Dec 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.

Dec 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.

Dec 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.

Nov 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.

Nov 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.

Nov 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.

Nov 13, 2019

Tri-x pushed to 1600

I'm normally an Ilford guy, but I do have a few boxes of Tri-x in 120 format in my freezer. It had been forever since I last shot it, and even longer since I'd pushed it at all, so I thought this weekend with not much going on would be the perfect time to break it out again. I really couldn't get out, so I just picked some subjects in and around our house. Nothing special, I just wanted to blow through this film in a relatively short amount of time.

I ended up souping in d-76 1:1, and I think I would have got better shadow detail by going with that developer in stock solution, undiluted. That said, negatives looked pretty good, although I did have one frame that was unusable because of so little information was on it.

I really do need to remember that I've got this at my disposal when I need it. Although I swore off Tri-x in 35mm because it's so difficult to scan (the negatives curl profusely), it lays quite flat in 120 format. In fact, I can't tell the difference between that and anything made by Ilford that I've ever processed.

Would I have got more shadow details in the front of that rock with stock d-76?

I think the tones are really nice here.

I was surprised at the detail I could see in the darker areas of this image. In the negative, it's difficult to see anything at all.

Nov 11, 2019

fp4+ in November

Although it might have looked like it, I haven't completely abandoned this blog. In fact, I plan on doing some catch up before the end of the year. I took a drive the other day just to blow through some Ilford fp5+ in the Mamiya C220. I finished up my Ilfotec DD-x with this roll, and was surprised to see some overdevelopment. They scanned ok, though, so not all was lost.

Shot with a deep yellow #15 filter.

Up next is some Tri-x that I haven't shot in many months.

Mar 14, 2019

My Purple Summer

One of my favorite unique and idiosyncratic film emulsions to shoot is Lomography Purple. This is a 100-400 speed film type with a unique color palette that leans toward purple in the green/yellow/orange areas, and toward cyan in the blue and purple areas. That said, results are often unpredictable, which lends itself toward a certain serendipity when you finally see the scans and prints.

White River Falls isn't much of a waterfall at the height of summer.

Last summer, I shot a roll of Lomo Purple around Eastern Oregon, as far west as Rowena Crest and as far east as The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City. And a few points in between.

That's an abandoned hydroelectric facility down there, unused since about 1960.
The view out my back window during summer.
Rowena curves. Part of the old Columbia River Highway.
Looking east from Rowena Crest.
Looking across the river toward Lyle, Washington.
Dry Canyon Creek Bridge on the old Columbia River Highway.
Another view of the Rowena Curves
A covered wagon at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. I don't remember the exact color of the gravel just underneath the wagon, but it turned purple on this film.
My wife and grandson on the Oregon Trail. Yes, those are real ruts from 160 years ago.
I've also got some prints that I'll scan and share at some point.

Lomo Purple - this batch, anyway - has been sold out for some months, but as of this writing (Jan 2019) they have allowed some pre-orders for the next one. It's supposed to be out in April. I've got my pre-order in for 5 35mm rolls, and I might try to swap somebody for a couple of 120 rolls. 

Jan 5, 2019

Cemetery Series: Sixprong

I started off the new year - Jan 2, to be precise - with a trip to a few cemeteries in SE Washington that I hadn't been to before. One of those was Sixprong Cemetery in Klickitat County. Although located in a remote area of the state, it is situated at the end of a dirt lane, just a half mile or so from a modern ranch house. In fact, no sooner had I arrived when a pickup drove up, presumably to see what I was doing. The presence of my TLR probably clued them in to me not making any mischief that day.

And although this was Jan 2, the temps were fairly mild with clouds and intermittent sunshine throughout the day. Perfect for what I wanted to accomplish. I brought along my Mamiya C220 TLR and loaded it with a roll of Ilford fp4+ film. I took advantage of the atmospheric conditions with the clouds and the sun and screwed a red #25 filter onto the 80mm f/2.8 lens.

Grass has grown up within the rectangular bounds of the cemetery, with patches of thorny weeds here and there. The place is by no means abandoned and unkempt, though. In fact, I was surprised that several of the headstones - some dating back to the late 1800's, were adorned with newer monuments. They appear to have been installed in the last decade or so, many of them on either on top top of or alongside their older, existing memorial. Some artificial flowers lay quietly next to a few of the markers. With so few residents in the area, maintaining the cemetery is obviously a labor of love for somebody.

Coming home, I developed the roll in Ilfotec DD-x 1:4, at 20℃ (68℉) for 10 minutes. I've used this combination once or twice before. But not often enough, though; the negatives came out great.  Ilford fp4+ always looks a little on the thin side to my eyes, but it scans beautifully.  I had also considered using a roll of Ilford Delta 100 that I had brought along, but I'm glad I went with the fp4+. We'll break out the Delta next time.

We got 2019 off to a great start with this trip. I've been bookmarking some other locations in the area, so I should be able to get more Cemetery Series posts up this year.

Jan 2, 2019

2019 Directions

Once again, it's hard to believe that we're at the start of a new year. My film habits were tempered somewhat in 2018 with the acquisition of a Fuji X-T20 mirrorless digital camera.  The Fuji's have been referred to as a film guy's digi, and I can see why. Still, I'm not abandoning film altogether. Rather, I'm still shooting it but with some evolving practices. Those will carry forth into 2019.

I had more film printed last year than any other time in my life, and I plan on continuing that in the upcoming year. In fact, that is the one point that I made from last year's Directions post that has had the most influence on my work. This year, I plan on using the Mamiya TLR with more color film and getting it all printed.

My 400 speed b/w film choice will continue to be Ilford hp5+. I have a 100' roll to bulk load, plus 6 rolls of 36 exposure in 35mm format, so that should take care of those needs in 2019. Additionally, I have some rolls of the stuff in 120 format to shoot in the Mamiya TLR.

I also plan on participating in online projects throughout the year. Namely, the fp4+ party coming up later this month, as well as the Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day in April come to mind. Here's my 2018 WPPD submission. I'm going to keep my ear to the ground for other film projects to keep up with as well.

And similarly, I need to continue my own personal projects. My Cemetery Series has been neglected for awhile, so I'm scouring Google Earth to see where I can head to next. As the days slowly get longer, I'll be able to take advantage of time after school to fire off a few frames. Even if that's just in the backyard or doing a little macro work.

2019 is going to be a great year for film. I can feel it already. I don't have need of any gear right now (save for an R72 filter; mind did a belly flop onto the sidewalk last year).  I just need to get out and shoot it.

Happy New Year, everybody. Here's to a fantastic 2019.