What Happens if You Develop Colour Film as Black and White?

Hello there,

I just came back from my holidays to the land of ice and fire (yes, again), yes, I know. In addition to shooting my traditional long exposures with the beloved Fujifilm XT-2, I brought a film camera with me, and shot a bunch of images on film. Just because I love how the memories look on film, and it is always fun to shoot with my friendly snappy Pentax.

Meanwhite, my husband got inspired by my film experiments and got himself a second-hand Olympus M-10. He seems to be particularly enjoying shooting in black and white, which we then carefully (or not so) develop at home. So, when we got to Iceland, he still had half a roll of Kodak TriX400 black and white film left in his camera. Snapping left and right, it didn’t take him long to finish it on his first day there. As we returned home, we decided to develop this roll to see some photos from our holidays to feed our holiday blues.

So we did the whole shabang of opening the canister of the film in the black bag, rolling it on a spool, putting it in the development tank and pouring a crapload of chemicals on it, washing it with water, unrolling and hanging it in the bathroom only to realize… hey, the emulsion colour is supposed to be gray, not orange… and hey, these are not the pictures that my husband took.

Turn out that I accidentally took the roll of Kodak Portra 160 from the shelf instead of Kodak Trix400… and now my beautifully (supposedly) coloured film turned into a black and white one, and oh, joy, we have to start from scratch, because the actual black and white roll was still undeveloped.

I didn’t think that you can actually develop colour film in the same chemicals as black and white, but I must say that the pictures turned out beautiful. Better than I ever had on any actual black and white films.

But I let you be my judge. Shot on PentaxK1000 with the expectations to be Kodak Portra 160… but well, better black and white than no photos at all.

Exploring West Fjords.
Fascinated by the Super Powerful Waves.
Always Love a Good Rearview Mirror Reflection.
What is Iceland without Ice?
Tried to Do a Bit of Long Exposure (You Can See A Flying By Seagull on the Cliffs).

Thanks for having a look and feel free to ask any questions, if something crosses your mind.


Are You Going on Adventure or Ticking off the Checklist?

Hello friend,

I was wondering what kind of travel photographer are you? Are you visiting a country with a checklist of places to photograph or are you going with the flow and shooting what happens to appear in front of your lens?

Patrick and Alexandra discussing the importance of cracks for composition.

I suppose there is no right or wrong answer, but I noticed that there are two trends:

1. If you go and photograph places that are famous and well-known, you have to fight for your right to place your fat ass tripod to be able to take that shot because apparently you are not the most ingenuous person in the world, and a the check shot is on the list of many people. But if you get it right and in the interesting light/way/composition, you will definitely be rewarded with social media love.

2. If you go into the wild, you might as well find something absolutely amazing, or be left with nothing, but at least you won’t be frustrated with the fact that there were 459 people from the Eastern Parts of the Eurasian Continent with multiple selfie sticks trying to get the shot for themselves. If you are travelling more for the peace of mind, then maybe you should stay away from the well-flattened down by multiple hiking boots paths of your travel destination.

So in my case, this was a completely random stop in a completely unknown to me place (and those who have been to Iceland will know that there are many places that look like that), but somehow it was one of the most memorable and cool spots we did in our trip. Just the texture of that ice is amazing.

Nature created ice chips. Fujifilm XT2 and Fujinon 10-24.

But as the weather wasn’t amazing, and the place was random, these pictures don’t stand out from the total never-ending flow of “northern lights”, “fiery sunrises in glacier lagoons” and “massive super-silky waterfalls” in Iceland and the goal for likes collected in treasure hunt wasn’t completed.

Fujifilm X100T.

However, these hold a special place in my heart. This is Iceland, beautiful and special from any angle you look at it.

Have a great Easter Holidays, and stay safe!

Much love,

Sometimes it’s Black and White.

Hey friend,

I always shoot my landscapes in colour, and enhance the color, and bring out the details… but I though what if I try to turn them into black and white… would it work? It kinda leaves the bare essense of the image and no bullshit around.

Look at this one, how the opening in the sky looks like eyes, and the glacier and the mountain look like a nose and the snow is somehow of a beard leading to the smile of the lake… I’m sure the colour version would distract from that perseption.


Waterfalls actually work nicely in monochrome too.


I’m just experimenting and trying to teach myself something new… not to rely on colors, but try to build visually strong image like in the old-school times when most of the images were black and white.

And somehow I have a feeling that if the image doesn’t work in black and white, then it is not so great in colour either.

Just something different, and some photos reflecting my current state of mind.

Take care of yourselves,


Jokulsarlon Black Sand Beach or How I got Kissed by Atlantic Ocean.

So one of those must visit places in Iceland is this magnificent Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon beach with black sand and gigantic pieces of ice just lying around.

Although the first time we arrived there, there were no pieces of ice and it was raining like it’s the end of the world. But I saw some cute seals, that I quite liked, but nobody else wanted to take pictures of seals. It was so good to be wearing my goretex jacket and not be getting wet under the rain… how did I live without this thing in Russia?

The second time went around Jokulsarlon it was a beautiful sunny day, and there were plenty of pieces of ice. We had a great lunch full of arctic char (literally), and some fun bathroom stories. Denny put on his fancy waterproof boots, and we were all cheerful and happy to be there. But you don’t joke with the sea in Iceland, it can lure you and trick you into doing stupid things… and then it strips you down and laughs at you. So we were all mesmerised by the ice, roaming around, looking for the perfect shot, that we forgot to keep the distance… and as Kris told me not to leave my backpack on the ground in case I need to run from the wave, I thought he has a point, but I forgot to run. And as I looked at that big junk of ice in front of me, holding my tripod in place, I got swallowed by the sea, and hit by that very piece of ice I was trying to take picture of._MG_5744-Edit.jpg

And then yeah, you were half-body immersed in the sea, and yes, you have waterproof pants, and jacket, but no matter what – your shoes are full of water, and whatever you have underneath those pants is full of water. Hopefully your camera is safe, but full of sand, and everything is going to be full of this black sand for days from now on… and outside it is still around 2 degrees (40 F), and we are here until sunset.

But you go to the bathroom and try to dry yourself, and then you realize nothing is going to help you, so you just roam back with your shoes making that sounds… if you grew up in Russia, you know, because every mid-season you have your shoes full of water. That nasty feeling…

And then you see all your friends in the same state really, because everyone but one got hit by the same wave, or the next one. Patrick left his shoes in the hotel, gave up on the idea of drying them. But I made it till the end of the day, and maybe my mind wasn’t sharply concentrated on taking photos, but I had fun… the sunset wasn’t spectacular, but it was just nice to be there. It was a special moment, and I love this place so much. _MG_5916-Edit-2.jpg

Even if you don’t take pictures, watching these pieces of ice slowly drifting around is so relaxing. I wish we were there when auroras were dancing in the sky.

I was surprised I didn’t catch cold, but to make sure I took a couple of shots that night at the hotel. It was the third and the last night we stayed there, and the wifi was so bad in the room, you had to go hang out in the common corridor to catch some signal. Very conveniently Kris was there with his bottle of scotch. His catch phrase was that you can deal with anything, if you add “with scotch” at the end of the phrase. Like oh, there is a girl in my bed “with scotch”. God bless.

More arctic char, and I believe we were brave enough for fermented shark that night as well…

The next morning was a beautiful sunny morning with a stunning sunrise, that we missed._MG_6076-Edit.jpg

We ran out in our pj’s with Emily trying to take pictures of whatever we can. Those heaps of hay look like camels sleeping at sunrise.

After breakfast we went back to the Glacier Lagoon again, and the weather was absolutely beautiful. It was even so warm in the sun that you could suntan.


And we roamed around the big pieces of ice being wary of the waves, and I screwed up some good otherwise photos because it is not a good idea to have polarisers when shooting into the sun. Nobody got wet this time.

We laughed, ran away from the coming water. Pat took this magnificent picture of me surrounded by 1000 year old ice._MG_6569-Edit-Edit-Edit.jpg

Didn’t want to leave… but couldn’t stay there forever as well.

Here is a picture of Pat as well trying to catch a piece of ice for another fantastic shot of his. Yeah, I know, his backpack is bigger than him, but size doesn’t matter, right, girls?


Have a great weekend!

Love you all,


I Need a New Tripod… again.

Before I went to Iceland and got heavily critiqued on my tripod, I had no idea that it was bad. It always worked for me, and I managed to get the shots I needed for 4 years of my photography life just fine. But no, then all these fancy Americans with their fancy tripods surrounded me and started laughing at poor Benro for being flimsy and so on and so forth… the damage was done.

And apparently all the others here are not flimsy.72340_10153651161888731_5796111349164361986_n.jpg

So I got home, I thought about it, I spoke to people and I got a very handsome looking tripod made by 3leggedthing called Steve. It looked sturdy, it felt big and powerful… it was shiny, colourful, and the headplate holding screw broke in 1 month. It’s okay, I thought to myself, let me reach out to them and they might solve my issue. And they did, they shipped me a new head within a week. It was less fancy than the original one, but fine, it worked. For another couple of months… until I lost a screw from the leg somewhere on my way around Dubai. I got so frustrated with it, I just shoved it to my cupboard and went back to the flimsy one.

I also had a piece of tripod at work by Vanguard. It was quite heavy and not particularly useful, but it had the central column that you can use parallel to the ground. Useful for food photos, and macro photos sometimes… I do a lot of social media shoots, so the bird eye view is the shit right now, but if you do it for 3 hours you’ll feel the tension in your back… believe me.

Anyway, not so long I enjoyed the freedom of this tripod because the central column holding mechanism just shattered into plastic pieces all over the place. I didn’t give up when it happened and tried to superglue it back to where it was… but you know, you can’t fix something that was not well thought through.

So now I am back to the flimsy Benro, and I am thinking where to invest my money again… sadly we don’t have a good choice of tripods in Dubai shops, but I think I will have to get a 055 ManfrottoXPRO3 or 4. And as much as I am not such a big fan of Manfrotto and I remember what happened to F-Stoppers in Iceland with this tripod, I don’t think I have much of a choice.

Peace and love everyone!


Mesmerized by the Ice in Jokulsarlon.


One day when you’re going to visit this beautiful place, just don’t be tricked by the slow peaceful way these ice cubes move, they can totally bring you down and let you feel how really icy Iceland can be… but I will tell you the full story another time. For now just enjoy the soft palette of the rolling in sunset.

1/200 sec at F 7.1, 24mm with Canon 24-70 2.8 L USM taken with Canon EOS 6D.

Check the other Icelandic adventures here:

Falling Down The Golden Waterfall – Gullfoss.

What is Down there in the Ice Cave?

Making Friends with Dogs in West Iceland.

Getting Lost in West Iceland – Kirkjufell Stories.

What do Auroras Make You Think of?

Chasing Walter Mitty in West Iceland.

Falling Down The Golden Waterfall – Gullfoss.

Happy Monday, folks. Or whatever day of the week you are reading this.

We are burning in our oven in Dubai, temperatures climbing higher and higher. Well, honestly I myself don’t suffer so much, just almost never go out. Air-conditioned reality. But when you have to go out, you just dream of falling down the waterfall, a really icy one, like Gullfoss for example.

_MG_3985-Edit-EditWe arrived to Gullfoss after visiting Geysir, and that gray day was getting just grayer and grayer, which meant that we could forget about any kind of cool sunset.

This place has numerous of shooting locations, each of them showcasing the waterfall in a new way. This is what you see more or less on arrival to the waterfall, two cascades of waterfalls just disappearing into the snowy abyss. _DSF1468-Edit

I looked at pics of this place in no-snow season, and it looks so different from what you see here. The water splash creates a massive ice cap on the opposite side, and it is really hard to judge where there is land and where there is no more. There are obviously signs that warn tourists against going there, but as usual you will see a bunch that hangs out dangerously close to the edge for the new instagram photo. How much will your followers like the photo of you falling down the waterfall?

I turned this photo into black and white because there is not much colours happening as it was literally 50 shades of gray.

_MG_4154-Edit.jpgThis is the path that goes down from the parking area to the other side of the waterfall, which was also closed at that time when I was there. Did it stop anyone from going? Well, Ken Kaminesky tried to stop us, and particularly me because he had no confidence in my crampons (I didn’t have much confidence in them too, since I just bought them and experienced profound skating around all throughout the beginning of the trip). In the end I had to promise him that I will go back if they didn’t work, but they worked like magic.


This is how everything it looks from the other side. It is enormously impressive. When you stand on the edge of it, you just have no words, and forget to breathe as well.

The next day we started our day in the same place, and thought the sunrise was not spectacular, there were some colours to enjoy. And this place looks great even if there are no colours… can only imagine how beautiful it is on a sunny day.

This is Ken Kaminesky that I left in my shot just to have some sense of scale._MG_4165-Edit


There is also a beautiful viewpoint on the other side of this view, where there is a third layer of this waterfall. Very cool sharp edges of rocks create an awesome border. Well, the dark violet colour I added in photoshop._MG_4229-Edit

Honestly, was hard to leave… I loved it there.

If you want to read my other Icelandic stories, you can choose one of the stories below:

What do Auroras Make You Think of?

The Importance of Choosing the Right Travel Buddy

What is Down there in the Ice Cave?

If The Sunset is Failing, Turn Around.

Making Friends with Dogs in West Iceland.

Getting Lost in West Iceland – Kirkjufell Stories.