A fog rolled in this morning and blurred the line between the lake and the sky in such a lovely, muted way. There have been boats all day so far, coming in and out of the fog. Some I can only hear the low hum of their motors; others, the tips of their sails peek out from the fog, like this one. Some seem to emerge fully from the fog only to be enveloped again.
I ventured down to the beach this morning to try to photograph the fog with my new pinhole camera. Because of the high water levels on the Great Lakes, our beach is slim (and on rough days there is no beach to be had at all). The stairs go down the bluff from the house, and then there is a short path that is carved through the prolific dune grass. The kayaks lie to the left of the path just as it drops to the beach. I paused for a minute there, for no good reason, and that’s when I realized that something was blocking my way… a short, thick, just-barely-darker-than-sand-colored snake, with no discernible markings. I’m not afraid of snakes, but I don’t exactly feel comforted by the fact that this one was just a few feet in front of my feet, and that this one, or one like it, could just emerge from the thick grasses onto the narrow path at any time. Of course I talked to it, asking it gently to move along, and it did in its own sweet time, in no rush at all. It didn’t seem threatened at all and moved under the kayaks and then back into the grasses.
That foggy day last week warranted an entire roll of film, much of it used in my neighborhood.
church steeple in fog, Kodak Tri-X 400, Minolta SRT 102
forgotten shoes in fog, Kodak Tri-X 400, Minolta SRT 102
Fog changes everything. The familiar is unfamiliar. There’s a lack of color, a mystery about things, a mood. A little eerie, maybe, to some. All I know is I could hardly wait to get to class last night. I had three rolls of film to develop–my first foray into developing my own film.
We learned how to work in total darkness, working shoulder to shoulder, cracking open our film canisters with can openers and carefully, blindly, passing scissors to each other. As far as I know there was no bloodshed. And then the processing, this part in the light, fortunately… we poured chemicals together, agitated our film- and chemical-filled canisters, chatted in between watching our timers, fretted about possible mistakes, encouraged each other, watched as images magically appeared.
The whole process was easier than I expected, and honestly a lot less smelly than I expected. I like that my class consists of mostly people younger than me, with a few my age or older. Some who’ve never touched a camera, some with years of experience or past experience, and some who have taken the class multiple times solely for open use of the darkroom. There is learning and teaching to be had here, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of it.
We woke up to a fog yesterday that never diminished. It blanketed my riverside town and persisted even into the early hours of this morning. Today calls for more rain and fog, I guess the result of unseasonably warm January temperatures.
I don’t think I’ve touched my digital camera in more than a month now–maybe longer. While I did shoot a roll of black and white film yesterday, I wanted some images I could see right away, so my DSLR went into my bag. My friend Jane and I drove to some of our favorite local natural spots to wander, get muddy, laugh, see things through our foggy lenses.