheet film, I used Rollei RPX 400 and Atomic-X 100. For the developer I used Ilford DD-X and the FF No.1 Monobath.

I admit this was a struggle as large format is not like digital and developing times are different. I am not trying to reinvent the wheel, but rather throwing myself into the fantastical process of analogue.

I study the time of day and where the light falls. I remind myself in large format film you need a well-lit environment, and I am a fearful of underexposing.

I sit back and reflect on the one photographer of the 19th century that I can’t help but relate to. Julia Margaret Cameron.  Here she was a woman of her time, paying no mind to the critics on her soft focus, scratches, thumbprints and other flaws, but her portraiture is beautiful. She was 48 years old when she received her first camera from her children and immersing herself in this new invention of photography, she was fortunate to have Sir John Hershel as her one of her many posed subjects and teacher. Of course it helped that he was a champion of her works.

I am 48 years old (proud of it too) and somewhat on my own but I’m lucky to have those few peers in my life that I can bounce questions off of.  Interesting enough, when I share with folks that I do large format film photography, I have been questioned over and over again as to why I am wasting time and money doing this alternative process in this digital world. I don’t mean to sound cynical, but I know there is value and I will continue to create and make mistakes, as long as there is breath in me.

Going back to my notes, the film I am using is very much different. Rollei RPX 400 is very thin and I think I over-fixed it or that the fixer I used isn’t compatible. It started stripping the emulsion right in front of my eyes, the cruel part of chemistry. Oh the crushing heartache!

Distroyed Negative

Off the bat, D-DX is not compatible with the Rollei RPX sheet film. I switch over to FF No. 1 Monobath. Yes!!! Success! For the Rollei RPX, I’ll have get developer and fixer that is compatible like Rollei RPD developer or Supergrain and more experimenting and creating art.

Atomic-X sheet film developed with FF No. 1 Monobath is definitely compatible. I was tempted to use the DD-X on the Atomic-X sheet film, but thought better. I’m sure someone has already attempted to due to the fact there were no developing times anywhere to be found and didn’t want to blow anymore film than I already have.

My take away?  I will try the Rollei RPX sheet film again and use the correct supergrain developer & fixer. The Atomic-X and FF No. 1 Monobath will be a staple ready to use at anytime!

Thank you for visiting. Until next time, keep photo’ing…..

Caldwell_Sisters_Film-web
Rollei RPX 400

Portraits
Atomic-X 100

 

Wet Plate Collodion

Wet Plate Collodion!

I finally did it! The alternative process I’ve wanted to learn for the longest time! I first and foremost must give thanks to artist Daniel Carrillo. What an amazing mentor and teacher!

It is a pouring down rain late Saturday night in Seattle’s Pioneer Square and I am simply beat from the week and the busy day I just had, but learning this process is so important to me.  Not wanting to drive and walk in that part of town by myself that late in the evening, I asked my husband Joel to accompany me, he’s good that way. What a long and exhilarating night!

I was super nervous and hope I wouldn’t screw things up!

I observe Dan giving me a safety overview, demonstration and the reactions of the chemicals used.

After he showed me in an effortless way of this process, he had me jump in with both feet and start practicing pouring.

I was tense and overthinking the steps, my hands were shaking as I was pouring the chemical onto the plate. Before I photographed Joel, I delicately place the coated plate into the film holder. It was tricky because I couldn’t remember what side I coated the plate with the collodion versus and the back side. After it came out of the silver nitrate tank, it was all one color. (That was the overthinking part) on the first go I ruined the plate as I put in the wrong side. Dan congratulated me! He said I was on my way! Mistakes are good! So I try again, clean both sides of the glass plate, pour the collodion, from there into the silver nitrate tank. Once the plate was coated, I place it into the film holder and off we go to the camera. We used powerful strobes! Joel and I were both blinded, but it was an awesome pop sound.

I must note, this is around 11pm in the evening, and at this state Joel and I are both exhausted from standing and walking as this process is a constant flow and we don’t know how what we look like. This is an exercise of pouring and developing the plate and not necessarily a posing and composition session.

I can’t wait to master, as I would like to offer alternative processes as an additional service for those wanting an exceptional heirloom result.