Sunday, October 23, 2011

fairy graffiti

Today I went for a hike that was meant to be a walk. I wouldn't say I got lost, exactly, except for not knowing where I was at several points. At all. This always happens when I go to this place. It's because they have miles and miles and miles of trails and only three types of signs. 

One of these signs directs you to Pine Hollow, the next to Meadowview, and the third to Vista Overlook. This would be sufficient if A) you ever got to any of these places and B) the signs agreed on which was which. As it was, I hiked quite a way on Meadowview, never saw a meadow, and, when I came to a crossroads, found a sign assuring me that Pine Hollow was ahead of me, behind me, and to my left. 

By that point, the only sign I wanted to see was one that read Your Car Is This Way. The thoughts uppermost in my mind were that I should've brought water and that I would die of exposure and be eaten by squirrels. 

Eventually, I met people coming the other way. We reassured each other that yes, we had each come from somewhere, and that the trail did not go on and on until it dropped off the edge of the world, or into an immense, man-eating Pine Hollow. 

Along the way, I took some pictures. 

The spiderweb has not been fiddled in Photoshop. It is genuinely rainbow colored, I suppose because of the way the light was bouncing off its strands. There was also a fabulous green spider in the middle, but I wasn't tall enough to get a good picture of it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

cyanotypes and why they're awesome

Do you want to know why cyanotypes are awesome?

1. They are blue. I like blue. But this is like...20% of their awesomeness. Most of it is derived from point 2.

2. They wash for about 60 seconds.

If you don't spend a lot of time in the dark room, you may not realize why this is so amazing, so let me explain.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

how to make orotones (i hope)

A few weeks ago, two friends and I went to the Photo Antiquities Museum. If you live in, or near, or plan to visit Pittsburgh, you should absolutely go. I thought it would be sort of meh to be honest, but somehow they have packed SHEER AMAZINGNESS into a space barely bigger than my apartment. 

Three things in particular left me feeling as if I'd been smacked in the face with a fish, but in a good way. 

1. The bakery across the street, which has the best cookies I have ever had and would be good for luring non-photographers to accompany you to the museum.

2. The glass plate stereograms, which give such a 3D effect that you'd swear you could walk right into them. More so than 3D movies. More so than anything except real life. 

3. The orotones. I went from knowing absolutely zippo about orotones to wanting to make them in about five minutes. And, once I'd thought about it, it didn't seem like it would be that hard. 

From the wikipedia entry:
An orotone photograph is created by printing a positive on a glass plate precoated with a silver gelatin emulsion. Following exposure and development, the emulsion is coated with banana oil impregnated with gold colored pigment, to yield a gold-toned image.

Which is all true, but doesn't really capture the result, which is a glittering depth that is almost-but-not-really 3D and makes you feel like you're looking into something rather than merely at it. The man giving the tour compared it to the depth you get with a glittery paint on a car, which is accurate, if less poetic than I'd like.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

how to wash your werewolf

Me: That truck says warewash.

Mom: Like silverware?

Me: I was hoping it was like...were-wash. For your werewolf. Or whatever kind of were you have.

Mom: Half price for were-mice? They can really bite though.

Me: They can't bite your hand off.

Mom: True. They should charge danger money for anything big enough to eat you.