Archive for garden

Fomapan in the Garden with Nikon F100 and 60mm Macro

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2012 by yammerman

I wanted to test my processing after the dust on the last batch of B&W so, before I went on holiday, I shot a roll of Fomapan 200 and when the sun shone briefly yesterday I shot another. I used my Nikon F100 and 60mm macro in the garden.

I processed in Rodinal 1+50 for 10 minutes at 20 degrees and used the same stop and fix as last time. The only change I made was some  new Kodak photo flow for drying as I suspected the last lot was getting old. They dried quickly and looked fine but when I scanned them it was like a starry starry night with white specks in abundance. Much nashing of teeth and cursing left me trying to figure out the problem.

I was convinced it must be dust on the scanner glass so I gave that a good clean and tried again with pretty much the same result. I then had a close look as the negatives and could see a myriad of tiny black specks . My instinct is the problem is in the emulsion and it is some flaw with the film.

The only other culprit might be my fix but I don’t see how though as I’ve not changed my routine. This is going to make me wary of cheap film which is a shame because I’ve had some good results in the past. Googling Fomapan 200  there do seem to be some references to problems with a recent batch (see thread) so I’m going to shoot a couple of rolls of Ilford HP5 and see if things improve.

The seductive power of digital photography is never greater than when films delayed gratification turns to disappointment. I spent a bit of time cloning out the specs in Lightroom but got bored with that pretty quick. At monitor resolutions these shots are just about bearable so I’m posting them anyway specks and all. I used the Antique Grayscale tone in Lightroom.

Dyrffyn Gardens with Nikon D300 and 60mm Macro

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 29, 2012 by yammerman

The last trip having been such a success and with the sun still shinning, it was decided a trip to Dyrffyn Gardens might be just the ticket, though on this occasion we didn’t need tickets as it was free entry to celebrate the approach of St David’s Day on 1st March.

There has been a manor house at Dyrffyn  since the 17th century but the gardens seemed to have been created in the early 20th century by landscape architect Thomas Mawson for the then owner John Corey.  The house appears to be being restored but we’ve never been inside, content as we are, to walk around the rather splendid horticultural magnificence on offer.  I wasn’t expecting much, it being so early in the year but decided to take Nikon D300 with one of my favourite lenses the Nikon 60mm Macro.

We also took in the delights of Barry on the way, as we understood on the last Sunday of every month the Vale of Glamorgan Council dispense any excess wood that has been felled in the previous month.  It was the devil’s own job to find, as the council’s Google dot that represented the depot, was a good half a mile from its actual location. It was at this point that driving round aimlessly following your nose proved a winning formula when quite by chance we happened on our nirvana.

If it all sounds too good to be true that the council might be distributing free logs you can be assured that they are not.  A pile of broken branches and a mound of wood chippings with half a dozen souls like our good selves scrabbling for ‘the good stuff’ was all we discovered. The ‘good stuff’ was conspicuous by its absence. Still we secured a few branches for kindling and I laboured to fill a garden sack with wood chippings, hardly cursing at all.

On then to the gardens and a pleasant time was spent wandering around in the morning sunshine. I’d set the D300 to Vivid in the hope of finding some punchy colour and wasn’t disappointed. A swift Dandelion and Burdock to drink in the café with a Welsh harpist providing a tinkling soundtrack to our consumption of  a fine carrot cake. It was  then back home for some  afternoon sporting action on TV watching Spurs being trounced by Arsenal and then Cardiff’s heroic’s in defeat to Liverpool concluded my  backing of losers for the weekend.

Here are the favoured shots tweaked in Lightroom  for your delight.

Large Format – Wista VX with Nikon 120mm Macro

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2011 by yammerman

It’s time to keep the blog ticking over which has been rather over taken by photos on Facebook and music on Soundcloud. I was tidying up today with a view to doing some more large format stuff when I came across a couple of dark slides that I reckoned contained some film, so with the sun shinning I thought I’d use them up.

I lugged all the 5×4 gear downstairs and gathered together  the things you need to make large format happen. ……Wista VX, Nikon 120mm Macro, meter, magnifying glass, the darkslides and big cloth to stick my head under. Two dark slides means only four shots so I shot a what I think may be a weed, the leaves of the apple tree before I stumbled on the spiders web. I haven’t done this for a while but slowly the steps came back as I went along. After half hour I could contemplate the four large negatives I might be seeing shortly.

Into the darkroom to set up three trays to develop and then turn off all the lights for 8 minutes.  I take the film from the slides by hand and then put gloves on to shuffle them in the chemical trays.  I’d forgotten how unsettling being plunged into such absence of light can be. With the water gurgling it is like being in the belly of the beast and it’s best to keep the monsters of the id well under control.  After what seemed like an age I was able to turn the lights on at the fix stage and see I had four successful snaps.

Only putting three up and I find I am plagued by the dust demons again. I wanted to see if I could make the pictures bigger as someone had the temerity to complain about their size in the previous blog. The charmless have found a real home on the internet. Anyway it adds a couple of steps but it seems I can increase the size. If anything they seem too big now so more experiments are required.

Here they are below scanned with the Epson V700. Processed in Rodinal 1+50 for 7 mins @ 22 degrees. I gave them a sepia tone to which I am addicted.

The Story of a Broken Ankle and some Bronica 110mm Macro Shots.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 4, 2011 by yammerman

So the old year ended with the thud of Gillian falling on the stairs as she missed a step while we were moving a mattress at near midnight. The wine we had drunk early that evening, I’m sure, played no part in this incident and thankfully no blame has been attached to me as the man pulling at the other end.

Apart from the look of shock on her face, she appeared to be in no pain, so I suggested nothing could have been broken. The fact she was now unable to walk rather put the kibosh on this snap diagnosis and the horror of a late night trip to casualty seemed the only option.

We arrived at Casualty after midnight and, avoiding the closing time rush, moved through the system at what seemed a reasonable pace to find this was a very badly broken ankle inducing much shaking of heads and sucking of teeth amongst the professionals. I saw no evidence of huge emotional  storms sweeping the staff or any life changing acts of redemption amongst the patients – so not like the TV series at all.

The ankle, broken in three places was too swollen to operate so we were sent home for two weeks before the surgeons could do their work. Stairs suddenly became a huge obstacle and, even after surgery, Gillian remained upstairs apart from periodic nightmare trips to the well named Trauma Clinic for the best part of two months. My sympathy for patients and their carers the world over increased immeasurably during this phase. Up and down those bloomin’ stairs I went, raising my fitness levels to heights only a 2012 aspirant could rival. The patient, a perpetual motion machine at the best of times, could only look on and admire (I think that’s the right word)  as I valiantly kept the domestic ship on course through the early months of 2011.  It was nothing, pretty much what I do the rest of the year and that Peace Lily dying could have happened to anyone.

Life went on in this happy  fashion with the bungalows seeming ever more attractive on ‘Homes Under the Hammer‘ and Gillian agog at my skill at ironing. It was  the removal of the cast to replaced by an ‘air’ boot  that proved the great leap forward, well more of a hobble.  For the first time in 2011, Gillian went upstairs upright and combined this with another first of the year …. a bath.  Now she could move it was rather disconcerting to find her not in the same spot I had left her. James used to do the same thing to me when he discovered his mobility.

This week the boot comes off and proper physio begins to get her walking without a limp. She is of course part cyborg due to the metal in her ankle and will be alarming airport security for the rest of her life. Normality is still some way off but Gillian had her first glass of wine this year last night so things must be on the up.  I’m still sent hither and thither round the house in a development I fear that will become permanent, but at least now a little time is opening up for my creative pursuits.  I hear a nation breathing a sigh of relief while, oddly, I have been removed from ironing duties.

I celebrated with two sessions in the garden with my Bronica SQA and Bronica 110mm Macro f4 lens fitted with a S18 extension. This is the older and cheaper of the 110mm macros for the SQA but still takes fine images. The S18 lets me get a bit closer to the subject because for a macro lens the Bronica 110mm f4 likes to keep you at a distance. I added a stop of light for the extension and, once I’d made an intial reading, just wandered round the old garden landscape in search of vistas new.  An afternoon in sunlight and a morning in shade did the trick though I had to contend with the curse of the wind for which I should invest in a windbreak.  I shot 2 rolls of Ilford Delta 100,  souped them in Rodinal 1-50 for 12 minutes and scanned with the Epson V700.

Here is my selection from the two rolls and I  found  a preset in Lightroom called Yesteryear which as I was contemplating some toning seemed appropriate.

Large Format Macro with Wista VX and Nikon 120mm.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2010 by yammerman

Back in the garden again for some 5×4’s I’ve had waiting to develop for an age. Shot some time in the summer with a Wista VX and Nikon 120mm Macro. I had thought I might have a problem with these as I’d left them so long but I guess my dark slides really are light tight.

 I’m not sure if I’ve processed large format HP5+ in Rodinal before and if I have I don’t remember. I went for a 1:50 dilution of the Rodinal  at 24degrees C for 7 minutes. I use three trays in complete darkness with a pair of skin-tight rubber gloves and a speaking clock, the Cobolt Talking Timer , for the times. Operating the clock is the hardest part, but once you’ve set it in motion it’s fine. It is always a relief to hear the first count off to know I pushed the right button.

 Ten minutes in the dark is plenty enough time for me, so I switch light on about half way through the fix time and it was a joy to see 6 evenly developed negatives . This isn’t always the case as finding ways to screw this up is one of my specialities. Washed for an hour then dipped in a diluted solution of Ilfotol.

 Hung them up to dry and waited to see how many scratches and bits of dust would spoil the whole thing. The scans revealed the usual problem with dust but nothing too horrendous; all in all I’m pretty pleased.

 I’m set up now to print these large and I think I’ve a couple here that might be worth doing. In the meantime, to undo all the hard work, here’s the the digital versions which really don’t do them justice.

Spring in the Garden with Leica R4s and 60mm Macro-Elmarit

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2010 by yammerman

So back to the photography and all those films I have piled up in the darkroom. I developed three films today shot on Rollei 400s. I had no idea what was on them so I was throwing some mystery in to the delayed gratification equation. It is as well that I’ve started using Rodinal as its attribute of sitting on the shelf for ages is coming in very handy.

I found some very long development times on the Massive Dev database but found one at a dilution of 1:25 for this film that would take 10.5 mins @ 20 degrees. In the end, the water was at 21 degrees so, knowing I was going to scan the film, I took it down to 8 minutes. The fix and stop seeming to be holding up, despite lack of use, and the results came out pretty much as expected.

There are many random factors at work here, mostly stemming from my cavalier attitude to what, to some, is a very exact science. But, starting with my exposure calculation then chemical dilution, water temperature and agitation regime etc, I’m never going to do the same thing twice and so have come to love the happy accident and shrug at the disasters.

These seem to have come out with a pleasant grain and this first sample, if I remember correctly, is from the Spring. I have a vague recollection of getting out my Leica R4s and 60mm Macro Elmarit and spending a pleasant hour in the garden. This kind of shooting seems to suit me and that lens is a cracker and rarely disappoints. The camera is one of the lower budget SLRs that Leica once produced and a bit of clunker but, if it lets me use this lens, then I’m happy enough with it.

 Here then are the best of the bunch, scanned with Epson V700 and toned with the Antique Grayscale preset in Lightroom

Garden Macro with Leica R4s and 60mm Elmarit

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2010 by yammerman

On Sunday, I spent some time in the garden in order that I had two rolls of Rollei Retro 100 to process and I used one of my favourite macro lenses the Leica 60mm Elmarit. I used it with a Leica R4s which as SLRs go is a bit clunky but if it lets me use this very fine lens I don’t mind. One of my favourite things is taking an ordinary space and, by really exploring it and looking for interesting shapes and forms, make it come to life under the close inspection of a macro lens.

I’m warming to this Rollei Retro 100 as, apart from its sharpness, its seems to have processed well  in Xtol (1+1).  I’ve yet to print any of the negatives in the darkroom but they seem to be scanning  with some good tones. Once I took them into Lightroom  I decided to play about with some of the presets and I do seem drawn to the Antique Light that is on offer.  Rather a guilty pleasure as the purist in me feels this amounts to cheating.  There was certainly more magic when I used the chemicals to tone some  prints earlier in the year but these  results are very good and without the risk that I’ll come in to contact with some noxious chemical.