photo: © David Moenkhaus - all rights reserved 773 612-4166

Happy accident

Sometimes mistakes, or what some people call happy accidents, can turn something ordinary into something beautiful.


I’d been getting up before dawn every morning for a few weeks to shoot film of the pilings, breakwaters, and other measures the city engineers of Chicago had put in place over the years to keep the waters of Lake Michigan from eroding away the Chicago shoreline.

When I loaded up my camera with the 1st roll of 50ASA Fuji Velvia film of the morning, I didn’t set the ASA correctly. After shooting the 36 exposure roll, I realized I had underexposed the film by 5 stops!

I corrected my mistake for the subsequent rolls and figured the 1st roll was too underexposed to even process. I thought about just throwing it in the trash. But I didn’t and I decided to have the lab push that roll 5 stops.

This is one if the images from that roll that I got back and I like it because that happy accident of not setting the ASA correctly and pushing the film so much, changed every characteristic of the Fuji Velvia that I loved and made the image better . The grain came up a little, the colors changed and the tonal scale went out of wack. I was rewarded with what I think is a more expressive image that conveys more vividly and accurately, the feel of that early morning shoot at the shoreline.

Montrose pilings pushed 5 stops

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