Jul 27, 2021

Baker's Dozen: Kodak Tri-x

I recently sold off my remaining stock of Tri-x in 120 format, but I kept one roll back for my Baker's Dozen series. After this, I'm done shooting Tri-x and instead using HP5+ for my everyday 400 speed shooting. 

Pacific Surveyor. Mamiya C220, 80mm f/2.8, yellow #8 filter.

We made a trip to the Oregon Coast, right at the height of the tourist season. As such, it was difficult to get out and about very much. I had wanted to walk the entire stretch of the wharf (including getting some fish and chips from Mo's), but the foot traffic was just too much for me. Instead, I ventured out onto the docks to shoot some of the boats there. Interestingly, back in 2013, I shot a few frames of my very first roll of b/w film at this location, and even came across some of the same boats. 

Newport Harbor. Mamiya C220, 180mm f/4.5.  

My C220 started experiencing a couple of problems with this roll. One of the cover flaps over the viewer came undone at the hinge. I can't tell if it is broke or came unscrewed in some way (it's really tiny), but I now have to be extra cautious when opening it up. More seriously, the winder won't stop at the last frame, but instead keeps going. One work around I haven't tried yet is to manually stop the winding when '12' appears in the little window, and stop it at the point at which the crank usually rests. This should work, but it's a little discouraging to not have such a beautiful (and functional) camera work at 100% capacity. 

Newport Harbor. Mamiya C220, 180mm f/4.5.  

It's been fun shooting Tri-x, but the cost for new stock has me settling on HP5+. This is something I've mentioned here on this blog. It's past the time to narrow my shooting down to one or two stocks so I can get consistent results. Currently, I can buy almost three rolls of HP5+ for every two rolls of Tri-x. 

Newport Wharf. Mamiya C220, 180mm f/4.5.  

I was mostly successful with my DSLR scanning on this roll. Not everything was exactly tack sharp, and I'm finding even with 100% preview on my X-T4, it can be difficult to pinpoint the focus exactly every time. I'm working on it, though, and even these scans show a vast improvement from where I began when I first started scanning this way. Still, I'm not convinced I can't get similar results with my Epson V550 scanner. I'll need to do a side by side comparison at some point. The next roll to be scanned will be HP5+ in 35mm format. I haven't scanned 35mm format yet, so that should offer a challenge until I can make that workflow a routine for me. 

Newport Harbor. Mamiya C220, 180mm f/4.5.  That leak in the upper left corner shows up very, very occasionally with this camera. 

Jul 16, 2021

More Scanning Notes

I've got a few DSLR scanning sessions under my belt now.

For financial reasons, I don't use Lightroom. I did up until they moved to a subscription model a few years ago. We purchased a new computer and it was time to upgrade my RAW editor, so I went with RawTherapee. They have a tool in there simply called Film Negative, which is a selection under the RAW tab. It works pretty well, especially when I have some neutral gray in the image to select. It's also important to note that Film Negative only works with Fuji X-Trans and Bayer sensors. Fortunately, I shoot with a Fuji X-T4, and my scanning is done with an adapted Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro. Once I get the colors close, I can further manipulate them with the HSL and LAB tools. The ability to selectively edit one color in a RAW file while leaving the others alone is well worth learning. 

Kodak Portra 400. Mamiya C220, 180mm f/4.5 lens. DSLR scan and edited in RawTherapee 5.8 using the Film Negative tool. 

Kodak Portra 160. Mamiya C220, 180mm f/4.5 lens. DSLR scan and edited in RawTherapee 5.8 using the Film Negative Tool. 

I learned that DarkTable has a similar function known, interestingly enough, as Negadoctor. It had been a decade or so since I had played around with DT, so I went and downloaded the latest version and took a look. On the surface, it's more intuitive and probably a little easier to use. Like RawTherapee, though, it requires some additional manipulation beyond the module itself in order for the scan to look right. I'm not as familiar with those tools in DT as I am in RT, but I did find something that resembled an HSV tool to bring some colors more in line with what I wanted. 

Fuji 400H. Mamiya C220, 180mm f/4.5 lens. DSLR scan and edited in DarkTable 3.6.  I left this one a little on the cooler side, as is a characteristic of Fuji 400H. 
 One thing I wasn't sure about with Darktable was handling the noise inherent in DSLR scans. That will come with time if I decide to settle on DT for this purpose. 

My skill level for scanning color negatives is not where I'd like it to be just yet. However, it's a lot further along than when I started. The pay-for option is to buy into Adobe and pay (yet again) for the module called Negative Lab Pro. I hear it's fantastic. And from the demonstrations on YouTube (and there are plenty) it looks like a fairly simple process. 

That's not me, though. So, I will need to be content with working a little harder to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to accomplish the task. And it will come in time.  

Jul 11, 2021

First DSLR Scan

This is my first venture into DSLR scanning. Or a mirrorless XT-4 with attached Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro lens, in my case. Edited in RawTherapee 5.8. It wasn't a quick process, but I showed that it could be done using FOSS photo editing applications. And it didn't hurt to have the grain elevator in the background as a neutral gray point. I have a few other photos from this roll that I did, but this is the best one.

First DSLR Scan

Scanning like this offers some incredible results, but it's not without some challenges. Specifically, getting white balance and all the colors just right can be tedious if you don't have the right tools. Apparently there are some plugins for Lightroom that make this dead simple. However, I don't use LR simply because I refuse to pay Adobe $20 a month for the privilege. So, I will continue to refine my workflow with RawTherapee and hopefully the processing time will improve over time.  Moving forward, I intend for all of my scans to be done this way.

Jul 1, 2021

Riggs Cemetery on Ilford Ortho+

I recently traveled to Rosalia, Washington to visit Riggs Cemetery. In the springtime, it's said to hold an impressive collection of wildflowers. They were present when I got there, but I think I missed them at their peak which was probably a week or two prior. Plus, this has been a drier year than usual, which likely contributed to their relatively sparse population. Still, it's a beautiful location, and I'm surprised it doesn't get visited more when photographers are visiting the Palouse that time of the year. 
Riggs Cemetery, Ilford Ortho+

I shot a couple of rolls on the C220: This one (Ilford Ortho+) and Kodak Ektar, which I will have processed by Blue Moon Camera in Portland. That roll will of course show up here when I get it back. 

Riggs Cemetery, Ilford Ortho+

This roll got processed in DD-x. I use the developer just often enough to forget that it's easy to overprocess with it. At least, I think that's what happened with these negatives. They're quite dense, something that I don't usually deal with when I'm using this camera and another developer. 

Riggs Cemetery, Ilford Ortho+

Ortho+ being what it is, I fully expected different results than when I'm shooting a more traditional panchromatic film. Especially when I'm using a yellow or red filter. Ortho+ is a great film under the right circumstances; just not landscapes. Not for me, anyway. Still, I thought that concrete/stone subjects against vegetation might be an interesting contrast, and to that end I think it was successful. 

Riggs Cemetery, Ilford Ortho+

The Mamiya C220 performed like a champ, as did the Sekor 180mm f/4.5. I cannot overstate the sharpness and clarity of that lens. It delivers the goods even down to f/32, which is the aperture most of these shots were taken. 

You can see all twelve frames here.