Fuji Instax

Week 5 Photographers Choice - Black And White Instax

Often having constrains provides the opportunity for greater creative achievement than having limitless freedom.  The challenge this week provided no constraints.  I could do whatever I wanted.  I decided to try and provide some limits of my own.  Last Christmas I got a Fuji Instax Wide camera.  I love the big instant photos it produces and I love the vibrant colors of those prints.  Recently Fuji announced a black and white version of their film.  I got a packet of the black and white film for Christmas.  I took a couple of test shots and LOVED the tones it produces.

Test shot of Sammie eating dinner.

I went online and bought several more packages of the new film.  I knew that I was going to use this new film for this weeks challenge.  I had the opportunity Saturday afternoon to go head over to  Kubota Gardens (it's a favorite location of mine for obvious reasons). I thought today would be a really great challenge.  Can I capture the beauty of the gardens on a dreary and drizzly day on instant black and white film?

As I started shooting I realized that it was dark, really dark.  This film does best on a brightly lit sunny day.  Today was not that day.  To make sure that my subject was going to standout from the background either the subject was going to have to be light and the background bright or vice versa. Many of the photos just came out way too dark and you couldn't tell what it was a photo of.  For the ones that did work they were magical.

The thing about instant film unlike regular film, let alone digital, is that they are one time event.  Never will another photo like it be taken.  There's only one of them.  Not only are they once they are a physical thing.  You can hold them in your hand.  The lament with digital is that while we are able tot take more photos more easily they mostly end up living in our hard drives never to be printed out.  Instant photos are only physical the challenge is how to share them digitally.

I did some research on how to digitize the photos.  I found a good blog post on how to scan them using a scanner.  While I have a printer/scanner that would do a decent job I opted not to go down that path.  I wanted to show that these were physical objects in the real world.  Since I have a camera, tripod, and a diffuser I opted to use those.

My film "scanning" setup.

Admittedly there were still some reflections and uneven light with this setup. I think overall it worked out since this week I've decided to embrace the limitations of this format.

It was a fun week and a fun challenge.  Sadly there were some photos that didn't translate well to being digitized and look much better in person.  I'm okay with that though.  It's a fun format to play around with and when you can figure out what you're doing and you get lucky you can make some great photos.

Next week's theme is Vision: Alternating Rhythm : Alternate patterns of light to bring depth and rhythm to the photograph. I'll have to see what the weather report looks like next week.  Maybe I can go downtown and play around with the lights and shadows and the buildings.  We'll see.


So I'm back...

Looks like despite my best efforts in trying to avoid New Years Resolutions I've succumb to at least one, working on my photography.  I have been feeling rather stagnant and blasé about my skills and what I'd been doing for awhile now.  Don't get me wrong I can take decent photos.  I just feel like I can and should be better.  Admittedly part of that is my eternal feeling that I always to some extent hate my photography because it's just never good enough.  The larger issue is that I just haven't been focusing on it like I can and should. I then began trying to figure out what and how I should go about trying to improve my photography.  Do I take on a project, if so what kind of project? I mulled this over for the last month or so especially as I put together my annual photography book for Christmas. Each year I put together a photo book of my best photos of The Boy and have it printed at Blurb and then give a copy to each of the grandparents as well as a copy for The Wife and me.  I realized that I take a lot of the same shots over and over and need to expand my repertoire.  There's nothing wrong with having a few tricks up one's sleeve to fall back on.  Again, I was just feeling rather stagnant.

In the end I've decided to take another shot at completing a 52 week photo challenge.  As you can see in my previous post I made it all the way to the end of April.  I should have an easier time this year.  I found this one on a post on Reddit from Dogwood Photography. The challenge this year is totally scheduled out.  This will make it much easier to plan ahead for future shoots.  Plus there's a Facebook Group and a subreddit that I'll be following along in. There's enough structure this time around I should have NO problem keeping up (I hope). What I like about this challenge is that there are 4 themes vision, technical, creative, and wildcard.  You need all those areas to really be able to create great photographs.  Your vision doesn't matter if you don't have the technical skills to execute it and there's no point in having technical skills if you can't use them creatively.  

This week's theme is, as is appropriate for New Years, Look Ahead.  For several days The Boy had been wanting to go to Kubota to "use his camera with color film" to take pictures.  Kubota, for those of you who don't know, is a fantastically beautiful Japanese Garden within walking distance of our house.  It's show up in my photography time and again for very obvious reasons.  Now I couldn't be happier that The Boy both wanted to go AND he wanted to take photos.  Due to crummy weather and work we decided to go as a family on New Years.  I hadn't decided if I was going to do the photo challenge at that point.  I just always take the camera long on those types of adventures.

We had a great time exploring back trails and taking lots of photos. as you can see below.

Once I had gotten back and started editing the photos I finally decided to do the project.  I knew exactly which photo to use.  It was a bit more literal than I like however, I thought it captured the idea of looking forward well. Especially since it was through The Boy's eyes.

Looking forward through The Boy's perspective.

So, we'll see how things go from here.  I hope that I'll grow both technically and creatively with this project.  The photos won't all be great and that's okay since this is a learning exercise, at least that's what I'll tell myself.  I already have a good idea of what I want to do for the color Harmony challenge.  We'll see if it works out or not...