Birthday Self Portrait

For years and years I have taken a self portrait on my birthday. This is the first year I have done so with film. I finally developed the roll of film this past weekend that contained said portrait. 

I like how it came out. I had a really good birthday this year and this portrait, I think, captures my happiness. It's kind of a miracle that the lens decided to focus exactly on my one eye closest to the camera. 

I used my Canon EOS Elan for this one. Film was Arista 100 and it was developed in Diafine. 


One of the things I love about my town is that it is quiet at night. I live in a small town about 45 minutes away from Portland and I love the stillness of it in the evenings. The downside of this is that there isn't much to do here in on a Saturday night. Often, my husband and I will go for walks. This past Saturday our walk took us to the local Goodwill - the only business (besides the bars) that is open until 9:00 on a Saturday night. 

I made a beeline straight to the discarded camera section. It is bin in the very back of the store filled with all kinds of sad, old, electronics. Every once in awhile I will find something interesting. There were quite a few good things Saturday but the camera that I came away with was a Canon Sureshot.

I took it out for a spin yesterday and am rather delighted with the results of this little camera. It didn't do well with close up shots (I tried a few portraits of my husband and they were blurry) but it did pretty well otherwise. You can read a great review here on Jim Grey's blog "Down The Road." 

Here is a shot I too on Hawthorne Blvd  in Portland. 

Film used was Arista 100 and it was developed in Diafine. 

"I can't remember anything, can't tell if this is true or a dream"

The snow is all melted and long gone. It's like it was all a dream. 

The snow is all melted and long gone. It's like it was all a dream. 

I am not very good at coming up with titles of things. Photos are some of those things. I think titles are so important. As I move further into this hobby I am realizing this. I am realizing the importance of storytelling. I think the title is one of the very important elements in the story telling that goes on in photography. The viewer doesn't have much else to go on, there is the title and then there is the image. It is up to the viewer to create the story in their mind. The story is completely up to them. 

So I am trying to get better at titling things. 

With that in mind, I was looking at this image I took the day after our Ice Storm (this past Monday). I kind of liked it and thought I would upload it to Flickr. But, for the life of me, I couldn't think of a title. I thought of my standard "state the obvious" (ice on branch) but i'm sick of stating the obvious. I wanted to come up with something better than that. I decided to do something else, since my brain was being uncooperative.  I would let fate title this photo. 

I turned iTunes on random and thought, "the first song that comes on, the first line of that song, that will be the title of this photo. I don't care what it is." 

So I pushed play and Metallica's One came on. I listened to the beginning musical lines and thought "wow, if I could title this photo with music this would be perfect" because have you ever sat and listened to the musical introduction to this song? It's really beautiful and sad and it seemed fitting. But then the first lines played: "I can't remember anything, can't tell if this is true or a dream." It was perfect. Absolutely perfect.


Camera: Canon EOS Elan ii
Lens: Canon FD 50mm 1:1.8
Film: Fomapan 100
ISO: 100
Dev: Diafine (home developed)
Scan: Epson V500

Let's go for a walk in the snow

Last week I found a camera in my closet that I'd completely forgotten about: A Praktika MTL3. I bought it last summer at at thrift store for $10. It came with another lens and some other extender thing that I haven't a clue what to do with. 

I hadn't heard of this camera before but I decided to buy it anyway. I brought it home and shoved it on the top shelf of my closet and forgot about it until last week. The weird thing about finding it when I did: It seemed like everyone on my Twitter feed was talking about the Praktica last week. In fact, someone posted a photo of the very same model that I had. So I decided that Fate was trying to tell me something. I loaded it up and took it with out on a snowy walk the other day. 

I really enjoyed using this camera! It is so old school but so incredibly easy to use. Very intuitive. I like the results from it too. My husband likes them too. He has decided that he wants this camera for himself. I think that's a great idea! 

Camera: Praktika MTL3
Lens: Pentacon auto 1.8/50
Film: Kodak Tri-x
ISO: 100
Dev: Diafine (home developed)
Scan: Epson V500


With apologies  to Vivian Maier #2

This is from the same roll as my last post. I had my Yashica Mat in my purse with me as I stepped into the grocery store. I passed by this game as I do everyday but this time I looked at it and I saw my reflection. I stopped and took this shot as passers-by got annoyed with me for blocking the foyer. 

I have been looking at Vivian Maier's work, as many others have, and love her reflection self portraits. I was inspired by her, as well as Jana Obscura, who did a series of self portraits with her Rolleiflex a few months ago.

Though I am not sure inspiration is really the right word here. I have been doing these since I have had a camera in my hand. I think it is a natural thing for us photographers to do because I am not the only one. I wonder why? 

Camera: Yashica Mat 124G
Film: Fuji Neopan Acros 100
ISO: 100
Dev: Diafine (home developed)
Scan: Epson V500

Produce Stand

This week I decided to take out my favorite camera, my Yashica Mat 124g. I bought this camera two years (ish) ago. It was the first nice film camera I bought - a step up from my Holga. So this camera is very special to me. When take it out it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. 

Over the past couple of years I've decided that for this camera I like using Black and White film. I also really, really wanted to try shooting portraits with it. So last September I loaded it up with film and it has been sitting on my fireplace mantle ever since. I decided that neglect needed to end so I shot the whole roll on Sunday in about an hour and then came home and developed and scanned the negatives.

I have to say, there is something really awesome about not having to wait for someone else to develop you negatives. That waiting game has taught me lots over the past couple of years but, wow. I really like the (almost) instant gratification of doing it myself. 

Here is a shot of an old building in the small town I live in. It's kind of quirky and i love it. 

Camera: Yashica Mat124G
Film: Fuji Neopan Acros 100
ISO: 100
Dev: Diafine (home developed)
Scan: Epson V500

That bridge in Newport


Yesterday was kind of a momentous day for me. I am still reeling from the happiness of it. I developed my first roll of black and white film at home! I have been procrastinating this for two years – at least. It is something that has been on my mind for a very long time. For some reason – fear- kept me from doing it. I spent lots and lots of time researching it and thinking about it and envying those who were doing it. Then last year I took a Darkroom class where I learned how to develop film as well as make darkroom prints. Since March of last year I have been going into Newspace a couple of times a month to develop film, using their developer and most of their equipment. They have a beautiful set up. I have had my own tanks and darkbag for a very long time (two years maybe?) and so I’ve been pre-loading my film in my tank at home and taking into Newspace for developing. After months and months of using their developer (D-76) I decided that I wanted to play around and try new things. So I took the plunge and bought the chemicals and equipment to develop at home.

I bought Adonal and was planning on starting with that doing stand development but while I was on a photowalk on Saturday,  a fellow film photographer sold me on Diafine. It sounded pretty fool proof and simple (like stand development) but with way shorter development time. I picked some up and mixed it the next day. I let it sit overnight and decided to go for it with the roll I’d just finished.

I read too much about it and debated whether I should or shouldn’t pre-soak. In the end I didn’t pre-soak but I ended up with some weird chemistry on some of the frames. After reading about it some more, I think I am going to try pre-soaking next time. We’ll see what happens. I can’t wait to try it again!

I am happy with what I have scanned so far, issues aside. I am loving the contrast, I think. I am not sure how easy these negatives will be to print in the darkroom though. That is the final test for me because my goal is to make my time in the darkroom efficient.

Camera: Canon EOS Elan ii
Lens: Canon FD 50mm 1:1.8
Film: Fomapan Creative 200
ISO: 200
Dev: Diafine (home developed)
Scan: Epson V500

The little creek at the park


My iphone died due to the cold so I had to guess as to the exposure. I think this was a minute? I think it is a bit underexposed.

Camera: Holga WPC
Exposure time: 1 minute
Film: Kodak Tmax 100
Pinhole: 0.3mm
Focal Length: 40mm
ISO: 100
Aperture: f135
Dev: D-76 by me
Scan: Epson V500

A foray into the world of portrait photography

I am completely fascinated by portrait photography. When I look at a portrait I often wonder what the person's story is, what are they thinking when the photo is being snapped. I have come to believe that portraits are a reflection of the photographer, in many ways. A portrait almost says more about the person taking the photo than the person themselves. Or maybe it says something about the story between the photographer and the subject. Maybe? I haven't quite worked out what I think about all of this, but you can see that portrait photography makes me think.


For the past couple of years I have been very inspired by some talented photographer friends (Josh and Brendan, I'm looking at you). It's been really fun to watch their portrait projects take shape as they both have developed their style. It has made me want to try it myself.  I am kind of shy though, so it's been hard for me to begin. It's very, very difficult for me to ask people if I can take their portrait. My experience so far has been with people asking me to take their portrait first, and not the other way around. With this last roll of film I thought I would step a little bit out of my comfort zone. Last week my husband and I visited his family in California for his mom's 70th birthday and I thought this would be a wonderful time to capture his family on film. Lucky for me, they were very happy to oblige!


As I mentioned, I am fascinated by what the person might be thinking when their picture is snapped. So when I take someone's picture I often ask them to think about something that makes them very happy. I don't ask them what they were thinking, that's between themselves and their own brain. But It's nice to see their happy expression. Sometimes I am a little too shy to ask this  because I don't know what the person will think about such a personal question.

Mr P

I think it's a little easier to ask children than adults.


I love this photo of Sophia because it was her idea!

I had a lot of fun with this. I hope I can get over my shyness and try again soon. I think I really like taking photos of kids the best. I love their expressions. I am trying to decide what my style is - I think I like getting in close and focusing in on the face and the eyes the best. I need to play more, though, to really figure it all out.

These were shot using my Canon EOS 650 on Fuji Neopan 400.

Paris in Black and White

When I visited Paris in September I decided to bring four rolls of Kodak Tri-x with me - one roll for each day. I am not sure what made me decide to bring black and white film of all things, but I am really glad I did. I knew I was going to take my darkroom class eventually and in the back of my mind I decided that I wanted to develop this film myself. So I stuck it my desk drawer until this past March. It was a delight to develop this film after having visited several months ago. It was fun to relive the memories of being there! I've also been printing many of the prints which has also been fun. The last time I was in the darkroom the other person in there was also printing something from when he visited Paris. It was really cool to compare stories.

Film used: Kokak Tri-x Camera used: Pentax P30t

Sandy River Delta

I mentioned in this post that I brought my Holga with me on our hike at the Sandy River Delta. I finally got the film developed and scanned the negatives. I am getting better at scanning medium format negatives with my film scanner. I also learned that I had the settings all wrong for black and white which made the last batch of black and white negatives look weird. I'm going to re-scan them at some point (note to self). . Anyway, I am super happy with how these turned out! Seriously. I am in love with black and white film. I don't know if I want to ever go back to digital. I just love it that much. I love that this is how it looks pretty much out of the camera. Admittedly, I adjusted contrast and maybe exposure ever so slightly, but that is it.

I brought a roll of black and white film, Kodak Tmax 400 35mm,  to the beach with me yesterday.  I noticed the differences between shooting with film vs the immediacy of digital. With film you have to let go the notion of being a control freak. It's more about taking the shot and then letting it go. You take your shot and hope for the best and then wait (sometimes weeks or months) to see what it looks like. And there is something magical about  that space of time in between taking the shot and seeing the image.  It's like waiting for Santa. Sometimes you are disappointed but sometimes you are happy beyond your wildest imagination.


Film used: Kodak Tmax 400 Camera used: Holga

Source: http://monismithphotography.files.wordpres...

On capturing moments

When I bought my Holga to the beach with me on Christmas, I bought a roll of color film and a roll of black & white film. Since it was a beautiful day I decided to shoot the color roll first. I took the black & white roll with me on our trip to Long Beach over Christmas. It is crazy how quickly 12 frames goes by. I'm spoiled by digital photography and the compulsion to take shot after shot of the same thing. Film photography is going to force me to be a bit more cognizant of my present moment and what I decide to shoot for each frame. Related to that, I had forgotten how expensive film photography is! I did not get prints made from any of my negatives but I did have them scan them onto a CD so I could have digital copies. I am saving my money for a film/negative scanner so I can do this myself. When Raf and I were looking at these he remarked that he really felt that film photography has much more depth than digital photography, and really noticed it with the black & white shots. I could totally see what he was talking about and I have to agree with him. There is something about that image being burned into film that gives it way more depth than what you get with a series of zeros and ones (digital photography).

The fact of the matter (and now I'm going to get all metaphysical) is that in film photography the light (or the energy) of a particular moment is actually being burned into the film. So, essentially, that moment is that photograph. Does that make sense? Perhaps I've been listening too much to the crazy people who talk to me at the library. But I do think it is an interesting thought. Something to ponder, anyway.

Film used: Kodak Tmax 400 Camera used: Holga