Just another shot I made past weekend. I wish I could go out and shoot more but that ain’t always the case.
Also I feel I have to focus more on my ‘art’ as I tend to jump around and try different stuff, bouncing back and forth like a pinball in a machine.
Somehow I need to focus on something I can develop being outside and something to do in my studio on rainy days.
I feel lost and it is hard to let go the urge of doing/trying everything. I really need to find a direction, a goal, otherwise I won’t arrive at getting a body of work that is coherent and interesting.
Yesterday I bought a batch of well stored but expired 120 roll film worth something like 145 Euro. Thirteen rolls of Ilford HP5+, 4 rolls of Ilford PANF, 8 rolls of Fuji Provia 400, 2 rolls of Fuji Superia 100 and one roll of Fuji Superia X-TRA 400.
Without any regrets and with a big smile I splashed out 250 Euro.
Yep, with the film I got a Bronica ETRS with a 75mm f2.8 and a 50mm f2.8. The camera comes with one 120 film back, a dark slide, a manual speed winder and a waist level finder.
I used to have a 75mm f2.8 but then something went wrong with the internal mechanics. So now I have this lens again. It is great for portraits.
The second lens I already have so maybe I’ll sell one of them.
The camera is visually in mint condition. I did not have time to fill a test roll but I noticed there is an issue with the 120 film back. The film advances but the frame numbers don’t move. I changed backs and that worked. Maybe it is something I can fix or maybe I’ll have to get another back. We’ll see.
On my other Bronica, an ETRSi, I have the prism AE-II finder so a waist level finder for a low POV is welcome.
I think this is a great deal. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the Provia as I don’t shoot slide film but I’ll keep it stored and when I feel like it play a little with cross-processing.
I love shooting with Bronica. I like the 645 format and the lenses I own are very sharp. I am happy I was able to acquire a second body for almost nothing.
Meanwhile I am selling my Olympus OM-D M10 kit. A few lenses are sold alreade, the very sharp 45mm f1,8 and the very good Lumix 20mm f1,7.
I like the camera but after I got the Ricoh GR II I did not use the Olympus that much as I found the Oly suddenly a very slow camera. I have no complaints about the (image) quality but, well, it is just gathering dust.
Anyway I feel that I am moving more and more towards analogue photography. I like that.
Another shot of a calla lily this time made with my Bronica ETRSi and a 200mm. I used two studio lights. One for the flower itself and one for a light spot on the background with about 2 stops less power.
Developed with Kodak TMax and that bottle is now empty.
I’ll be switching to Fomadon R09 (new Rodinal) for cost and because I’ll be able do to some stand and semi-stand development with this developer.
When I look at the grain, the tonality of this image and the pleasure of developing and scanning and trying new stuff I now I am really deeply in love with film photography.
In a few days I’ll be picking up a Jobo CPE-2 with lift. This will enable me also to develop color film.
Getting 35mm color developed is not a problem. It becomes more difficult for 120 roll film and almost impossible for sheet film.
By the way I am extremely happy with the online shop I’m buying my films, developer and so on from. Please note I am not affiliated with them in any way. I’m mentioning them simply because of their range of products and service. I discovered Retro Camera by accident and they sell only analogue film products.
I’m also selling gear because I’m not using it. I’ll be scaling down and keep the Sinar Norma, the Bronica ETRSi (maybe get a second body), my very complete Olympus OM-kit with several lenses and bodies and Nikon gear, both digital and analogue. And of course my Ricoh GR II.
Using the Bronica or the Sinar does not make me a better photographer but it sure as hell makes me see and photograph in a different way. It is about using your gear for what is was meant and to push it even further.
Soon I’ll also be doing long exposures with the Sinar. The only thing that keeps me using it in the field is the weight/transportation.
What is next?
Well I am thinking I should find a way of earning some money with my photography. Workshops or selling prints. Both are not obvious as I am not the only one trying to make it happen for myself.
Then there is the matter of printing. I’ll be using my Pixma Pro 9500 Mark II for color prints and some black and white but I would love to do the latter in a different way.
I would love to make platinum prints. Start with 4×5″ contact prints just to acquire experience. Then move to digital negatives in order to make larger prints.
The only problem I have is that I am running out of space. Since I got the Sinar I set up a small 2-light studio in my living room. Little A. who spends 2 weekends a month at my place finds it chaotic.
So a studio in the living room, a developing lab in the kitchen leaves no place for a UV-unit to process platinum prints.
A few days ago I used my Bronica for the first time in almost a year. There was still film in it and I remembered the last shots I made.
I had about 6 shots left when I went for a walk in the woods.
Yeah, I know this is going to sound extremely stupid.
I enjoyed being outside. Made some minimalist compositions, measuring the light with a spot-meter and thinking zone system.
After 6 shots I started to feel that something was not right. The frame counter indicated 6 and when I transported the film I noticed to my horror it was not advancing.
It took a few minutes before I realized my Bronica was not broken but that for some reason the multiple exposure lever was set on, well, multiple exposure.
I lost a few shots, that is also a part of shooting analog film.
Yesterday, August 18 I drove to Ossenisse. It is a small village in the Dutch province of Zeeland.
The river Scheldt runs near it and that was my goal. I wanted to make some long exposure shots with my Bronica ETRSi. I loaded it with Ilford FP4 (125 ISO) and used a combination of a red filter and a ND 1024 to cut light down 12 stops. The red filter helped to make the blue sky darker.
I used my Pentax Spotmeter V to measure the light and to make an average between the lightest and darkest spots.
I developed the film with my Jobo CPE but encountered some issues.
I feel the film was not developed uniformly. The border of the film seems to have a few lighter areas. Nothing dramatic but it is there.
I used a squeegee to get rid of the water on the film. The first few negatives show parallel lines all over but then they disappear so I cannot imagine the squeegee is to blame.
Biggest issue remains dust. I dry my film in the smallest room but it still gets loaded with dust. Maybe I should put a water boiler in the toilet.
Anyway I enjoyed the shoot. Two guys came over for a chat (have to learn to give people my card, well, to have some with me at least). Composing, measuring the light and adding some gut feeling (an advantage of always using the same film) to the equation. Making long exposures and not having to wait for the digital camera to do something that takes as long as the initial exposure.
Just sitting there, walking, enjoying being in the grand open, me, a guy with a camera.
Later that afternoon, during the golden hour, I regretted not having color film with me. I hope that will change when I find and acquire a Jobe CPE-whatever kit so I can start and process color film.
It had been almost a year since I last used my Bronica ETRSi. There was still a roll of film in it.
I enjoyed being alone in the woods and meadows. In fact I missed it very much. I carefully framed, measured light trying to think zone system.
After 6 or so shots I started to have questions about film advancement. Another shot made it clear, film was not advancing. For a second I felt frightened, was the camera broken? Then I noticed the lever that makes superimposing possible was set to on. I clicked it back and everything worked fine again. I was both mad at myself and feeling silly. Hell, I made a few interesting shots that were now gone forever.
In a darker part of the woods I found these branches with only just one capturing sunlight. It was a good exercise for spot metering.
There was a difference of 4 stops between the darkest and brightest part so well into the dynamic range of the film.
The darkest shadow measured EV 7 (f5,6 – 1/15) and would render it mid grey or zone V. I decided to pull out the less darker shadows and overexposed with 1 stop making the light spot on the branch bright but with still enough detail in it.
I added a shallow S-Curve in Photoshop to boost the contrast slightly. Then I did some very light dodging to make the white light spots in the background a little brighter. That is all.
I started making notes, something I never did before, when I got the Sinar Norma.
Now I have a notebook in my Bronica bag also and I find it interesting to compare notes with what I saw, what I wanted to achieve and the final result.
I feel using the Pentax Spot meter and thinking more about light and how I want to see it in my final result is beneficial for my photography.
Without wanting to sound to dramatic I do feel a little sad and lonely.
Tomorrow, after two weeks at home, it is back to work. That is okay. I love my work although the distance and the increasing traffic jams are becoming a burden.
Two hours ago I brought Little A. back to her mother. My youngest daughter stayed with me for two weeks and we had lots of fun. Hell, she even talked me into watching her favorite series, Pretty Little Liars. I am well into season 1 and enjoying the story and plot.
I’ll be missing Little A. but in a few weeks she’ll be back for another fortnight. And this Thursday I am driving her to Antwerp where she’ll take the bus to Italy. It is with a youth organization. Little A. is also going to Croatia next month. She’s a lucky girl and I am happy she gets all these opportunities.
But now the apartment is empty and I feel alone.
My relation with Big A., my eldest daughter, on the other hand is not good at all. Sadly that is no news and it has been like this for several years now.
Sunday, a week ago, I went photographing in the Netherlands and the results did not please me. I screwed up one 120 roll of film during development and the two rolls of 35mm I shot with the Olympus OM-1n did not result in something interesting either.
I went out photographing again a few days ago and to my great surprise I chose my Nikon D2h with a Vivitar 75-205 f3,5 lens (40 years old), a Nikon 50mm f1.8 and the Nikon 24-120 with the Cokin holder for the infrared filter.
Nothing really interesting came out of it though.
Sweetheart arrived at my place yesterday at around 17:30 pm. We took Little A. out for ice cream and after that, back home, I opened a bottle of Cava for us both and we watched an intense and beautiful movie called “God’s Pocket“. The late Philippe Seymour Hoffman plays one of the lead characters. I love seeing him play, he was, in my opinion, a great and powerful actor.
Those who are following this blog know I have problems with my 16GB 27″ iMac since I upgraded to Yosemite.
The system becomes very slow and sometimes even crashes or freezes. After a while some actions are so sluggish I simply push the off button and over time I had become very frustrated with this expensive computer because it is not reliable and slow.
Can you imagine typing something in Google’s search bar and see, after 10 or 20 seconds, the letters you typed appear? On a +2000$/€ computer????
Since a few weeks I had this free program installed, Dr. Cleaner from Trend Micro. Then I forgot about it but yesterday I finally ran it.
I had only a browser running and in the status bar Dr. Cleaner informed me almost 70% of my memory was in use. What the f#*k????
Apparently Folder Actions Setup was enabled and after doing some research on Google I found this was not a good thing.
Since I disabled it my iMac is once again the computer it was when I bought it, pre-installed with Mountain Lion.
In a few weeks I’ll have to make another decision and I’m still not sure what to do. I have a second blog, a very personal diary telling the story of Princess Sweetheart and me.
I haven’t been writing much for this blog this past month and in fact my last blog post on it was about saying goodbye. The reactions were intense and touched me. I had no idea my writings on that blog were so meaningful for a lot of people.
Merging both is not an option though.