Tag Archives: B&W Film Photography

Frugal Film Project 2020: The Plan

I’ve been an provisional participant in 2019; started in June.  My Camera was a Goodwill purchased Canonet QL and the film was Kodak Color Plus 200.  A fine film, but I found that I was tired of shooting color.  Up to this point I’ve been primarily a B&W photographer.  When I want color, I use my Portra 400.  Also the camera has limitations (i.e. only one lens), so I felt constricted.  Finally the light meter died and I needed to find a ‘new’ old camera.

By Project Definition I am supposed to use the cheapest camera and film.  I did see that one of the 2019 participants was using Ilford HP5.  It’s a film I have recently become ‘friends’ with.  AND I can develop it myself, so that brings the price down considerably.  And Currently it’s selling for $4.99 per roll.  So we’ve solved the 2020 film problem: Ilford HP5.

A new change is that we can switch cameras on a quarterly basis.  So of my options below the question is which do I start with?  And am I going to change up cameras during the process?

Now, I have four inexpensive camera options.  What could be cheaper than a camera (or in this case two) that were given to me by a neighbor.  My freebie choices: the Fujica ST-705 with a normal and zoom lens; and the Yashica Electro 25 GSN, a rangefinder that has telephoto and wide angle lens add-ons (i.e. they screw on over the attached lens).

Fujica_ST_705

Yashica1_Posted_Sm

Both cameras work and are in good condition.  Which would you choose?  But hold on, another camera has entered the Mix.  I was rearranging the storage of my 35mm cameras and found that my Minolta SRT-202 had a partially exposed roll.  So I decided to finish that roll and add the SRT-202 into the Frugal Film Mix.  Shown here with my Fisheye Lens.  And that’s the factor weighing heavily in it’s favor.  I would have the versatility of all my Minolta lens options. The actual value of the camera is borderline for the project.  But we’ll see.

Minolta_SRT_202_Posted

For October,and November I have posted examples from the Yashica and Minolta.   I had decided to give the Fujica away, but my husband said that he would like to try it out.  It’s a lovely camera camera, and seems like it’s going to stay in the Family.  So it may make an appearance for one quarter of Frugal Film.

Now a forth option appeared when I made a film purchase from the Film Photography Project.  There was a ‘new’ plastic camera, the Debonair, for $19.99.  At that price I had to buy it:

 

I had thought to post a survey on Twitter in November for my followers to vote on which camera to use.  But after signing on officially for 2020 and corresponding with the Frugal Film Founder Sherry,  I learned that the rules will be changing slightly.  So I would have more flexibility. I’ll post the new rules in January…….

B&W Flowers from My Garden

OK, I’m a believer.  Photographers were always raving about Ilford HP5.  But I didn’t share the fascination until this past Spring.  On my Journey to Phoenix I wanted to take 35 mm B&W film.  The only thing I had in the fridge was Ilford HP5.  So I grabbed the 5 rolls and headed out………

And I’ve finally discovered the situations where the ‘GRAIN” works for me.  Here is a summary of my HP5 Best Case (all HP5 except where noted):

 

 

(Note: the datura, upper right is T-MAX)

 

(Note:  Yuca Baccata, upper left, is digital IR)

September on my Other Blog is all about B&W in the Garden.

B&W Flowers

Something that I want to spend more time on……..B&W Flowers.  More from the Mayo Clinic Cactus Garden……

B&W_White_Flower1

 

Above:  same flowers, different perspectives.

Below: Same Flowers, different f-stops; right has more bokeh.

 

 

Cactus_B&W_Saguaro

 

Cactus_B&W_Agave

My home garden is blooming….time to move outside and work on some local B&W Flower Portraits.

 

P.S. : I will actually have more B&W flowers coming in August. Developed a roll recently that is all flowers from my garden.

Inspired By: Kim Weston

Let’s start with a Weston Interview Quote:

“…..If you use a film long enough, you get to know its characteristics. I don’t use a meter, I just know the light…..”

I love the quote because I rarely use my spot meter…….

Now, what inspires me?  If you check out his website….he exclusively does nude photography.  Although tastefully done, it’s not my thing (although there is one image I do love: Nude in Cactus).  And this is as far as I go into Nudes:

Johnson_KE_Illuminate_4

What Inspires Me? First I am inspired by His warm and welcoming attitude towards film students and film enthusiasts in the Monterey Bay Region.    I met Kim Weston when he welcomed our Monterey Peninsula College Class to Wildcat Hill.  At that time he was making predominantly platinum prints and we were an Alternative Processes class.  So he demonstrated the printing method for us.  He also discussed his artistic philosophy, and let us see his famous grandfather, Edward Weston’s, simple but beautiful darkroom. Imagine yourself making fabulous 8X10 contact prints like pepper #39 using an incandescent light bulb.

Kim Weston invited us to drop by, and if he wasn’t busy, we could talk about photography.  One of my friends spoke up.  Luther was having trouble learning to use his 4X5 view camera.  Kim just said, drop by with the camera sometime.  Luther did, and Kim Weston spent the afternoon showing him how to get the most from his 4X5. His support of film photographers, especially students, inspires me.

But Kim Weston eventually took it a step further, starting the Weston Collective, a scholarship program for students in Monterey County that are studying fine art film photography.  And the Collective has taken a step forward in support of fine art photography by opening a darkroom and teaching studio.  Raising the funds and managing the space for the benefit of ‘developing’ film photographers is inspiring.

 

 

 

Favorites from Silberra PAN 100

Similar issues with PAN 100 as I had reported for PAN160.  All images here have been significantly altered for brightness and contrast in Photoshop.ArizonaSky1

Arizona Skies have been generally more interesting than in Front Range Colorado.  Back in colorado that dead blue sky that frequently shows itself is anathema to Photography.

Superstition3

 

 

Ditto on no more Film Testing………

Silberra PAN 160

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……..

4Peaks_Enhanced

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 Story: Shooting Digital Like Film

LongCanyonTree_FinalCrop

First the Quote from Frank H. Wu on 35mmc:

“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!

 

The Story: Wyoming Cloud

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.

strikingcloud

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.

wyoming-cloud

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.

When Life Throws a Curve

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 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.

WatingForBiopsy
Waiting for my Biopsy

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.

Ciao Baby!