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‘photography’ Category

  1. A Scanner Darkly

    June 25, 2018 by Daniel

    Turns out you can immerse yourself in lots of tinkering on the output end of photography things. Up to know when I’ve got the scans back from a processors, I’ve just sorted of accepted them as is. I’ve farmed out the decision making. It could be done all automatically or with some human input, I don’t know. But generally I accept the images and only lightly change them before I send them on out into the world.

    Doing your own scanning is not like that.

    eos roll 4 07

    So my process is this. I don’t know whether this is the best way or not but it quickly became my workflow.

    1. Open up GIMP, File->Capture to fire up the scanner.
    2. Load up the negatives, set it to TPU – Black & White, 3200dpi
    3. Scan
    4. Repeat step 2 until you’ve done the roll.
    5. Crop the image in the scan file
    6. Set the levels to taste.
    7. Repeat 5/6 until you’ve done all the images.

    Possibly the proper software might do the cropping for me and that would be quicker. There’s not much control on the exposure at scan time either so potentially I could be saving lots of time here.

    There was one image I was struggling to get right
    _18 EOS5 roll 4

    I was unable to get the detail in the sky whilst also brightening the field. Which leads you into doing layer masks… which is quite the rabbit hole. I was going to do an early bath for the kids but ended up losing track of time….

    Laptop wise- you know what? I think I’m OK. I still find my Lenovo a little too big, but at the same time you get a good sized screen for that. The MacBook Air is a great size and can do the job, but it is noticeably slower than my Lenovo which surprised me!

    I’m also learning that despite my efforts, I’ve found it tricky to keep on top of everything being organised properly. I’ve ended up misnumbering rolls having gone for a camera-roll# system rather than a unique number for each roll (I’ll probably end up doing both for a while). Sending off larger batches of films makes it trickier to reconcile what camera was which roll. Yes yes, use less cameras? At least with home processing I can only do two at a time so it ought to be easier. Trying to keep notes of what was on each film before its processed should help a bit.

    I’ve started to run low on film again so I’m debating with myself what to buy a batch of next and what ISO. I’d like to go a bit lower now the sun is out so perhaps some FP4? Some stuff has come out very dark though despite being ISO400. *Shrug*

    08 EOS 5 roll 1

    Personally I really like this one of Florence taken at the Space Centre in Leicester. They have a mockup of an ISS module there and she always insists on dressing up in the costumes they have lying around for the whole way round. So here’s a dreamy sort of 2001: Space Odyssey image of her as a Star inside a perhaps Apollo era evoking looking ISS.


  2. End of GAS?

    June 19, 2018 by Daniel

    GAS – Gear Acquisition Syndrome

    I’m hoping I’m nearing the end of ‘GAS’. I think I’ve figured out what works for me and what doesn’t. It was my birthday over the weekend so I finally pulled the trigger and bought the Canon EOS M50 I’d been eyeing since it’s release. “A digital camera?” You say? Yes, digital. No it doesn’t mean I will stop taking pictures on film, certainly not – having just gotten started developing! No I discovered that whilst film is brilliant for some things, there are circumstances you just want to know you’ve got the picture. Experimenting with the film cameras helped me cheap(ish)ly learn about photography and what I love about it and of course I will carry on with them.
    Ex-Cornerhouse
    So, why the M50? Well I’d gotten used to the Canon way of doing things, I’d managed to acquire a very nice Canon film SLR (and used it on School sports day – looking forward to seeing how those shots came out!) I’d managed to get a couple of lenses for that and the Canon EOS 5000 I got. The M50 offers the ability to use the same lenses on it, whilst having all the modern bells & whistles. So, it’s APS-C which means not ‘full frame’ 35mm equivalent, which is important to note as it means the lenses get cropped when moving between the two, but it’s not a big deal for me really. Perhaps Canon will bring something full frame out in the mirrorless range soon, but a) this is out now and b) I expect it to be expensive. Why mirrorless? Well I’ve used enough SLRs, I wanted something compact when it needs to be, but that also had proper manual features and could also do wide-angle and telephoto. Having seen the talk from Terry Donnelly at Bolton Camera club about mirrorless it did seem to me to be the way forward. It can handle all three kinds of Canon lens so it got massive choice of lenses (currently debating what to go with next, I do fancy a pancake lense).
    Untitled
    I keep saying, “this is my last camera” when I buy one, but now I think I mostly mean it. EF, EF-S, EF-M Lenses, yes please, a rangefinder – also I wouldn’t say no (Leica M?!!!)

    I’ve bought a scanner so I can digitise the films I have developed (yet to collect and set up though – yet to see how my laptop copes with it…. something else which may need an upgrade….) – I went for the Epson V600, I’ll try it with the included Software and see how that goes. Software wise I’m also looking at Adobe subscriptions – basically something that can handle RAW files from the M50.

    But then, after GAS is at an end (hopefully) I’m looking forward on concentrating on the images.


  3. Dev. Stop. Fix.

    June 6, 2018 by Daniel

    I’m now three rolls of home developed film in 🙂 so I thought I’d run through the kit I’ve acquired and what my process is.

    I’d bought this kit from ebay, which basically has everything you need (minus chemicals, scissors, something to open the film up with ie a bottle opener). It worked out quite a bit cheaper than buying the parts separately from all the online stores, under £60 for all of it.

    You can get smaller tanks but I thought being able to process more than one roll at a time would be handy (especially as I’ve built up a bit of a backlog to get developed…) Plus it’ll manage 120 format if I decide to ever try that again (one day perhaps, give that home developing it is lots cheaper).

     

    Next up I took the plunge and used a Saturday morning I had free to go into my local Camera shop (the excellent Mathers) with the kids and asked for Ilford chemicals. I’d made a list I wanted to get, but the guy said Microphen, which is what I’d used on my course, had been discontinued or something. I’m not exactly sure what he meant, perhaps it was the liquid version rather than the powder, instead he pointed me at Ilfosol 3, which comes as a liquid. Seemed easier to me, so I went with that along with along with Ilfostop, Rapid Fixer and Ilfotol which is used to help the film dry evenly rather than leaving water marks.

    I bought a couple of extra measuring jugs from my local ASDA and having had a bit of trouble measuring things yesterday have ordered some finer graduated measuring cylinders. My tank needs about 700 ml to do two rolls so mixing a 1+9 solution was a bit tricky when the first mark on the measuring jug was 100ml. – What I ended up doing was weighing 75g of water in the jug, marking the line and using that as my measure. I wasn’t sure of the density of the Ilfosol so didn’t weigh that. I probably could carry on like this but I could order 4 measuring cylinders for £1.61 so…

    The vital tool to bring it all together is an app called Massive Dev Chart Timer. This kind of does it all it’s £8.99 which is quite a bit for an app, but it’s worth it I think. I”ve just discovered it’s even got a Volume calculator for figuring out the chemical dilutions, along with all the different times for developing at different temperatures. It’s pretty comprehensive.

    The next piece of the puzzle is bringing the images back into the digital world. Let’s face it, I need to get a scanner. I’ve long found them fairly pointless, usually had access to one knocking around but just your bog standard ones. Turns out to scan film they need to be able to shine light through rather than only reflecting off of what you’re scanning.

    The simpler option for now has been to take a picture with my phone, then edit it in various apps. This process is quite satisfying and works, but I’ve not been very happy with the initial ‘scan’ that gets taken. There’s not enough resolution at the minimum focus distance on my iPhone 6 to get a nice shot to start off with. Yes this might be improved with a bit more time, a light table and some kind of jig to hold the phone the right distance away, but a scanner will beat this every time (it may however take much longer and demand more oomph than my poor old home laptop has along with possibly having to run it booted into Windows).

    Yes I had considered the CMOS based film scanners which are around £40, but mostly they seem fairly low-res again, basically rubbish phone cameras mounted specially (ie a phone could do the same / better job) I do like that they would output direct to a memory card though, bypassing much of what my old laptop would have to do.

     

    I’ve got a bunch of colour rolls that I’ll still be sending off (for now?!?) and I hope to get hold of a scanner soon and set aside some time for getting that up and running.


  4. 5 more rolls

    May 2, 2018 by Daniel


    I posted more rolls off on Sunday and yesterday got the email, they’d received them, two hours later they were already processed and scanned! That’s some quick work. It’d probably take me all day to do that. I guess they have some big machine that does it all, which would be fascinating to see.

    So what did I send? I’m trying to get better at taking notes as I go as inevitably I’ve completely forgotten what’s on what roll with which camera by the time it all comes back. Let alone what settings were used for a shot! Oh EXIF data….

    These were the the first rolls through the Centon DF-300 which came from a box given to my Dad at one of his sales of antique toys and a Canon EOS 5000 which I bought from Ebay (along with an EOS 100 which unfortunately only works on full auto as the mode dial doesn’t function – but hey, it came with a decent lens).

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    The Centon is actually very nice, it had three lenses along with it, a 35mm, a 50mm and a 28-70mm of which I’ve pretty much just used the 50mm, a little of the 28-70mm but I didn’t like it as much. Features wise, it’s got more than the Canon 5000 – apetrure control is on the lens, but no autofocus. The metering for exposure length works quite well. The Canon has a fancy winding motor though which I didn’t expect to enjoy as much. It’s pretty cool putting the film into the Canon as it winds through the whole roll and displays on a LCD panel the number of shots remaining. The Canon also reads the DX encoding on the 35mm cassette to set the ISO which as far as I know cannot then be adjusted, whereas the Centon you can set yourself which is good if you plan to push the film (use it at a higher ISO than rated, I’ve not tried it yet but plan to).

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    The rest of the rolls were with the Holga, a camera which I think is actually reallly good. The shots are so characterful but I definitely feel more anguish and jeopardy using it. It’s not an SLR so you have no idea if the focus is right, the exposure and aperture settings are basic – but it all adds to the results I think.


  5. Dev + Scan

    May 1, 2018 by Daniel

    I was thinking about how things have changed in film photography since the last time I was doing it (when really it was the only choice, digital cameras were expensive and far-lower resolution…)

    Used to be that you could get film absolutely anywhere, or at least it seemed like it.

    But how often would you be buying film anyways? You’d send off your exposed film to Truprint or whoever and they’d sent you a new one back, for free.

    I wish I could do a price comparison from those mail order forms, I bet my Mum still has one or two lying around.So anyways, here’s the change, at the end of the halcyon days of film they started to offer the ability to put your pictures on a CD. Which was great, best of both worlds. You’d get the CD, store it somewhere and probably never actually put it into a computer, as you already had the prints or do that once. Save them somewhere and forget all about them when it comes to changing to a new computer. Some of the CD’s had software hiding the images in some program that won’t run on modern OS’s – which is really annoying!

    Compare that to these days – I send off my film (I have to pay the postage and provide an envelope…) They email me when they’ve received it (I do quite like this innovation). They develop them and scan them – I usually don’t ask for prints – and instead of posting a CD with the negatives they just post the negatives and e-mail a link to download the photos with. The magic of the internet! I then save them in my various places and upload to my usual cloud service storage and sharing spaces. From which I can edit, order prints if I like.

    I miss the SAE’s and ‘free film every time!’ but I know that the economics of it all have changed.

    So next up in my plans. I’ve ordered some developing kit. I’m still to order another couple of bits and chemicals and then I can start to process the B&W films myself.Then I will need to buy or get access to some kind of scanner. I think I’ve narrowed it down to two models, both have advantages and disadvantages. The Canoscan 9000F Mark II is able to do medium format as well as 35mm negatives, is a flatbed so it can be used for documents also but is a bit lower resolution than the PlusTek OpticFilm 8100 (or the 8200i SE with built in IR pass for dust removal) which only handles 35mm. The PlusTek also comes with better software, but that can be gotten separately I suppose. All assumes that my aging laptop will be up to the job (I expect so, but may get frustrated – basically it just needs to handle ingesting pictures, I can worry about actual editing later).

     

    Will doing it myself be cheaper? Well…. I guess eventually yes….? I think it will take about 30 odd rolls of film to pay for itself for the kit anyways, the chemicals per roll is a bit trickier to work out.


  6. Diana Roll 5 & Sprocket Rocket Roll 1

    March 29, 2018 by Daniel

    Roll 5 is a couple from George’s birthday party and a couple from the day of his actual 6th birthday. Again, not many have come back from this roll. I think it was ISO100 so I’m guessing they just haven’t come out at all? For indoors it seems the flash would be needed and only work quite closeup. You can see from the Sprocket Rocket shots below how the flash as not really helped the indoor party shots, creating a fuzzy haze that takes a fair bit of correction to see what’s going on properly.

    The sprocket rocket camera has such a wide-angle view that it makes you think quite differently what kind of thing you want to take pictures of. I’d seen some great examples of people but landscapes always seem to be something I like to pick up. At work there’s some great views and they are changing with the building work all of the time so I guess it’s nice to capture this moment in time. You can see lots of cranes at work but also the activity of the trains.

    First roll out of the sprocket, I quite liked using 35mm film and I may, ahem, have picked up a ‘normal’ 35mm camera (a Holga) – the film seems a lot more easily gotten hold of (not that 120 is that difficult with Amazon) but processing is half the price too.

    It’s still frustrating not getting back as many images as you think you’ve got but I guess that’s just the shift to analogue, what you have in your mind and just plain forgetting the settings are wrong sometimes. Certainly the setting of the bowling alley was no good with the 100ISO film.

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    https://www.flickr.com/photos/dnisbet/tags/srroll1
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/dnisbet/tags/dfplusroll5


  7. Roll 4 George’s Party

    March 26, 2018 by Daniel

    I wrote and discarded a post about George’s party already. Overall I had a lovely weekend. It had some difficult parts to it, but life is a rollercoaster. Photography wise, here’s the roll from the Diana camera. I’m very glad I asked for the flash to be brought up for it from that there London, the Diana needs lots of light it seems and a wintry Bolton suffers much more from low light than the many summery pics you see online from Diana cameras. I’ve got two other rolls that I was using from that week that are being developed and I took a bunch of digital shots too. But let’s talk about this one.

    Obviously focus is a bit of an issue. I’d basically tried to just keep it on the middle settings, but it seems to me that when you’re taking pictures of kids you usually want to get in quite close and then they’ll do something silly. Kids move very quickly too so you just kind of have to press the shutter without thinking too much about composition.

    I am enjoying the ‘imperfect’ nature of the pictures out of the camera. I’ve probably said it before but it’s good to get something more impressionistic. The one of my sister is probably the closest to a ‘normal’ picture I’ve gotten out of it and I guess that’s situational possibly too – sat in my living room talking.

    The other thing I like is how the pictures look old, despite being brand new. It could easily be a party in the 1980’s I think. Modern cameras do a lot of unseen work to get the best out of situations, the Diana leaves you no room to hide.

     

    Also there’s a double exposure in there of Florence. It was unintentional. I forgot to wind it on, but I like how it came out. There’s more (intentional this time) of those coming.

     

    I’m starting to think about techniques more. Lighting, etc not just getting the basic settings right (just hoping that I can get a usable image has been a learning experience!) It’s a lot easier to test stuff out with a phone camera and then see how it goes with the film.

    Coming soon also are some black & whites from the party and George’s actual birthday bowling trip and the wide angle sprocket rocket pictures. It fits way more on a roll, 17, so it took longer to finish.


  8. Roll 2 & 3

    March 15, 2018 by Daniel

    OK, two more rolls.

    Roll 2 didn’t go well. I have no idea why, I was incredibly disappointed with it. But I just got back roll 3 and I’m hooked again. I’m wondering whether this batch of colour 400 iso I have is bad or something (or I have figured out loading/unloading the film better now?)

     

    In the end only got 2 shots from roll 2, the colour one here being the only usable one. 11 came back from the Black & White Ilford film I got. I’ve got another roll but in a lower ISO so I’ve bought a flash because George’s party is coming up and I reckon it’d be needed for indoors.

    I’ve got one more roll of the colour film, I’m not holding high hopes for it but I’ll try it out anyways. Perhaps I’ll just go for a walk and take some landscapes with it.

     

    Still, i’ll eke these ones out over on Instagram. Roll 3 was taken over a visit back to my parents last weekend. We went to the Space Centre and Sudbury Hall. There’s more detailed notes about them on my flickr feed.


  9. Starting Lomography

    February 28, 2018 by Daniel

    I’ve been trying out taking pictures on Film again. It’s not something I’ve done since I was using my mums old camera when I was a child I think (something similar to this Kodak one I think!) .

    Kodak - Ektra 200 camera

    Kodak – Ektra 200 camera

    As a tech kind of person I’ve just always used digital it seemed native to me.
    So why go back to film? To analogue? We’ve clearly rejected it for most uses and on the whole that’s the right thing I think.
    And hey, I’ve not got the roll back yet so who knows if it was worth it, but I think that’s kind of the appeal of it.

    diana camera

    Diana F+

    You click the shutter and you’ve no idea how the image is going to come out, no doubt that comes with experience but really you won’t know until it’s been developed.
    The whole thing of learning to be patient is perhaps the point of it. The camera I bought has a viewfinder, but it’s not like a SLR or a cameraphone that I’m used to where what you see is what the lens sees too. It just has fixed focus, I’m not sure if the apeture I’ve selected for most of the shots is correct. I had to make a choice about what ISO to put in. These are all decisions on digital that you can change your mind about in a second, or take it with the wrong setting and just take another after correcting it!
    So my hope from it is merely that it produces some interesting images that I wouldn’t get from digital, happy accidents (to start with anyways). To teach me patience and imagination of what the image will be when it comes back to me.

    The camera I bought takes 120 film, which I’ve never used before. I sent off a roll this morning for developing which is pretty exciting! I may decide in future to get the 35mm back for my Diana camera, which is a little more flexible then if I do end up getting other 35mm cameras.

    I do intend to eventually buy a new digital camera (I’d like to try a mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera, it’d be cool to try some of the lomography lenses on it too). But for now, this feels like a good avenue for experimentation.