Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fomapan and Rodinal stand development

The Acros 100 film from the Fed was not necessarily a good one to judge how stand development is different from my usual development timings. 

So here is a Fomapan 100 film developed for one hour in Rodinal (R09 to be exact). I used 2,5 ml of developer in a 300 ml tank. The thing is the development time for Fomapan in R09 in a 1+25 dilution is only 3,5 minutes, where as for the Acros in the same dilution it is almost 6 minutes, I sometimes give it 7. So I was risking overdeveloping and getting burnt areas (areas which are white rather than a shade of grey), which I think is still the case in with some of the shots, particularly those shot at higher speeds. Like this bike.

Strangely enough there is plenty of grain despite the fact I didn't touch the tank within the one hour I have been developing it. I am not sure if this is simply the way Fomapan reacts in Rodinal, which very much can be the case. 

 Well, here is to another experiment! :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Stand development

After the disaster with the expired developer I have managed to try stand development.

Stand development is a different development method where you basically use a very small amount of developer and leave the film for 1 hour for the developer to do its job. Now I am no expert in the whole agitation business (people say that agitation seriously affects how your film looks afterwards, I can't really say as I am rather random with this... so no experience really to share here.) so supposedly stand development gives slightly flatter negatives, no grain and very smooth shades.

I used R09 with Acros 100 with a 1:100 dilution and 60 min stand with agitation in the first minute and after the first 30 minutes. I am not sure if I am particularly happy with what came out. The thing is I have been using my new Fed5 camera, which is a range finder and meters differently compared to the Pentax. The Fed similarly to the Zenit uses a needle meter. But that is a different story...

Back to stand development: I will give it another go tomorrow with a Fomapan film from the Pentax. The Fed is being funny and I think it is a matter of getting used to it. Although I am not sure if I want to get used to it. It is very difficult to focus with it with my poor eye sight and although it might be good on the street as it is fairly small and the external light meter certainly helps I think so far the Pentax has been excellent!

On composition and taking portraits of strangers

I found this man at a hotel where I was staying earlier this week. I thought he would be really interesting to photograph: his pipe, the posture, the way he was sitting seemed like it can make a great story.

So I went up and asked him if I can take a few pictures of him, he was really nice to say yes. Although I am generally satisfied of what came out as a result. There are a few things I wish I have done better.

He is not looking at me

Composition wise I am missing his right hand and I should have shifted the whole frame further down. So I would prefer if I could see what he is holding in his right hand. Same story on the picture below. I am looking at it and wishing I had stepped back and left just one and a half steps.

To be fair I find the last two pictures similar, so if I had to put the whole thing together only one of those would not have made it.

 Now when I am typing this I realize I didn't ask him anything about where he is from, why he is staying in that hotel, what does he do, what is his name... I was so absorbed by the way he looks and trying to capture him that I actually didn't think of asking him all these things. I think I also didn't talk to him too much because I assumed he would prefer not to be disturbed.

 I think have I spoken to him he would have actually looked at the camera and I would have been able to put a bit context into my story.

So there is today's lesson on taking portraits of strangers:
- talk to them: ask them their story, their name, what they do. This will not only put context into the portrait, will help captioning afterwards but will also make your model much more relaxed, which always means better shots.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A new developing disaster - updated

And it is indeed a disaster. After being able to get out the most fantastic shades ever from the Pentax, Acros and Rodinal I finally thought I got this...

Couldn't have been more wrong. 

I use R09 One shot developer which is basically Rodinal under a new name sold in the UK. It is a very unstable developer and you only mix it before you actually start developing as much as you need. The bottle says that it can keep at least 6 months after it has been opened. 

Nothing of that kind. Apparently the summer heat and the fact there is now very little left at the bottom of the bottle have speeded up my developer going bad.

I am now crying over three spoilt negatives with pictures that could have been great... yes, I am an idiot. However there isn't anything I can currently do, unless someone teaches me some PS magic. Because the result is this bad:

I mean this does not even look like a picture! Seriously!

After Ivan telling me about a super magic called stand development I thought I should try it and when the first film came out like this I thought it must be the stand development or something funny going on with the scanner. So I thought I will develop the film from the Fed. It came exactly the same...

Here is when I thought there is something wrong with the developer. However now, when I am typing this I am thinking could this be the fixer? The fixer actually being exhausted and playing silly buggers...

So you would think I would have stopped here and just gone to buy new developer. I though I would give it one last try... and another disaster. That is the thing with film, that you have to try and there is no undo button. 

Crap altogether. Very disappointed. I have one more film which will hopefully turn alright, but before that I will get a nre developer. 

Update 3rd Oct:
I went to Silverprint today to get a new developer and the guys were not sure what exactly happened to the negatives, but they were as always super helpful and said that on Monday there will be someone who can look at them. I got a new (smaller) bottle of R09, which is the newer formula of the Rodinal which is no longer sold in the UK and a new fixer as well, just in case. Now with the new bottle and one film developed I get a feeling it is almost 100% certainly the developer that has stayed for too long in the bottle.