Turning Grey into Colour

When I took out my dad’s Ricohflex again, I went to Kildonan Park just after an October ice storm that had sheered a number of tree branches. It was a relaxing morning and I brought along my coloured lenses for a bit of fun and science wizardry.

Using the red, green, and blue filters, I can take black and white images and turn a scene into vibrant colour and catch the ghosts of time. The trick is to let time lapse between three images of the same scene. Each image will capture one of the three primary colours of light – red, green, blue.

After I develop the film (and remember which negative was which colour – it helps to write these details down), I can align and colour the digitized negatives. Once I overlap the three pictures in image editing software, the image goes from grey to colour. My ghosts are the off-colour traces of things that moved or changed in the scene between the three pictures that I take.


This technique limits the number of images I get in the end from my roll of 120 film. Each images uses three of the twelves pictures I can take, but I enjoy this technique for the ghostly traces it leaves behind and the often muted colours it reproduces in the still objects of the scene.