Saturday, September 27, 2014

Rollei Redbird, Creative Edition Film

Having seen some really nice results and being totally intrigued by the name of this film I had to get some and try the Rollei Redbird, Creative Edition film. I got the film in both 120 and 35mm formats but started out with the 35mm version in my Pentax ZX-L.

I really had no idea what to expect or how to manipulate the film since it is essentially regular film shot backwards through the base side rather than the emulsion side. I am told that this is achieved by rolling the film backwards onto the spool. The film ends up with a “reddish” look due to the color shift that occurs when the red layer gets exposed first rather than last.

The other thing that happens is that the film loses at least one stop film speed so that I suspect the Rollei Redbird (ISO=400) film is actually Rollei Nightbird film (ISO = 800) that has been reversed when rolling it onto the spool.

My two biggest concerns were whether I would get the results I wanted by just shooting the film at box speed (ISO=400), and whether The Darkroom would remember to reverse the film when scanning to give me the image I wanted rather than the reverse image derived from scanning the usual side.

Both of those concerns were addressed in my first roll of film. From the image above you can see that shooting at box speed does not yield the best results although there is a certain “something” that makes this a compelling image. 

My other concern was quickly realized too. The Darkroom scanned my negatives as they would any other film so that my images came out backwards. This is not a huge problem since I easily flipped them in post processing but I would have thought they would have known better.

I will be trying this film again but I likely will experiment with longer exposures to see if I can optimize the exposure times for the best combination of shadow detail and the “redscale effect.”

Saturday, September 20, 2014

"Pick of the Litter"

Here’s the next installment in the continuing adventures of me and my Holga WPC. In my last post I briefly explained a little about my initial experiences with this amazing camera shooting with Kodak Portra 400 color film. I took a total of six shots and they all came out. That is, the exposures were correct. Out of the six there were four “keepers.” The other two are okay but the compositions didn’t turn out as I had hoped.

The photograph above is my favorite of the four keepers. This is actually the reason I went to visit the Chalmette Battlefield where the Battle of New Orleans was fought in 1815. I had been there previously and taken an incredible shot of the monument with my digital camera. I was hoping to duplicate the image with the Holga WPC but the sky was overcast and rainy so the lighting was all wrong. I went off to take some shots of the canons instead. Eventually I turned around to behold what you see above. 

This was not the image I went there to get but sometimes serendipity provides a better reward. I can’t wait to see what else this camera can do.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Holga WPC

The latest addition to my arsenal of pinhole cameras is the formidable Holga WPC (wide pinhole camera). This camera comes with two masks, one for shooting in 6 x 12 format and the other for shooting in 6 x 9 format on 120 roll film. That translates into negatives that are 2 ¼” x 4 ½” or 2 ¼” x 3 3/8” respectively. Either of these are impressive for the size alone and could result in extreme enlargements of excellent quality.

In fact when shooting the in the near panoramic 6 x 12 format The Darkroom thinks it is so impressive they charge extra for processing. I believe this is justified because it takes extra time & effort to identify these non-standard negatives and scan them properly, something The Darkroom takes the time to do and do very well. 

With my Holga set up for the 6 x 12 format and a roll of Portra 400 loaded I set out on my photo safari to see what my new pinhole camera could do.  In my last post I displayed a photo of “the crossroads” taken with my Pentax K-1.  As you can see from the panoramic image above the Holga WPC’s version of that shot includes a “little” more of the crossroad.

The famous “dark corners” are in full splendor here, even after a little cropping to better present the image. I confess to not really liking the “dark corners” the way the WPC presents it and will probably crop most of my shots to soften the effect somewhat. Otherwise however, I really like the WPC and am impressed with the initial results of my first adventure with it.

Lessons learned – get closer! As with most pinholes you always seem to be too far away from the subject and the WPC is no different in that respect.

A few days after I shot these images I had planned another shoot but cancelled it once I realized that the Holga cable release I had did not have a reliable locking mechanism for use with the extremely long exposures (15 to 20 minutes) I was contemplating.  This is the one sold under the Holga brand name and works well with all my Holgas but like everything “Holga” it is mostly cheap plastic and rather flimsy. 

After a bit of experimenting it appears however, that a couple of strategically placed rubber bands might effectively hold the shutter open so that I can just use the lens cap as the shutter for such exposures. I will let you know how it works after my next Holga WPC adventure.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Leaded Gasoline

Anyone remember leaded gasoline? Even more impressive than the sign saying there was lead in the gasoline distributed by these pumps is the fact that the little price indicator windows allowed for only three digits, all that was necessary at the time since it would be the mid 1970’s before gasoline topped $1 per gallon.

These pumps are on a friend’s property in front of an old restored building that looks a bit like a General Store; note the out-house in the background. 

The shot was taken with my Olympus XA2 shooting Kodak Tri-X, my all-time favorite black & white film, and is offered here from the archives for your viewing pleasure while I await the results of my latest photo-exploits from The Darkroom.

Monday, September 1, 2014

At the Crossroads

I went out yesterday to shoot a roll of film in my Holga WPC (wide pinhole camera) but needless to say I haven't gotten the results from that yet. I did shoot each frame taken with the WPC with my Pentax K-1 also and the photo above is one those.

This was shot with an 18mm lens at f11 and 1/250 (ISO 400). Although the 18mm lens I used is a wide angle, the WPC with it's infinite depth of field and near panoramic field of view should offer a unique presentation and show the rest of "the crossroads."