November on film

The obsession continues.

Last month, I felt like I was on a mission to capture the last bits of color before the bleak winter set in. It’s not like there are never any blue skies in the midwest in the winter–of course there are lovely sunny days. And there is color. There are warm sandy-colored grasses like phragmites and bullrush and other marsh-dwelling plants that dry into warm shades. There is still green grass here and moss, too. But the colors are much less riotous. Everything seems subdued. And when blanketed in snow, all is white and shades of gray. Still beautiful, but it tends to wear on a girl who craves color and contrast and is stuck in cement-bound suburbs for the winter. But maybe I need to look at winter as a creative lesson? I guess we’ll see in the coming months.


I shot some film in November. Color (Kodak GC 400 and my current favorite, Ektar 100), black and white (Kodak Tri-X, which I am finding I really like a lot), and my last roll of Lomography lomochrome purple (which I still think is some kind of ridiculous, happiness-inducing, magical magic trick). I managed not to buy any new cameras although I’ll admit to scouring eBay listings and dreaming of my next purchase (I may have bought a couple of old lenses but they were super cheap). I used the two Minolta’s (SRT 102 and X-700), the Pentax K1000, and the Olympus EE3 in November. I’m not bored with any of these yet and still learning some of their differences and quirks. It’s too difficult and probably unnecessary to zero in on just one, so I’m not going to.

Stay tuned to one of my other favorite places right now, EMULSIVE, which in January April will feature an interview with… me. Yes, me! A relative newbie to film! I love the community that EMULSIVE has built, with an exchange of creativity and a wealth of information for people like me who have fallen head over heels and all punch-drunk in love with this craft. And, maybe most importantly, offers up for your viewing pleasure a ton of gorgeous (film) photos from some incredibly talented photographers.

So, while I got this film processed weeks ago, I wanted to take my time so that I could choose a few images that wouldn’t be anywhere else (as in here) before they show up on EMULSIVE. My two very favorites from November will be featured there first.

I’m also still trying to figure out how I want to display photos here. I’ve used headers and grouped images by camera (I think I did this for October’s shots). Do I caption each with the camera and type of film? I know when I look at other people’s photos, this is something I like to know. So I’ll try that this time. Do you like to know what kind of film and camera, or is that info overkill or detracting?


Technically these are not November photos… but Margi came to visit in very late October and this roll got finished in November, so there you go. Not so much a film fan but a Margi (Chicago dancer, teacher, choreographer) fan? The digital images from her visit are here.

Margi on the bridge, Olympus Pen EE3, Lomography Lomochrome Purple
Margi in forest, Olympus Pen EE3, Lomography Lomochrome Purple

And, my maiden attempt at a double exposure. Which didn’t turn out exactly how I invisioned but that’s how things go. I attempted to keep the camera still (via tripod), so the trees and bird would remain still, but there would be two Margi’s. Instead it looks a little like a psychedelic trip. See? Learning process.

Margi with the forest bird, Minolta SRT 102, Kodak GC 400

Late fall

Mostly images from the west side of Michigan, although I finished two rolls in a local metro Detroit park. A few images here are the ends of those rolls.

Leaf and branches double exposure, Minolta SRT 102, Kodak GC 400
Sunset, Pentax K1000, Ektar 100
Dusk on Lake Michigan, two ways, Olympus Pen EE3, Lomography Lomochrome Purple


We were lucky enough to again spend our Thanksgiving at the cottage with the people we love best. Of course I ditched them all to be outside as much as possible, but otherwise we had plenty of togetherness and merry-making.

Farmhouse in ruin, Minolta X-700, Kodak Tri-X 400


Other stuff.

Window gazing, Minolta X-700, Kodak Tri-X 400

I’d been a little hesitant to shoot black and white film, but I think I’m over that now. Out of November’s four rolls, I think I most love the images I took using Kodak Tri-X. I still have plenty of other films to try out, so I’m not calling any favorites just yet…

Being still


I haven’t ventured far from the cottage this week. Sometimes it’s not so bad to be still and mostly quiet, to sit in one’s place, face the things that need doing or need thinking about.

It has its rewards, like noticing the ever-changing shades of the water from moment to moment, the shifting shapes of the clouds, the call of the crow that frequents the tallest pine near the house, the warning pain above my left eye that foreshadows a pressure shift or coming storm.

I drove out the other evening, and when I came back to the house in darkness I surprised two young deer in the dunegrass just next to the house. My headlights made them visible for only a moment before they moved out of view, but later as I stepped onto the deck to commune with the stars I heard the sound of their breathing and rustling in the grass, and felt reassured by their nearness.

Fungi everywhere

Or, it’s all about the fungi.

At least it is in the woods right now. Okay, wait. It’s also all about the spiders and frogs, too, because I walked through webs aplenty (and tried not to think about hitchhikers) and every time I stepped foot near the tiny lake in the woods, the frogs practically knocked each other out trying to get out of my way.

I have that effect on frogs, I guess.

“I’m just going to stay really still and pretend she’s not there. She can’t see me, right? Right???” –frog

So, getting back to the fungi.

Once you notice a deep red mushroom on the forest floor, or a bright white one illuminated just right in a little patch of sun that sneaks through the trees, you just see them everywhere.

double whammy orange

If I was a really good naturalist, or even a good blogger, I’d have dug up the names of these different kinds of mushrooms for you. But I’m just a girl with a camera in the Michigan woods, sweating in the late summer humidity and heat, talking out loud to myself, dropping cameras*, tripping over branches and getting bit by mosquitoes and deer flies. Geez, isn’t that enough?

Actually, it occurred to me just this evening that I have a good excuse for not knowing the mushroom varieties. My mother taught me all about the growth that you find in the Michigan woods earlier in the summer. I’m not sure she cared so much about the mushrooms, but in any case by this time in the year we’d be back in the city getting ready for school, our time at the cottage over until the next year. So there’s that.

perfectly illuminated

And, I always get giddy when I see these:

Indian pipe! Also called ghost flower, ghost plant, or (barf) corpse plant. It’s sort of a fungus but it’s not. It has no chlorophyll, hence no green, but it does turn pink once it’s fertilized.

Anyway, if it’s late summer where you are, and you have a woods nearby, I implore you: get some bug repellent (or don’t, and wear some long sleeves and pants, regardless of the heat), go into the woods, and see what you can find. It’s kind of spectacular.


*I should have some film developed from this venture in a few weeks. I picked up a Minolta X700 and put a roll of Fuji 800 speed film I had hanging around in it, seemed a perfect speed to test in the low light of the woods. I dropped this camera in the woods, actually. And, I accidentally popped the back open while rewinding the film (it stuck, it was near the front of the roll, hopefully minimal damage). Sigh. And I also brought the Olympus Pen with some black and white film in it; but I’m never sure about metering and focusing with this bugger. So, surprises await.