Tuesday, January 31, 2012

8x10 Camera

Everyone who knows me knows I'm always on the lookout for a good deal, and I found one last week. An unexpected one though. I ended up purchasing an ancient 8x10 field camera complete with lens, boards, holders, film, and other goodies for so cheap I could easily resell it at a profit. However, I wanted to give it a whirl and also try contact printing. So today I took the camera out for a trial run.

First, the camera. It is a Gundlach made around 1897. It folds up nicely for portability. The lens it came with is a Radar 300mm f/4.5. Luckily I had just bought a Nikon 300mm f/9 which works wonderfully for a standard lens on this camera and it's 1/4th the weight of the massive Radar. I also am able to use my 11 1/2 inch Verito lens on it. Here is a photo of the camera:

It's heavy but not as heavy as a massive monorail. I took a walk around Drexel Park to shoot a couple of test sheets and to figure out a general development strategy. Because 8x10 film is so expensive, I bought some medical x-ray film for experimentation after reading about it online. It turns out the x-ray film is really good! It comes in two flavors: blue or green sensitive. I bought green because I think it will work better for landscapes.

Here is the best shot from the experiment. This is the bridge that I shot on 4x5 way back on the first post of this blog! I used the x-ray film (Fuji Super HR-T) rated at ISO 50 and developed in Rodinal 1:100 for 6 minutes in a BTZS tube. The rear emulsion was stripped with bleach. For more info consult this link on the Large Format Photography Forum.

I also tried my hand at contact printing this photo but the prints are still wet. They came out well though!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Joyride in the country + a roll from December

My girlfriend and I went on a little joyride today into the country east of Valdosta. I found a few interesting subjects on the way. I decided to bring out my Mamiya 645 Pro for this excursion as I hadn't used it in a while. I still only have one lens, and 80mm f/1.9 lens. This is a wonderful lens and the fastest medium-format lens widely available.

Here are a few shots from the jaunt. I used Tri-X 400 rated at 200 and developed N-1:

 I also finally developed some 35mm negatives from late in December! See them after the break...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pine Cone Still-Life

I bought a muslin backdrop and all the necessary bits and pieces for lighting in my apartment a few months ago but only last night finally got around to setting it up. I wanted to try a very stark side-lit shot of this pine cone I picked up last year that I had around the house.

I used a Schneider G-Claron 150mm lens that I bought specifically for macro shots. This was at approximately 1:3 magnification. I used f/22 and had an external strobe at full power at 11 o'clock and aimed about 45 degrees from the camera with a snoot. I developed the T-Max 100 negative at N-1. I should have stopped down to probably f/32 or even /f45 but I just don't have a really high-powered flash for this kind of work.

I really like the moody side-lit feel of this shot. I think it will make a nice print:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

100-year-old lens and 4x5 film

A few months ago I bought an old Kodak 3C folder from a flea market. This camera was about 100 years old and used extinct 126 roll film. However, the lens was in good condition and the shutter even worked! I had been meaning to try out the lens on my 4x5 camera but had not gotten around to it. As it turns out, that lens is amazingly respectable for something designed and built around 1910. Here are two images from that lens (the focal length is approximately 180mm). The first has some vignetting since I did a bit too much front rise:

I also messed around with just the rear element of a Schneider Xenar 135mm f/4.7. By my calculations, this simple element became a 90mm f/3.3. The images had crazy distortions in the side peripheries. For these images I stopped down to about f/8:

All of these were taken at Langdale Park. I just wanted to get out today and hike a bit so I decided it would be a good time to try out some interesting lenses and techniques.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

First 16x20 print

Tonight I made my first 16x20 print. I had been waiting to buy or find some 16x20 trays but a friend suggested checking out some concrete mixing trays at home depot as cheap substitutes. They were just big enough! Here is the picture from my previous post printed large. I am planning on cutting it down to 12x20 though for the final framing as I like the composition better that way:

I can't wait to do some more big prints!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Early Morning Fog

Well first off I noticed yesterday that I've officially passed 1,000 views on this blog! I am sure many of those are from my own computer but still, I am very happy to have had so many hits. I hope to continue growing as a photographer and start working towards having my work in a gallery soon.

So on to photos. This morning was forecast to have heavy fog so I woke up early and got out to shoot a few 4x5 sheets. I am pleased with how they turned out! I was travelling out near Clyattville.

First is this image before the sun rose. It was taken with a Nikon 90mm f/8 at f/22 with an exposure of 4 seconds. I cropped the image to an 12x20 aspect ratio (and I am planning to print this one soon). I used T-Max 100 film rated at 50 and developed N-1/2 (1:9 for 8.75 minutes). I added a slight toning in Photoshop to simulate selenium toning:

Shortly after this shot the sun started to emerge from the trees. I made a quick stop when I saw this next scene and grabbed my 210mm Schneider Symmar-S. While I was setting up the shot I was asked what I was doing...I had parked at what I thought was a business but was actually a house. The owner luckily didn't mind me being there for a few moments so I snagged this shot. The negative was a little thin so the scan didn't come out that well, and the sun is ill-defined. It might print out better, I'll have to see. I decided to crop it to a square. If you look closely at the top of the tree to the right there is a bird perched all the way at the top!

Finally, after the sun had risen all the way, I made my way to a small cemetery nearby I knew of. I remembered this scene last time but the sun was on the wrong side so I didn't get a good shot. This one came out very well. I used the 210mm again, but I wanted a very shallow depth-of-field so I shot it at f/8. The Schneider Symmar-S even at only 1 stop closed from the maximum aperture provides an amazingly sharp image. Again I toned this in PS:

Thanks again to all of you visiting that got me to 1,000 views. By the way, you can feel free to comment on photos if you like! :) I also added a "Reactions" gadget under the post so that you can simply tell me what you think about the posting. Feel free to suggest other "reactions" if you like.

Also, I've got some color digital snaps from this morning after the break!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Indian Springs State Park

As promised, here are some photos I took a couple of weeks ago but hadn't had the chance to post. I took a trip to Atlanta for a weekend to play at a church that was near Indian Springs State Park. Winter was upon the park and it was very cold. All of the leaves were fallen and dead on the ground. It was a very moody day and I tried to capture that via brown-toning the images.

You will recognize a couple of images from my previous post about copper-toning.

All of these were taken with my Nikon SP rangefinder and either a 21mm or 25mm Voigtlander lens or the standard 50mm on Tri-X 400 film:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Copper Toning - first prints

A friend recently suggested I try copper toning my prints after I told him I was looking for a brownish hue. Sepia toning is a little different and not what I wanted. So I bought a batch of copper toner but didn't have the time to try it out till last night.

The toning solution was a pretty green color but turned the prints reddish-brown. I really like the effect and will be using it on prints where I want that effect. Here is my first completed print, matted and framed, using this toner. It is a print from this posting. If you compare it's obviously a little more red than brown:

Here are a couple more prints from the session. The first image is from this post a while ago, while the second is from a trip up in north GA that I haven't posted the images from yet (stay tuned!):