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.

Monday, December 9, 2019

From the archives: Zero Image in Winter

It seems like every time I post something from my Zero Image pinhole camera, I say something like, "I don't use my Zero Image pinhole camera near often enough."  And every time I am correct. As of this writing, I have a roll of Ektar sitting in it with a single frame left to shoot, and it's been like that for a few months now. I really need to get it finished and processed.

Fuji Acros 100 in AGFA Rodinal. Red #25 filter,
This image is from one of my very first rolls taken with the Zero Image, back when I first obtained it in about 2016. I was still experimenting with compositions and getting a feel for the perspective that could be had with this particular pinhole camera. Looking back on it, I really appreciated how the sun rays moved over the circular pinhole aperture, as opposed to how it normally does on a normal lens aperture with straight edges.This image has a very stark, lonely feel to it, one that I really didn't experience when I was actually exposing the film. In fact, this frame was really just an after thought. I had been shooting a barn when I turned around 180 degrees and saw this scene.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Kodak Ektachrome E100

I don't normally shoot slide film, but it was in stock at a small camera store in Victoria BC last summer when we were making our way up Vancouver Island. On a whim, I decided to pick up a roll and see how it turned out.
Our days up there were a mixture of bright sun and cloudy skies. The film held up pretty well to both, although I wonder how a circular polarizer might have helped me in some cases. I haven't had especially good results with CPF's and slide film in the past, but that was Velvia and things got oversaturated in that case. Also, whites blow out fairly quickly in direct sunlight, so it's important to keep that in mind when shooting it. Still, the colors were consistently good no matter how good the lighting was. I was especially pleased with the colors I got when we were on the verge of rain.
Even though this was under cloudy skies, the greens held up quite nicely. I do have to wonder what a good CPL would have done with this image, though.
I love the foliage colors this slide film reproduces.
Shooting slide film for me has been something of a luxury in the past since there is a relatively higher cost associated with its purchase and processing. These greens are absolutely lush, though, so I might break it out again if I ever decide to do a project involving foliage and some macrophotography.
Bright whites blew out quite quickly in direct sunlight.

Another image where a CPL might have helped redirect some reflective glare.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Baker's Dozen: Prologue

In 2014, I took possession of a box with a wide variety of rolls of black and white film in 120 format. It jump started my journey into the world of medium format film photography. While I have shot most of that box since then, I've also spent the last 5 years replacing it with...a variety of rolls of 120 film. And although you wouldn't know it by looking at this blog, I've shot quite a bit of it over the course of this year. But, I just haven't been writing as much about it. Time to change all of that.

13th roll is TBA.
My new personal blogging project  is called 'Baker's Dozen' in which I shoot the rolls you see pictured above.  Most of the Ilfords are represented here, along with some JCH StreetPan and some Rollei AGFA that I bought on a whim.  Also in the mix are some Acros in both 100 and 400 speeds, both of which I had forgotten that I had in my possession. Both the Acros and the Neopan are expired but have been frozen since I got them.  I'm also throwing in a roll of Tri-x to go with it, the only yellow package in the group. Conspicuously absent are Kodak TMAX in any of the three speeds. I've just never had super good luck with TMAX for some reason. Also not making the list are anything by Kentmere, Ultrafine or Lomography. I'm just trying to steer clear of anything rebranded or more budget oriented. No offense to anyone who shoots those brands. Yes, I realize the JCH is a rebranded something, but just work with me here.

This won't be a review series, comparison between emulsions, etc... My goal is to simply shoot, develop and post a wide variety in the coming months. It's just a project for this blog.

A 'Baker's Dozen' means thirteen, so I'll throw in an extra roll of something else along the way that I haven't decided on just yet.  Maybe another Ilford or just something else entirely. We shall see.

What are we using to shoot these? At my house, there are two options for medium format: A Mamiya C220 TLR and a Zero Image 618 pinhole.  I expect to use both to one degree or another for this project.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Kodak Ektar in the Zero Image 618 Pinhole

Pinholing is fun, and some fantastic results can be had with a colorful film like Ektar. Get it processed professionally and order some optical prints while you're at it.

These were taken on a day in early May last year on our way to Portland. We stopped for a quick hike up the Rowena Plateau Trail where we ran into some balsamroot in full bloom, then ended up along the waterfront for the festivities happening there.

Balsamroom in bloom in the Columbia River Gorge.

A sternwheeler on the Willamette River.

This was a one minute exposure. Those people really were that still for that long.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Troubleshooting A-1 and overexposure

I started developing Ilford hp5+ in Ilfotec DD-x, and wasn't getting very good results. In fact, they appeared muddy and somewhat overdeveloped or overexposed. I couldn't tell which. I wanted to eliminate the cause of being a faulty shutter on the Canon A-1, a camera that was CLA'ed just a couple of short years ago. So, I ran a test between that camera and an AE-1 shooting them both with hp5+ at the same settings: 1/15 second exposure time and f/5.6 aperture. Both shot at box speed, then developed on the same reel in the same developer. As it turns out I couldn't tell much difference between the two strips, but the A-1 might have been slightly more exposed. Not more than a fraction of a stop from what I can tell. In any event, here are the results. My conclusion is that DD-x doesn't develop hp5+ very well. Not the way I develop, anyway.

2020 Directions