Sunday, September 25, 2016
Image Source: http://stearmanpress.com/sp-445.html
My latest post, about shooting black and white film, specifically 4x5, is a reasonable hint at what I've been doing in my photographic life recently.
Spurred on by an incredible gift of a fully functional black and white darkroom, and the further gift of a place to set it up, I've been keeping my head down and practicing my large format black and white photography skills. I've come a long way quickly, but this style of photography does not lend itself perfectly to blogging. It's film, paper, and wet chemistry all the way.
For now, let me share a tool that's really helping me along, the SP-445 4x5 film developing tank by Stearman Press. (Click Here) to check it out. Once loaded, this is a daylight tank, and allows you to process up to four sheets of 4x5 film in 475 ml of chemical volume. It does a wonderful job.
I'm also still shooting digital and smaller format film, of course. But, the joy of printing great big negatives has had me focused on 4x5, and to a lesser extent, medium format. Lots to share, but it's going to take discipline for me to sit and scan images. I'll probably end up scanning silver prints to share my final products.
I feel that this is an important new phase in my creative development. I can honestly say that while it's much less forgiving, I really prefer darkroom work to post-processing on my computer. It's hard work getting a good print, but I think that makes it more rewarding, personally.
Of course, I'm not prescribing this for anyone else. I'm not sure that I'll always feel this way about going back to the basics, working with big black and white negatives and wet chemistry, but that is not what matters. What matters to me is that I'm learning new aspects of the craft.
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
I have a beautiful early Graflex Speed Graphic 4x5 camera. Because it's not so convenient to use, I haven't spent much time with it. I decided to change that over the three day 4th of July weekend. I made a total of ten exposures (on Arista EDU film), and found that five of them are worth sharing. That's a pretty good hit rate compared to smaller formats, where I shoot a lot more images per scene.
Here are my five favorites from the weekend:
I usually set the camera on a tripod, using the ground glass back to frame and focus. I did that for the last three images above. For the first two, I used the rangefinder and shot handheld. Getting the focus right is a challenge, and I missed on some other shots. But, when you get it right, it's pretty nice.
In the picture of the house (Thornton House at Manassas National Battlefield), I used the front rise movement of the camera to allow me to keep the camera level to avoid distortion, yet still capture the roof and chimney. Pretty cool.
In the shot of the lotus flowers, I threw all concern for distortion to the wind, shooting with the camera nearly on the ground, pointing up at a steep angle.
I'm very happy that the Speed Graphic is not my only camera, or even my main one. But, it's instructive and fun to use.
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
A few weeks back, I took a hike at the Manassas National Battlefied, site of two ferocious battles in the US Civil War. The Unfinished Railroad is a trench dug for rails, but never finished. It was a center of the second battle of Manassas.
I shot these images with my Rolleiflex SL2000F. Man, I love this weird old camera.
You could smell the summer honeysuckle all along the trail.
This monument is at the end of the trail. It reads: "In Memory of the Patriots Who Fell at Groveton, August 28th, 29th, & 30th, 1862.
Monday, July 4, 2016
From an Asian festival in Washington, DC. Photos made with my Rolleiflex SL2000F and Sonnar 135mm f2.8 lens. That Sonnar is one of the very best telephoto lenses I've ever used.
Thursday, June 16, 2016
Here are a couple of images I made at a festival over the memorial day weekend. I was shooting my Rolleiflex SL2000F, with the wonderful Sonnar 135mm f2.8 lens. I think it's the best lens I have for this outfit.
Don't know what a Rolleiflex SL2000F is? (Click Here).