Saturday, 9 June 2018

Out for a stroll with the Zero

It is always a joy to be out with the Pinhole camera. But it must be a strange sight to behold as I walk up the street. A little brown box attached to what could be construed as a big black stick (tripod). On this occasion it was a lovely bright day with a biting cold wind; I had not appreciated just how cold it was until I had been standing about making the first image.

As I strolled around the local lakes I took warmth from the brilliant sunshine and the anticipation of some interesting image making. By the time I was half a dozen pictures in I had forgotten how cold I was. I think the cold must have gotten to me as I could not remember what the reciprocity factor should be. Times 2 up five seconds and times 5 from then on. Dam and I had left my note book behind with the reminders in. Oh well I'm not going back.

from T max negative

This walk is turning to a bit of a jokers holiday which had started before I had even left the house. My Zero is a multi format camera Just before I loaded the film I checked to see where the dividers were and in my mind it was set to 6x6 I loaded the film and used the centre red window to view the frame count. I should explain there are three for the different sizes of negative. Later that day I had the chance to develop the film only to find it was set to 6x 4.5 – ehh! Fortunately the second film was only part way through so rectified it by using the top window for the next days images.

The wind was that strong it was producing lots of fine ripples across the water. I was not quit sure how this would look in the final images not having made many photos of water with this camera. It just go's to show how cold it was, on the eastern side of the lake I found a lot of glass thick ice being smashed up on the shore. This brought back how cold I was feeling. Time to get back, to a home made slow cooked beef Currie that should be bubbling away by now.

Contact print at 2 seconds the print is
also showing signs of exhausted fix. 
Just before I left the house the following day I filled my pocket with a mix of film from different manufacturers; I do not usually do this but so what! it was an off the cuff decision to go out picture making so why not mix it up completely! The previous day I had already loaded Kodak's T Max 400 which I thought might be a bit of a gamble seeing how bright it was, just as well I did, as I messed up the exposure completely. On subsequent trips I loaded Ilfords delta 100 and Fomapan 100 which is my fav film for the Zero. The others were first time use and this time I got the exposure right.

How badly the T Max was exposed showed it self when I contact printed the negatives. I had to re do it at 5 sec's instead of my usual 2, enlarging lens fully open with white light (with no grade filters set). The negatives when looked at showed full detail. The contact print indicated that the enlargement were going to need long exposures and a lot of dodging to get them the way I wanted.

From Fomapan 100 negative

I have developed all my negatives in Adox version of Rodinal. I use 1+50 for the time required. I have to keep reminding myself that this developer has a high acutance and therefore a lot more contrast. In some cases overly so. I had in mind to use Kentmere RC gloss but changed to Fotospeeds RC gloss that has a more normal look. If I had kept to the original route they would have had super contrast. As it was, I had to drop the filtration for printing down to 0 from my normal grade 3 . With the contrast sorted it was time for the exposures. With the segmented test print in the holding tray the fun really started. As an example one print had a base exposure of twenty seconds but then needed an extra 40 seconds on top of that for the sky and some of the lake. Others longer.

From Ilford delta 100 negative.
I had a good time in the darkroom even though the printing sessions were challenging the prints came out a lot better than expected. They have a lot of atmosphere to them that I'm really pleased about. Some of the photographs show that there is ice on the lake in places. I was no sure if that would show up but it has in a couple of the images.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Recall magazine

I have been looking for a way to do justice to a series of photographs as a collection. I have shared one of them on the blog as a picture post called Tenth Floor. To be honest I have not really been satisfied with this method. It is great that they can be viewed as a set but it does not convey what they are like as photographs in the real world.

Having scanned them and then adjusted them in photoshop to get them as close to the original, this still does not do them justice. I had thought about putting them in a book but it's an expensive way of putting ten pictures together as a series, so I looked at a magazine format which is quite an inexpensive way of printing a collection.

I decided to test the idea out with blurb. I have to say up front I am not a fan of the online print service since they screwed up a wedding book I got involved in some years ago.

Anyway having down loaded the updated software I set about putting the magazine together. It was good to see that the standard length was twenty pages - just right for my ten image project, giving me just enough space to add a few words of intro and some tec stuff at the end.

Not having produced anything book wise for a while, I had forgotten how involved it is just to get a basic structure together. For instance, what paper, font, title, how many images to a page the list go's on! The picture issue was easy to solve – one per page. The font was a bit more difficult, I wanted the theme to convey a type of note book look so I chose a font that looked like hand writing and easy to read.

The paper was quite easy in that you only had two choices. I plump for the better quality, I wanted the images to look like the resin coated paper that the original photographs had been made on. The title took a lot longer than anticipated and was suggested by the blogs editor.

Now that all the the bibs and bobs had been ironed out I could save the templates for the next issue. I expected it to be easy to produce the next issue but it is not! I maybe missing something in the workflow from one issue to the next we shall see.

The moment of truth came a week or so later. when a very thin cardboard package arrived. I was a little apprehensive when opening it. I hope this was going to be a lot better than the last package I had from blurb. OK WOW! it has well and truly exceeded my expectations it is a lovely thing to behold the gloss paper complemented the prints so much so they could have been the original photographs. In fact they could be cut out and framed. High praise I know but when it is right it is right - well done Blurb!

Would I recommend them? NO. A lot more water will have to pass under the bridge before I even consider it. A good start though.

The plan is to get one out a month a tall order as I'm behind already. So if you are interested in a copy here is the link and here is the link to the blog post Tenth Floor that this volume is based on.

If you would like a copy of the Magazine click on the link below.