Posted on January 16, 2019
Finally we got some snow here. And luck had it, that it arrived just when I had a day off and could head into the hills to give the good old Bronica S2A another spin. It is a great old camera, but more about it on another day.
1 had to hurry a little bit as the weather forecast indicated that the sun would hide behind clouds around lunch time. So I decided not to drive to the mountains but to go to the hills and forest just behind my place. Although it was already a little bit hazy, there was enough light to cast some shadow and add contrast. Very peaceful and quiet. I truelly enjoyed this quiet walk. So peaceful, no other sound than my feets in the snow and the cold fresh air cleared my mind like nothing else. I felt first a bit tense, as the sky already had thin clouds and I was afraid the light would fade before I get anything done. But luckily I walked into the first scene within minutes and once I had my first picture under my belt I could finally relax, enjoy the day and breathe. With other words, I charged the batteries.
Most scenes I encountered had a contrast range of 5 stops, so I simply placed the shadows in Zone 3 and had the highlights fall into Zone 7. I think, next time l will place the shadows in zone 4 or, if all shots have 5 Zones, do a N+1 development as I had to lift the lights quite a bit after scanning. I used a roll of Kodak Tmax 100, rated it at 100 ASA and developed it in Rodinal ( 1+25 for 7 minutes). It is the first time I used this combination and I am quite pleased with the results. I go t nice contrast, good sharpness but also a bit more grain.
Posted on January 8, 2019
When was the last time you were satisfied with something mediocre? Or even happy with something that was far from perfect?
In our society, we are so conditioned to be successful, perfect, to have no weaknesses and failure is never an option. We are so indoctrinated with this thought, that we completely forget that perfection is not the norm and that much knowledge comes from mistakes and learning from errors.
In my quest to learn black and white photography I also try to get better and better and mediocre shots don’t give me the feeling of accomplishment we all love and want to experience as often as possible. But by the magic of film photography, every now and then a shot that didn’t turn out as expected has a quality that makes me look again and again at the photo, trying to understand what it is that makes it so special, so I can repeat it when ever I want a photo to have this special thing.
On the first roll I shot on the Flexaret, three shots had quite severe light leaks. I still have to find out what caused them, but on two of the photos, the light leaks added something quite special to the photo.
For once, I’m quite happy with imperfection!
Posted on December 30, 2018
So, after weeks and weeks of waiting, the camera, that reinspired my fascination with film photography has finally arrived. And the repairman at Ars-Imago did a great job, the camera is in perfect working condition.
Was it worth waiting for? Well, what definitely can be said is that it is a beauty and catches the attention of people who see it dangling around my neck.
I visited the Christmas markets at Innsbruck and quite a few people commented on it were fascinated that it is still in use. One older Lady told me how they recently cleaned the attic of he old uncle. She told me that they found old cameras like this one. “you know, old russian cameras like Leicas” l was really tempted to ask her to take me to her uncle’s place. 🙂 But then I decided to tell her instead that at least the Leica might be worth some money.
I am actually quite impressed with the quality of the pictures this old lens produces. The photo of the mime was taken at f3.5, which is the widest aperture of this lens and the lens resolved plenty of detail. As the focusing screen has not aids for focusing at all and the viewing lens is not the sharpest lens, getting focus is actually nothing you can do quickly.
But without more talking, below you’ll find a few photos from the first roll of film this camera took since decades.
Proof that focusing is not easy… the two buskers stood perfectly still, yet I missed focus on their faces…
Posted on November 20, 2018
I have to admit, I got sick waiting for the Flexaret to be repaired. It is now being serviced for over two month and I understand that the guy doing it is probably in retirement doing it as a hobby.
But I just wanted to try it out, to see, what it would be to have such a bit negative and so I started to look around. What would be good cameras? What format do I want to use? How much was I willing to spend? And what format? 6×6? 6×4.5? 6×7? So many choices!
In the end, I decided to get myself a Japanese camera from the seventies, a Brand named Zenza Bronica. the feedback on these cameras was good and, according to the internet, they had really good lenses. And so I went to Ebay and got myself one.
After waiting for two weeks, that felt again like an eternity to me, it finally arrived and I used the nice weather for a short hike and fill a roll of Kodak TMax 100.
The mountain hut where I hoped to get something to eat and drink was of course closed, after all, it is now middle November and they are closed for the season
What really surprised me was, how much the Epson V800 scanner was able to rescue a very underexposed negative. After taking the reading with my light meter I forgot to adjust the shutter speed as well (stupid noob!) and instead of 1/8th I exposed at 1/125 so four stops under. The negative was very thin and I didn’t expect anything to show up. Much to my surprise, this is what I got from it! Still very much underexposed, but I like the mood 🙂
I’m quite pleased with the results, I hope you like them too!
All shots were taken on a Zenzanon Bronica SQ-A, Zenzanon 80mm PS lens on Kodak TMax 100, developped in Ars-Imago FD developper (6 minutes, dilution 1:39)
Posted on November 7, 2018
It is still not here yet. l know the repair man does a good job and is very busy, but I now wait for almost three months for it and it feels like an eternity. I am so curious how the big negatives will look the and how they will scan!
But as I do not have the camera, all I can do is practicing and take photos of Buckley.
Posted on October 31, 2018
There is something about an old forest. More often not, we get a creepy, eerie feeling in such a forest, especially when we walk trough it on a foggy grey day. Maybe it is just me, but I get often reminded of the movie Sleepy Hollow by Tim Burton starring Jonny Depp and the “Tree of Dead” where the horseman is buried. If you have seen the movie I am sure you remember scene in which the horseman emerges from the roots of the old oak tree.
There is such an old wood near the place where I’m living and I often walk by one spot where I catch myself how I expect the horseman, who is played in such a great way by Christopher Walken, to emerge from the roots.
The first time I walked past this spot I thought that these roots would look great in black and while and a few days ago I was finally there with my camera and a roll of HP5+. As always when using this film placed the shadows in Zone 4 which gave me a nice flat looking scan with lots of room to work with in Lightroom.
Posted on October 16, 2018
This one is one of the first black and white landscape photos that I have taken on film that I actually like. One that is for a change not a boring grey mess. I took it on a walk at Sattelegg, taking the same shots with the M3 and Monochrom. I took it on Ilford HP5 using a red filter and developed it in Ars-Imago FD.
I need to experiment more using Filters on Film, as the effect the red filter has on the blue sky is rather subtle. Below you’ll find the same shot taken at the same time using the Monochrom, the same lens and filter.