As part of my Arizona Project, I am testing some films. Some completely new, like Silberra PAN 160 and PAN 100; and films new to me like Ilford FP4.
Silberra is a new Russian film that has been in development for 10+ years. I backed it in Indiegogo. Today I’m posting results from my journey around the Phoenix area: Below, Four Peaks……..
I’ve discussed on my Photo Diary, some problems that I’ve experienced with Silberra Film (and similarly with Ferrania P30). My main problem was controlling the contrast and exposure. All of the images here have been adjusted significantly in PhotoShop. I am largely a T-MAX 400 + Ilford user (especially SFX-200).
So I am posing the question here (also on Twitter as a survey): How many types of film is it possible to be an expert user? I like supporting new films, but I’m really into getting my best results that can also be printed in the darkroom without a tremendous effort in manipulation.
Print your comments here and I will include them in a future article:
“The lesson to be learned about life is that we, or at least I, do not appreciate as much what I have been given as what I have had to bargain for. I earn my film photos. I have to be able to afford it. That means repeatedly. Each and every satisfying click and whirr is a few pennies, which must be in the pocket. I am automatically averse to waste.”
The conclusion is that His film photos are always personally more satisfying (and often objectively better) than His digital images.
My best photos are definitely film. One of last year’s successes IS digital (shown above), but I planned and captured the image like it was film. I saw the potential image, walked around the scene looking for the best angles, made three images; taking into consideration how I might crop the final images as well. And THINKING like a film photographer avoids Waste. For a digital Photographer, the “waste” is all that time you spend in front of the computer sorting through hundreds of images that you would never use. For any given scene, when shooting film I have at most 4-5 images to sort through. If you think film is expensive, what is all that time you spend in Lightroom or Photoshop worth? The most I do in Photoshop is adjust the contrast and brightness for posting online. In the (real) Darkroom I do the film tests and adjust the Contrast using filters. Of course, if I have used the proper contrast filter and exposure when capturing the image, adjustments will be straight forward. Hmmmm……I’m feeling that I need to write a post on Contrast Filters, coming soon!
Taken from the same location along the Roadside in Wyoming…….The joy of having two Mamiya-7’s, allowed me to make these images literally seconds apart.
I was testing Kodak Portra 400 (as my new color film) and looking for good opportunities to make a few images with Ilford SFX-200.
But more importantly I saw this cloud in the distance and we pulled over so I could capture the Image. I Imagined the Image first. I would probably adjust the brightness/contrast for the B&W image to bring out more of the detail that you can see in the color image, because I know that detail is there……..I’ll repost once I’ve done that.
From the vagaries and ups and downs of life. I find myself recovering from surgery with time to reflect. Another Intersection of Life and Art.
As you read this I am on my way to the Mayo Clinic, Phoenix Arizona for a Consultation. But here is where The Story Begins:
On October 3, 2018, I was diagnosed with a “brain mass”. Vision problems had sent me to the Ophthalmologist. His testing and measurements of my left eye indicated something bad was going on behind that eye. He sent me to the emergency room, calling ahead to discuss with the Dr. what tests would be appropriate.
The Symbol of My Journey
(The Ambiguity of the Mirror from “The Artist’s Studio” symbolizes my Journey. So it will be the featured Image for these medical update posts…….)
When I arrived, they were ready for me and ordered an MRI with contrast dye, no questions asked. The diagnosis: Brain tumor of unknown type growing behind my left eye; referral the the Neurosurgeons.
But, there is also a back story: I am an 8-year breast cancer survivor. So I also (and for the rest of my life) have an Oncologist. He now enters the mix. His fear is a metastatic spread of my previous cancer, which would be a sure death sentence.
Weeks of testing: Bone Scans, PET Scans, CT Scans…………All showing no breast cancer; Dodged that bullet! But I still have an unidentified tumor in my head that needs to be identified so the best treatment can be determined. All non-invasive procedures exhausted, now it is time the the Neurosurgeons to perform a biopsy.
So how do they access that area behind the Eye? By drilling holes through you sinuses. The ENT Surgeon does that. I didn’t even get a black eye from this; but I do have a puffy face. My worst bruise was from the arterial blood pressure tap-in. Apparently when you have brain surgery, they tap an artery to have the most accurate blood pressure.
Biopsy Results: I have a rare but treatable/survivable brain tumor (Which I will name and discuss later). It is in effect a birth defect. It was supposed to be reabsorbed as my little fetus grew, but it wasn’t. And when that happens you have a little guy in your head that probably won’t be a problem unless you are 1 in a million me.
My Neurosurgeon removed what was safe to remove without doing harm. It was affecting my optic nerve (first symptom), my Pituitary Gland and Carotid Artery (the brain’s source of blood).
Follow-up will require a unique radiation treatment only available in a few places. So I have been referred to The Mayo Clinic in Phoenix AZ.
POSTSCRIPT: Ongoing, I will be taking a road trip to Phoenix (Dates TBD); loading up the 4Runner with my camera gear and film (bought for a cancelled trip to the Everglades). Radiation I know will be 5 days a week for 8-10 weeks. So I will be doing photography as I feel up to it and posting as I go. Exploring Arizona for that time and keeping OldSchoolPhotoLabs very busy.
After discussing the “Contest Trap” in previous posts….. of course I have just entered another contest for the Denver Architecture Foundation, sponsors of Doors Open Denver. My interests in the contest was two-fold: I’m a member of DAF and the co-sponsor Colorado Photographic Arts Center (aka CPAC, and unfortunate acronym): I love photographing Architecture…….Also it was open to any architecture within the Denver City limits, no stated time limit. So although the Clock Tower was taken at a DAF Open House, none of the images are from the actual Doors Open Denver Event.
I tried to avoid cliched images….Did I Succeed?
My Expectation is that I will again fall into the “Special Merit Category” which means, OK but not our style……..
What a moment to be on a ‘Best Of’ list……….Film Photography Blogs that You Should Follow.….. That’s a Real Win, and non-distracting. I’m on the list, so I don’t have to keep trying to BE on the list. And I made the list for Blogging Here, not on someone else’s site.
I’ll take that as a sign that Untangling myself from needless social media distraction is right direction.
Above, three recent but very different images that I had submitted to an online Gallery. Two are very recent, but the Apache Plume is from about 12+ years ago. So what does that say about my photography skills, style and personal vision. Keeping in mind that vision and style are not synonymous. These represent different styles, but I think a similar vision in regards to how I see the light and what attracts my eye.
All of these images received a similar ranking (details here). That soul destroying ‘Special Merit” category that keeps you wanting more. So what does “special merit” mean anyway? Have I not progressed at all in 12 years? Or are my interests and vision not the current hip and trendy thing? (I think the latter) So I’ll get recognition, but never actually win a contest? (One of my recent submissions is going to be published in a book this year. But that’s another story……..). And what is winning?
My middling success for a while sent me down “The Rabbit Hole” as I discussed recently on my photo diary. So I’m reflecting, reorganizing and redirecting my energies. At a recent Personal Vision Workshop with Cole Thompson, we discussed how winning can actually be a setback to the progress towards understanding our personal vision; leading us to pursue the WIN rather than the VISION. Small rewards can seriously sidetrack real goals and personal accomplishments.
Who are you making photographs for? Yourself or the win?