Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Baker's Dozen #2: Ilford fp4+

If the first iteration of my Baker's Dozen series kept me at home, the second has me venturing out a little further on a familiar road. I spent a Friday afternoon after school along the Columbia River, crossing the Oregon/Washington border and traveling on through the Wallula Gap and its neighboring overlook.

Port Kelley, Washington
Port Kelley, Washington. The first frame on this roll and my first stop on the trip.

This route is a great standby for me. A familiar friend that I join when I can't take a longer trip. Or don't have that option or the time. It hasn't gotten boring to me yet, even after dozens of trips over the last 12 years or so. And every time I go through there with a camera, I see something new. Or something old in a new way.

Twin Sisters, Washington
Twin Sisters, Washington is just around the bend from Port Kelley.

This particular mid-May afternoon had some beautiful, puffy clouds against a blue sky, with just a hint of a wind coming from the west. I chose fp4+ for this trip because of its familiarity and predictability with a red #25 filter. This is a contrast to my first post in this series, which involved a film that I was shooting for the very first time. Bringing along a film stock that I've shot dozens of times before in that scenario gives me the confidence to fully consider my compositions and what I want to accomplish with a photograph.

Overlooking Wallula Gap
Hatch Grade Road provides some spectacular views of the Columbia River at Wallula.

Film photography being, well, film photography, we're subject to the mechanical limitations and inevitable failures of our equipment. As successful as this roll was on this trip, I did come back home with a casualty. About halfway through the roll, I discovered that the aperture blades weren't moving smoothly through each setting. I set the timer to bulb and gently tested each one. Sure enough, the blades weren't meshing from f/8 to all the way open at f/2.8.  I still had a few frames to shoot to finish the roll, so I left the aperture at f/22 and hoped it would do its job until I got home. We came in on a wing and a prayer, as I've heard a few WWII vets say in my younger years.

So, I'm sending the 80mm f/2.8 off to be serviced.  I'm told they'll have it 4-6 weeks, which doesn't sound unreasonable during this age of Covid. In the meantime, I do have a 180mm f/4.5 that I don't use nearly often enough. I keep wondering if I should do this same trip using that lens, and then see the difference.

Abandoned thresher above Wallula
An abandoned thresher sits along Hatch Grade Road in Eastern Washington. It deserves a little more of my attention when I go through there again.
Because, after all, the same route next time could bring completely different results. Here are a few more images from this roll:

Columbia River Clouds
Hatch Grade Road
Wind turbes spin above Wallula, Washington
Clouds over the Wallula Gap

Edit: As I look a little more critically at a few of these photos, I'm seeing a little light leak creep in at that top left hand corner. It's slight, and barely perceptible in most cases, but it's come up before. I need to be mindful of sunlight hitting that corner of the camera. When I shoot some higher speed film at 1600, I wonder how much of a problem it will be given the increased sensitivity to light? Looks like I need to do a test to find out. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Baker's Dozen #1: Ilford Ortho Plus

I did two things six months ago that I'm just now getting around to: I bought some Ilford Ortho Plus film and announced my Baker's Dozen project for 2020. In both cases I had the intention of addressing much earlier in the year. In February/March I had an illness and surgery to deal with, and then we had this whole Covid-19 thing that has dampened a lot of travel plans. It's May now, so travel plans or no, I need to do some shooting. 

The light here was hazy sunlight, about f/11 or so.

To be sure, I bought this film knowing it was going to have a different tone palette. I wasn't just going to slap on a red #25 filter and get some big, contrasty clouds against jet black skies. In fact, I wasn't going to be able to use a red filter at all. As I have seen others posting online over the last few months, it certainly has some best-use cases. 

This rock fountain is the centerpiece of our landscaping project.

Not wanting to do traditional landscape shooting with it, I looked around for an alternate subject that might take advantage of its characteristics. Instead of mountains and sky, I wanted to look for some wood, metal and vegetation. Our recent landscaping project included all of that with our wood fence, metal windmill and spring plants. The basalt rock slab with a continuous flow of water flowing over it was just icing on the cake. As I am working much from home these days, it's been a pleasant place to park next to with my Chromebook and coffee on these really nice mornings. 

Some nice tones can be had on vegetation with this film.

Now, about the film. It's nice enough, and I can certainly see myself using it on architecture or other human-made artifacts. At ISO 80, though, it's probably too slow to be an effective street film, especially when hand holding. On the other hand, I do like the water motion I was able to get with the slower speeds. I've seen a few photos of waterfalls (sans sky) taken with this film and it's quite a compelling look. These particular photos were all taken with a somewhat filtered, hazy sunlight. Probably f/11 or so. It should be able to handle direct, f/16 sunlight just fine. I have a few rolls of it left, and one in 35mm format, so it will be good to try it in different light settings. After it's gone, though, it will really have to be a special occasion for me to pick it up again. Unless, of course, I can find a subject I like to shoot that really works well with it.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Document Your Life/Roll in a Day

I decided to combine a roll-in-a-day project with a #documentyourlife theme. Like many others, I work mainly from home these days, and am lucky enough to have a back porch and some nice, sunny spring days to spend it with. I shot these with Ilford Delta 400 at ISO 1600 and pushed two stops in Ilfotec DD-x. I haven't shot this film nearly enough, but I was reminded how well it pushes that far with unobtrusive grain. It might very well be my next bulk loaded b/w film.

Coffee is a huge part of my morning.

Alstroemeria on our kitchen table with direct window light.

I work from our back porch table on many of these nice spring days.

A view of our rock garden.

Our school hallways are supposed to look like this in July, not May.

I see things in our backyard in the right light a lot more than I used to.


Here's the whole set on Flickr: 

Roll in a day May 7 2020

Friday, April 24, 2020

Three Images

I started a roll of Ilford HP5+ at ISO 1600 last November. I meant to get it finished up some time over the winter, but things happened and it was last Sunday before I got it done. It's amazing how much the world has changed in those five months.

Utility truck, somewhere in Northeastern Oregon. Shot with fisheye adapter. 

Empty swimming pool in Corvallis, Oregon.

My wife's Thanksgiving table setting. This really needs to be shot in color, so next year it will be Ektachrome and a tripod. 

Sunday, April 19, 2020

JCH Streetpan Double Exposure

The Coronavirus and some non-life threatening medical issues over the past few months have prevented me from shooting or processing much film. So, I managed to finish up a roll of JCH Streetpan and get it developed the other night. Turns out I had shot right on top of a roll that was exposed a year or so ago. I'm not sure how that roll got mixed in with my fresh film stash, but here we are. It's a good thing I've got several rolls left of this film, because otherwise I would be REALLY disappointed. As it is, I lost some good frames.

On the  other hand, a few of the images are pretty cool. Here are a few that stand out to me.

You can see the entire, 36-frame roll on my Flickr album here:

JCH Streetpan Double Exposure

Friday, January 3, 2020

2020 Directions

It's always difficult to know what to put into my annual Directions post to keep it fresh and up-to-date. I just don't want to rehash what's been brought up before. To be sure, I will continue some practices that I've previously established. Optical prints of my color work is one that comes to mind. But I do have a project in mind as well. Here are some of my current thoughts that will guide my film work in 2020.
  • I previously announced my Baker's Dozen project. My first roll is in the Mamiya right now.
  • I've got two kinds of 400 speed b/w film bulk rolled and in the freezer right now: HP5+ and Kentmere 400.  When they're gone, I'm going to have to (once again) decide what my next roll will be. For everyday shooting, I'm going to lean toward the K400 strictly for economical reasons. The Ilford keeps creeping up in price to where I have to really think about it now. This will likely become a blog post of its own at some point this year. 
  • The recent addition of a Canon F-1 will keep me shooting 35mm. It makes a nice partner for my Canon A-1 and AE-1 Program.
  • I've put myself on a kind of film moratorium, so I'm not purchasing any for the time being. My lone exception has been picking up some Ilford Ortho Plus right after it was made available. It's in the freezer ready to be shot this year. I'll see if I can resist the urge to purchase more of what I've already got in 2020.
  • Will I shoot more Kodak Ektachrome E100 this year? I dunno. I loved the colors I got last year, but it might have to be a special occasion to do so. Also, I'd have to break the above bullet point if I do, as I'm sort of out of that film right now.
  • I have two trips planned for this year, both in June. One to Central Oregon and the other to Seattle, Washington. You can be sure I'll bring along a film camera or two. We'll see where I wind up otherwise, but I do need to continue my Cemetery Series as well as get some local shooting done. 
Well, that wraps up my thoughts about the upcoming year.  Things can always change, of course, but I don't see myself moving very far off of these in 2020.

Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 Rewind

Does it seem like 2019 just flew by? It sure did to me. I had to go back and look at my Flickr photos to remember what I did on film this last year. Quite a bit, as it turns out. I was especially surprised to see the variety of formats and emulsions that I took on during the last 12 months. Here's a sampling, and in no particular order:

1. I shot some Ektachrome and had it processed at Blue Moon Camera and Machine in Portland. They even put them in the little slide holders. I have enough of these now where I could probably put together a little slide presentation at some point.

Kodak Ektachrome E100

2.  I shot some Kodak Ektar on my Zero Image and got some prints done, again by Blue Moon.

Kodak Ektar in Zero Image 618. Scan of optical print.

3.  I decided that I really, really like the look of Ilford HP5+ shot at ISO 1600 and pushed two stops.

Ilford HP5+ at 1600 and pushed two stops in Ilfotec DD-x.

4.  I snagged up some new Ilford Ortho Plus in both 120 and 35mm formats. I haven't shot it yet, but I wanted to have some on hand for when I do. That will definitely be a 2020 project.

Acquired in 2019 and looking forward to shooting in 2020.

5.  I got some Lomo Purple from 2018 processed and printed. In fact, I got a lot of 35mm prints from Blue Moon made in 2019. 

Lomo Purple. And there's more where that came from.

6. I figured out Ilfotec DD-x doesn't play nice with Ilford HP5+ at box speed. Not the way I shoot and develop, anyway. In coming to this conclusion, I first had to eliminate the possibility of a faulty camera.

Comparing negatives from two different cameras shot on identical film (hp5+) and developed in the same tank of Ilfotec DD-x.

7.  I took a group of middle school kids on a trip to the Columbia River Gorge and I brought along the Zero Image.

Some unidentifiable students at the Rowena Plateau cemetery shot on the Zero Image 618.
8. And finally, I caught some sailboats in the Wallula Gap on my Mamiya C220. It was a great use of the 180mm that I neglect too often.

Ilford PanF+ on the Mamiya C220 with 180mm f/4.5 lens.
All in all 2019 was a fantastic year for film for me. Next up is my annual 'Directions' series where I discuss how I will be using film in the upcoming year.

Baker's Dozen #2: Ilford fp4+