Sunday, July 11, 2010

I Shot Film!, And Enjoyed It

Well, having had fun yesterday with the stump and not feeling I had got the best of it, I emptied out the darkroom (no mean feat itself), wiped down some surfaces and took some clean holders. I threw out all the old film (does film that was thawed in 1992 (God knows when I bought it) still work?). Anyway, I loaded six holders (12 sheets) and headed out for the stump.

I have found that for 4X5, the best tripod is my Berlebach 9043, with no head on it at all, just using the leveling centre post to aim up and down. The wood legs and metal spike feet work better than my carbon fibre Gitzo for the bigger camera. It does weigh a couple of pounds more, and by the time you place 4 inches of ball head on it, isn't as stable, but with camera right on the centre post - pretty good and quite versatile, grabbing the bottom of the centre post to position the camera.

I used both back tilt and back swing to get the plane of focus just right - actually quite fun and much easier than on a tilt shift lens on my dSLR.

I found the dark cloth a bit of a pain, either slipping down over the lens or more commonly off the camera entirely, or falling down between me and the camera - and it was hot under there (on a not especially warm day). My bifocals were a pain, only being able to do much with the bottom 1/8 inch of my progressives for  viewing. I have astigmatism so simple cheaters are not an option.

I once had a BTZS dark cloth which was small and closed at the back and elasticized round the camera - it worked perfectly with my Kardan Color - a couple of plastic clips on the metal body of the camera holding the cloth nicely in place. I might just have to do something similar to my Shen Hao 4X5.

The camera performed flawlessly with both the 135 and 210 lenses and interstingly the 210 stood in nicely for the 70-200 zoom on this occasion (ie. working from roughly the same distance).

Arrguably the fun part is now over - I have to clean the darkroom and the developing equipment thoroughly, process the film and then scan it. I made six shots, using two sheets for each shot. Perhaps I didn't need to do that since I can deal with spots and scratches in Photoshop, but you never know and it's what I always did.

I'll scan one neg from each holder at 300 dpi and consider that my 'proof sheet' from which I can then pick the negs I want to do hi res scans from.

I'll let you know how all that works out.

Of course, the obvious solution is to purchase a $40,000+ medium format digital system but like most of you, I'm doing this as an artist/hobbyist and no way can I recoup the cost of such a system. Factoring in the cost of the divorce,...

Hobbyists and artists just have to lump it and do it the hard way. Whether it will hold up to my 5D2 and have any artistic merits to the workflow remains to be seen.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Good going. Looking forward to the results :)