Infrared Flash with an Olympus XA2

26 10 2013

I’ve owned an XA2 for some years now, although after the initial honeymoon period of a new toy to experiment with, it fell out of favour with me for a while. Over the past few months, I’ve been enjoying the simplicity and compact size, and looking once again at testing it’s capability and limitations.

The returning interest in infrared arose from my acquisition of the more powerful A16 flash unit, when replacing my faulty A11. I was reminded of a project posted online some years back, running a series of experiments with infrared flash, using an XA2. It was something J and I were both interested in at the time, although whilst I lost interest quickly, J took it so far as photographing a couple of live bands with IR flash (with great success, although with an SLR and more powerful flashgun).

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Direct Positive Solargraphy

14 10 2012

I’ve been using Ilford Direct Positive paper for pinhole work recently, more to try it out than anything.
J and I wondered how it’d perform when used in place of standard photo paper in a solargraph.

The whole thing was mounted high up on the side wall of my house, on August 20th, and removed today, so it’s been up there pretty much three full months.

This is the unprocessed image. The undeveloped paper goes pink within seconds of being exposed to light, so that’s just a paper issue, rather than being related to the solargraph.

Here’s the image scanned, desaturated and with a levels adjustment applied.

You can clearly see the outlines of the trees and houses behind my house, and the passage of the sun as it becomes lower in the sky from the end of summer into the autumn months, so definitely some success.

I think the next step is to load up two further cameras. One containing direct positive paper, one containing standard photo paper, and expose them both in the same place, over a six month period. This will allow comparision between the two types of paper, and also show a greater demonstration of the journey of the sun through the sky. I plan to put these up around December 20th, in the hope of capturing the sun rising in the sky as the season moves from winter into spring.

Inkjet Transfers

17 03 2012

I’ve seen this sort of thing done by various people, but everyone I’ve ever seen do it has stated that you need to use a photocopy, rather than an inkjet print, for it to be successful.

Well, I had time on my hands, an inkjet printer, a hard drive full of photos, and a room full of a million craft supplies just waiting for a purpose. So, I thought, nothing to lose by trying it.

I used Mod Podge, because it was the first gloopy, sticky craft substance that came to hand.
First, I printed out the image onto glossy photographic paper (I do wonder if this is a factor in the success, since the finish of the paper potentially makes it easier for the seperation to happen later.)
Right after it’s finished printing, I applied the Mod Podge fairly liberally over the print itself. Then, stuck it face down onto the receiving surface, pressed the surfaces together and rubbed like hell on the back of the print for a minute or so. T=Once that was done, I carefully peeled back the photographic paper. I did have to try a couple of corners before I found one that didn’t start to lift the image back up aswell.

First try, experiment on handmade paper:

Second attempt, onto a miniature stretched canvas:

The canvas one was a bit of a pain to rub hard enough for the image to transfer successfully, because of the stretched area haing no solid backing. Canvas board would probably yield far less patchy results. I’m also planning on trying a transfer direct to canvas, then stretching the canvas over a frame afterwards. I suspect this might skew the image, though.

But, result: inkjet prints work just fine, it would seem 🙂


20 08 2011

A short while ago, I started to set up a darkroom in the shed. This sounds a bit mad, until you realise how huge my shed is, the fact that it has electrical power (and is connected to the household alarm system), and how little space is really required for darkroom practice.

I’ve owned a Durst enlarger and timer for about ten years, since college, so that wwas the main expense already taken care of (although for reference, you can pick up a basic Durst black and white enlarger from around £20-30, so it’s not a massive outlay at all). J had a safelight which he’s loaned to me, and my local photography store has a wonderful secondhand section from which I picked up three 8 x 10″ plastic trays for less than a tenner. I already had fix, since I develop a lot of film at home anyway, and I’d picked up a bottle of paper developer around the same time I bought the trays.

Since getting everything set up on the workbench, it’s all kind of just been sitting there. Every weekend I have the intention of printing something, but it’s been so long, my apprehension about screwing it all up got in the way. Until this weekend.

Currently, although I’ve taped thick black bags over the windows to block out light, the edges still need some attention, so the place isn’t quite light tight yet. So, we waited until after dark before heading up there. After hitting the light, and standing in the dark in there for a few minutes, it was decided that no light was visible, and it was suitable for printing.

Here’s the setup.

And here’s a scan of the contact print. It’s not the best effort, although mostly on account of the fact that I tend to shot the same roll of film in a huge variety of different lighting conditions, rather than something like, say, a full roll of similarly lit studio shots. But it’s the first darkroom print I’ve made in about 8 years, and I’m a bit happy about it.

Infrared Flash Part One

8 08 2011

Recently, J and I have been looking into infrared flash photography.
After some careful research (mostly done by J, it has to be said), we split the cost of a ten pack of Rollei Infrared from AG Photographic.

Next step was deciding on a camera, and flash, setup. In terms of flashguns, I’m currently limited to a choice between a Metz hammerhead, and the little Cobra manual. For the sake of size, I went for the Cobra. Easier to mount and carry, slightly less conspicuous (which is kind of the point) and less flash area to cover with the IR filter. Plus, it comes with a diffuser attachment, from which the piece of diffuser plastic pops in and out of, onto which I can tape the infrared filter rather than taping it directly onto the flash itself.

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