The Long, ‘It’s Been Forever and Here’s Why’ Post

14 09 2013

I considered titling this ‘Art Therapy’, but, rejected that on the grounds that it was too vague. This is certainly the longest, and most personal, post I’m ever going to make on this blog, but rather than leap right back into posting about cameras and techniques without a word about, well, the last 8 or 9 months, I thought I’d write a combination update/things that help when your life’s imploding kind of post.

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Diana Mini

21 01 2013

So, I generally really hate the snow, but since I didn’t have any driving to do this weekend, it’s been less of a stress influence for me, and I’ve managed to almost appreciate it. (Of course I feel slightly differently now that I have to drive to work in it later tonight).

Few shots taken outside with the Diana Mini. I fastened a red filter over the lens (actually, a Quality Street wrapper secured with elastic, but, whatever).

img027

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And one extra from the same roll, taken in Leeds a few weeks ago. Set on bulb, guesstimated exposure, resting on the edge of a bridge.

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6×6 Cherry Pinhole

15 10 2012

Following on from a post a couple of weeks ago, where I posted some progress photos of a medium format pinhole camera I have been constructing from wood (thin cherry boards), this is my progress with the camera so far.

The test roll showed some major faults with the design of the camera.

1. The clasp I used wasn’t well suited to the design, making opening and closing the box difficult.

2. The film winding mechanism is far too loose, resulting in the film winding back on itself periodically. I managed to counteract this to some extent by use of gaffa tape, but clearly that’s not an ideal solution, nor is it very pretty.

3. The film itself was given too much room to travel, resulting in a curved film plane, and also making it difficult at times to view the frame numbers in the window.

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Mixed Media

16 05 2012

Just a quick post. I’ve been doing a lot of experiments combining various different media with photography recently, and I think this so far is my favourite in terms of presentation and clarity.

Acrylic paint and photography on watercolour paper, sealed with matte spray varnish.

This particular one is a test example, and will be going into my sketchbook for future reference, but I have plenty of ideas centred around this particular technique. I just need some time to shoot. Roll on the weekend!





Darkroom

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.





Ilford Microphen

26 06 2011

I’ve previously been using premixed Ilfosol, but last time I bought developer, decided to go for one of the powder boxes that my local photographic store sells (they do three varieties of the Ilford developers). Up until now, I was pretty cynical about developer having a particularly huge difference on the outcome of film (developer’s developer, right? So long as it produces an image, we’re good?) Oh so wrong.

I compared the tones and grain on this negative to a negative shot on the exact same film (same batch and all, from a bulk roll I have), on the same camera, with the same lens attached. The difference goes way beyond simple exposure differences. It’s just clearer, somehow.

I suspect we overdeveloped the film ever so slightly (the original plan was to wash in the bathroom upstairs. This plan was foiled by the occupancy of the bathroom by someone else in the house, so there was a dash down to the kitchen, and an extra couple of minutes on the developing time), which would account for the contrasty tones, although I’ve pushed this film with Ilfosol before, and not gotten this sort of result. So I’d assume the developer does have something to do with it.

Even scanned with my super-crappy Global film scanner, the results are looking promising. These are a few of my favourites from the roll. No Photoshop adjustments other than resize, although the scanner has degraded the tonal quality, as evident in the pixelation of some shadow areas.

Armley Mills

Armley Mills

Armley Mills

Armley Mills

Camera: Olympus OM10 with 50mm f1.8 lens
Film: (Bulk) Jessops Pan100S (out of date by three years, but kept refrigerated). Shot rated as intended at 100iso.
Developer: Ilford Microphen. Diluted at 3:1 ratio. Developed for ~17 minutes








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