favorites: Non-traditional Darkroom Supplies

Someday, I’ll have millions of dollars and a beautiful custom darkroom all to myself. Until then, here are a couple of my favorite, cheaper alternatives I’ve discovered.


Dark cloth: Yeah, you could spend a chunk of money on a ~professional~ dark cloth, or you could buy a couple yards of cosplay fabric from a local fabric store and save a whole lot of money (plus feel 10000 times more magical). I snagged two yards of this amazing fabric for use with my 4x5 camera, and another 3 that I use with my darkbox. Other than being very stylish, the material is meant for making costumes so it stays fairly cool underneath and is sufficiently opaque.

Stained glass panels: Quickly after starting to build my portable darkbox, I found out how expensive safelights and/or filters can be. Since I’m currently only using the box for tintypes, I knew I could get a little more creative with my light situation. A 12” x 12” amber glass panel for $8 does the job perfectly at a fraction of the cost.


Creamer bottles: This one didn’t occur to me until recently, but I’m sold on it. We’ve suddenly become creamer users, and I can’t bear to get rid of things that may prove to be useful/reusable later, so that’s how I ended up with a middle of the night idea, and a brand new fix bottle. I don’t know how well these guys would hold up to long term storage, but they’ve been awesome for small batch sessions. The pour spout is top notch, plus the lid snaps open and closed with one hand. Cut to me at the grocery store, spending way too long analyzing the size, ergonomics, cap color and (less importantly) flavor of each creamer bottle. shrug

I’m sure that this post will only continue to get longer as I look around and realize more odd things I’ve adapted. After all, necessity is the mother of invention, right?

experiment: Camera Obscura

In the midst of all my theory and reading heavy courses this semester, I’m getting the opportunity to take a studio class. It’s been interesting to get back into the swing of making photos with stipulations (and for a grade) again. Our first assignment centered around exploring the human body, and pinhole photography.

Just in case our neighbors didn’t think we were weirdos yet, I covered our bedroom window and got to work.

lately: Moving (again)

I read something the other day about how the average person moves 11.7 times in their life. That sounds like a lot, but is pretty accurate based on my own life. Thanks to the size of Texas, I can’t even say that moving states has been the longest distance move I’ve made.

2019: Word of the Year

I was resistant at first, but the trend (is it still a trend at this point?) of choosing a word to guide your year has really grown on me.

2017 was all about commitment. Beyond the obvious part where I got married, I spent a lot of time making decisions and working toward a relatively small amount of goals. In 2018, I did the opposite. The concept of more really stuck out to me in a big way. I said “yes” way more than I ever have, tried all the new things and did A LOT. Both were awesome, but I’m feeling somewhere in the middle for 2019.

Sadly underexposed, but still a fun plate from a few days ago.

Sadly underexposed, but still a fun plate from a few days ago.

Patience sounds nice, but I don’t think it quite fits. Admittedly, all of my activities lately have been helping to cultivate the feeling - crocheting, lettering, job hunting, tintypes…

Even though it feels a little more fitting, follow through doesn’t have a great ring to it. I want to multitask less, and focus more. That even includes only reading one book at a time, which is WAY out of character for me. I may have to bust out a thesaurus, y’all.

Anyone have any good words to share, or suggestions for me?

at home: honey latte

Hello from my new, incredibly photogenic kitchen! Moving may have delayed the holiday decorating a bit, but would you just look at how cute this little festive corner is?! And don’t worry, I may be an Arkansas resident now, but the Texas holiday towels are 1000% on display.


It’s only been a few days of getting settled, but I can already tell I’ll be shooting lots of things in this kitchen. A large chunk of the photos are already of the nice lighting I walked into when I went to make coffee this morning…#sorrynotsorry

Speaking of coffee, we got a neat espresso maker/milk steamer as a wedding present, and I’ve had a good time playing around with it over the last year.

I’m definitely not a coffee expert, but I know what I like and that’s good enough, right? This simple little concoction is one of those things. I mean, how can coffee + honey + milk possibly add up to a bad thing? (It can’t).


It adds up to an especially good thing when you make it with coffee roasted by really cool people you know. I’m not sure I’ve ever purchased anything as immediately as I did when Bean & Burr posted this description:

Flavors of peach, dried apricot, root beer, and marmalade. My wife said it was like drinking a creamy cappuccino in drip coffee form. Seven ounces of Ethiopian Biftu Gudina goodness.”


And let me tell you, they did not disappoint. *major heart eyes*


Not sponsored, just a #fangirl. But, here’s a referral link if you need some Brandless goodies (like organic honey) in your life, or some delicious coffee.

event: AmaCon 2018


For the first time in AmaCon history, I didn't spend the day running around and doing 100 things. Even though being in one place the whole time was very weird, I got to talk to a ton of neat people, and had a good time field testing my portable darkroom set up. 

Not to mention my adorable assistants, and a tiny bit of stalking to make sure I had a chance to photograph Pennywise. 

The red plate was insane to try and scan, but it looks phenomenal in person. Just as creepy as I had envisioned. 

experiment: Seagull

There's nothing quite like finding a gem in a pawn shop. I spotted this Seagull one day while on the hunt for a new 35mm and was immediately fascinated by it. I'm already a sucker for a TLR, but I especially can't resist one I've never encountered before.

Lucky for me, Hutch snagged it later (for much cheaper than it should have been. Score.) and brought it home as a half birthday gift. The mechanics remind me of a large format camera, and it has a mask that allows you to shoot either 6x6 or 6x4.5 *major heart eyes*. 

In my typical fashion, it took WAY too long to get the film developed. I'm just glad to see it works, no matter how weirdly I messed up the first roll. That's what happens when you count exposures incorrectly and don't discover the mask situation until after you finish the roll. Whoops. 

lately: Year of New Things

So far, this year has truly been "The Year of Trying New Things" (like being married!). A significant portion of this post will probably sound like an ad, but it definitely isn't.

Combining ground chicken and avocado? Super gross, but super delicious.

Combining ground chicken and avocado? Super gross, but super delicious.

Cooking: We've tried a couple of new foods so far thanks to Plated: parsnips (meh), Chinese broccoli (yum), pesto chicken salad (OMG), fontina cheese (mmm).

As much as I love going to the grocery store, it's been nice not having to decide what to make AND shop AND cook. Goodbye, decision fatigue. 




Subscribing: All this trying new things has left me with a slew of referral links for things. What are you supposed to do with those? Spam your friends? Who does that?? Instead of spam, I present a list, and if anyone has ones I don't, feel free to leave yours in the comments!