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Oxford: flooded meadow

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

During December 2020 the UK saw a lot of rainfall and some parts of the country were flooded. I don’t remember Oxford receiving enough rain to cause flooding but as the massive volume of water from other parts comes rushing through Oxford the rivers swell which in turn causes some areas to flood, especially a local meadow. I made the most of the flooding and did some photography with a large format camera I’ve been wanting to try out for a while. It’s custom made with a 75mm Schneider lens which is fitted to a helicoid for focussing and the back rotates – something I found out by accident which was a nice bonus. There is no branding on it but it’s extremely well designed and made.

I wanted to fill the frame with sky and the reflection in the water so I had to stand in the water because a 75mm on 5×4 film gives an extremely wide angle of view. The Benbo Mk 2 tripod is perfect for this because the legs extend upwards from inside the bottom part of the legs and is designed to stand in water. What a didn’t realise was how easily one of the feet would end up coming off in the mud because it had a split in it, something I only noticed once I got back home. Fortunately Paterson in the UK still sell spares and supply them in a pack of 3. I’ve included some behind the scenes pictures below.

[Tech info:] Custom red dot 5×4 camera, 75mm Schneider lens, FP4 film (expired), developed in Kodak HC110 1+31 (-1 minute to prevent the highlights blowing out).

20201229_Flooded_Meadow_75mm_FP4_HC110B_001_web 20201229_Flooded_Meadow_75mm_FP4_HC110B_002_web 20201229_Flooded_Meadow_75mm_FP4_HC110B_003_web 20201229_Flooded_Meadow_75mm_FP4_HC110B_004_web IMG_5044 IMG_5045 IMG_5049 IMG_5053

 

 

 

Oxford: Paper negative testing

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

These shots are from a lunch break session of testing paper negatives. In previous tests I had found using ID11 film developer diluted to 1+2 tamed the contrast nicely compared to using Ilford Multigrade paper developer but having run out of ID11 I wanted to test D76 film developer which I had just mixed up (apparently they are both based on the same recipe). The sky was very overcast which kept the contrast down and I was in-between rain showers.

[Tech info:] Graflex Crown Graphic 5×4, 135/4.7 lens, Ilford Multigrade RC paper (ISO 6), D76 1+2 dilution, 2 mins.

Black Country Living Museum

Friday, March 30th, 2018

Last month I visited the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley for the second time and on this trip I decided to take along a large format camera for a change. The most portable 5×4 camera I have is a modified Polaroid 110B which folds up nicely to make it very portable and easy to travel with. I’ve got some sheets that I haven’t developed yet and those will follow in a future blog post.

[Tech info:] Polaroid 110B, Yashinon 127mm lens, Ilford FP4 film (expired), developed in Kodak HC110 1+31. Last shot was made on Fomapan 100 (expired), developed in Rodinal 1+25.

Gear: testing large format brass lenses

Friday, May 5th, 2017

I’ve recently been testing some very old brass camera lenses that I’ve had for a while and by old I mean over one hundred years old. Some have the manufacturer engraved on them, some don’t. Some of them have aperture blades inside, some don’t and none of them have built in shutters which is why I was testing them on a Sinar monorail camera (below) with a Sinar behind the lens shutter. The downside is the maximum shutter speed is 1/60th which makes it difficult on a sunny day. More testing to come with more detailed results.

[Tech info:] Sinar P 5×4 camera, Watson & Sons No. 3 portrait lens, Ilford Delta 100 film developed in Kodak HC110 1+31.

portraits

 

film drying and 5x4 camera

 

Large format film test

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

I recently bought a batch of expired large format 5×4 sheet film that I’m unfamiliar with so I made some test shots during my lunch break to see what they would look like. The film expired in 2005 and as I have no idea of how it’s been stored since then I decided to rate the film at ISO64 instead of 100. The camera I used is my smallest and most portable 5×4 camera which is a Polaroid 110B that I had converted by Randy at holgamods.com. It’s a thing of beauty and a joy to use.

[Tech info:] Polaroid 110B, Mac 100 UP b&w film (expired 2005), rated at ISO64 and developed in Rodinal 1+25 for 8mins in a Jobo.

Lunchtime lens test – Phillips K 165/2.8 projector lens

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

A while ago I picked up a Phillips K 165mm/f2.8 projector lens to experiment with on my Speed Graphic and last week I finally managed to make a few test shots. It’s always nice to have patient work colleagues when testing lenses. On this particular day it was very overcast and gloomy so I used a small LED video light for a bit of fill but it’s not very noticeable. There is no aperture inside this lens so it’s f2.8 all the time which could be tricky on a bright day so I must remember to keep some ND gels in my camera bag.

[Tech info]: Speed Graphic 5×4, Phillips K 165/2.8 projector lens, Kodak Tri-X 320 (expired 2003), developed in Kodak HC110 1+31. Colour shot is a bleached Fuji FP-100C neg.

Camera and lens used. I have since mounted the lens in a proper lens board. My cardboard effort was just to see if it was worth doing properly for this lens

Oxford: Remembrance Day, 2015

Sunday, November 15th, 2015

Last year I photographed the Remembrance Day ceremony is Oxford with only 35mm film so this year I decided to change things up and only use large format. There’s no sense in repeating things, right? After much deliberation I opted to use my Speed Graphic 5×4 and 7 inch Aero Ektar lens (aka The Burnett combo). Using a lens from WWII seemed somewhat appropriate and I need all of the speed I could get because the sky was very overcast and the light level very low. Once I had packed my camera bag I only had space for 6 film holders (12 sheets of 5×4 inch film) so that’s all I took. Some of my shots ended up with very strange looking focus shift so I think in my rush to set up I must have moved the lens from being parallel with the film plane. Overall I think this camera and lens combo is well suited to this subject and hopefully I’ll get a chance to photograph some more military parades when I’m not rushing so much.

[Tech info]: Graflex Speed Graphic 5×4, Kodak Aero Ektar lens, Ilford HP5 developed in HC110 1+31 for 5 mins.

Oxford Beard Festival 2015

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

I must admit I’m not a huge fan of shaving and usually go a few weeks between shaves whenever possible. When I found out about the Oxford Beard Festival my first thought wasn’t about entering, it was to make portraits of some of the competitors in a formal portrait kind of way. It took me a while to decide on which camera to take and in the end I opted for my Graflex Super D which is a large format SLR allowing me to shoot 5×4 inch sheet film. For this event I packed 12 sheets of film and used one sheet on each person below so making mistakes wasn’t an option. After arriving at the venue (The James Street Tavern) I scoped out a place to set up that would be both out of the way and would also give me consistent lighting during the afternoon and managed to find a nice shady spot in the corner of the beer garden. It was a fun event and I enjoyed photographing such a variety of beards but this was more than just about beards, I could appreciate the thought that had also gone into the clothes and styling for a lot of these guys and that made for better pictures in the end. My thanks go out to all of these guys for being so patient and for sitting very still for me.

[Tech info:] Graflex Super D 5×4, Pentac 8inch f2.9 lens, Ilford HP5 film processed in Kodak HC110 1+31 for 6 mins.

Behind the scenes shots of the camera I used and some of the sheet film hanging up to dry.

Large format lunchtime session – Alice

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Some of the results from my large format lunchtime session with Alice using a 1940’s press camera. For this session I wanted to test out some Fomapan 100 film that I’ve had laying around for over a year and recently discovered. So far so good. I like these results. I’m hoping to do more large format photography in my lunch break because I really enjoy composing my shots on a large ground glass screen – often times upside down – and also having a limited amount of shots as well as the slower pace compared to other kinds of photography.

[Tech info:] Graflex Super D 5×4, Pentac 8inch f2.9 (bottom left), Kodak Ektar 190/5.6 lens, Fomapan 100 (expired), processed in Kodak HC110 1+31.

Film hanging up to dry

Oxford: New College on large format

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Yesterday I taught a landscape photography workshop at New College with Anthony (the current Oxford University Photographic Society President) and after a classroom session we all went out into the New College grounds to do some photography. The sky was very clear which made for quite contrasty light with nice shadows. I decided to take my Polaroid 110B to do some large format photography on Kodak Plus-X Aerographic film to test out how it handled contrast. Overall I think the film handled the contrast very well, especially in this first image below. I only took six sheets of film with me and to save time I bracketed the first two shots and then used my last two on Anthony (we couldn’t decide on jacket on or off so we shot both).

[Tech info:] Polaroid 110B, Kodak Plus-X Aerographic film, processed in Kodak HC110 (1+31) for 5 mins.

Behind-the-scenes – film drying in the darkroom

Oxford: Industar lens test part 2

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Here are a few more shots from the first time out with my Industar 210mm large format lens. I only took six sheets of film with me and I used two sheets on one of the shots because the light was changing and I decided to try out a greater depth of field on the second sheet. I ended up preferring the light on the building in the first exposure so that’s the one I’ve posted here.

[Tech info:] Graflex Speed Graphic, Industar 210/f4.5 lens, Kodak Plus-X Aerographic film, processed in Kodak HC110 1+31 for 6 mins.

Oxford: Industar lens test

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Here are some of the first test shots made with my Industar 210mm Russian large format lens. I bought this lens back in July last year but it took me a while to get it mounted on a lens panel to use with my Speed Graphic. Finally the wait is over. The light was fading when I made these exposures and they were made at the slowest shutter speed on my Speed Graphic which is 1/30th with the lens fully open at f4.5. I pushed the film a little in the developer to try to lift the shadows but there doesn’t seem to be anything there to bring out. I’m pleased with these results and can’t wait to do some more at a closer focussing distance. I made a few other shots which will follow another time – I left them drying in the darkroom.

[Tech info:] Speed Graphic 5×4, Industar 210/f4.5 lens, Kodak Plus-X Aerographic film, processed in Kodak HC110 1+31 for 6 mins.