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Oxford: Speed Graphic street portraits – part 1

Wednesday, August 24th, 2022

After being on a bit of a roll with my large format street portraits I decided to take my Speed Graphic out with a lens I’ve been meaning to use for a while – 165mm f2.7 Zeiss Tessar. I repurposed the lens from a folding camera which was well past its best with a perished shutter. Steve at Chroma Camera kindly designed and 3D printed a custom lens board for me. It’s a lot lighter than my Aero Ektar lens but gives a very different look. Depth of field is very shallow as you’d expect – most of these were shot around f4.5.

[Tech info:] Speed Graphic 5×4, 165mm f2.7 Tessar lens, Ilford HP5 (expired), developed in Kodak HC110 1+31 for 6mins.

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Oxford: Graflex Super D street portraits – part 1

Monday, August 22nd, 2022

After the focus issues I was having with my Gowlandflex I decided to take my Graflex Super D into town after work to use it for some more large format portraits. The benefit is I’m able to cycle with the Super D in a rucksack, my Gowlandflex is too large to fit into any rucksack I currently own. The lens I used was designed for aerial photography during WWII and is uncoated which gives a low contrast almost dreamy look which I like.
[Tech info:] Graflex Super D, 8 inch Pentac lens, Ilford HP5 (expired), developed in Kodak HC110 1+31 for 6 mins.

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Oxford: Gowlandflex street portraits – part 1

Sunday, August 21st, 2022

Here are some street portraits from the first trips out with my Gowlandflex large format TLR camera on a Saturday and Sunday morning in Oxford. The camera is a beast and attracted a fair bit of attention. I enjoyed chatting with people and making their portraits – something I haven’t done for a couple of years.

The mirror calibration was completely wrong when I received this camera so I replaced the springs to lower the mirror by 2.5mm. This is the first time I’ve used it properly and it looks like I need to re-check the calibration because most of these shots are front focussed but overall I’m pleased with the results. A couple of the shots have some strange light leaks which might be from the film holder not being seated properly. Further investigation needed.

[Tech info:] Gowlandflex TLR, 180/4.5 Voigtlander Heliar lens, Ilford HP5 & Funi Across 100 film (expired), developed in Kodak HC110 1+31 for 6 mins.

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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).

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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