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?