Photography can be unexpected.
Not too long ago, I thought I had perfected the color film in black and white chemistry processs with my particular set of film and chemicals. Thrilled that I had finally worked out a foolproof formula, I shot and developed another roll. As soon as I took the negatives out of the tank, however, I knew something was wrong. They were darker and denser than the previous set, and the scans bore out my suspicions: Bad. However, one image of a mural in an alley over a doorway looked like it might be redeemable. I “redeemed” it by cropping out everything but the mural (which was the only thing even remotely close to correctly exposed). Here it is.
Fuji Superia 400 color film developed in Clayton F76+ black and white chemistry and shot in a Minolta XD5 with center-weighted metering, which I no longer trust.
Photography is a learning experience, but learning experiences are less fun than they’re made out to be.
I was at the Met over Thanksgiving (also mentioned here, although the image is from an entirely different Eastern Seaboard city) and made what I thought was a terrible mistake. I had my Ricoh with me, which is an all manual 35mm camera. I had just received some Kodak Plus-X film in the mail, and had brought a mix of that and Agfa APX400, my go-to black and white film at the time. The Plus-X, at ISO 125, would be perfect for sunny outdoor work, while the 400 ISO APX400 would be great in the museum. I originally loaded up a roll of the Plus-X anticipating a walk to the museum, but when we parked underneath, I pulled it back out and loaded a roll of APX400, its higher speed better matched to the presumably dark indoor lighting. As I worked my way through the musem, I was glad I had switched to the APX, because I was barely able to get shots at 1/30 f/2 in most situations, which is barely handholdable and has a very shallow depth of field. At about exposure nineteen on a roll of twenty-four, I had a startling realiztation: I had left the camera set to 125. I had shot nearly an entire roll of APX400 at Plus-X speed, overexposing the film by one and two-thirds stops (this also explained why the film had seemed so slow in realtively good light). There was nothing I could do but finish the roll at 125 and see if I could salvage it later.
I figured the roll was ruined (if you shoot digital, try setting your exposure compensation to +1 2/3 and see what happens to your images), but a little research revealed that many APX400 users shoot at ISO 200 under normal conditions. I let the film sit until last night, and then, in a flurry of photographic productivity, I developed it. Though many of the images themselves are unimpressive (and many are blurred from the slow shutter speeds I was forced to use), the smoothness of the tones and the shadow detail are amazing. From now on, I will be shooting my APX400 at ISO 200 except when I need the speed of 400 or 800.
Agfa APX400 accidentally pulled to 125, Clayton F76+ 1+19, Ricoh KR-5 Super II as film holder and light meter.
Photography is equipment-intensive.
With access to a borrowed Minolta 35mm camera and some lenses, I couldn’t resist the urge to try out some macro work with the 80-200mm “macro” zoom (which, when combined with the included 2X teleconverter, got pretty close to macro without quotations). Some of the shots worked, some didn’t. I think this one came out quite nicely.
This is 35mm, but it isn’t black and white film. It wasn’t converted after scanning, either. It’s 400 ISO color film shot at 200 ISO (one stop overexposed) and developed in black and white chemistry. Why, you ask? That’s a good question. To be honest, I don’t really know either. Something about the challenge is enticing, and the results are unique. Something about it just works for me. This isn’t my first try with this technique (or my second), but think I’ve found a process that produces usable negatives (my last roll was completely ruined by incorrect developing times, which is tough since you more or less have to determine them by trial and error).
Fuji Superia X-tra 400 shot at 200 in a Minolta XD5 with a third-party “macro” zoom and a 2X teleconverter, then developed in Clayton F76+.
Nicotine and objectification. What could be more American? Oh wait, this part is usually a photography truism.
An interesting way to observe people is to study the space they occupy. This is from a friend’s desk. The items were actually props for an art project. Moments later (or before- I just developed this on Monday but I shot it more than a month ago, so I really have no idea), I stepped on a bowl of watercolor paint and spilled it on her carpet.
Agfapan APX400 in my K1000, Clayton F76+ diluted 1+19 with the time slightly reduced to decrease contrast. Intended as an experiment in making more scannable negatives.
Another happy accident.
I’ve been playing with my new film scanner lately, trying to get negative scans that aren’t disappointing on every level. For various reasons (mostly their lack of translucence compared to print films), traditional black and white negatives are notorious for scanning poorly. Many solutions have been proposed (and many photographers swear by various combinations), and I’m trying to stumble my way through some of them to find a process that works for me.
The Digital Image Enhancement Engine (DICE) scanner technology that allows dust-, scratch-, and generally blemish-free scans of color negatives does not work with black and white negatives. However, in my experimenting with software settings, I gave it a shot without thinking. This was the result.
As usual with my “weird looking” posts, this is not some bizarre Photoshop filter. This is the original scan, with only a minor exposure adjustment.
Agfa APX400, Clayton F76+, my K1000’s questionable meter, and scanner serendipity.
Photography is serendipitous.
Holga photography (and “toy camera” photography in general) is often described as a serendipitous art form. While this is certainly true, I don’t quite think it’s fair. All photography is serendipitous, at least for those of us inexperienced enough to suffer the inconvenience of not being able to transfer images perfectly from our mind’s eye to our chosen medium (a 35mm negative, a digital sensor, a piece of 8×10 print paper in a pinhole camera).
Pentax digital system, perhaps a remote strobe, and some headlights contributing to my lighting.
This is another cross processed shot. The thick film base that my methods don’t clear necessitates drastic steps to get the darks back, which results in the lovely artifacts on this image.
There’s just something about this one that I like.
Pentax K1000, Fuji Superia X-tra 400 cross processed in F76+.