Enchanted Forest with P30

Sometime last June my husband and I watched the latest episode of the show Ghost Adventures (please don't judge me - it's one of my favorite guilty pleasures). It just so happened that the crew was visiting a site an hour south of us, The Enchanted Forest. So we decided to go visit the next day. And I brought cameras. Of course I brought my pinhole camera. But today I wanted to share the photos I took with my Olympus OM1 and Ferrania P30.

Little Miss Muffet

I love this film for the subject matter. The place is every bit as creepy as Ghost Adventures made it look on television, and I wanted to capture that on film.

Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater

The Stranger

This is my second stranger-on-the-street portrait. I am kind of proud of myself for finding the courage to take this. In June my husband and I were staying in Newport, Oregon for the weekend. We were wandering along to docks taking photos, and this woman wandered up behind us and started chatting with us about photography. I was using my pinhole camera and she was curious I did the whole nerdy spiel. It occured to me to ask her if I could take her portrait and she said yes! So I grabbed the camera my husband was using  (Yashica FX-3) and struggled to take the shot (because I didn't know how to use the camera). Thus, resulting in the annoyed look on her face. 

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 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 a 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.

Portraits at a wedding

My mom got remarried last weekend! It was a joyuous event. I am so happy for her. She asked me to take photos at her wedding. I brought both a film camera: my Canon EOS Elan II, and my digital camera: Pentax K7. I used Arista 100 (developed in Diafine) for the film shots. My plan was to get some portraits on film rather than snapshots of the wedding. My favorites are featured below. 

I am continually fascinated by portrait photography. I think my favorite thing to do is to get in really close and focus on the expression of the subject. To me, that is the most interesting thing about portrait photography. I really feel like a portrait is, basically, the story between the subject and the photographer and that story is told in the face of the subject.

A few days after I developed these I found myself searching Google for the best portrait lenses for Canon. This could get dangerous fast! 

Grief

I was visiting my family last weekend in Spokane, WA and had the opportunity and time to go through some of my things from years and years (and years) ago. One of the things I found was this photo. Way back in the days before I decided to become a Librarian, my profession of choice was photographer. I took several classes - one of them being a darkroom class. This was a photo that I took for that class (1992). It was shot with my beloved Pentax P30t (which I still have and use!) I wish I could remember which film I used and which paper I used. I do remember buying the paper because I wanted lots of grain. But now that I am back into film photography and print making I don't understand what kind of paper that would be. I have so much more to re-learn!

This is a photo of my grandmother on the day of my grandfather's funeral. They were married for 50 years and were in love the entire time they were married. She died a year after he did. I feel a little bad for taking this photo. I didn't ask her first, I just shot it. I captured a moment and when I look at it makes my heart hurt because I can see the pain of losing her husband in her eyes. Was it right for me to do this? I don't know. 

Happiness

Happiness

While we were in Amsterdam, we decided to spend King's Day in Rotterdam where Inge took us on a tour of her home town. The first stop was the  Urban Forest/Cube Houses. I was really excited to see these in person. The museum was open so we got to go inside of one to see what it would be like to live in one of these unique houses. I am torn as to whether or not I would want to live in one. I love it, but kind of think it would be impractical. However, if I did have the opportunity to live in one of these houses I think I would jump at the chance, no question. 

I shot this photo specifically because of the "happiness" poster in the window. I couldn't believe it when I saw it hanging there. I have wanted one of these posters for a long time. They are drawn by Gavin Aung, creator of Zen Pencils. I am a big fan of his work. He draws cartoons of inspirational quotes. The "Happiness" poster is a drawing of and a quote from Buddha:

"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared."

 

And there is not much more to say about that. 

This was taken with my Canon Elan ii and Arista 100. Developed in Diafine. 

The lesson of the group shot

Yesterday I spent the entire day meditating with this very wonderful group of people. We all decided that we wanted a photo at the end of the day to mark this occasion: it was the first real retreat of our little local sangha. Sometime in the middle of the day I remembered that I brought my film camera loaded with black and white film. I was wanting to use up the roll on my walk to the retreat so I could have something to develop. I was delighted that I would be able to capture this moment on film!

When we gathered together for the shot I decided to take a photo with my iPhone first.  Here is the shot that I took: 

In the iPhone photo everyone is smiling and happy and it truly depicts the way we were all feeling after a day of meditation together. After I took this photo I took two more with my film camera. When I developed the photos from my film camera and scanned them the only shot that was useable was the one at the top of this post. It's not a bad photo but the faces are more stoic and not as smiley. 

I thought about what I might have done as the photographer to make the photos different and I remembered that for the iPhone photo I made a joke. I told them to "say whiskey." Everyone laughed because for the situation it was kind of out of context and maybe a little irreverent and our group laughs at irreverence.  For the film photos they had been standing  there for a few more moments. The joke was over and everyone was ready to move on.

These are some things to keep in mind the next time I take a group shot. Maybe the first photo is the best? And maybe I should have a few more jokes up my sleeve for the second and third photos...