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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.

Portrait: Rachel Owen, Artist

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

In the summer of 2012 I was starting to experiment with large format x-ray film and looking for willing volunteers to sit for a portrait so that I could test things out. One of my test portraits was of Oxford artist Rachel Owen who I knew also worked with film when we chatted at her Artweeks exhibition months earlier. Yesterday I was very sad to hear that Rachel died on Sunday 18th December from cancer. Pembroke College announced the news on their website.

[Tech info:] Wista 10×8, green sensitive x-ray film rated at ISO 50, processed in Rodinal 1:50 for 6 mins.

Rachel Owen, Artist (1968-2016).

Rachel Owen, Artist (1968-2016)

The Great Dorset Steam Fair 2016 – part 1

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

Two days ago I visited The Great Dorset Steam Fair for a photography day out with my old friend and fellow photographer Benedict Campbell – we used to work at the same photography studio 25+ years ago and I was one of his assistants. Ben suggested the Steam Fair would be great to photograph because he previously visited it to make his short film about the Wall of Death (watch it here). After setting off at 6am we arrived there nice and early with beautiful morning light and not too many crowds. The weather was kind to us with just the odd passing shower during the afternoon which got rid of the humidity and helped keep the air a little fresher. It was a fantastic day out and I really enjoyed seeing so much passion for massive machines. We photographed all day, stayed until it got dark and brought back lots of pictures to share. Lots more to come.

[Tech info:] Leica M2, Voigtlander 50/1.5 Nokton Classic, Agfa APX 100, Developed in Rodinal 1+25 for 8 mins. Pakon scans.

Oxford: Endeavour series 3, episode 4

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

These shots are from the first day of filming in Oxford for the fourth and final episode of Endeavour series three. As luck would have it, I had booked a day off work to develop colour film in the darkroom and while taking a break for lunch I managed to find the Endeavour crew who were finishing up a scene before also taking a break for lunch. After I had finished developing more films in the afternoon I returned to the set and managed to photograph one more scene before packing up for the day. The schedule suffered an unforeseen delay when a huge truck decided to reverse down St Johns Street (which was clearly too narrow with parked cars on both sides) right as the Endeavour crew had set up the camera and were about to rehearse the next scene. The crew moved all of their equipment out of the way and watched many failed attempts by the driver to turn the truck around a corner that was so tight you’d be lucky to get the truck around if it was half the size. Eventually the driver admitted defeat and parked the truck further down the street. It was while all of this was happening that I made the small group shot of some of the guys so now you know why they have the puzzled expressions.

[Tech info:] Leica M2, Voightlander Nokton 50/1.5, Agfa APX 100 film pushed 1 stop in Rodinal 1+50.

Oxford: St Giles’ Fair 2015 – part 1

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

St Giles’ Fair rolled into town last week and this is the first of what will probably be quite a few blog posts of pictures shot over the three days (including setting up). This year I only used black & white film for a change. It was nice to see some familiar faces again and as usual there was lots going on and plenty to photograph. I missed the fair last year so I was crossing my fingers for nice weather this time which we were fortunate to have. In the second shot down you can see Tommy Noyce who has been visiting St Giles’ Fair since he was 6 years old. He is now 73. The well known galloping horses carousel has been in his family for three generations and takes five trucks to transport. Sadly it no longer comes to St Giles’ Fair. The last frame below was made on the way back to my office during my lunch time visit to the fair – two of the tailors from Clements & Church on Little Clarendon Street.

[Tech info:] Fuji 6×9, Neopan Acros 100 developed in Rodinal 1+50 for 14 mins.

Oxford: pushing Tri-X

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

It’s been a long time since the last time I can remember pushing Kodak Tri-X film to ISO 1600 and processing it in Rodinal developer so that’s what I decided to do a few weeks ago. There are a mix of images on this roll ranging from some night portraits that I made during a photography class I was teaching to Ruskin art students on the High Street during their drawing sale to raise funds for their end of year degree show. I’d like to do some more work with Art students but they seem to be an illusive bunch so it’s currently a work in progress.

[Tech info:] Nikon FM2, Zeiss 50/1.4 lens, Kodak Tri-X 400 (expired), rated at ISO 1600, processed in Rodinal 1:50 for 18 mins.

Oxford: large format lunch-break photography

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Recently I managed to pick up a roll of quite unique film and these are some of my first test shots with it. The roll is 350ft long and 5 inches wide so it’s perfect for being cut down to 5×4 inch sheets to use for large format photography. The film is Kodak Plus-X Aero film that was developed for aerial photography – this is stock used by the M.O.D. and expired in 2000. During my lunch break yesterday I went into town hoping to make some test portraits because the tonal range in this film is more like what you find in wet plate photography and I wanted to know if it was going to be usable for portraits. I’m very happy with the results which look very smooth tonally and the grain is almost non existent.

[Tech info:] Polaroid 110B (modified for 5×4), Kodak Plus-X 2402 Aero film, ISO 100, processed in Rodinal 1:50 for 14 mins.

Here’s the camera I used (shown below with a roll film back). Modified by Randy at HolgaMods.com

10×8 portrait: Amanda

Monday, September 1st, 2014

A large format portrait made on 10×8 inch xray film. The making of pic below was made by Amanda from her viewpoint but you don’t get a sense of how large this camera is. I really enjoy making simple honest portraits like this with nothing fancy in terms of styling, lighting or location – just one light, subject and camera.

[Tech info:] Wista 10×8, Sinaron 300mm lens, green sensitive xray film, processed in Rodinal 1+50 for 6 mins.

Wista pic by Amanda | Xray film hanging up to dry

 

Oxford: around and about – Zenit

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Here are some shots from back in March that I made with my Zenit Russian tank of a camera. It gives random light leaks which I’ve come to quite like. This film is Kodak Double X motion picture film as used by some Hollywood movie studios.

[Technical info:] Zenit 35mm, 50/2 Helios lens, loaded with Eastman Kodak Double X film, processed in Rodinal 1+25.

Oxford: Mikado rehearsal

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Here are some shots from a rehearsal for The Mikado that I attended a few months ago at New College thanks to the show’s director, Tim Coleman. I had hoped to photograph at the dress rehearsal as well but unfortunately the timings didn’t quite work out. I used this occasion to test out some film that I’ve been struggling with to find a look that I like. The film is Ilford Delta 3200 which is designed for low light photography but finding a developer that produces results that I am very happy with has proven tricky (not least because the film expired 7 years ago and has lost some of its sensitivity) but I think I’ve finally cracked it with a developer named Rodinal. Ironically Rodinal is renowned for increasing grain which is usually the last thing you want with fast film but I like these results and will continue to test with this combination.

[Tech info:] Bronica ETRSi, 75/2.8, loaded with Ilford Delta 3200 rated at ISO 800, processed in Rodinal 1+25 for 7 mins.

 

Oxford vs Cambridge 107th Varsity Boxing part 1

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

This was a great night at a packed Oxford Town Hall. I struggled with the lack of space back stage to make many pictures, instead I wanted to record the ambience of the venue. In the end Oxford won which was a fantastic end to the night. I have some other shots on a roll in a different camera that I haven’t finished yet but I’ll post those when I have them.

[Tech info:] Rolleiflex 2.8f, 80/2.8 Zeiss Planar, loaded with expired Ilford Delta 3200, processed in Rodinal 1+25.

Oxford: …and all that jazz part 2

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

Here are some medium format film shots that I made last weekend during one of the rehearsal’s for Chicago that is on in a few days at the Keble O’Reilly theatre. This film expired in 2007 and generally high-speed film doesn’t age well so I’m very pleased with how these turned out considering the light level was incredibly low and not very contrasty. I was partly using this occasion as a test for a bright (Beattie) viewing screen that I recently installed into my Mamiya C330f camera and I’m happy to report that it’s a lot brighter and easier to focus with than the stock screen.

[Tech info:] Mamiya C330f, 80/2.8 lens loaded with Ilford Delta 3200 (expired 2007), rated at ISO 1250, processed in Rodinal 1+25 for 10mins.