I have just delved into the world of homebrew Rodinal. Lots of fun come and read about it here:
I just wrote a quick intro on hand colouring prints. It’s in the alt-process section of the site you can read it here.
Thanks for visiting
I’ve seen a few articles on this over the last few days and at first I wasn’t able to make much sense about it all. (hence no news here until now)
From what I’ve gathered KPP (Kodak Pension Plan) was owed quite a large sum by Kodak (for what we can only assume was some sort of loan during Kodaks financial troubles.) So Kodak has sold off it’s Personalised Imaging business to clear the debt with KPP.
In Australia we call a pension plan “Superannuation” so why would you want a managed pension plan to have control over the film business that we know is quite profitable? It initially doesn’t sound very good but the more you think about it it’s not so bad.
KPP will want to maximise profits from that division in order to get dividends that will pay back the money they lost with Kodak and an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal article reads, and I quote;
“In the coming months, the U.K. retirees, about 15,000 total, plan to establish a governance structure and hire executives to try to generate cash flows that satisfy pension obligations, among other objectives, said Steven Ross, chairman of the U.K. Kodak Pension Plan. Down the road, KPP could sell the businesses, he added, but it would be at least 10 years off.”
So if you are pondering on the future of Kodak film, I think we may continue to see it being produced for some time yet, if there is a sell off of sorts we may see a new company take the reins and steer kodak film in a new direction.
Either way it goes, there are still plenty of options for us film shooters and I’ll been keeping an eye on the news about Kodak and KPP, updates here as they happen.
It seems if you read around the web, everyone has their own way of doing things. Some people use the factory scanner software others use expensive professional apps and everything in between.
I’ve been using Vuescan 9 on Ubuntu Linux for sometime and getting quite acceptable results. Now I know that the V500 isn’t going to get ground breaking detail from a negative, at least not the way a dedicated scanner or drum scanner could but those options are out of my price range so lets not digress.
Even in the limited world of scanning with Vuescan everyone seems to have their own little method. I’ve been using the preview + exposure lock + film base colour lock. method, I turn off all the auto settings and let the scanner do a pass. I set the black and white points and make a white balance adjustment by selecting a white or grey area of the scan. I then save off the file as a jpg and massage it to my liking in the gIMP.
I’ve recently read some articles online about getting better scans out of Vuescan, some which suggest doing multiple passes, others suggest getting a RAW file out of Vuescan and using something like Adobe CameraRaw to convert and adjust the scan.
I decided to do my own little test, I pulled out the binder and flipped back to the year 2009 and picked out a negative I’ve never scanned before. I thought it best so I don’t already have an idea of how it should look “finished.”
Below I present the following:
1. Single pass jpg scan, edited in gimp for curves and colour. unsharpened.
1a. 100% Crop from single pass scan
2. Three pass jpg scan, editing in gimp for curves and colour. unsharpened
2a. 100% Crop from three pass scan
3. Three pass raw scan, converted in UFRaw converter with curves and colour adjustment and imported into gimp for a final colour touch up.
3a. 100% Crop from Raw Scan
So looking back at the results, there is a slight improvement in grain by doing a three pass scan. while going to the extra trouble to scan in raw doesn’t seem to produce any results that would make it worth the work.
Given that I could have spent a little more time here and there I may have gotten slightly different results, also that the colour balance isn’t perfectly matched between the raw and jpgs.
This has certainly showed me that going RAW for my scans isn’t worth the extra work even if I was able to get even a slight increase in perceived quality. however for stuff that I care about I’ll be doing a three pass scan for sure, it shows noticeably finer grain in the shadows and it’s not much extra work to tick a box, although it does increase scan time.
If this has been useful or if you have any problems with my openly unscientific method give me a yell in the comments.
So I’ve been busy working away with the Bromoil process, trying to master it’s technicalities and nuances. It’s a particularly demanding mistress to understand.
I’ve learned some things lately that have helped me to move forward with this printing process and I’m getting some decent results, one area that seems to still be holding me back is making/choosing the right negative.
I recently took a photo in the foyer of the old railway here in Townsville, The harsh midday light was streaming through two openings leaving a nice reflection on the floor, two mid sized potted plants sat outside in the middle of each opening making for a nice arrangement, the problem was the cars in the background carpark were distracting.
I wondered if it would make a nice Bromoil print, seeing as you can ink in or out whatever you like with this process it seemed like a good idea. So I got cracking and made a Silver Gelatin print on Arista double weight matte fiber.
After making a matrix out of it I got busy inking in the details. I found that it was rather slow taking ink, sometimes I use warm water for the soak as this allows the gelatin to swell more and can help the print take on more ink. After several inking sessions it stopped accepting ink and I left it to dry.
I came back the next day to try again. Once a Bromoil has dryed the gelatin will often allow more ink after re-soaking. This time time I was getting much better contrast building up and the detail was coming out nicely. But wait, what about those cars? Blast I thought. I should have remembered to leave them out of the initial inking, so now I have a nice print with an annoying background element, what to do.
Not to worry, I’ve seen in tutorials that you can later remove ink from a dried print with a normal rubber eraser. So I again dried the print and found that the eraser works a treat, it doesn’t leave a mess and only affects the image slowly, so plenty of rubbing later, I had taken most of the detail out of the area affected and was almost finished.
The last thing I noticed was that there was very little detail in the leaves/branches of the trees, I assume because of the harsh backlight and the fact that all the detail got bleached out during the bleach/tanning step of making the Matrix. Ok what now, I started hunting around for a small stiff paintbrush, luckily my step-daughter has an assortment of painting supplies, I borrowed a brush and dabbed the tip in the ink and worked gently to ink in some tree-like detail to the tops of the potted plants.
It worked a treat and really tipped off the print giving it the balance it needed. Check out the final Bromoil print below.
Well we have been slack lately and not made many blog posts. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy doing photography. So my new years resolution is more blog posts.
Wikipedia defines dry plates as “Dry plate, also known as gelatin process, is an improved type of photographic plate. It was invented by Dr. Richard L. Maddox in 1871, and by 1879 it was so well introduced that the first dry plate factory had been established. With much of the complex chemistry work centralized into a factory, the new process simplified the work of photographers, allowing them to expand their business.” — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_plate
I have started experimenting with dry plates. Dry plates are the direct fore-runner of film as we know it. Instead of using a “FILM” base, dry plates use a sheet of plate glass. Before dry plates, photographic plates were coated with chemistry that needed to be exposed in the camera while the plates were still wet – hence the name wet plate. Which meant that the wet plates needed to be exposed with in about 10 minutes after coating them. Dry plates, like film can last a very long time after coating.
This is my first attempt, the plate is coated with a “subbing” layer of photo grade gelatine which is used to make the photographic emulsion stick to the plate. Without the subbing layer the emulsion will just slide off when developing. I found it was a bit tricky to get a even coating of the emulsion, but I think it is all practice. I will keep trying and I’m sure I’ll get there in the end.
It’s funny how we get so involved in planning a particular shoot or even a particular photo that we can sometimes be blinded by our surroundings, It pays to look around even when you know what you want to get.
Remember to turn around because sometimes the best photos can be found right behind you.
These shots are all taken on the new Adox Silvermax film, of which I still haven’t written a review. (terrible I know).
I have another roll to process shortly so I’ll get to work at writing up a decent film review for you all. There still isn’t any really comprehensive reviews of this film yet despite it’s new popularity.
Keep your eyes peeled.
I wrote up a review of my most recent aqcuisition, the Busch Pressman Model D. A press style folding 4×5 camera.
Check it out here
I just added a page about the earliest photography printing technique dating back to 1830′s Salt printing (aka Sun printing), what’s more it’s really easy to do at home.
Well I’ve shot a few rolls in the new Mamiya RB 67 now and I’ve put together my thoughts on the camera. It’s one that I’ve had my eye on for quite some time, Mamiya makes some of the best lenses in the world and that coupled with a true system camera and a 6×7 negative, you can get some really great results!
Read my review of the Mamiya RB67 Pro SD