Flew the Coop on Flickr.
untitled on Flickr.
Alone on Flickr.
Canon Canonet QL17 Giii | 40mm f/1.7 (shot at f/2) Kodak Tri-x 400 (shot at 1600) | Diafine
A few photos back, I talk about the experience of driving home just as the sun set and the fog rolled in and my impromptu adventure in a nearby nature preserve to try to take some photos of it all. It was a really fun, but kind of spooky walk/run through the dark, noisy woods. I half expected a werewolf to jump out at me as I walked along the trail back to my car.
Anyway, now for some technical, uninteresting notes: I developed this film using Diafine, which is a 2-bath compensating developer. Basically, the first solution embeds the developer into the film emulsion, but it doesn’t actually get developed yet. Three minutes later, you dump out Bath A and pour in Bath B, which reacts with the developer in the film to develop it. The magic is that you get a speed increase in most film (Tri-x is the gold standard at 2-stops) without an increase in grain (it’s of a different quality than, say, Rodinal’s grain). But you also get a pretty gray negative (this photo had some work done in post, but that’s the beauty of a rich, gray negative; you get so much flexibility). This is good if you’re scanning and even better if you’re scanning and guessing at exposure, like I was. Say you guess is a bit off and you expose as if the film were at ISO 400. The next frame, you expose as if it were ISO 1600. In most developers, one of the two frames will be over- or under-developed depending on what you’re shooting for. But with Diafine, you get just the right amount of development, regardless (to a degree) of what speed you shot the film at. This is great for shooting on the fly and something that builds in a lot of flexibility with respect to how you meter/if you meter. Now, there will be people out there who say that photography is a precise art form and that doing anything less than Ansel Adam’s zone system for shooting and developing is a travesty. There are also those who will say that you always need a $300 Sekonic light meter in order to properly expose each frame. Phooey on to you, I say.
it’s the simple things (roll-a-week 3/52) on Flickr.
Sometimes all it takes to make a good night great is a cup of coffee and a stack of pancakes (they were cooking when I took this shot and when they were done I didn’t have a chance to take a picture as I was too busy scarfing down the gloriousness that is the diner pancake. Hence its absence in the picture, but mention in the description) at the famous greasy spoon Mickey’s Diner in St. Paul.
Roll-a-week 3/52 on Flickr.
Now three weeks into this challenge, I think I’m finally getting the hang of this thing! I have gotten better at getting a good exposure using my “unique” system of getting an exposure with the in-camera meter, then adjusting for the over-exposure of the meter and the night shots’ pushing to 1600 to 3200. The beauty of Rodinal stand development is that you can expose for 400 on one shot and 3200 on the next and both will come out great! This past week brought me to a bar in St. Paul with friends, the famous Mickey’s Diner for a late-night meal, a great sandwich shop in the Linden Hills neighborhood (Clancey’s Meat Market), and finally a trip to the St. Croix River with my dad. It was a good week.
Date night at the Walker Art Center on Flickr.
Canonet QL17 GIII | Kodak Tri-X 400 (shot at 800-3200) | Rodinal R09 1:100 | 120 min
My second stab at stand development, this time using 5mL of Rodinal and a hint of Borax to control fog. I agitated 15 sec/min for the first 5 and then 15 sec every 30 min. thereafter. I think it turned out nicely! Shooting at 3200 might be pushing it, but I basically metered for 400 and then adjusted for a reasonable f-stop and shutter speed and shot. I love the flexibility stand development and Tri-X gives me! I don’t want to have to fiddle with my camera too much for each shot. Luckily, I have a cute, willing subject who puts up with my nonsense ;o) This is our trip to the Walker Art Center. They have all sorts of interesting things there, I especially enjoyed the exhibition on graphic design they have going on now. This particular shot is in their video bay benches, where random artsy videos are playing on a loop. I think this one had someone walking on their hands underwater. They call it art! More info here: www.walkerart.org/.
Roll-a-Week 2/52 on Flickr.
With my Canonet in tow, loaded with Tri-X 400, and set to shoot at about 1250, I set out for week 2 of the Roll-a-week challenge. One quick note: I developed in Diafine, which is a great compensating developer that lets you shoot box speed or greater on a lot of films. For Kodak Tri-X 400, you can shoot up to 1600, apparently without a noticeable increase in grain. I also got a 1.4V hearing aid battery for my Canonet, but knew that it would overexpose since it was made for a 1.35V mercury cell. So last weekend, I shot a test roll, taking 4 exposures 1 at the metered EV, -1 -2, and -3. I then compared the results and cross-checked to the meter from my Gossen Luna Pro. My findings were that it consistently metered about 1.5 stops over. Great, so I can easily set the ISO on the Canonet and shoot away. But that only works for sub-400 film, or 400 film that you shoot at box speed (the Canonet’s max ISO is 800 and half of that is 400…). I wanted to go about 1.5 stops above box speed and develop in Diafine. Well, with some mental gymnastics, I came up with a system to get an accurate exposure (double-checked against common sense before the shot) by using the in-camera meter to shoot at about 1250. I set my exposure to about 660 (or whatever the 2/3 stop between 400 and 800 is), which would effectively give me a little under 400 speed (660/2 is 330). Then, I metered and added about 2 stops in my head and then switched to manual (to get to about 1000, an acceptable range given the approximate nature of my system). It seemed to work very well, and it’s really not as cumbersome in practice as it is to describe. Anyway, with 24 well-exposed shots, I mixed up the Diafine and was ready to develop week 2 of my challenge. I realized my mistake as I took the tank out of the bag…something else was rattling around the bottom! It was the shaft that goes through the reel and into the funnel of the tank. I had forgotten to put it in and light was streaming through the tank and exposing my film. Shoot! I developed (not realizing my error) and was distressed at first to see that my rolls had light leaks galore. Well, I felt stupid after figuring out what went wrong, but some shots turned out ok despite my mishap. I wanted to share since this challenge will hopefully show my progression throughout the year and teach me valuable lessons. Lesson 1: don’t expose your film before you develop it!
Week 1/52 on Flickr.
With the new year beginning, I wanted to try a photo challenge and thought what better challenge than to shoot 52 rolls over the next year?! The inaugural roll was shot on my brand new (to me) Canonet QL17 GIII and Agfa ProMax 400. I really like the camera, it has a nice, super-sharp lens and is built very solidly. I really have no idea how I’m going to take 1,248 shots over the next 12 months, but I’m excited to give it a shot. Some of the highlights will show up throughout the week in my photostream from that previous week’s roll. This first week was taken around Seward, Minneapolis and was really more of a test roll. My Canonet definitely passes the test!