Workflow adjustments and Fall colors

It’s a time of change for me: I’m examining workflow which has been stilted since COVID started; I haven’t even edited any photos in almost a year now but there’s been such a backlog it hasn’t been a problem.  My old way was to scan everything on the Pakon, export to TIFF and stick it on a flash drive, then take it down to school the next time I was there and use their computers and copy of Adobe Photoshop CS6 to adjust contrast/exposure until I got what I wanted.  Now with color negative there wasn’t a whole lot to do, the Pakon’s color profiles are fantastic, so I’d generally accept the JPG output, resize it, watermark it, and call it a day.

With the lockdown and finishing up of all photo classes I haven’t been down there, and the only option I had was to use Photoshop 7 that was installed on my WinXP machine I use hooked up to the Pakon.  I have a Win7 laptop but its display is a bit off as is the monitor on the WinXP machine; I have a few rolls of black & white that I’ve had developed and didn’t want to do anything with them until I had a chance to really set everything correctly, but I finally scanned 3 rolls of color negative and would have just posted them straight from the Pakon.  It would have been fine and they would have looked like this:

(that’s the old original watermark which is the only one I happened to have on my WinXP machine at the time)

However, thanks to being blessed with a new (to me) laptop, I feel comfortable with editing photos at home; this is a big change for me! It’s more powerful and seems to be pretty well calibrated in the screen department so I’m planning to dedicate this machine primarily to photo editing purposes.  I’m not about to pay money on a monthly basis to Adobe for a program that I can’t own so I’ve been exploring Photoshop alternatives.  Currently I’m using a free trial version of Affinity Photo which seems to be not too dissimilar.  It’s allowed me to tweak the levels, etc, while still keeping a very similar workflow.  Here are the results so far:

So a bit more contrast, somewhat darker, and I’m playing around with a few different watermarks: I think this is the new look of The Resurrected Camera.

This is Kodak Gold 200 exposed at ASA100 in 3 different Nikon bodies I picked up last year, I wanted to check out the 1/1000 shutter speeds to make sure that the shutter curtains were in sync.  I used an expired roll of film I bought years ago and color negative is the cheapest to develop; around $4.00 at my local camera store.  This also happened to coincide with the leaves changing in Fall so I ended up shooting several rolls of color around the end of September/beginning of October.  I generally don’t do much on the post-side of things, just adjust the curves to get proper contrast and light levels; I gave a general idea of this here.

Scanning a whole summer’s worth of film

40 rolls, to be exact, all Tri-X.  It was an incredibly productive Summer last year, and half the reason I took the 4×5 class in the Fall was so I could develop all that film for free in the university darkroom!  And then of course I have to scan it and thank God for the Pakon: it paid for itself twice over in money and time with just that one batch of negatives.

So as far as photo projects go I’m reminded of something our photo instructor Stacy had us read: The Helsinki Bus Station Theory which I’m sure I’ve posted before.  Hopefully I’ve stayed on the bus long enough to start making something unique, and this is where all my best shots are; I was ramping up quite a bit the second half of Spring ’19 and as you can see my output was steady for months there, as it has been this Summer as well.

As far as all the pictures that I took over last Summer, I usually digitally process every one of them and show them to my photo instructor Stacy, but getting involved with 4×5 for the subsequent semester and now COVID-19 has kept me from doing that (also I procrastinated).  I don’t consider myself the best editor of my own work and there have been many times in the past that I’ve had a shot that the class has liked, I’ve overlooked, and it then waits until the end of the project to be seen.  That’s why I have an entire collection of shots that didn’t get used for one critique; sometimes they end up being favorites of the class.

Between last Summer and this one I think I’m at 75 rolls of Tri-X total, with 35 of them awaiting development, as well as processing and editing.  The work continues…

Snow in Garden of the Gods

It’s been a hot week in Colorado, I hiked through the Garden just yesterday at about 80F; that reminded me of the last time I hiked through the Garden in February back when the weather was much colder.

I was scheduled for a tour that day but it got cancelled last minute due to weather.  As I was already on my way down to Colorado Springs, I took the opportunity to do something that I almost never do, take a hike through Garden of the Gods.  I usually see the park only from the road going around the outside.  Also while I was down there I took the opportunity to pick up a certain camera I’d had on layaway at Cameraworks.

As Colorado Springs has around 300 days of sunshine per year I like being able to see the park when it has something different to offer, like fog or snow.

These were taken on Ferrania P30 alpha shot at ASA50 developed in Sprint Standard for 7min at 70F (M) and I experimented with a single agitation every 15 seconds, though I don’t know what that accomplished.  I also shot a few still lifes (like cameras) and I am blown away with how little grain there is in this film, and how sharp it can be when used with my lovely Takumar lenses.  I suppose I could have used the Macro lens for these as well but shooting at ASA50 I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t need to keep the aperture open past f/4.

I also made sure to run a focus test with my Pakon scanner using this film as the template.  My theory is that it’s slightly thicker than other films and the scanner needs to be refocused or else the film won’t be sharp; that and I think the grain being so fine it’s hard to focus on it anyway.

What happened? Pt. III

My guess is he didn’t stay on his side of the road and had to overcompensate when he encountered oncoming traffic.  I could have held this a little bit steadier, and part of the problem was I didn’t want to risk having only one side of the frame exposed, so this was 1/60sec and taken really quickly.  It’s a shot I’ve been hoping to get for a while and hopefully I’ll get a better shot next time this happens.

This was my first experience with Rollei film (the last remnants of the once-great AGFA, manufactured in Belgium) and really it was a mistake to use it for anything work/project-related because the speed just isn’t what I need.  The rest of this roll was used for still-life work, a bit more controlled environment.  I’m not complaining, it’s a great film for what it is, but not what I need for my regular applications.  Like the name suggests, this is an old-fashioned-looking film, rather contrasty like Double-X or Ferrania P30.

This was a roll generously given to me by Mark Ewanchuk who’s a really great guy and a wonderful photographer.  I want to say that we had a conversation about Retro 80S not working with the Pakon scanners because the polyester base, and we talked about this a very long time ago.  Mark, sorry it took so long, this roll was in my mom’s freezer forever.  I had no problems whatever with scanning with the Pakon F335, as you can see.  I hope you aren’t having the same problems with your new(ish) Noritsu!

Ferrania P30 in the Trip 35

Shot at ASA50, developed in Sprint at 70F for ~7min (M).  I can’t even remember how far back I shot this roll, maybe late 2017?  It sat in my freezer because I wanted to be able to give it a little more attention with hand-developing.  I still have 2 rolls left over from the Ferrania alpha run a few years ago now (maybe I should have ordered more when they were available but I missed that window).

With more film I’d want to try some of the D-96 Monobath as I have a feeling the film wouldn’t be as contrasty.  That said, there’s an incredible amount of detail there if the film is exposed properly.  There are several images in here where I burned in the sky quite heavily to get more cloud definition: not that I’m a master at dodging/burning but I have to say that they look relatively believable.

I shot this roll with the Olympus Trip 35, with the incredibly sharp 40mm f/2.8 lens.  Go ahead and find some grain in these shots.  In fact this was the last roll I shot in the Trip 35, the shutter seems to have seized up and I’m bummed about that.  The 1/40 second shutter speed caused some blurry shots on the ASA50 film, I suppose that was to be expected.  So does the Pakon have problems focusing for this film?  I think it does indeed have a thicker base and the grain is so small.  But I calibrated my Pakon when I took it out of storage (as I write this I just put it back in storage while I move) and I think there’s decent sharpness there, my own focusing errors notwithstanding.

In fact for a film that dates back to the late ’50s I couldn’t believe how little grain there is!  According to Ferrania they’re all caught up on repairs and making P30 again so I think I’ll buy another 5 rolls of this film when they start selling it.  It certainly isn’t going to replace Tri-X in being my everyday use film, but at ASA80 I wasn’t expecting it to, especially with the feeling-out that has been going on with developing.  Until then, I have 2 rolls left and I want to shoot those in the Spotmatic with the 50mm f/4 SMC Macro-Takumar.  If I ever needed to blow up a 35mm image to 20×24 or larger that’s the combination I’d use.

Field trip to Denver

Denver’s Month of Photography is March of every odd-numbered year, so of course it took us until April to get up there.  Lots of galleries and exhibitions, as well as a side-trip to a bookstore, and the Rockmount Ranch Wear storefront.

 

Something happened when developing this film, and I’m not exactly sure what.  Either I got the ratio of the developer wrong, or the temperature/time was over what I thought (or both).  Either way the highlights are waaaay overdeveloped and the negatives are extremely contrasty.  edit: it turns out that some idiot had set out a box of print developer, not film developer.  I didn’t catch it until after it was too late but also didn’t remember if the Sprint chemistry was different between print and film developers.  Now I’ll always look before pouring some out just in case the darkroom tech has another idiot moment.

I suppose using TLX Client Demo and some inversion software I could have gotten better scans; PSI’s contrast adjustment maxes out at -40 it would seem, and I regularly use -30 contrast for well-exposed and developed black & white film.  I did what I could but I’m not a Photoshop miracle worker.  Worse still, I developed 5 rolls total, all in the big tank and while they’re not ruined, none of them look ideal.  I’ll be wet printing for the final/exhibition and hopefully a 00 or 0 filter will tame the contrast enough!  I suppose this is my punishment for digitally printing all my workprints, sacrilege I’m sure…

Milestone of a different kind

I don’t know exactly why, but I’m the first hit when someone Googles “Fujica ZC1000.”  Feeling lucky, it’ll send you directly to The Resurrected Camera.  And if you search just for images, mine is the first there too.  Pretty good for a camera I bought over a year and a half ago, have never used, meant to get a CLA for and never got around to doing it.

Not that I’m complaining mind you, but it’s strange to have that happen and it’s not like I’m an expert in the field of small-gauge filmmaking or the ZC1000 in particular (for that go read Ignacio’s blog).  Having the number one search result on Google is pretty significant milestone, one I didn’t see coming.

Though while we’re on the subject of the ZC1000, I did manage to track down a (somewhat rough) copy of the 1.8/5.5mm EBC Fujinon-SW lens…so wide the only focus it needs is macro.  And when I get a workflow for developing the film and reloading the single-8 cartridges, I’ll be using that baby.  But for now, the Canon is easier to deal with.

Oh, and guess what: it seems I’m the first choice for information regarding the Pakon F335 scanner as well!

Well that I can understand more I guess, but still…

Rolling forward

a.k.a. Quo Vadis II

An update: I spend the summers working and have been extremely busy, then cut back slightly so I can have a day or two just for classes.  I’ll admit, I’ve been so busy that I have been restricting my posts to one or two a month, and all the pictures I’ve posted were shot sometime last year.  Despite my good intentions, I don’t know if that’ll change soon, but I do still roll forward:

I got 25 rolls of film developed back in July, and finally started scanning some of them (the first 8 rolls at least).  It’s good to hear the hum of the Pakon and so wonderful putting an entire roll through every few minutes.

I have 8 more rolls of film in the fridge waiting to be developed, and 17 more rolls to scan though I’ll try to edit as I go, as time permits.  At any rate, I’m running out of drafts in the queue so there will be more recent photos posted soon.

In other news, Ektachrome is back and available in super 8 directly from Kodak’s website.  135 canisters will be available in about 2 weeks from retailers and 16mm is expected by the end of the year.  Unfortunately, together with the $40 price tag (it says it’s an introductory price; hopefully it will drop eventually), there is no student discount available, which makes it nearly twice as expensive for me as all the other films.  I think I’ll be waiting a while, but I wish Kodak all the best!

People at the airshow

The Axis Trio strikes back hard!  Seeing all the Allied warbirds was too much for them.  Although it was a perfect day to try out the Ferrania P30 Alpha film for the first time, I underexposed the film by at least a stop (and did in my Spotmatic too, shooting Tri-X).  Thankfully, it wasn’t a big deal:

Even though underexposed, there was plenty of detail, which I am extremely happy about!  The shots were completely usable, though like I said in my previous post, bumping up the contrast so much did start revealing lots of dust and scratches, water spots, etc, and I didn’t have the same problem with the Tri-X (see below). I will say that my local camera store isn’t one of the labs that Ferrania recommends.

Here is all that shooting info again:
Scanned myself with the Pakon F335, edited in Photoshop
D-76 stock at 8min (I think, or it could have been 9min…it was developed by my local camera store)
Canon 7 with the Leitz 35mm f/3.5 Summaron
Very overcast day
Shutter speeds were nominally around 1/125 at f/8 (I was shooting at around ASA100)

Tri-X definitely has a different look to it, slightly more consistent when underexposed I’d say (the middle shot was overexposed by a stop I think).

Alright, here’s the thing with the P30: It’s so fine-grained that I expected it to be much sharper than this, and it looks soft as butter.  I’m not completely convinced it wasn’t my lens, but comparing it to other shots on Double-X those look much sharper.  Here’s a 100% crop from my scan:

So the other possibility is that P30 is sufficiently thicker (or thinner?) than regular film to be out of focus in my Pakon, so I will have to rescan both negatives making sure I refocus using some P30 film.  Then I will have to refocus again with something like Tri-X, for everything else I scan.  It’s on the agenda, but I haven’t quite found time yet.

This is one of the best exposed shots I had.  And here’s the other one from the last post:

And one last one, this is an extreme example of burning in the sky, just to see what was possible:

.

Don’t ever trust the meter…

Don’t ever trust, don’t ever trust the meter, it lies!
Don’t ever trust, don’t ever trust the meter, 
When it cries, cries your name…

I’m paraphrasing Queensryche here.  But the point is, that even I’m still making exposure mistakes on occasion, and evidently it had to do with it being a particularly overcast day (a rare occurrence in Colorado Springs, I can tell you).  Evidently everything I shot during the Pike’s Peak Regional Airshow was underexposed by a stop or so.  Not the end of the world, thankfully, as Ferrania P30 seems to just lose contrast when it’s underexposed.  At least, under the circumstances where it’s an overcast day, and using a 1940s lens.  Here’s the worst offender:

 

That was at least 2 stops underexposed.  Even though underexposed, I was able to pull incredible amounts of detail in scanning, it was just a matter of bumping up the contrast and usually lightening things up a bit.  What I couldn’t say is what’s up with all the dust particles and water spots (and I always run my film through the StaticVac right before scanning).  I had a roll of Tri-X developed at the same time and there was nothing wrong with that roll at all; I think I will make an entire post out of unfairly comparing the two films.

Here are all the stats for this:
Scanned myself with the Pakon F335, edited in Photoshop
D-76 stock at 8min (I think, or it could have been 9min…it was developed by my local camera store)
Canon 7 with the Leitz 35mm f/3.5 Summaron
Overcast day
Shutter speeds were nominally around 1/125 at f/8 (I was shooting at around ASA100)

The Axis Trio makes its first appearance, here’s a pic:

(Shot with the Spotmatic SPII on Tri-X) – Japanese camera body, German lens, and finally, Italian film!

As far as first impressions go, I wasn’t expecting much at all because John at Cameraworks said they were very underexposed and the negatives were quite thin.  I don’t know how to describe what I mean, but looking at the curve I provided, the picture was there right in the middle, where with something like Tri-X all that information would have been way to one side where it’s much less usable, and usually is a lot grainier.  And this film certainly has some fine grain!

I shot that 35mm Summaron at f/8 all day and it looks incredibly soft, compared to my beloved Takumars (this is really the first time I’ve put it through its paces), which threw me for a while.  Having had a couple weeks to think it over and studying the rest of my scans, I think I might be dealing with a focus error here.  Is P30 a different thickness from most other films?  I’m going to rescan all the negatives when I have a chance, and make sure I run the autofocus wizard using this particular film.  I assume that I will also have to run it again to refocus it to all the other films I use.  Again, nothing wrong with that roll of Tri-X I scanned at the same time.

I’m hoping that the dust/water spots were just so noticeable because of the underexposure.