May 1, 2013
April 5, 2013
April 4, 2013
The idea this time was to have the dog resting on the mat in front of the camera, however the dog wanted to lie on the floor near my feet. The exposure time was about 25 minutes, processed in Maco RO9 1+50 for 14 minutes. I usually process Tmax 100 for 12 minutes but decided to give the pinhole roll a bit longer as there is more chance of thin negs.
March 24, 2013
I was trying Bleedproof paper for the first time because it was suggested as a good match with the charcoal pencils I use. The pencil flows smoothly over the paper, making cartridge seem rough by comparison. I still draw mostly with the left hand as it makes me look more carefully at what I’m drawing. I also like the scribbly line that comes from me trying to control the pencil. This was twenty minutes, about 90% left hand.
March 23, 2013
A recent portrait from a series I’ve been working on since mid 2009. This is a DSLR photo of a B&W contact print made from a 6.5x9cm glass negative. This is not wet plate, these are dry plates that were made by Agfa to be used in electron microscopes. The plates expired in 1985 which might explain the odd surface effects. I bought ten boxes from a guy in Hungary in 2008 so I don’t know how they were stored before then. The camera used was a 1920s era Voigtlander Avus that came with correct size plate holders. I treat the plates as being ISO 1.5 and this exposure was two seconds wide open (about f/4.5). I process in a Nebro cut plate tank with Rodinal 1+50 for twenty minutes. I add about 15ml of 1% benzotriazole to reduce fog – this makes a big difference.
March 22, 2013
I’ve been trying some new papers for Cyanotype printing. I prefer a smooth rather than a rough paper so I bought a sheet of Canson Stonehenge because I liked the feel of it. The above was made using the classic Cyanotype formula, coated with a hake brush, about 1ml on a 6×7 inch piece of paper. The exposure was 45 minutes of end of the day sun, with a sheet of 4×5 HP5 in a contact printing frame.
March 8, 2013
Large Format is a two session course I teach at the ACP (Australian Centre for Photography) at Paddington. It’s intended to demystify large format photography for fine art photographers. We discuss the aspects which large format has in common with other formats as well as how it differs. I bring a 4×5 and 8×10 camera plus a range of lenses and the students get opportunities to load film and make exposures of architecture, still life and portraiture. I process the film after the course and make a report here with scans and descriptions for the students to review the topics.
In the first 3 hour class, after looking at the cameras we loaded some film and went outside to photograph a building. Above is a Fuji instant FPC100 proof from a Crown Graphic with a 100mm Wide Field Ektar lens. The exposure was f/32 at 1/10. The Crown Graphic is a very good camera but it’s main weakness for me is the limited range of movements (basically front rise) and the lack of movements when the camera is used in vertical orientation. Below is the same basic set-up shot with a Deardorff 8×10 using some front rise. As well as a good range of front and rear movements, the Deardorff is easy to switch from horizontal to vertical orientation of the film.
In week two we look at still life and portraiture. Exposure compensation for bellows extension is emphasised. Below are a few attempts at organising an interesting still life. I generally like to shoot found still lifes rather than setting them up, so it always feels a bit odd to try and put some objects together, hence I think it’s interesting to show it going from being cluttered and ugly to a scene that has some potential.
Above was the final arrangement, made with Fuji 45 instant and the Crown Graphic with Kodak Ektar 203mm lens at f/32 and one stop extra exposure to compensate for bellows extension from 203 to 280mm. Below is that scene exposed onto HP5 and processed in Xtol 1:1 for 12 minutes. I had a back-up exposure that received one stop more light than the first sheet, and I processed this for 15 minutes to create a dense neg for cyanotype and salt printing.
Finally we look at portraiture with the 8×10 camera. The first two were made with a 360mm Apo Ronar lens borrowed from a friend. As well as considering bellows extension we also pay attention to the framing, as well as posing and communicating with the subject, considering we are only going to expose one sheet of film for each person. The two below were f/11 with the 360mm allowing one stop extra for close focus.
My apologies to Tex for what happened to the sheet above. I was horrified when I removed it from the wash and saw these marks, which are clear film on the negative. Later I realised that I mustn’t have washed the tank thoroughly after processing the previous sheet. I use a Jobo drum that rolls in the sink, and the chemistry is poured in to a cup in the top that then spreads the solution to the inside of the tank. Obviously I didn’t wash that lid/cup area and there was still some fix in it and when I loaded the new sheet of film and put the lid on, fix ran down over the film and cleared it while I spent several minutes preparing the developer. At least I understood what went wrong and know what to do in future – make sure the tank and lid are thoroughly washed in hot water after processing. I also have to apologise to Tex because he showed me a cassette Walkman that could have been used in the still life, except I completely forgot about it until the class was over. That might have been the missing item that made it work.
Above is a portrait of Jessica made with the 240mm lens at f/5.6 using front tilt. Not something I generally do but it worked well here. All the 8×10 film was Ilford HP5, rated at 400 and processed by rolling in the Jobo tank with Rodinal 1+50 for 8 minutes. Thanks to the students in this group – I enjoyed teaching the course.