Sunday, July 29, 2012

Digital Snaps on the Azalea Trail

I keep looking back at the photos in the previous post. I really love the rendering on the film. However I wanted to try shooting it with digital to see if I could emulate that look.

I went out again to the Azalea Trail at the same time of day. Unfortunately just a few minutes into my trek it started pouring rain. So I only made a few snaps, none of which have the engaging light of last time. I must admit that the previous success may simply have been from the beautiful light filtering through wispy clouds last time. But either way, here's a few shots.

First is my favorite, a rare flower macro. I wanted to try out a new lens that I just got, a Nikon 80-200mm f/4.5 AI lens. This was shot with a Vivitar Close-up #1 Diopter to get focused close enough. I think this 35-year-old lens is pretty sharp!

I then took a few shots in b&w. These came out okay but the lighting was kind of flat. The worst part about digital is the highlights, and that was really the battle with these. I overexposed some of the film shots by quite a bit, intentionally, and the Rodinal really toned down the highlights and helped the quality of light to come through in the photo. Anyway, here are a couple of the b&w shots:

The sun peaked out for just about 10 seconds in the second photo, and it shows. Overall I'm not particularly inspired by any of these b&w shots. I still need to work on my technique when shooting them. I get okay results shooting in color and converting it later but I work better "in the field" when I'm thinking in b&w, and therefore shooting it as such. Much to experiment with in terms of settings!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Another Rodinal Test - T-Max 100 35mm film

The results from Tri-X in Rodinal was so nice I wanted to try T-Max 100. T-Max is my standard 4x5 film but I've never really gotten the hang of it in 35mm. I exposed it at ISO 50 and developed it in Rodinal 1:50 for 10 minutes at 20 degrees C. The negatives came out really nice, though just a tad overexposed. Similar to my Tri-X test, it seems that I needed to shoot it 2/3 of a stop under box speed, or 64. Further shooting will be at that speed instead, with probably a slight pull of the development time.

The detail in the negatives is fantastic. An 11x14 print from the 35mm frame should come out great, despite being about a 10x enlargement. I will have to test that when I get moved and set up my darkroom. Speaking of which, this will be my last roll of film likely before I move, as I need to start packing up some of my equipment!

Anyway, here are the photos. I used a variety of lenses - 21/4, 35/1.8, 50/1.4, 85/2, and 135/3.5:

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Club/Band Photography - Nikon F4 with Flash, TMZ-3200

I went out and did some club / band photography last night and I'm very happy with the results. I used my Nikon F4 with an SB-800 flash and a variety of primes (28/2, 50/1.4, 85/1.8, and 135/2).

I used TMZ-3200 film rated at 800, and developed in straight XTOL for 8 minutes at 20 degrees C. Here are the results:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A little portraiture with the D800E

Today will be a digital day! Sorry. I actually took a film camera (Nikon F2) when I was doing this shoot but decided to not use film because it would distract me and both digital and film would suffer.

I did some graduation photos for my friend Stephanie. She was a very amicable model and the weather turned out to be excellent, so they came out very well. My girlfriend Meagan was gracious enough to assist me with the reflector. First, here's four shots that were all taken with the 85mm f/1.8 AF-D:

Here's one more. I singled this one out because of how outstanding the results were with a lens I recently picked up. It's a very old non-AI 105mm f/2.5, THE famous portrait lens that made Nikon lenses known throughout the world. This lens is not only bitingly sharp but has fantastic bokeh and a real character that I love. I need to get it AI'd because even on the D800E it doesn't really work, especially not with flash. So this was all fully manual. For reference, the lens was set at f/2.8 and I used fill flash manually:

I really like how the background is echoed by the human form. Notice the slope of the shoulders compared with the out-of-focus bridge in the background and also the light/dark relationship.

Anyway, I might have a film post soon, so stay tuned.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Moving - New Darkroom/Studio coming 35mm shots

While I don't normally write about my personal life on here often, I feel obligated to share. Both my girlfriend and I have accepted new jobs at the local university and will be moving to a spacious new rental house in early August. The best part is the house has a huge outbuilding with running water with plenty of space for a full darkroom AND studio! Never before have I had such a large space to play with! However, as of today I'll be pretty much out of commission from taking photos as I'm beginning the long, arduous process of packing.

However, recently I did get a chance to shoot a roll of film. Here is some photos taken with my Nikon SP and a freshly-purchased 35mm f/1.8 lens! I found a bargain on this lens and snapped it up, and boy am I glad I did. I decided to shoot some T-Max 3200 film near campus. The first shots are all shot at f/8 or f/11 with a red filter, except the bench which I shot at f/1.8 to see how it looked wide-open:

And here's some shots indoors. First up is one of my old professors making us espresso. Next is my girlfriend Meagan. That one is shot wide-open, and you can see how nice the lens looks at that aperture:

I don't know how much I'll get to post in the coming weeks but hopefully I won't be totally silent. I've still got some photos from earlier trips to post...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Film Test - Tri-X 35mm in Rodinal 1:50 @ Grand Bay

Tri-X film and Rodinal is supposed to be a great combo, one that has been used by many a photographer, so I decided I really should try it. Normally, I've been using XTOL straight for my 35mm Tri-X negatives, but I continue to get excessive contrast it seems, especially in our exceedingly bright and sunny southern days.

I got up early and went out to Grand Bay, the first time I've been in a while. I was pleasantly surprised to find a field full of what I believe is tobacco plants. I have never seen this field planted and with fully-grown plants, so I was very lucky this year to see the harvest before it was, well, harvested.

Anyway, I shot the Tri-X at ASA 200 and developed it in Rodinal diluted 1:50 at 68 degrees for 9 minutes. My initial thoughts are that the film was slightly overexposed and could have a bit more development, so next time I will try ASA 320 and 10 minutes developing I think. I think the time would have been perfect for an N-1 development though.

Here are a sampling of photos from the outing. All were shot with my Nikon SP rangefinder and either 21mm, 35mm, or 50mm lenses:


 As an interesting aside, right after shooting the last photo I saw a massive alligator saunter across the path that I was hiking down. By my estimations considering the width of the path, it was at minimum eight feet long. I am glad I was not nearby when he decided to cross the road!! Of course I snapped a photo but only with the 50mm I had on the camera. Not optimal by any means, but for posterity, here it is, judiciously cropped: