Cee’s Black & White Challenge: Lights

Ok, So I know it’s been a (loooong) while since I’ve posted, but I thought I’d throw my hat in for Cee’s Black & White Challenge.  Unfortunately, work is keeping me busier than I’d like, but hopefully I’ll have some time off soon; I need to get out and shoot!  These are a couple of photos from a stroll I took down the Canal Walk in Richmond a while back, but fit the theme (lights) for the challenge.  I had tried a few years ago to do a photo a day blog and found that trying to force creativity only stifled it.  Enjoy!DSC_0154 DSC_0192 DSC_0194




I consider myself an artist.  As such, I feel as though many of the photographs I produce become a part of who I am as an artist and meld with, and help define my soul.  It can be very difficult for me at times when I post photos to social media and they get no likes or comments or any kind of reaction.  If you love it, tell me!  If you hate it, TELL ME!  Aaaaaggghhh, I need SOME kind of reaction!

This photo is from a wedding I shot for a friend a few weeks ago.  During the pre-wedding fun, she had mentioned that she didn’t have a photographer, and I was NOT going to let that happen!  Much to my dismay, at the rehearsal, I learned that there was actually was another person who had already been tapped to be shooting.  I was a bit heart broken – I am not a huge fan of shooting weddings (ok, that’s not entirely true, I love weddings, I hate editing for 40 hours after the event!), but had become very excited to be able to offer such an awesome person some fun, quality, personal photos of her gorgeous wedding day.  The fact that I was now competing with a GWC for the best shots, and was now (I felt) relegated to the back burner was gut wrenching.  I felt like I had been stomped on.  The day of the wedding, I tried to coordinate with this other person and tried to stay out of her way while still getting the shots that I knew were going to be great.  She must have had supersonic hearing though because every time I would click my shutter while she was occupied with something else suddenly she would appear and take the SAME SHOT I had just taken.  I don’t know that I have ever been so annoyed.  And, she thought herself oh so cleaver when she snapped a shot of me behind the outhouse (Farm wedding) sign that I had been using as stabilization for a long exposure shot.  After much cackling she clucked “wrong place at the wrong time I guess!”  Really?  You just took what you think is a hilariously funny unflattering picture of the person who you feel most threatened by.  Way to stay classy bitch.

Back to this photo though – I love it.  I’m sure not everyone will though, and that is ok.  I think it is romantic and beautiful and captures the couple very well, and to me, it’s perfect.  Please feel free to let me know what you think – goo, bad, or ugly.  This is how we grow and learn.  Thanks for the input:)

Photography Exhibit



Yesterday I had an appointment downtown.  I had planned on heading over to Carry Town afterward so that I could pick up some things from the local “all natural” market, Ellwood Thompson’s, but along the way, I ended up at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts first.  Sometimes you just gotta go where your soul leads you.  I was pleased to see that there was a traveling photography exhibit currently on display, and happily paid my $10 to go take a peak.  The exhibit, “Posing Beauty in African American Culture”, is quite lovely; the photography is timeless, and beautiful, but I had one issue… The majority of the photos were taken from 1890-1980’s, butt he majority of the prints on display were “digital print[s]”.  I know I’m all about analog right now, but I’d like to point out that there is a huge difference in a print made from a digital printer (even a photo quality printer), and a print made using the gelatin silver process.  The prints on the wall of photographs made in the 1920’s, 30’s, 40’s, etc, that were “digital prints” had no where near depth, character, and feeling as those that were silver gelatin prints.  The digital prints felt cold and flat where the others felt more warm and regal.  I don’t know why some of the older photos were printed from digital copies, it’s quite possible the original negatives, or prints may have been destroyed along the way.  Some of the raw, gritty emotions that the photographers of the time were trying to capture however, were down played, in my opinion, by the lack of (silver) grain in the images, even a damaged or roughed up print from the time, in my opinion, would have been more authentic and portrayed the art as it was envisioned by the artist.  Sometimes, as a photographer, it’s that grit, and little bit of rough look that you are actually going for, and I think the images being printed digitally did a disservice to the original works by the original artists.  While the exhibit was lovely, I feel like the addition of so many digital prints made it feel as if they had rushed to put the exhibit together.  I, and I’m sure many other people, would have gladly volunteered my time to print the images “the old fashioned” way to help to maintain the authenticity and feel of the images.  Just my $0.02 for the day.  I do recommend going to see it if you are in town, and if the addition of the digital prints won’t make you cringe like it did me;)

“Downgrading” to analog

Truck Graceyard

So, if you’ve read my “about” page, you’ve seen that I am making a push to head back to the world of analog (film) photography.  I am going to try to explain now why I’m making the switch back.

I began my venture into photograph in the 8th grade, I was 12.  My parents had divorced when I was quite young, and only saw my dad on infrequent weekends, and holidays.  My father had been an on again, off again photographer for my whole life (and most of his), and I thought this would be a good way for us to bond over something we had in common.  I caught on quick and enjoyed photography immensely.  After high school ( and 2 more years of photography classes) my first “real job” was at a portrait studio/mini lab.  Unfortunately the studio folded, but my next several jobs were also photography related.  I made a go of being an assistant manager at a retail photography chain and failed miserably… I hate people… ok, that’s not totally true, but I sure wasn’t cut out for retail at that point in my life.  Along the way, I shot weddings on occasion, and other randomness, but got rather derailed when everyone made the switch from film to digital.  I was in no way able to afford the equipment that was of the same caliber as the film equipment I already owned.  I got out of photography at that point for a while.  I had already been working as a paramedic, and focused solely on that for a few years.

It became apparent to me, that I was not able to totally distance myself from photography (helps me to maintain my sanity!, and found some college classes, and groups to join so that I could rekindle the old flame… and  take the plunge into digital photography.  I love taking classes, and always have, but digital for me has never really felt good.  To me, it’s like a beautiful sweater that’s ridiculously scratchy.  You wear if for a while and try to figure out ways to make it work, but in the end, you just give up and it gets relegated to the bottom of the drawer.  I’m just not in to digital, it just doesn’t feel right to me.  It is only recently that I have come to this realization after noticing that I kept trying to  do more and more to make my images look more like film images… (smacks forehead).  So, for now, I am throwing myself back into the analog world!  I am taking a wet plate collodian class at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.  I am totally psyched!  I can’t think of a better way to immerse yourself in analog photography than to learn how to make your own glass plate negatives!  First class was yesterday, and we went over the basics – glass cutting and prep, mixing chemicals, exposure (sort of), varnishing, etc.  While it was very informative, and had me making a very long list of things i need to buy, I can’t wait till Friday which is when we’ll actually be shooting and processing all day! :::squeee!:::  I can’t wait!  I’ll post pics as soon as I can!

Above is a photo I shot a few years ago with a Holga which is essentially a toy camera with a plastic lens that takes 120mm film.  The film was commercially developed and scanned to disc and a few adjustments were made in photoshop.

Film! Where did you go?!?


The topic today for the Daily Post is “Going Obsolete“; they want to hear about what technology has become obsolete in your lifetime that you miss the most.

While I could try to wax poetically about the joys of dos, dot matrix printers, and 5 1/4 floppy discs, I will save those for other posts. What I truly miss the most is FILM!  I REALLY MISS ANALOG PHOTOGRAPHY!  I miss the nature of film, and the texture.  I miss being able to manipulate my images with temperature and time.  I miss using my hands in the darkroom to dodge and burn and focusing on grain when making enlargements and the smell of the chemicals.  I miss the accidents and mistakes that end up being amazing photos.  I miss slide film and feeling like a bad ass when I got a whole roll of properly exposed slides.  I miss talking to photographers that had to learn the ropes like I did in that most new “photographers” can’t discuss aperture, F-stop, and how they relate; and dear lord don’t say ASA if you don’t want to be looked at like you have 3 heads!  I miss contact sheets, and loupes, and sharpies.  I miss 3200 speed film and it’s big grain, and 50 speed with it’s barely there grain.  I miss Velvia and T-Max and Portra and even sometime Ilford with you wanted to color print B&W.  I miss my big workhorse Nikon F4s and how it would do whatever I told it to do.  Sigh… Those were the days.

Believe it or not, I even miss that little bit of stress involved in waiting for your film to finish developing to make sure you actually have images on it.

January 10

I know… I’m terrible… Finally catching up, It’s been a boring few days.  I’ve been working a lot during the day (when there is light…) so, the pics for the past few days are boring… sorry, will get better:) These are a couple of pics I took with my phone while heading to my car after my ER shift:)