If you’ve followed my Instagram posts these blue prints should look familiar. I started making cyanotypes using this old-fashioned alternative process photography printmaking technique last summer. It brings the magic of watching a darkroom print develop to the fresh air and sunshine of being outdoors and making art!
To make a print, the cyanotype chemicals are brushed onto a surface, watercolor paper in this case, and let air dry in the dark. To expose prints, a negative image or object is placed over the paper. After the chemistry has been exposed a while and reaches a shade of green-gray, the paper is washed in water. Where the paper is exposed to sunlight UV the chemistry oxidizes and remains on the paper, where the UV is weaker or blocked the chemistry is washed away.
Chemistry remaining turns from green-gray to blue when washed in plain old water. After a rinse, the print is treated with household hydrogen peroxide and turns the deep blue seen in this image.
It’s a fantastically simple, easy and enjoyable alternative process and analog printmaking technique.
Work in progress: Pampas grasses making sun print cyanotype photograms
My least favorite frame from an afternoon turned to a memorable moment showing a curious family what on earth I was taking a photo of at the park.
Tip 1: Start with what you’ve got.
My “serious” cameras were away in my bedroom when I was making Saturday morning breakfast and saw the sunrise streaming through the curtains.
Outdated functioning 2011 refurbished smartphone camera was nearby and caught it before the lighting changed. Years before smartphones crashed the photo-making party it was up to me to throw camera gear in a bag and remember to take it with me if I expected to make use of creative moments. Nowadays… you’ve got it in your pocket.
The best camera is the one you’ve got with you when inspiration strikes. Post a #NoFilter or edit to your heart’s content with apps of your choice.
Tip 2: Start where you are
These images are all from around the house and yard. Some while making meals, most during busy weekdays full of kids doing homework, getting ready for activities, washing up, making other meals, and in constant motion. No exotic locations, just sights that caught my eye on site and were snapped before they were gone.
Practice seeing details and waiting for images to line up right where you are. These reflexes are key to telling wedding day stories full of details and fleeting moments, and some of my favorite photos of my kids growing up are the ones taken on such “ordinary” days mentioned above.
Tip 3: Simplify
Step closer. Look for details. Cut out clutter in the background.
Don’t like what you see in the frame? Move your feet. Fill the shot with your subject.
Turning these snaps of afternoon lighting into high contrast black and white images is simple with one of my favorite apps – VSCOcam. Presets and fine tune adjustments in VSCOcam and Instagram get the look I want from the shot on the screen.
Bonus: Take it or regret a missed opportunity
With plentiful digital camera & smartphone cloud storage this is a no-brainer. No excuse for passing up a shot when you have a camera and abundant means to store the image.
Daylight peeking over the rooftop warmed and melted the snow in the image below. This image would further disappear the longer I waited to capture it. I took my own advice and doubled back to take this photo.
Got your camera out and can’t get the shot you want? Wonder what those buttons and menus on your camera do? Tired of reading screens and manuals and just want to go shoot? Book a one-on-one tutorial session with me on topics you choose, Q&A, and demonstrations.
It’s real-world use for all that technology packed in your camera, explained to help you get the photos you’re after.
PS – If you’re in the Daylight Savings regions and set your clocks ahead this weekend, remember to adjust your digital camera’s clock too!
On a quiet Monday evening several springs back I meandered Saugatuck, Michigan with a camera and tripod. Monday was my weekend, this quiet town was somewhere new. The moon was astounding that night and the piers were a quiet spot for a pause along the Kalamazoo River.
Not all the Previously Unpublished images I’ve set aside are on film.
Not all who wander are lost.
Stay wandering. Take a camera along. eB
Prints and gift items from this image available here.
On a sunny April Saturday 10 years ago today I joined Rachelle & Josh for their springtime wedding celebration at the Morris Estate Chapel in Niles, Michigan. Colorful tulips were in bloom outside the former Centre Meeting House, now a country chapel where the newlyweds were married. As they celebrate their anniversary today, here are some of my favorites from their wedding day story. Enjoy! Congrats, newlyweds!
Previously Unpublished image from a wandering at Weko Beach, Bridgman, Michigan, spring 2006. Hoping for a dramatic sunset I arrived for a calm, overcast dusk and low key images along the boardwalk.
Specs: Trusty Nikon D70, Program exposure mode decided on 1/30th second exposure at f/7.1, my how my shooting experience has changed since learning to shoot in manual mode. Filtered with VSCOcam & Instagram.
Earlier this week I posted on my social media feeds a link to something new to me – Flash Weddings. I’m a fan of nontraditional, offbeat wedding day celebrations that incorporate elements of the newlyweds’ interests, back story, and dreams into the day’s festivities. This wedding was the first such “offbeat” ceremony I photographed for a couple who brought together handmade fashion and floral creations, South African wedding traditions, and a safari exhibit at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. It was during my first full year of digital photography in 2005 – years before I had kids of my own to take to the zoo to see -and sometimes behave like- wild animals. Without further rambling, allow me to present a selection of my favorites from this South African safari themed wedding celebration for this Throwback Thursday. Enjoy! -eB
BONUS: Mutual Weirdness (or outtakes)
While I’d love to gloss on and on in poetic ways about the love filling the air like seagulls fluttering with eager expectation above a parking lot full of shiny cars… bad example… Jami & Nick have a mutual weirdness I can appreciate, as well as photograph. This is a significant part of their story, and these are the images to prove it. Congrats, love birds!