Sunday, November 03, 2013

Redscale and Double Exposures as Normal / Redscale Pairs

Cross Processed Expired Kodak Ektachrome 360T Redscale Shot at Iso 100

As many of you know cross processing is developing a film in a different chemistry then was intended, in this case a e6 transparency film was developed in C41 colour negative chemistry.

Redscale is just reversing the film so light from the lens first goes through the back of the film and exits the emulsion side. This travelling in reverse through the different layers that make up colour film reduces the effective ISO and causes  the film to have predominantly red, orange and yellow false colours.

I shot one roll just to try it out and the above was my best shot pretty meh.

This year I participated in an international film swap where a roll of film was exposed twice (one for each participant) the idea is that we would end up with random double exposures from 2 countries. My partner was a student from Italy. To mix it up a bit I asked him to shot a roll at full film speed and take shots with lots of textures. Unfortunately there was a slight language barrier and he under exposed his side. I for my part reversed (inside out) the film in the roll thus shooting my side of the double exposures as Redscale.

The following are some of the results:

Thursday, October 31, 2013

So You Have Just Brought A New Camera - Health Care For The Undead

So you have just brought a new camera, consider it as a wake up call that we are mostly mindless consumers of things that we are made to think we need or should desire to own. With the commercialization of social media the brainwashing is almost complete. This is neither a good or bad thing it's just the reality as it is now.

So you have your: {first; new; cheap; free; expensive; fantastic;shiny; retro... cell; film; consumer; dslr; rangefinder; pro; (2/3rds, c, full frame) and/or ...} camera so what now? Each one of those cameras as sure as you breath is capable of taking a picture that in the right hands could be a masterpiece.

Now that this new camera is in your hands it's time to stop for at least a short while being a mindless consumer of photography goods and services and instead learn to take better photographs! To that aim if you haven't already you may want to evaluate or re-evaluate what your own development goals are and alter your current path to a direction that might result in you achieving those goals.

If it turns out that you just want a shiny new toy then that's OK. But if you don't use your brain to effect changes in the way you take photographs then you shouldn't expect any changes in the results.

Son: "Mom, can I have some pudding?"
Mom: "You haven't eaten your meat yet."
Son: "But mom!"
Mom: "Son, you know that: 'If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any   pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?"
Son: "Don't be quoting Pink Floyd on me again...

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hansa 135mm f3.2 Lens

I have this Hansa 135mm f3.2 lens. Made in Japan it came with an adapter to fit on my Nikon. I bought it for a few dollars attached to a Nikor closeup bellows. Not a bad little performer. Notice the 2 rings at the top. Those are for "stop down metering". I suspect one should lock so you can preset aperture and then open up for focusing but doesn't lock. The lightly coated optics are very clean and clear. With a 16 or 17 rounded aperture blades should mean nice out of focus highlights.

The origin of the lens is veiled in the mists of time. Some say they were made for Hansa Japan  rebranded from another still to be determined Japanese lens manufacture maybe Cosina. Others say it might be a house brand for  Hansa Foto in Cologne. Another even remoter idea is that it was a Nikkor lens made for Hanson Canon imported into the USA under the Hansa name.

Once you get use to the stop down aperture control it is a nice little performer.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Cellphonography Love/Hate Relationship

Digitally Monitoring The World

The things I hate about my cell phone camera:

  • Poor Optics
  • Glare
  • Poor image quality
  • Many too many Pixels for the resolution
  • Shutter,Timing and Focus Uncertainty: STFU and take the shot now!
  • Results only look good if printed small
  • Fixed wide angle view of the world
  • No bokeh
  • Strange motion artifacts
  • Weird HDTV aspect ratio
  • The awkward ergonomics for photography
  • The tacky fake special effects and instant post processing
  • Instant posting of images many which I will regret in the morning

Saturday Night

The things I love about my cell phone camera 

All of the above!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Note On Long Exposures, Reciprocity Failure For Kodak Ektar And City Night Shooting

Kodak Ektar

City Streets At Night

General for a city light scene you can ignore reciprocity failure and expose at ISO 100 f8 or f11 to capture car light trails. These f stops work with almost any ISO 100 film when trying to capture slowly moving light trial. It does depend a bit on the lens and the angle and speed of motion. I usually use f8 for wider angle lenses and f11 for standard lenses.

Exposure time depends on whether or not you want to blow out street lights and how bright you want mid greys to be.


Without going into the The Gurney-Mott Theory or subsequent rewrites the standard characteristic curves can be used to accurately predict how much compensation is needed for what part of the image. Of course you have to do conversions to put it in terms that you can use it on the different zones of your image.. When you do long exposures you are effectively working in the lower part of the curve how much of the image and by how much depends on where each zone lies on the curve and where you want it to end up in terms of density.

Note that each colour curve (blue having lower failure) has a different shape hence explaining the inconsistent colour balance in the lower extremes of the chart.

To form a stable latent images multiple photons (light as a particle) must impinge on the same area of the film within a very short time frame or the latent image doesn't form and the crystal site decays (relaxes) back to it's ground state. When the number of photons per second goes down to a low enough number the chances of the next photon hitting the crystal before it relaxes starts to decrease. No amount of pre-flashing or witchcraft will bypass reciprocity failure except maybe for processes like hypersensitization.

Reciprocity Failure For Ektar (1)

metered time -- adjusted time
1 ----------------- 1.4
2 ----------------- 2.9
4 ----------------- 6.3
8 ----------------- 14.1
15 ----------------- 29.7
30 ----------------- 68.4
60 ----------------- 159.0
90 ----------------- 261.2
120 ----------------- 371.7
240 ----------------- 871.5

(1)Table came from Lee (see comments) measured by his standards and should be considered as a starting point where adapting exposure to account for reciprocity failure is important.

Toronto Nights Old Style
10 second exposure at  f11 in a 1953 Kodak Retina IIa
Efke KB21 Expired April 1977

Friday, July 26, 2013

First Look A Day With The Sony ZL Cameraphone

I had to replace my old Motorola cell phone because of planned obsolescence as it decided to go crazy and send a continuous stream of empty text message to the first land line on my contact list (sorry about that).

I replaced it with a Sony Zl "smartphone" The camera is 13 megapixels, sigh now we have got that out of the way on to important things. The screen is ultra high resolution with a more natural colour rendition which makes what you see more of a what you get then most of the flashy high saturation tablet/smartphones.

Portrait Aspect Ratio Of The Screen
Interesting aspect ratio in portrait mode if you tire of the normal 4:3 of a DSLR

The camera has many creative modes that differ from the normal after the fact as you adjust them by touching the screen before you take the shot and not in post. This I find even if the mode is sort of gimmicky (like the image below) it makes me think more about the composition before I take the shot.

Sketch Mode
Actual like the selective colour mode even though normally I'm not a big fan of doing it after the fact. You select the colour by using your finger tip to brush in the colour before you take the photo.

Selective Colour Orange

Selective Colour Orange

Selective Colour Red

Selective Colour Blue

B&W Mode

Kaleidoscope Mode Is Amusing

The next three were taken with a deep red Infrared filter held over the lens. Infrared sensitivity  with the new sensors is not as good as the older less sophisticated sensors.

Automatic in camera HDR mode works as long as the subject doesn't move. Normally either the top would be blown out or the bottom would be too dark

Late bloomer: this 75 years old agave americana at Allen Gardens Toronto blooms once and then dies.
On the fly hand panoramics are also an interesting  feature except when as in this case there is a moving object.
Stretch Limo Pano

Using the smile detector function to fire the shutter seems to be a failure!

Closeup where is the beauty mode when you need it?
I can see the high speed burst mode could be useful for capturing action. The below annoying gif is made from a 81 photo burst mode. 
  1. Shoot in burst mode
  2. Drop shots in MS Movie Maker (free)
  3. Set zero inter frame transition time
  4. Set duration of every photo 0.1 seconds
  5. Make a short movie clip
  6. Drop movie into Microsoft Research Cliplets (free)
  7. Fool around in Cliplets 
  8. Export final product
  9. Have fun driving people crazy

A Vilk Trying To Fly
What I saw

Because I shoot mainly medium format film I use a lightmeter so as a possible travel light replacement I tested many of the android light meters apps and ended up with this one

From 1 ev to bright sunlight both in incidence and reflective mode it was within 1/2 of a stop when checked against 2 different Gossen meters plus a Nikon and Canon film camera.

The accuracy IMHO has a lot to do with what model of cell phone you have yet some software was clearly better than other software. The spotmeter function is quite useful.      

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Silver Alchemy - Xtol Plus Rodinal Part II

Overheard on the street: "My dad say I should remarry him"
Kodak Tri-x developed 5min. Xtol 1:2 and then 4 min. Xtol 1:2 + Rodinal 1:115 25c

This is a short update on my original article of adding Rodinal to Xtol. I have been adding Rodinal to Xtol to good effect since 2010.

So why change now? With a purchase of a higher resolution 35mm scanner I'm finding that I want even more control both of the grain and of the compensation in the shadow areas. While I can do it by controlling the ratio of Rodinal to Xtol it becomes a bit tricky to manage all parameters especially when it comes to temperature compensation.

In the last few months through a series of experiments I have come up with this variation on my original method which gives both good results and fine control.

Set up the dilution ratio of Xtol as normal.  I try to keep the normal developing times between 7 to  no more than 16 minutes. For the last 4 minutes I pour the xtol into a container that has had rodinal added, then pour it back onto the film and then develop the remaining 4 minutes.

Mohawk In Support Of Maggie's: The Toronto Sex Workers Action Project
Same roll as above

Still Mine
Kodak Kodak TMAX 400 developed: 5min. Xtol 1:1.125 and 4 min. Xtol 1:1.125 + Rodinal 1:115 at 22c  

Fresh Air
Fomapan Action 200 developed: 5min. Xtol 1:1.125 and 4 min. Xtol 1:1.125 + Rodinal 1:115 at 20c

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Straight Out Of The Camera (SOOC) Photograph Of The Year (POY)

What does straight out of the camera actually mean?

 For most categories of art or non professional photography all this talk of purity and "SOOC" is bull! I especially hate some film or in some cases digital photographers  that say things like "This is straight out of the camera, I don't believe in altering the image" or some such nonsense. What do they think showing an image on the screen is besides an alteration, and believe me there is nothing natural about scanning or the guts of a DSLR.  Read here for another take. 

On my part I consider the taking of the photograph the most important part and what comes later just window dressing.

The Shaw-Pellegrin Controversy Around The Photographer Of The Year Awards

This year there seems to be a lot more then the usual controversy over this year's World Press selections for photograph of the year.

Everybody loves a real life soap opera. This is a failure of the editing process for photojournalism, what ever happened to fact checking?

Not to side with Pellegrin but his I'm a blogger not a reporter reasoning is some what of a cop-out while his hiding behind being a critic might be a more valid reason.

I think the bigger picture is the partial lack of standards for the POY organization. It's not as though this is the Oscars but it is looking more and more like show business. Hopefully next year might be different:

It's not as though there aren't any standards for "SOOC" at least for reporters. It's a pity that the POY didn't know about them until after the 2012 awards:

Interesting that the last photo in the above article wouldn't even pass:

A handbook of Reuters journalism
A guide to standards, style and operations

Photoshop and how to use it
Photoshop is a highly sophisticated image manipulation programme. We use only a tiny part of its potential capability to format our pictures, crop and size them and balance the tone and colour. For us it is a presentational tool. The rules are – no additions or deletions, no misleading the viewer by manipulation of the tonal and colour balance to disguise elements of an image or to change the context.


I will leave you with some famous quotes:

“To quote out of context is the essence of the photographer's craft”

“You see something happening and you bang away at it. Either you get what you saw or you get something else-- and whichever is better you print.”

“The photograph should be more interesting or more beautiful than what was photographed.”

“The photo is a thing in itself. And that's what still photography is all about.”

Blood On Their Hands

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Analog As Opposed To Digital

Why do many film photographers get upset with the term analog photography?

Analog or it's British cousin  analogue is just another example of the ever changing language of technical babble. You don't have to like it, but once it is in the common vernacular the game is over and you are stuck with the label at least for a generation or two.. Maybe in another 50 years it won't be analogue or digital, but rather antique photography or maybe a non quantum 2d recording (NQ2R for short).

If the analogy to electronics doesn't appeal to you then you might want to consider the original more general pre-electronics era meaning of similar to or proportional to as being more appropriate to photography.  Actually that makes a lot of sense as a photograph could be seen as a proportional projection of the original scene.

More serious misnomers exist for example how about using the Sloth a South American animal as a model for one of the seven deadly sins? The sloth slow metabolic rate is a survival trait and does not deserve to be called a deadly sin.

Neon Sign, New Building And Falling Steam

But we decide which is right.
And which is an illusion?