This escape to the coast of Essex did much to clear the mind. . Loading up my Rolleicord with Ilford Delta 3200 I was hoping for some bleak seascapes and the coastline of the Dengie Nature Reserve did not disappoint. Its peppered with the remains of old walkways over the mud flats that poke up like bones of extinct creatures. Old vessels, that I assume now function as wave breakers, dot the horizon. The grain of the 3200 film adds lovely texture to these images, and using it in 120 format it is not overbearing. After scanning I tweaked the contrast and even added a graduated filter on the sky in post for some of the images. Now that I am printing my images in the darkroom, and using old school dodging and burning on my images, its had the side effect of making more more comfortable with some more digital manipulation than I'd normally do.
A short post, a note to self, be more careful with freezing Rollei Infrared 400 film. I've now had a couple of rolls damaged with mottling from the backing paper damaging the emulsion when storing the 120 film in the freezer. I've not had any issues like this under similar conditions with Kodak film and although I did have one issue with Ilford HP5 this was around the time they issued a statement potentially acknowledging a bad batch.
The below pictures were taken with my Fuji GW690, the first with an R72 IR filter and an R25 red filter and the latter 3 with IR only. The first came out great. really showing off the sharpness of the GW690's lens and the dramatic effect of stacking the IR and red filters. The remainder would have been cool, except for the abrasive mottling effect that I assume is from from the post-freeze thaw.
Finally getting my hands on some of the remake of Fuji Acros, after only getting to know the original after its demise, I thought it would be a great film to try with some long exposures in my Bronica SQ 135W panoramic 35mm back. Long exposures of several minutes are a breeze with Fuji Acros 100 due to its excellent reciprocity failure characteristics, although I still managed to underexpose these shots a little from where I wanted them. Some sea defences on the rugged coast of the New Forest were my subjects.
My 50mm PS wide angle, a 10 stop ND filter helped with these. I think I should've also stacked a red filter to increase the drama in the skies but the exposure times started to get way beyond what my family would tolerate standing still on a beach for - I'm surprised I managed to get this many exposures given that each was at least several minutes. This meant I rushed my compositions somewhat, but still I'm quite happy with the results, perhaps especially due to the panoramic aspect ratio the 135W back has provided.
I'm headed back to Scotland next week, to the northern Highlands of the Assynt and Torridon regions, placed I did not get time to visit in 2018 on my first road trip in the country. I will be revisiting Glencoe, in. part out of necessity to break up the driving, but there are far worse places than that to do so. This time it may be slightly warmer than when I visited in the frozen late March of 2018 but I fear the midges will be more of a challenge.
Anyway, here are my 5 favourite colour images from that trip all taken with my Bronica SQ.
Just got my first roll of Portra 800 back from the lab that I shot with my Fuji GS645W. This is an old trike that I had as a kid and my parents dutifully kept for the arrival of grandkids. I couldn't resist trying out an Eggleston rip-off shot of the bike and it worked pretty well although I probably should've made an effort to find a slightly less distracting background. Eggleston must have been lying right on the floor to get his shot and I should've gone lower myself. I'll post some more images from the roll soon but the colours that it has generated have blown me away, particularly on the shots from overcast days. The grain is alot finer than I expected and the colours really pop. I have another roll of this stock in my Rolleicord that I need to get on and finish.
Now that COVID-19 restrictions have eased I have been able to get out of the city and do some walking. I realised that the Cotswolds was pretty much halfway between where my sister and I live and so this has quickly become a destination to explore on foot via the excellent network of public footpaths. My first fond impressions of the Leica III have persevered and I think it will turn out to be a great travel camera. Its pretty small, particularly with the collapsable Elmar 50mm lens, and the quality of craftsmanship makes the camera a joy to use, slowly that is. There are a couple of issues though that I'll need to take care of probably by getting it serviced - the rangefinder is very dim making focusing a challenge and quite a few frames did miss the mark. When the focus is right the lens has a really great character, it's sharp enough but has a creamy texture to the out of focus areas. I'm not looking for sharpness when using this camera, instead I'm looking for the antique texture to the images, to capture more of an idea of a memory than a precise recording of it. The form factor meant that it wasn't too burdensome to attached the camera with a Peak Imaging clip to my baby carrying hiking backpack. Walking 10 miles with around 20kg on my back was a challenge, but at least I couldn't blame too much of that on the camera choice.
In the first image you can see quite a frustrating issue - the negative was scratched most of the way and I think this must be due to some grit inside the body. It mostly edited out OK with the heal tool in Lightroom - good job we have digital tools too. I will try and use some compressed air to blow anything out, and also try running a dead film through it to see if I can sort it myself. I hope I can, because the repair shop I have in mind has a waiting list upwards of 6 months. I guess with people being stuck indoors they have decided this was a good time to send of their Leica to be serviced!
The roll was finished with a trip to the Suffolk coast in Harwich and Covehithe. The latter reminded me alot of Martha's Vineyard's northern shoreline in the US and although I was mainly shooting long exposures with my Bronica SQ I got a few snapshots on the Leica to finish the roll so as not to let it linger.
As for the Ilford Ortho 80, to be honest I've not been that impressed so far. It seems fine but I haven't seen any remarkable results in my images that would make me choose this over go for Tri-X (although price will probably start to become a factor as Kodak is outpacing Ilford in that regard).