Friday, December 31, 2010

Before There Was Digital and The Naming Of Photographers

Before There Was Digital

The Naming Of Types
(Stolen and poorly adapted from T. S. Eliot)
The Naming of Types is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a photographer must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.

First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Snapshot, Wedding, Nature, Macro or Travel
All of them fun everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:

But I tell you, a photographer needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you the most accordant
That name is of course Photojournalism.
A name that is a beacon for both truth and realism
With the names Bokeh and Sharpness being of much lesser importance

But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover--
But THE PHOTOGRAPHER HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice he or she is in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
Of all the names his is the smartest,
His ineffable effable
That of course is because he's an Artist
Of deep and inscrutable singular Nature.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Silver Alchemy - Xtol Plus Rodinal

There is a certain modern retro look that I have in my mind for a portrait project I have in the works. The Lomo 120 ISO 100 film AKA Shanghai GP3 looks like a possible film for the project For the developer I would like to use Xtol. Xtol looks good but seem to lack a bit of an edge. Xtol's primary component is vitamin C and vitamin C is compatible with Rodinal.  The idea (from apug) is that a pinch of Rodinal in Xtol adds a bit of edge definition which is normally absent because of the solvent action of the Xtol. So this might be just what is needed.

New update on the process can be found here: silver-alchemy-xtol-plus-rodinal-part-ii

It's a balance between grain and highlights with the Rodinal and shadow detail with the Xtol. The 2 developers just happen to be chemically and PH compatible. But Xtol is a solvent compensating developer while Rodinal is not.

I use around a 2 minute water presoak at the same temperature as the developer and standard agitation (first 30 seconds and a couple of seconds every 2 to 3 minutes thereafter). So far in an unscientific sampling it looks like I'm on the right track. Very happy with the results:

Sunset On High Park's Grenadier Pond
Kodak TMAX 400 "Xtol 1:2 + Rodinal 1:112 for 10.5 minutes 19c"
Xtol was meant to be the dominant component yet with the tmax 400 I can see a definite difference in the highlights over xtol alone. I know by my scanning histograms compared to previous work with xtol and TMAX that the DMAX has increased with more highlights and midtone details then what would normally be seen with xtol alone while the shadows are pretty normal for xtol 1:2.

New Cafe In Cabbagetown
Fuji Neopan 400 "Xtol 1:2 + Rodinal 1:112 for 12.5  minutes 19c"  
It is less clear that there is any benefit to adding Rodinal to Xtol when developing Fuji Neopan 400 at box speed. I suspect that because it is easy to block shadows with Neopan 400 at box speed using 1:2 Xtol instead of my normal 1:1 Xtol the shadows are closing obscuring any benefits of adding the Rodinal. Upping the Xtol to 1:1 seems to give better results.

Neopan at 400 souped in xtol 1:1 plus rodinal 1:112 for 9 minutes19c















In and Out of Focus
HP5 at 400 souped in xtol 1:1 plus rodinal 1:135 for 9.5 minutes19c 
HP5 is a difficult nut to crack The first time was far too grainy. The second time worked much better very sharp maybe even too much acuity.
Columns Hide Smoker
Shanghai GP3 developed in Xtol 1:2 + Rodinal 1:112 for 15 minutes at 19c.


Behind The Columns
Shanghai GP3 developed in Xtol 1:2 + Rodinal 1:112 for 15 minutes at 19c.

Test Bench
Shanghai GP3 developed in Xtol 1:2 + Rodinal 1:112 for 14 minutes at 19c.

Chip Wagon
Shanghai GP3 developed in Xtol 1:2 + Rodinal 1:112 for 14 minutes at 19c.
Hard to see at this resolution but good sharp details with the snow grains and just a touch of blotchyness in the deep shadows.  Looking pretty good but I need to get a better baseline before I can make any conclusions.

Pedestrian Sunday At Kensington Market
Shanghai GP3 in Xtol 1:2 + Rodinal 1:100 for 10 minutes 27c,  pushed +1 shot at ISO 160

Thing in Snow
Tri-X 320p "Xtol 1:2 + Rodinal 1:112 for 12.2  minutes 20c
Tri-X 320P shows good dynamic range and retention of highlight details in this high contrast snow scene with only a slight blocking of deep shadows.

Living Outdoors
Fomapan Action 400 in Xtol 1:2 + Rodinal 1:100 for 9 minutes 19c

Danger Lurks In Toronto Ravines Beware Of The Killer Giant Hogweed
Fomapan 100 in Xtol 1:2 + Rodinal 1:112 for 9 minutes 20c

Little Italy
Tri-X 400 at 500 souped in xtol 1:1.7 plus rodinal 1:100 for 9.5 minutes at 23c

Portrait Of A Jazz Musician - 2011 Beaches Jazz Festival
Ilford Delta 3200 at ISO 3200 souped in xtol 1:2 plus rodinal 1:100 for 11  minutes at 25c
(Pretty smooth for ISO 3200)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Google Analytics 8 Months On The Path To World Domination

8 Months Of  Google Analytics - World Domination

My Photo Blog at has been hosted by Google for 8 months now so the data is 4 months shy of a year. The interactive maps are one of the more interesting aspects of using Google analytics to track visitors. From the world map you can click down to the country and then down to the specific town.

8 Months Of  Google Analytics - Poland

Friday, December 10, 2010

The New Kodak Portra 400 - Wasn't What I Was Expecting - A Short Review

Playing Sunset Hoops
From My First Roll Of The New Kodak Portra 400 Shoot With My Mamiya C220

It's not often these days of digital that a new colour film is released by a major manufacturer.

Last month Kodak released a new Portra film to replace both the Portra 400 NC and Portra 400 VC with just straight Portra 400.

What was I expecting? Maybe a ISO 400 film with the best characteristics of Portra 160 VC and NC with maybe some of the pizazz of the new Kodak Ektar 100.

What I got was a perfectly tame film. Good skin tones better then the old VC version of the film with slightly more saturated colours then the old NC version.

Scanning is extremely easy, usually I have to play around with the scanner black and white points for each colour to extract the whole dynamic range of a negative. Not so with this Portra even under difficult sun back-lighting it's one touch scanning. The problem with the scans is that they lack contrast basically dull with all the information packed nicely into a smooth histogram,unusable without further digital processing. Once processed the results are rather good.

Portra 400 is definitely not a replacement for Portra 400 vc or nc it is a entirely new film designed for the digital age. This film fits the needs of a professional photographer that needs a film that works consistently well with their digital workflow. It's not for those that want to develop and go directly to print. Yet with a bit of post both the new Portra and Ektar can make large prints that blow the DSLR out of the water in both colour and resolution.

Pros : Accurate skin tones, Sharp, Medium Saturation, Easy to scan
Cons : Needs post processing to bring out contrast update
Best Uses : Difficult Lighting, Batch Workflow

Fall Is Dead Long Live Winter

Monday, November 08, 2010

Lomography 120 Film ISO 100 Is Shanghai GP3

Lomograph 120 Film ISO 100 Is Shanghai GP3

Last Saturday on a photo walk I found out that Toronto had an official Lomography store. Of course I had to check it out here's a place that you can buy a $40 Russian camera from Ebay or $300 in the store. Interesting stuff but way over priced except for this 3 pack of 120 black and white film that was going for$10 taxes in. The store manager said it was repackaged Chinese Shanghai GP3. Surprisingly I had wanted to try some because I had heard some good things about the film.

Made in Shanghai, CHINA,  for professional photography, practising photographing and developing.
  • The film is made by coating a panchromatic photographic emulsion on a polyester or triacetate film base.
  • It could be used both for professional and amateur photographers for all-purpose providing fine-grain at full tonal range.
  • Unit item weight:30 g
Suggested Developing time:
20C degree:

D76 stock - 8 minutes
D76 1:1 - 14 minutes
D23 12 minutes
Rodinal 1:50 15 minutes
D72 1:4 4 minutes 

Made by the SMPIC Photosensitive Materials Factory of Shanghai, an industry leader with more than 40 years of experience in making photographic materials. 
The parent company, SMPIC , was founded in 1973 and is currently joint venture partner in China with Polaroid and Fuji Xerox, making cameras and office machines, and is also a major producer of high-quality optical glass.
SMPIC makes their photosensitive films to very high standards of quality, easily the equal of the major international brands. Each boxed roll is heat-sealed in a paper-plastic laminate high-barrier wrap, and can safely be stored in a refrigerator or freezer without worrying about moisture damage.
Definitely Shanghai GP3 because of the edge code of "SGPFF" It had a slight strange plastic smell when I was loading on to the developing reel. I haven't seen the punched hole near the end before. Also the sticky end of reel tape did not have any useful glue (make sure you carry an elastic band in your pocket), cheap backing paper with grey on black printing and a curl with enough springiness to act as leaf springs for a truck.

Walk In The Park
My first roll of Lomography/ Shanghai GP3 film.

This film is rated at Iso 100 and I shot the roll at 100 Developed 11 minutes in Agfa Refinal 19c this is a 2 stop push with no agitation after the first 20 seconds because the telephone rang and I forgot about the film. Except for  one shot with blown highlights they turned out OK. I suspect the film should be rated at ISO 60, Nice tonality not that sharp. Light to medium blue dye in the pre-soak water. The film curls badly but doesn't bow so it is still easy to scan. See previous photo for more details about the film.

My  second roll I developed  8 minutes at 19c agitated every minute or so. The result was much better tonality also better sharpness for some reason.

Swedish Underground
Rare find in Toronto a Volvo C202, C303, Laplander or Valp

My favourite out of the second roll the tint comes from my scanning method to pull out more from the negative.
Broken Bench In Fall

The third roll was developed with Xtol 1:2 plus Rodinal 1:112 for 14 minutes at 19c scanned using the same method as above.
Cold Winter Light

Unlike Kentmere films it is a useful budget film to have in the bag for a slightly retro look.Flickr slideshow of my shots using Shanghai GP3 

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Using Olympus 35 sp Rangefinder For Night Street Shooting With Fash

Left Over Gear From The G20 - Halloween on Church St

The Olympus 35 sp (produced 1969-1976) had some interesting advanced for the time feature. One of the features is flash control: By setting the  flash guide number (GN) on the aperture ring-dial  the rangefinder's aperture setting is slaved to the rangefinder focus distance. The farther away the the subject is the more the lens opens up to compensate for light fall off of the flash with distance.  For this type of event this method has certain advantages over an auto flash which is often fooled by bright or dark surfaces.

Add to the camera a small flash with a coiled connecting cable and this allows for some interesting handheld off camera flash use. Most of you need no reminding  the benefits of using off camera axis flash over on camera flash. So far I have only used this for night street use but maybe I will try some Bruce Gilden flash in the face style shooting.

Pink Devil - Halloween On Church
More of 2010 Halloween On Church St.
Not So Scary Night of The Dread
Contact sheet for the annual Dufferin Park The Night of the Dread. Here are the rest of the shots taken that night.

So ends the first stage of the experiment
  • Aperture slaved to flash guide number and the rangefinder' focus distance works well for getting good exposures.
  • Flash handheld off angle is better then on camera flash and you can still focus OK
  • For close work a flash diffuser would really really help and also allow a lot more background to show up.
  • For this use B&W is better then colour.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Art of Triptychs, Diptychs and Polytychs - Intuition Versus Intellect, Left Versus Right

Yin Yang Cityscape

A few years ago I started a small group on flickr called Art of Triptychs, Diptychs and Polytychs. The form fascinates me but I can't help wondering how some of the contributers to the  pool do such a superb artistic and aesthetic job of choosing their images.
I confess my own polytychs are not very artistic. I'm a pretty equal right brain/left brain type of guy. Unfortunately this doesn't mean I'm balanced, quite the opposite at one moment of time I am either one or the other not both.

A chimpanzee brain at the Science Museum LondonImage via Wikipedia

For me polytychs are particularly hard art form because as soon as I start to think about joining 2 or more images together the reasoning/logical side of my brain switches in blocking out any intuition and creativity.

Off And On

I don't have this problem with in camera double exposures. I either plan the 2 shots before I take the first one or I take the first shot and hold it in my mind until I find something that fits with the first shot as the second exposure. In either case when I'm photographing my brain is usually in creative mode. I have been practising doing double exposures for several years now so even the planning is subconscious.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Converting A Colour to A Black And White Image Utilizing Selective Colour Contrast Filtering

Sometimes you might want to convert a colour image to B&W. You have used the usual techniques like contrast and brightness curves and maybe even the channel mixer, you have dodged and burned but it still seems to have lost some of the details of the original colour image.  Thats pretty normal because some of the details in the original are because of changes in colour not changes in intensity.
Consider a portrait where a person has no fashion sense or maybe Scottish and is wearing a red and blue plaid shirt. If the blue is near the same intensity as the red the checker pattern will blend in when you convert to B&W. Well the quick answer is to use either the channel mixer or a selected colour filter when you do the conversion this would either selectivity darken the red or the blue. But wait although the plaid shirt looks OK the skin starts to look blotchy, not very flattering for a portrait..
The answer is rather simple you selectively blend 2 B&W versions of the image together. One version optimizes the plaid while the other optimizes the skin. If needed you could add more versions  to optimism additional parts of the image.

Original Colour Image
I am going to try to illustrate using a bad example, bad because the colour version from the MF film shot looks far better then the B&W. Note the bright red berries back-lite translucent in parts and the bright green yellow pallet of the background.
In this example I used the channel mixer to create 2 images plus a 3rd which is the luminance channel from the original colour image.

Left: Red Berries                         Centre: Green Background                              Right: luminance channel
The best (at least for this example) of all 3 images were combined together to give the final image. The berries in the left image was selectively combined with the centre image and finally the low contrast upper right corner was taken from the luminance channel.

Final B&W with selective contrast filtering

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fun With B&W Film - How To Do HDR From A Single Scan

Fun With Scanning 30 Year Old B&W Film - Single Scan HDR
Right side is a special colour scan of a B&W negative, the middle is a normal scan plus some dodging and burning. The right-side is a HDR image obtained with the 48bit colour left-side image. The right side is scanned in 48 bit colours where the individual RGB channels are adjusted for gain, offset and gamma via the histograms utilizing the epson software prior to scanning in this case the green channel is normal exposure the red is -1.5 stops under exposed and the blue is +1.5 over exposed. After the scan the RGB channels can be manipulated as a colour image or separated into 3 monochrome channels. You can then  process as a colour image or alternatively as an HDR or with tone mapping software. Or as I mostly do you could keep it as a toned image or convert it back to B&W.

This being 30 years old Kodak Plus-X it does not have nearly the dynamic range of that of most fresh films such as tmax would have.
Fun With Scanning 30 Year Old B&W Film - Single Scan HDR
RGB channels are actually B&W tinted for visualization purposes only

The Ghost That Walks Beside Us
The Ghost That Walks Beside Us is a direct manipulation of a 3 channel B&W scan

Casa Loma Stables - The gold tones are because of the scan RGB gains of (1.5,0,-1.5) The reverse of the blue tint above.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fun With B&W Film - How To Get Duotone Straight From The Scanner

Fun With Scanning 30 Year Old B&W Film - Duotone Straight From The Scanner
Left side is scanned in 16 bit B&W mode. Then duotone tinted in Lightroom. The right side is scanned in 48 or 24 bit colours where the individual RGB channels are adjusted for gain, offset and gamma via the histograms utilizing the primitive epson software prior to scanning in this case to give the red tint. The above film is 30 years old Kodak Plus-X!
Note: French lavender pictured above is now grown in some peach orchards because they repel a moth that is a pest to the peaches.English Lavender has a far weaker scent and does not have any of the  same insect repelling properties.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Who Says Sunny 16 Can't Lie

The title is a spoof on this 1959 Popular Science article Who Says a Light Meter Can't Lie I doubt if this was the first article on the subject it certainly isn't the last. Personally I use a good light meter mostly in incident mode. If it lies it's because of operator error usually because I didn't make up my mind before I took the shot on what the subject should be.

One of the proposed solutions is not to use a light meter. If you shoot film you have most likely heard of Sunny 16 Fred Parker's The Ultimate Exposure Computer is the best reference I can find on the application. Sunny 16 seems to be a good method in normal outdoor nature type photography that is if you have some experience with the light in the location. Normally scattered light makes up only 10% of the incident light but this can change because of reflected surfaces and atmospheric conditions. How hazy, diffused or how soft can be a difficult measurement to make with only the human eye. As it was not a survival requirement us humans are not good at making absolute light intensity measurements, you need experience and references to adequately judge light in many conditions.

Most of my shooting is done in a city environment where tall building often shade out the sun, where  scattering and reflections make up a higher proportion of the light then in the open air. Even here a friend of mine has learned to judge the light mostly correctly but sometimes a couple of stops off. He uses years of experience not sunny 16. In the golden hour shooting into the sun and away from the sun is one of the best times to get dramatic city scenes. But sometimes he is fooled and is several stops wrong.

When the sun is at 10 degrees to the horizon on a early fall afternoon in Toronto because of the extra amount of atmosphere or air mass (AM) it has to pass through there is about 1 stop less light then at noon. The science is well developed and you can go here to see the math and use their calculator. The factor depends mainly on global position, time and date.

Shooting into the sun you have to contend with a super bright background (the sun and sky) and reflections of surfaces like pavement, choices like highlight or silhouette. How much reflected light is getting back on the subject and so on. Shooting away from the sun both the reflected light and the angle of the subject to the sunlight can make up to 4 stops of difference. The amount of light falling on the subject varies around 3 stops depending on the angle of the sun to the subject. At  10 degrees to the horizon there is about 2 stops lower illumination between the horizontal surface for example a road and a vertical standing structure such as a person. Once again this interactive graphically illustrated calculator comes to the rescue to save the reader from having to view my hen scratching.

Tip: I learned to use a incident/reflective light meter by carrying the meter around with my digital camera. After about a month I could set my digital camera using the meter and get better exposure first time then using the digital: shoot, chimp the histogram and repeat method. At that point I knew I could rely on on the meter for all my film camera. Even with digital I still prefer the light meter in studio and critical lighting conditions.

Don't forget that film is usually more sensitive to under exposurer while clipping because of overexposure is the bane of digital cameras.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Making a Pinhole lens for a Canon DSLR

Originally From My website July 2005
Depth of Field - Infinite
Equivalent focal length - 50mm
Resolution - very poor!
Speed - slower then you can imagine.
Cost - cheapest Canon lens (the main component is a Canon part)
Making the Pinhole Lens
1. Canon camera body cap. Canon caps because they have a thread are claimed to be light tight. I brought an used cap, so technically this is a used Canon lens. Test out the light tightness of the cap by placing it on the camera body and exposing a shot directly into the sun for 5 seconds or so. The exposure should be completely dark. This test is good for other models and makes of cameras.
2. Quality aluminum foil
3. Plastic film with self adhesive backing. I used the clear 3m film that they apply to the front of automobiles to prevent rocks from chipping the paint.
4. Hollow tip 32 gage needle. I used a new insulin pen needle.
5. Sharp craft knife or razor blade
6. Cutting board as a work surface
7. Small piece of dense stiff foam such as styrofoam
8. Cork
9. 3/16" drill
1. Drill a 3/16" hole in the inside center of the cap. Use a piece of wood as a backing so that the hole will be fairly round. Use the knife to clean and deburr the edge of the hole.
2. Cut a donut shaped piece of plastic film 3/4" OD. - 3/16" ID.
3. Cut a 1/2" disc out of the aluminum foil.
4. Flatten the foil by placing on a hard flat surface and rubbing the foil with a piece of cork (drink the wine first). Be careful not to damage the foil.
5. Place the 1/2" foil disc on the backside of the cap, centered over the 3/16" hole.
6. Remove the backing to expose the adhesive on the plastic film donut.
7. Place the film donut sticky-side down centered over the foil, use your fingers or the knife edge to seal the foil between the film and the cap. Make sure the foil is flat and sealed around the complete circumference. Note there should be only foil covering the center of the cap.
8. Place a the cap face up with the bottom of the cap and the foil supported by a small piece of dense stiff foam.
9. Very carefully puncture the center of the foil with the 32 gage needle. The motion of the needle should be straight up and down., any sideways motion or too deep of a penetration will distort the pinhole.
10. Have fun!
Alternative Way to Make the Pinhole
Before the foil is installed in the cap just after step 4:
  •  Once again the foil must be supported by some dense stiff foam such as Styrofoa 
  • Make the pinhole as in step 9
  • Repeat step 4 the foil flattening step
  • Inspect the hole to make sure the edges have not been pushed back into hole by the flattening of the foil
  • Install the foil as before
Using this method allows you to practice making pinholes and also allows you to inspect the hole before installation. Note that the needle can only be used a few times before it will get dull and has to be replaced.
Each different pinhole will have its own unique qualities, ideally the pinhole should be perfectly round, perfectly flat and as thin as possible. This is impossible without buying a manufactured hole (yes you can buy a hole) . Unfortunately my microscope is on loan so I can not actually inspect the pinhole except by holding it up to a light bulb. Hopefully I will update the page with actual hole details when I get the microscope back. Alternatively a flatbed film scanner could be used to scan the hole.

  1. I originally used plastic tape instead of the film. But it took a couple of trys to get a good (nearly centred) pinhole, I found it was very difficult to remove the gummy residue from the tape backing, I tried soap and water but that did not work. I tried a cleaning fluid but as you can see in the pictures it attacked the plastic cap and messed up the finish. The plastic film has an adhesive that stays with the film even after you remove the film from the cap, this makes replacing the pinhole an easy job.
  2. Dimensions except for the pinhole are approximate.
  3. Many of the pictures have some contrast lose, some even have a rainbow effect. This could be caused by light leakage, a ragged irregular pinhole edge or most likely from the large amount of light that comes through pinhole outside the FOV (field of view) of camera sensor. This light is reflected and diffused onto the sensor. If I shield the lens from off angle light the effect goes away see below for a partial solution..
  4. The low resolution of the lens is mostly related to physics. The pinhole is around 0.3 - 0.4mm diameter and a pixel on the camera sensor is many times smaller. The only way to get higher resolution would be to have the camera sensor area much larger, lets say as large as a large format camera. No way on a proconsumer camera! There is also both a diffraction limit and equivalent For a lens hood I brought an inexpensive rubber hood and glued it on with Gloop. The hood allows about a 90° field of view which is still too wide for the pinhole lens.F stop light limitation on the minimum pinhole size.
Some References:
This Page On My Original Website - contains some more details and pinhole image processing tips
My Blog posting homemade 8x10" large format pinhole cameraThe Pinhole Gallery - A Gallery of Contemporary Pinhole Photography
The Pinhole Camera - Imaging without Lenses or Mirrors By Matt Young (Some of the physics and history of the pinhole camera)
Luminous Landscape - Pinhole Camera Tutorial This page has some good photos and suggestions for making large format film cameras
Isabelle Lousberg If her work doesn't inspire you why bother! - Exploring 21st Century Photography - pinhole-photography
Online Schools: Guide to Pinhole Photography

August 21 2005 Pinhole Pictures with Lens Hood

Two Bicyclists
 Wards Island Gap
Please contact me for permission to use or reproduce any part of this page

Monday, June 07, 2010

Really Bad Video Productions

RBVP Merchandising

RBVP is my tongue in cheek name for my low tech attempt to fool around with moving pictures. As long as I don't take myself too serious the making of small video clips has helped me widen my horizons.

The following Youtube video I made with about 100 shots out of my DSLR. The idea is to make a sculpture out of real life.

My first attempt at this type of stop motion was done a coupe of weeks ago using much fewer photos from my P&S:

My P&S actually has real video, too bad the compression algorithm is so lossy or else I think it might actually be a good video camera. But it is still good enough to record RBVP documentaries or music video style videos.

I doubt it but if you would like to see more but RBVP on YouTube or on Flickr

Friday, May 28, 2010

Colour Balance Epson Scanners - A Short Note:

Often when scanning it's not only the white balance that needs attention. In this case the white balance is fine but the mid greys and darker have a blue cold colour ting. The leaves are also meant to have more browns.

Epson software is pretty bad when it comes to colour balance. It does more of a white balance then an actual colour balance. Using an image in this thread as an example I added a mid black correction of the image. This type of colour balance is important for films like the new Kodak Ektar.

Here I have used the pavement to re-balance the colour balance.

Colour Balance

Credit for original image scanned on  Epson 4490, using the epson software taken from this thread

Monday, March 22, 2010

Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle or One Way To Use A TLR For Street Photography

Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle Applied To Street Shooting

There are many schools of street photography starting from the most famous Cartier Bresson.
Notice how he holds his camera when not being used. This would still work today.

Or the currently in vogue copying of Bruce Gilden flash in the face style:

The Heisenberg uncertainty principle gives us that the Photographer  being the observer always alters the scene he's trying to capture. No matter how much you try to camouflage the camera your actions still affect the scene. Hip shots, standing on the corner waiting, trying to blend in, using a camera phone or small point and shot are some of the many other methods which are used in street photography, all of them affect the scene to some degree.

You might not know but one way to camouflage a large building in sunlight is to shine a bright light on it as the human eye can not distinguish it from the skyline. A Mamiya TLR is pretty difficult to disguise even with a bright light.

The photo above is first of a series using a new to me idea for using my TLR for Street photography. That is to place myself in the middle of the path and be obviously taking photos, because people know that they either move around me or I become almost invisible under the camouflaged so to say right out in the open. Now under the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle the observer (photographer) is part of the scene so taking photos or not taking photos does not affect the "quantum" state.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Odds and Ends In B&W Film Development

If you can soft boil an egg and you have a sink you can develop B&W film

Lucky Seven D76 Development Times
Lucky Seven D76 Development Times
B&W Development From One Shot Powder D76
8x10" Large Format Foam Core Pinhole

Now days I mainly use one shot (dispose after one time use) Kodak  TMAX Developer for pushing and Kodak XTOL for other work. I still like very Dilute d76 for my 8x10" litho ortho film this only because I can develop by eye under a red safe light.

XTOL is one of the most environmentally friendly developers. It is also one of the best general purpose developers. I hear that Ilford DD-X is similar with the advantage that it is already in liquid form and a disadvantage that it is at least twice the cost per roll. I would suggest to the beginner that they would start out with a general purpose developer and get the basics down before experimenting with other developers and developing techniques.

For fixer I use a Kodak or Ilford rapid fixer. I reuse until it is too slow (takes twice as long as when fresh). A tip: Drop a piece of the film leader into the fixer  and wait for it to clear multiple that time by 2 (3x for TMAX or Delta films) and that is the time you need to leave the film in the fixer. Kodak TMAX and Ilford Delta films eat up fixer and usually need much longer fixing times then other films. Important before disposing of fixer down the sink drop some steel wool in the spent fixer and wait for 24 hours. The steel will scavenge the silver out of the fixer. Remove the steel wool and now the fixer is safe to dispose of. Silver in solution is very toxic to the environment.

I do not use a stop bath for film (you need it for paper) it is only necessary if you have really short development times.

If your water is hard or has a lot of iron then use a Brita water filter. I let normal tap water sit over night with the top off the container so it can reach room temperature and any chlorine can come out. This is easier and less wasteful then trying to keep a constant temperature with running tap water Using the Ilford method for rinsing (see reference below).

When the film is wet the surface is soft almost sticky and can be permanently embedded with dust and water marks, it is also easily scratched at this point. Some tips on drying your film :
  •  Use a separate final rinse with a drop of wetting agent, if you have hard water then use distilled water for the final rinse
  • Turn of your exhaust fan (leave it off) and run a steaming hot shower. The small particles of water will clean the air of dust particles
  • Before hanging hold the film at both ends and shake to remove excess water. Be careful not to use excessive force or you could damage the emulsion
  • Hanging the film on a diagonal will speed up the time that it takes water to run to the edge
  • You can blot excess water of the edges or end with lint free cloth or paper, coffee filters work well. Do not touch the emulsion! A rocket blower or other rubber bulb duster is a good investment as water drops can be blown off with a jet of air. It will also save you a ton of money in the scanning stage as canned air is really expensive.
  • While a squeegee is sometimes recommended at the beginning of the drying process it is also responsible for scratches especially on films with softer emulsions. So consider not using one or possibly using your fingers (minus nails) as a better substitute.

Fixer Update: 

It appears that a hypo-clear or eliminator after the fixer stage does not have much use with negatives (different for paper) and a rapid fixer, in fact residual thiosulfate and thionates may actual aid in the archival process. This article indicates that a 2 bath fixer may be much more effective then a single bath fixer as the first bath takes out the majority of silver while the second fresher bath removes products that the first bath can't.

Final Rinse Update - In the past I had spots now none:

The final rinse is 3 minutes in distilled water; After the 3 minutes I  then add 1 drop of Edwards wetting agent.; Shake really well for 5  seconds, wait  until any foam dies down; Then remove film from liquid. Shake off excess water and hang to dry. Note distilled water only makes a different if the water has mineral content.

Absolutely no spots!

Notes on final rinse: 

The distilled water adds  about $0.15 per roll but it seems to be worth it, The trick seems to be prior to adding the wetting agent leave the film in the distilled water for long enough to dilute (replace) any of the tap water in the emulsion.

The purpose of the wetting agent is to lower the surface tension allowing any surface water sheet off the film. You do not want the wetting agent to soak into the film. Do not use dish water soap as a replacement for the wetting agent as it contains many chemicals that are undesirable if left behind in the gelatin layer also it does not have all the same desirable properties as wetting agents designed for film. See update here:

Updates January 2012 

Mixing Xtol

It seems to help if the water is towards the upper range of temperature (see instructions so that you don't overheat. I use a large plastic spoon to stir and break up any clumps wait and repeat, wait some more and repeat.... Eventually it will almost dissolve except I can never get rid of a few small specks which I ignore. Add other package with about 500ml of water. If you want to be exact about the 5l then put 5l in the bucket and mark the level before you start.

Using A Stainless Sieve

When you are filling smaller glass containers with the xtol for storage run it through a dollar store stainless sieve to remove any particles.

Sometimes in the winter my xtol stored in closed glass jars gets a bit of white cloudy stuff. To remove pour it through a fine stainless steel sieve just before using. Also used fixer can also can also get contaminated and the same trick will work here. Just make sure you rinse well directly after use. The sieve costs me less then $2 at the dollar store.

Silk Gloves Better Then Cotton For Film Handling

For handling film instead of using those cotton gloves which seem to pick up fuzz and deposit it on the film I found that silk glove liners that you use for winter sports work much better without picking up lint or static charging the film.

Useful References

The most important resource is the Massive Development Chart for developing times, while you are at it check out their meta list.

Don't forget to check out APUG and their Beginners Guide
If you like Ilford then check out their pdf on Developing Your First Roll Of B&W

If you use stainless steel reels and have big fingers like me 35mm film is a b!tch to load. I found this thread on Flickr Loading steel reels - an alternative method a useful resource (note the link to another thread and a link to a video) If you end up with moon shaped marks on the film that means the film emulsion has be physically damaged by pressure (in my case it usually because of a finger pressure. At the end if parts of the film look undeveloped it is usually because on part of the film has crossed a spiral and was touching another part of the film.

Plastic or metal reels when loading 120 film make sure you cut off the tape at the end or it could get stuck where you don't want it to be stuck.

For 35mm a tip is to not to rewind the leader all the way back into the canister (some of the newer cameras have a menu setting to leave the leader on rewind otherwise with manual rewind you can feel it when it is coming off the take up reel. If you have a leader you can trim it and start on the reel in the light!

Now days I trim the end flat and then rewind it back into the canister and open the canister and remove the spool in the dark with a bottle opener. This has the advantage of reducing the drag when respooling it on the reel.

For plastic I use AP reels and tanks, they are really easy to load and they have an innovative way of agitating without inversion. The only time I have had a problem is when I creased the leader and it got stuck starting at the second turn. Don't panic you have to release the film not by pulling it out as with other types of spools but by first separating the two halves of the spool. Make sure practise doing this and all other aspects of loading with your eyes close or in the dark.

If you use a changing bag make sure it is large enough not to be cramped. A tip I was given was to keep my eyes closed so you are not distracted and disoriented by your vision. I find it easier to load in a bathroom with the door and windows blocked out. (make sure you turn off anything with led lights and do not wear a watch that glows in the dark)

Kodak Xtol Developer - Unofficial Resource Page
T-Max Films -- What Rochester Forgot to Tell Us
A few ideas on using Kodak T-Max Films Successfully by John Sexton

You can see that I like TMAX film, what's not to like with a possible dynamic range of 19.5 stops!