Black and White – Round 3

Lunch Break

Lunch Break

Next week, I start a third semester of black and white photography.  We use film cameras and my current film of choice is Kodak Professional 400TMax.  We develop the film in the classroom lab through what is chemical magic to me.  I’ve learned to use an enlarger, negative carrier, contrast filters, and an easel.  A year ago, I didn’t have a clue what these items were.

The first semester of this class produced high anxiety.  The worst task for me was going into a pitch black closet, extracting the film, and then rolling it on a metal spool.  As I blindly looked for the correct prongs to attach the film to, my hands began to sweat, and my head started to ache.  I’d slump down on the floor, methodically turning the spool to attach to the little square openings on the film.  After an eternity, I’d complete this task and then gently feel the film to see if it was smoothly wrapped.  Instead of the required uniform consistency, I’d feel a large wart-like protrusion immediately signifying I’d screwed up again.



Another huge challenge for me was developing a perfect print.  Most of what I learned in the first two semesters were the myriad ways you can actually improve a mediocre print: e.g., changing your f/stop and exposure; using contrast filters; adjusting the enlarger head; and selecting different developing times.  While this may sound straightforward, it isn’t.  The path to a perfect print is scattered with one quarter inch test strips, and later, full sheets of expensive Ilford Photographic Paper.

                                                                          North Beach
North Beach

You might wonder why I am taking a third semester of this class.  I’ve learned more about photography using a black and white film camera than any digital class I’ve taken.  I’ve learned patience and persistence…beautiful photos just don’t happen.  I’ve collaborated with talented photographers in my class and I’ve learned from them.  My instructor’s demand for excellence has pushed me to improve.  The number one reason I’m returning for round three…to see a print magically appear before my eyes again and again.

Man with Cane

Man with Cane



Shadow  Book

Shadow Book

The above prints are some of the framed and matted images from my black and white portfolios over the last two semesters.  I took a digital picture of each.  Just for comparison, I then shot the following digital photos which have a black and white vibe.  So much to learn, so little time.

Angel Wing

Angel Wing

Shadow Line

Shadow Line


“One Lovely Blog Award”

unknown-2Kat McDaniel of Synkroniciti generously awarded  The Third Trimester of Life the “One Lovely Blog Award.”  This recognition by Kat is significant given her background as a creative artist.  She is a classically trained opera singer, a poet, and a writer.  She founded Synkroniciti, a venue for collaborative projects between “…artists of any discipline working in any medium.”  Among other topics, she blogs about creativity, exploring culture, and what inspires her, read here.

As part of the award, I need to reveal seven things about myself:

1.  I am a rabid Motown fan.

2.  I have taken two semesters in black and white photography (we develop our own film) and will complete the advanced class this fall semester.

3.  I grew up an Army brat and lived in Salzburg, Austria and Berlin, Germany as well as numerous places in the United States.

4.  I have kept journals since I was ten years old.

5.  I have run many marathons and one ultra-marathon.

6.  I love to hike in nature for peace, inspiration, and thinking.

Early summer shot of Spring Lake hills

Early summer shot of Spring Lake hills

7.  I enjoy my family and friends, but I like being alone as well.

In the spirit of “passing it on,” I recommend the following blogs:

  1. Cat in Water (online magazine/blog filled with creative posts on many different artistic mediums)
  2. Brian Cooney Photography
  3. Karen Lawrence Photography
  4. Leanne Cole Photography
  5. At Zoom
  6. McAlisterium
  7. Wide Angle Photography
  8. Clouds 365
  9. Chase Jarvis (photographer who blogs on many creative topics)
  10. Gnostic Bent (humor)

Thanks again, Kat for your kind words about my blog.

2013 San Francisco Gay Pride Parade

This gallery contains 15 photos.

The 2013 San Francisco Gay Pride Parade is a photographer’s paradise.  I’ve done one blog post (see about this year’s parade,  I decided to do another post to reflect the diversity of the parade.  The Gay Pride Parade permits people, for one day, to dress up, reveal their true natures, and be accepted. The […]

Playing with the Canon 7D

                                       “…[A] photograph [is] not an objective view but

                                              a series of choices.”  By Mary Werner Marien

My birthday was December 31st.  My husband surprised me with a Canon 7D camera.  For years, I’ve been using the Canon Rebel 350D.  Nothing wrong with the 350D, but the 7D feels like a Ferrari to me. The shutter whispers when I take a picture. Its heft translates into strong and reliable. I’m getting to know the 7D and it’s going to be a long courtship.


Photography makes me slow down, look, take my time. Taking photos started as a way to preserve my personal history. Over the last few years, photography has become my window to the world.

The 7D is now my new playmate.  The realization that I’m not going to master this camera in a day frees me to to lose myself in the moment, to focus completely on my surroundings, and to see the different textures, shapes, and colors in the natural world.

I take multiple exposures of each shot.  I play around with some of the photos in Photoshop changing the rotation, the colors, experimenting.  There is no right or wrong.

Each picture I take reflects my decisions on subject matter, camera settings, lens choice and other preferences. The results are uniquely my own, as is each photographer’s view on the world.






A recent trip to Miami excited my creative senses of touch, sound, and sight in a distinctly different way than the colder, foggier San Francisco climate.  Under a star-filled Miami sky, public places are filled with spectacular fountains spraying colors of fuchsia, bright green and pink. While I shot a number of the usual ocean and beach shots, the night lights, unique structures, street scenes, and other random images captured me.    Poolside after a brief rain.  A  beach covered with  footprints.

The street scene is colorful and edgy.

At dusk, the

lights come  on and invite you to come and be seen.

I loved the Latin American vibe of Miami; the anything goes art and architecture.  The warm, balmy evenings and the glowing lights.  Everywhere I looked a place, a thing intrigued me and my camera clicked away.

Rainy Day in Spring Lake Park

Spring Lake Park,  Rainy Day

Spring Lake, Sonoma County

The rain has returned.  A gentle rhythm of plink, plink beats as the drops fall upon the slick, black material of my clothing.  Swirls, rivulets and half moons of rainwater flow and reform as the water traverses under and around nature’s obstacles.

Puddles of water are filled with long, narrow, pink and gray earthworms flushed from their underground homes.  Some are unmoving.  Others inch along in single-minded fashion toward dry ground.  I watch as one exceptionally long, tubular earthworm struggles next to a tiny pink, coiled form.  Feeling like a benevolent giantess, I swallow my squeamishness and pluck the momma worm and her baby from sure disaster.  I gently place them on a relatively dry part of the gray concrete path.  I continue my walk down the shiny pavement studded with tiny reflective pools.

The rain falls harder now.  I approach two Canadian geese. It is pairing off season and the muscular male is very alert and protective of its smaller partner, as she daintily pecks at the fresh, wet grass.  The male barely tolerates my presence as I marvel at the tiny, glistening raindrops that teeter on his luxurious feathers.  He moves aggressively toward me and fixes me with a tiny, angry, black eye and hisses “back off, lady.”

I cross a small bridge and watch the raindrops from the pewter sky land like small explosions into the stream.  Each drop causes circular eruptions which merge into large Saturn-like rings. The watery teardrops drip from the trees, and glide into the creek like invading airmen in tiny parachutes.

A group of wild turkeys, clothed in blue, silver, and brown feathers with jaunty red wattles, run to and fro alongside a chain link fence worriedly looking for shelter.  They appear to be oblivious to the small trees with welcoming arms just feet away from them.

The small details in my rainy day walk mirror bigger concepts: how quickly disaster can strike us and end our lives, or randomly save us; the visceral need to protect our loved ones from perceived harm; the chaotic nature of life which is maneuvered successfully by knowing how to land.  Battered by worry and fear, we run to and fro, when peace is within.

I pause and stare at the dark sky as it weeps and continue on my way.