Saturday, 11 November 2017

Picture post images made using a Zero multi format camera.

These are the photographs that were mentioned in Many formats in one camera

Print from 6 x 9 negative

Print from 6 x 6 negative
Print from 6 x 7 negative

Print from 6 x 7 negative
Print from 6 x 6 negative

Print from 6 x 6 negative

Print from 6 x 4.5 negative

Print from 6 x 4.5 negative.
Technical data:

Film Fomapan 100, ISO100, developed in RO9 at 1+50, Printed on Adox MCP RC gloss, 6 X 4.5 negatives printed on Silverproof paper  Matt no longer available. All developed in Ilford multi grade. 

Pictures for sale

Friday, 10 November 2017

Many formats in one camera Zero pinhole

Zero 120 multi format pinhole camera
I've had my Zero multi format camera for years I don't use it as much as I should this is because it comes into conflict with my Bronica SQAi which I really love using. I enjoy using the Zero but have found that it is spending a lot of time in my camera bag. This shouldn't be the case as they both have completely different characters. Since the beginning of the year I determined that I would use my pinhole camera more. I have been true to my word in that I have set time aside, it maybe the simplest way of making images, it also happens to take time to set up and expose the film. Not always conducive for the way I go about making images. The strange thing is I need a certain frame of mind when I want to use it. 

How the different negative
sizes look.
Being multi format I thought it was time to see how the other formats come out. I know after all these years it will be the first time I explore the formats ether side of my favoured 6x6 negative size. So what are the other sizes, down stream is 6x4.5 I had not realised until I had moved the partitions to this position that with the camera horizontal it produced the frames in portrait format and that if you wanted landscape I had to stand the camera on it's side. I chose to keep it the way it is.

Upstream from 6x6 is 6x7 and 6x9 this will be the first time I have made images at these negative size so I'm excited to see what they will look like. Something else I did not realize was the large margin between the frames for 6x7. The margin is that big I think you could get another frame if the numbers were spaced differently on the backing paper. I'm used to the frames on some occasions with 6x6 bleeding into each other. When it came to the 6x9 negs there is no margin making it look like one image over the whole length of the film. Requiring precise cutting when putting them into the storage sheets.
How the different negative sizes are achieved.

It is simple to change the negative size with the Zero you just move the little divides into the preset slots once done you load the film and away you go. 

It has taken quite a time to realize that Fomapan 100 in my case developed in RO9 gives me a stile of image that I really like, making it my default film, dev combination when using this camera. Although that my change since I started using delta 100.

There is a picture post to follow showing some of the images made using the different formats. They have been posted click here.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Ilfords Delta films A big surprise.

I read a lot of stuff in search of inspiration and ideas for this blog. And one of the strangest things I read a lot is the lack of willingness to push creativity. For example: 'I will only ever use FP4+ - I only make landscape images.' Why? I have never understood the idea of painting yourself into a corner, creatively speaking. I have been writing this blog for around a decade now, the one thing I have discovered is that choices, likes, dislikes move on naturally and to say never say never really only means for this period of time.

Delta 100 negs
Like wise I have never given Ilfords Delta range a second thought. Why? It just has not been on my radar. I have been happy making images using FP4+ and Fomapan 100 among others. All of a sudden I find myself saying to a friend that I will purchase his out of date delta. And now I have about 15 rolls delta 100 and 3200 120 format in a box on the floor waiting for me to use it.

 I have already exposed one roll of 3200 at box speed, which just happens not to be the rated speed of the film in this case. It is actually rated at 1000 ISO something I was not aware of at the time I used it. Which means that the film was pushed five stops, something of a first for me! I've also used a couple of rolls of 100 at box speed.

Delta 100 grain seen through a focus finder
OK so what is so special about Delta film? It is Ilfords offering in the T grain category of film emulsions, Kodak call theirs T Max and Fuji Neopan. Known as tabular grain film, meaning that the shape of the silver halide is relatively broad and thin, with two well developed parallel faces. This leads to the crystal absorbing more light sensitive dye. It also reduces the scatting of light which increases resolution. This leads to a film that works in all sorts of lighting conditions. If you think about it, it is ideally suited for beginners, making it very tolerant to bad exposure.

Print from delta 3200 ISO 3200
Tabular crystals dissolve more slowly than traditionally grained films when it comes to fixing them. You are advised to increase the fix time as it takes twice as long for the film to clear when using rapid fix.

In truth I am not someone who can go out and make images of anything just to try out a new film. Even when it is well out of date, some of you may think it's a bit risky. I believe it is a waste of time if the images you make are not well composed and of subjects that you enjoy. After all a good image is easy to print and share. A project that would suite the Delta 3200 droped in my lap. I had the opportunity to photograph a number of five week old pups. When it came to photographing them they had all worn themselves out and were fast asleep. That is until I started making pictures! Its funny how noisy a Bronica SQAi with an motor drive can be in hushed conditions!

Print from Delta 3200 ISO 3200

I was a little disappointed with the 3200, although it was very bright outside the room was a bit dark and on a couple of occasions I was down to 60th sec at F2.8 which is the minimum aperture for the lens I was using and as slow as I could go hand held. It was not practical to use a tripod as they had tucked them selves into lots of little cubby holes to sleep.

Print from Delta 100 ISO 100
I developed the film RO9 at 1+50 for the suggested time of eleven minutes. The negatives look a bit underdeveloped (thin) I will, for the next film, up the developing time.

When it came to printing the negatives the underdevelopment showed it's self on the segmented test prints. Indicating that 15 secs was the best exposure time. I chose to use Adox MCP paper set at grade 3. The enlarger was set to a height for 11x12 paper but the easel was set for 8x10 paper with white margins. I did this because there was a lot of dead space on the negatives. The down side is that the prints are a bit grainy. Something I should have expected to a certain extent seeing as I have used RO9 to develop them with. The final prints were a little soft even though they have been printed at grade three.

Print from delta 3200 ISO 3200
Having read the above it may lead you in to thinking it was a bad set of negatives. On the contrary I am very pleased with the results although a little disappointed with the contrast, but then you have to take into account that it is the very first time I have worked with this film. Fortunately I have more film to play with.

I have also exposed a couple of rolls of Delta 100 at box speed developed in RO9 and by comparison they are very punchy (high contrast) they remind me of the Fomapan 100 negatives I produce with the above developer. The 100 has produced super smooth looking photographs. Something I have been looking for for sometime. This may replace the need for a ultra fine developer.

Print from Delta 100 ISO 100.
last laugh goes to the cat a sleep in the sun.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Water marks on film. you need to be bold

It is a great sense of achievement to behold a set of wet glistening negatives in all their tonal glory. It is your first chance to see how well they have been exposed and a relief to see all those rectangles or squares in a row. But it is a time of controversy in how you get them dry and clean.

Normal wisdom states at the end of the processes you add half a dozen drops of wetting agent to the last rinse, swish the reel about a few times and leave to stand for a minute. This helps to break the tension of the water so when you hang it to dry the water forms little droplets that run off without leaving any water marks behind when it is dry. The reality is quite different for some.

Wetting agent is not some magic bullet that you cannot do without. Heresy! I hear shouted from the back of the room! It is true the inter web is filled with photographers bemoaning those calcium water marks unseen until the print is hanging up to dry. You film scanners need not sit there smugly because you can take it out using photoshop. I hear a lot of complaints from this sector as well - time lost to spotting. The real smug ones are those that never get this problem when they use wetting agent. Well bully for you! Most of us do not have super soft water that just caresses our film and falls off!

Please do not get me started on those delicate lovelies that believe that if you touch wet film it will be ruined. Lets have some reality here! Wet film is a lot more resilient than it is given credit. For those of a delicate disposition please look away as what I'm going to say next is going to be outrageous to the extreme. I do not use wetting agent and I use a damp shammy leather to wipe both sides of my film dry.

It is a shocking and stunning revelation, but I have had no choice in the matter - honest officer! I have been plagued with wetting agent contamination over recent times that no amount of cleaning and washing has put right. This has led me to hand drying the film. Before you start banging the door down I should point out that there is a very nasty bit of kit called a film squeegee that has in the past ruined countless frames of film by putting a scratch line through them all. It took a long time and many rolls film to discover. So I make no apologies for these outrageous actions.

 Seriously! I now have water mark free negatives that air dry more quickly and no more blotchy looking prints. I wrote an article on how I discovered that wetting agent was the problem. Called wetting agent contamination. 

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Out of date film Home truths.

The use of out of date film has become very popular over the last few years. So much so that it has become a bit of a sub culture within the film world, with some photographers stating that it is all they use. I get the impression that in some cases there is a bit of grand standing, look at me, my photography is better because of it! If it has improved your picture making then all well and good, but I have to say that some of the images I have seen makes me wonder why did they bother! I personally see no advantage in using out of date, apart from the fact it is slightly less expensive than fresh. 

Lets be honest about this how often do you end up with a blank film?

But then again there is a certain extra thrill in the knowledge that when you take the lid off the developing tank and view the wet film with nicely exposed negatives, a sense of relief at your gay abandonment to the natural order of things was worth the risk. In my experience the risk is very small but if you read some blogs it is a step to far to contemplate.

120 Fujicolour Superia out of date by 10 years.
So why would you treat out of date film to a different set of process times?

I have always used out of date film long before it became popular. I just keep using the film stock till it runs out. It was not until recent times that I have taken note of the process before date and now that I have that knowledge it has not made any difference to the way I make images and process the film. When comparing them to in date negatives of the same make I can see no difference.

120 Fujicolour Superia out of date by 10 years.
So how do you store your film?

There is a lot of myth and misunderstanding about how to store your film after you have purchased it. The one thing that destroys film faster than anything else is humidity. Even in these situations, as long as the film is kept in its sealed containers and wrappers (medium format) it will remain in good condition. So common sense would suggest that you only break the film out when you are about to use it. Surely? 

So why would you need to store it in a fridge or freezer?

I used to do this until I was caught out by not getting the film from the fridge the day before. I seriously questioned whether there was any advantage to doing it. Common sense suggested that the weather in the UK never really gets that extreme so why bung the fridge up? -(there was a cheer from the other half when I removed it all!) - after all, I purchased it to use, not stock pile. Obviously everyone's circumstances are different. But I have found a growing number of people who store film in a draw find it more convenient and allows for spontaneity. Not having to second guess myself about will I or Won't I need a film tomorrow has freed up creativity.

 With this in mind I purchased a carton of out of date film. It is a mixed box of T max 400, Ilford delta 100, 3200 and XP2 400. I did this because I had been toying with the idea of trying out TMAX 400, but it then occurred to me that I had never used the others either. So now is my chance. I was told they had all been stored in a draw and were still in the sealed wrappers. Good enough for me! 

This selection of emulsions are a maximum of seven years out of process date. I have used so far the delta 100 and 3200 at box speed. Developed in RO9 @1+50 @20C using my usual method. The results are what I would expect from fresh stock.

There is a down side, it can go wrong occasionally, but it is a lot rarer than people would have you believe and it is more than likely to be human error than failure of materials. Some of you will be uncomfortable with the idea and I understand that reticence, especially if you are new to film photography.

I have written two other posts on the subject: Film storage - is a more technical look and colour out of date - which talks about an old film left in the camera for years. My view on film storage has not changed as these other post will reinforce. Remember do not be influenced by other peoples narrow mindedness. Photography is about being creative and that means there are no rules. 

Out of film Delta 3200, dev RO9, printed on Adox MCP
Here is a link to the delta film mentioned earlier in the article  

Monday, 11 September 2017

We are back!

Mad rush to get first dibs on there preferred films. 
We have not forsaken you my friends. We will be publishing a series of posts very soon. They have been written and now thankfully the editor is back in the hot seat after a prolonged bout of illness. They will be wiped into shape so you can read them.  

We look forward to seeing you all again. 

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Picture Post, Planes

For me making images of aircraft is heaven. It is the combination of two loves. As you can see these are not the bog standard images you see, they are about the poetry of flight.






Technical Data: Camera Nikon FM, Film Agfa APX iso 100, Printed on Ilford multigrade RC gloss, Developed in Multigrade.

Pictures for sale

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Enlarging lens revisited

Recently black and white photography magazine has been celebrating it's two hundredth edition which gave me impetus to rediscover what was in some of those back issues. While thumbing through one issue, an article about enlarging lenses caught my eye, reminding me that I have been meaning to revisit the subject.

I have written a couple of small articles: Enlarging lens and which aperture  I re-read both before writing this one so as not to repeat myself. But that is not going to be easy as the main issue with enlarging lenses is quality. The rule of thumb is to choose a lens of six or more elements. The Componon-s and Rodagon are two modern designs that work very well - they are two quality makes of the few still available new.

Looking down a focus finder at F5.6- F8
In the 1970s Nikon special optics division set about producing a darkroom lens second to none ( Apo-EL-Nikkors ). It was done in a one off batch, releasing a number to the market over a ten year period until they were all gone. It has been said that at the end of this period they did consider doing another run but stopped doing so because they would have had to sell the lenses for £12,000 each. I do not know if this figure is true or not. If it is, it will have made the original runs price in the thousands and therefore out of the reach for most of us.

The enlarging lens has one job to do and that is to project the the image from the negative to the paper perfectly. The one hindrance to good enlargement method and creativity is poorly maintained or ignorantly used enlarging lens practice. It is not good enough to think if you close the lens right down, like you would a camera lens, that you will increase the sharpness of the image. The rule again is to close the lens down by two F numbers. In a lot of cases this produces the optimum sharpness. One stop more may result in a softening of the grain structure. This does not mean that you will notice a softening of sharpness with the mark one eye ball as the image is projected onto the paper. Like a lot of things in photography the kit is made to a greater quality than can be seen in normal life.

Focus finder
Enlarging lenses should not be treated as second class citizens as they are several time better in quality than the camera mounted counterparts. They do their best work in a very narrow range of magnifications. For 35mm negatives the lens is optimized to 10x its size which equates to an enlargement of 10x8. As you go up the format scale this decreases 6x6cm lenses 6x and 5x4in 4x magnification. As you push past the optimal point it increases the possibility's of grainy photographs. This is not to say you should not push beyond this point as experience has shown. You can negate this by using ultrafine film developers.

Grain at f11

How do you see which is the best apertures to use? You need to complement your lens with a good focus finder. This magnifies the grain of the negative so you can see it. The best way to use the finder is to have the enlarging lens fully open. Place the finder in the middle of the baseboard. While looking down it at the grain, adjusting the bellows until it separates into little defined specks. This will mean that you now have fine focus.

While still looking down the finder shut the lens down a stop at a time. There will be a point where the look of the grain go's slightly soft and becomes softer the more you close it down. You should remember that you are still at optimum focus. To test this you can try to adjust the sharpness in most cases it will get worse and become to difficult to regain any sharpness until you go back to the optimum aperture.

Grain at F16 looking down the focus finder.

What has been described above is my experience with one of my 35mm enlarging lens. I will point out that it is not a well known make. It is one I use often. The softening of the grain in the focus finder is not transferred to a softer looking image on the baseboard that can be detected with the naked eye but you will start to question whether it is affecting the quality of your images. The only way you will know is to borrow or buy a better quality lens and do a comparison.

When considering buying a lens you should spend as much as possible to ensure that you get a good to very good lens. Knowledge that the lens is not what you expected will impact on your photography subconsciously.  

Wednesday, 22 March 2017


This video reinforces what my friend and I have been saying for years. Thanks Ted.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Finding the edges of Eukobrom AC

One open ,One untouched.
I have some good and bad news concerning Tetenal's Eukobrom AC. I have been pushing the developer to find it's limits. Without knowing where the edges are you cannot be sure that you are getting the optimum usage.

Used and depleted

The good news is that two litres of diluted developer at 1 to 9 stored in a slot processor will remain usable for up to six weeks. Obviously this will vary depending on your circumstances. Also as the developer gets older the solution becomes more brown. Along with this it imparts some of this colour to the photograph by producing a subtle chocolate brown warmth in this case with Kentmere select RC gloss. A paper I have been using alot.

The bad news is, while I have been involved in seeing how long a working solution will last, I forgot to mark the stock bottle with an 'opened on date'!. As a result 800mls of unused developer has been thrown away. The first time I have had to do this ever! 

Continence from open

 I discovered this 'error' at the start of a printing   session. The existing developer was tested for   usability and found to be no longer viable. So I   made up a new batch to find that this was also   depleted. I was suspicious that the open bottle   was off by the colour but made up a new batch   anyway. In the past with other traditional   developers the colour does not always indicate   that it is exhausted. It took time to find out for   sure as the new developer was producing a very   soft test image without any contrast. I was using Kentmere paper, not known for being on the soft side and very quick to produce an image when placed in the developer, seconds in fact. In this case it still was not right after two minutes. After several attempts it was dumped. Not impressed to say the least.

Test Prints from open bottle of Eukobrom AC 
Not to worry I had a new unopened bottle. However on pouring the new bottle into the measuring jug this was brown in colour as well. Not the slight orange colour I was expecting. Now I was angry. I made up a batch anyway and to my surprise I was met with a well developed test image. Fully toned, great!

It took over an hour to get to this point what with one thing and another. My temper mellowed as each successive photograph left the developer fully toned.

Developer from fresh
Developer from
fresh bottle.

Test print in fresh developer..
Will I use the developer again? I still have the best part of a litre left from a dodgy opened bottle that has an 'opened on date'. As long as the contents are viable I will use it again. As to re stocking it? Not sure? It is just as well I keep some of my old friends in stock.

I did email Tetenal a long time ago to find out if they had any suggestions as to why this should be the case but have had no answer, I can share with you at the point of writing there is still no answer on posting.

Printed on Kentmere RC gloss paper developed in Tetenal Eukobrom AC

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Picture Post Eukobrom AC

Paper Kentmere RC gloss.
The images that appear in this gallery have been processed using Tetenals Eukobrom AC developer on a number of different papers.

I would like to thank Tetenal for there interest in and re-blogging of the first look post. It was a big surprise when they got intouch.

There is a new post on Eukobrom to be published not all good news.

Paper Fomatone  Chamois 542-11 matt

Paper Ilford FB gloss
Paper Fotospeed RC gloss

Paper Kentmere RC gloss

Paper Fomatone Chamois 542-11 matt

Technical Data:

Camera Bronica SQAi, lens 80mm, Film ilford FP4+ iso 125, Fomapan 100 iso 100, Negative size 120 6x6, Developed in Studional.

Scanned from paper size 9.5 x 12, paper used listed with each image.