December 28, 2011

8 Exposures on the Impossible Project Blog

If you haven't had the chance yet, be sure to check out the Impossible Project's blog and read the latest 8 Exposures interview. You'll find a rather familiar interviewee this week...

A big THANK YOU to the Impossible Project!

December 27, 2011

Queen Anne's Lace

If you live in the Los Angeles area and are looking for something to do, check out 1650 Gallery's Flower Power Exhibition... and look for my photo, Queen Anne's Lace!

Queen Anne's Lace

December 23, 2011

Sheet Music

I've been experimenting with making prints on different materials: watercolor paper, canvas, glass... and now sheet music.

For this particular print, I painted a light-sensitive liquid onto the paper and made a contact print in a darkroom. It involved a large digital negative (although the original image was taken on 35mm film), one pop of a flash, the sloshing of different chemicals in a barely-lit room, and lots of suspense. I've learned a lot by trial and error — and I love how the process makes me feel a bit like an alchemist.


December 16, 2011

Magnolia, Double

My magnolia was overdue for a new portrait!

Double exposure on Impossible Project PX600 Black Frame film.

December 15, 2011


I'm working a project involving dolls, lace, various fabrics, and a few other props. I've been using primarily 35mm film, but today I switched to my Polaroid camera and Impossible Project film. Here are the first results!

 Dentelle Noire


December 10, 2011

Dolls & Muses

I recently started working with dolls, lace, and sheet music for a project about the artist's muse. I like the idea and have continued to experiment more. Here are a few pics for now... more to come!




December 05, 2011

F-Stop Magazine: Optimism

Check out the December 2011 issue of F-Stop magazine here, and don't miss the group exhibit entitled Optimism. I'm excited and honored to have contributed!

Look for the following four photos: 

Direct links to the images in my portfolio:
Upside Up

November 16, 2011

Impossibly Roman Cyanotypes

A few months ago, I had the good fortune of visiting the Eternal City with a Polaroid camera (loaded with Impossible Project film) in tow. Rome is a city near and dear to my heart, and it was a thrill to revisit some of my favorite hidden corners, as well as the city's iconic monuments. The difference was that this time I could capture them in a whole new way, with a Polaroid camera. I enjoyed taking the original images (See Rome, Instantly), as well as the process of printing them as cyanotypes on watercolor paper.

Same Eternal City, but a whole new way of falling in love with it!

The Spanish Steps and the church of the Santissima Trinità dei Monti

 The Flavian Amphitheater, a.k.a. the Colosseum

The view from the top of the Spanish Steps

Trajan's Forum, with Palazzo Venezia, the church of Santa Maria di Loreto, and Trajan's Column in the background

 My beloved Piazza del Popolo

November 12, 2011


One of my favorite places in Rome is Piazza del Popolo. A vast open space, paved with cobblestones and bordered by an ancient city gate, three churches, numerous sculptures and fountains, and a monumental park descending from the Pincian Hill, it's part outdoor living room and part outdoor museum. And of course it's also a living, breathing Roman square, with scooters, taxis, buses, and cars zipping around its edges. 

The near-twin churches of Santa Maria in Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli hold particular charm for me... I can't seem to photograph them enough!

Cyanotype on watercolor paper, toned in coffee.
Original image taken with a Polaroid and Impossible Project PX600 film. 

October 27, 2011


Cyanotypes are known for their luminous shades of Prussian blue. But as beautiful as that shade of blue is, what if it's not the right color for a certain subject or mood? Well, cyanotypes are wonderfully versatile, and it turns out that the colors can be altered by toning the print in different liquids. Some of these are specially formulated chemicals, while others are common liquids found around the house.

Would you believe that one of these is coffee? 


After creating original blue-and-white cyanotypes, I then let them soak in a tray of fresh, warm coffee for well over an hour.  


When the prints came out of the tray, the blue had morphed into a dark gray, while the cream-colored paper had turned a lovely shade of caramel. Who knew how useful coffee would be for my photography?

October 23, 2011


 What do you get when you paint a sheet of watercolor paper with a special photosensitive liquid, then expose it to sunlight with a negative pressed over it? 

Well, it depends. 

I suppose there are any number of possible outcomes. But if you use a certain combination of chemicals, expose the paper to the sun for the correct amount of time, and wash the print in water, then, with a little luck, you'll end up with a cyanotype -- a beautiful, unique, blue-and-white print.

I've been studying and practicing this historic method of printmaking, which was invented by Sir John Herschel in 1842... and enjoying every moment.

There are different ways to tone cyanotypes to alter the blue coloring, and there are plenty of other alternative print methods to explore. But for the moment, I'm enjoying the pure Prussian blue of the cyanotype. From choosing a subject and composing the shot down to the final blue image fixed on watercolor paper, printmaking has added a whole new (and fantastically fun) aspect to my photography.

I love it.

October 20, 2011


On a recent photo walk in Williamsburg, Virginia, I was looking for some digital photography fun. I had my Nikon ready and was looking to capture anything and everything that suited my photographic whims.

But of course my photographic whims also had to include some off-the-wall methodology. I've been wanting to try selectively coating my lens (don't worry: the clear UV filter, not the lens glass itself) with Vaseline, but all I had on hand was a plain chapstick.

I applied it to part of the filter and started snapping away to see what types of effects it would create. This peacefully grazing horse was my first unwitting subject.

The chapstick had a stripey effect on some photos...

...but lent a soft glow to others.

Bruton Parish Church

To my surprise, the chapstick also added a starburst effect to the lights coming on at dusk.

Colonial Williamsburg is a beautiful place to watch daylight  fade away into night. 

And apparently it's also well-suited to chapstick-enhanced digital photography. 
Next time: Vaseline!

September 18, 2011


One of my favorite places from our trip to Italy this spring was the breathtaking medieval cathedral square of Cremona, called Piazza del Comune.

The cathedral, built in the 12th century, is a Romanesque structure that has been updated with Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque elements. To the right is the baptistery, whose origins also lie in the 12th century. The 13th and 14th-centry bell tower is called the Torrazzo, which is supposedly the origin of the name of Cremona's favorite Christmastime treat: torrone.

We spent a couple of hours in this piazza, people watching, exploring the cathedral and baptistery, and soaking in our beautiful surroundings.
Here, la vita is definitely dolce.

September 17, 2011

Streets of Rome

I've been looking back nostalgically at photos I took of the streets of the Eternal City...

San Giovanni in Laterano

Via dei Fori Imperiali

Piazza del Colosseo

Via del Corso

Piazza Venezia

August 26, 2011

Silky Waters

The calm before the storm.

Well.. okay, not directly before the storm. This was taken a couple of weeks ago in Poquoson, VA. It's an interesting area with beautiful seascapes. I'd like to go back soon, hopefully finding its quirky beauty unchanged by the hurricane.

August 20, 2011

Cross Processing

For a while now, my favorite photos have been monochrome: whether black and white, sepia, or coffee-stained, they have a je ne sais quoi about them that I can't seem to get enough of. But then I discovered cross processing, a developing technique that gives color photos a whole new appeal.

Piacenza, Italy

In the above image, I've overlapped five cross-processed photos to form a panoramic collage.

Here's how it works. Negative film is designed to be processed in C-41 chemicals, while slide film (which yields a positive instead of a negative, i.e. "normal" colors), should be processed in E-6 chemicals. The terms themselves aren't that important; what matters is which type of film is processed in what. Processing one in the type designed for the other can result in unrealistic and sometimes fantastic color shifts. In the photos of Piacenza above, for example, note the blue-green sky and the greenish tint to the buildings.

Piazza del Popolo, Rome

For this set of images, I used positive slide film that was then processed in chemicals designed for negative film. Although I was a bit disappointed with the results at first (I didn't like the harsh greenish cast that this particular film and processing combination gave me), adjusting their opacity made a world of difference. Once I rendered the photos translucent, the colors softened... and as I overlapped them one over the next, I liked them more and more. In the end, I loved the resulting tones.

The Pantheon, Rome

Cross processing seems to be proof that rules are meant to be broken. See what fun can be had when you do things all wrong?

One more: Cremona's fairy-tale-perfect cathedral.

So far, I like these results. But I have plans to try other films, as well as cross processing the other way... stay tuned!

August 03, 2011

For Chocolate L♥vers

My newest photographic obsession has a sweet tooth.
If it has chocolate in its name, it has to be good, right?

Even when we're talking about film.

It turns out that Polaroid made a Type 100 peel-apart instant film for Land Cameras that comes in a special chocolate version. It's no longer being produced, and the stock that is still available today is already a couple of years expired. But that doesn't seem to detract anything from its deep chocolate darks and caramel-colored lights... or from the thrill of taking a photo and holding a freshly developed, still damp and gooey, chocolate-toned print in your hands just 90 seconds after having pressed the shutter.

Train tracks near Lee Hall Depot

Here's how it works: After pressing the shutter, the film is pulled out of the side of the camera, an action that breaks the pockets of developing chemicals and spreads them over the photo. The photo, protected between two layers of paper and plastic, then develops for a short amount of time, 90 seconds for the chocolate film. Then the two layers of paper are pulled apart in a smooth motion, with bated breath and much anticipation. With a little luck, a developed photo will be revealed inside.

I took my Polaroid Land Camera loaded with chocolate film to the the tiny lighthouse at Buckroe Beach...

...and to the tall, dignified, and still functioning light at Fort Story: New Cape Henry Light.

Birds at Buckroe Beach.

I was hoping one of them would model for me from up close, and I had meant to come up behind them in hopes of having them move closer to the water. But they were so quiet and serious, solemnly facing in the same direction, that I didn't have the heart to disturb them and instead photographed them just as they were.

With a little luck, the film can be used indoors... although the results will be dark. Here, Tibetan monks are working on a sand mandala during the American Theater's Tibet Week.

Who says chocolate is only for dessert?

July 26, 2011

Napa Valley

The day had finally come. Katie and I packed our bags, hopped on different planes from different origins and landed in San Francisco within minutes of each other. Our Napa Valley adventure was on.

After a fun whirlwind afternoon spent in San Francisco and a relaxing evening with Katie's relatives, we headed north to Napa Valley. The drive up through the wine country was a treat in itself.

We found this fountain at Clos Pegase winery, which boasts art displays, fountains, and imposing temple architecture in addition to its wine.

We found beautiful views of rolling landscapes in Napa and Sonoma Valleys, as well as in the neighboring Wooden Valley.

While Katie attended a conference for work, I continued to explore and photograph to my heart's content. Queen Anne's Lace, which was in bloom everywhere, turned out to be one of my favorite photographic subjects.

And grapes, of course!

On an overcast morning, I found more flowers to photograph in a local nature reserve.

Nearby, more vineyards caught our eye. Just driving through the area was relaxing... we were in the midst of postcard-perfect scenery.

We enjoyed visiting Beringer Winery. Their large estate, historic house, beautiful gardens, and fountains made for the perfect afternoon rest stop.

But the best part was the trip itself: enjoying a travel adventure with a treasured long-time friend (and world's best roomie). Thank you, Katie!