Archive for Rodinal

Returning to Analogue with a Leica M3

Posted in photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 9, 2016 by yammerman


It’s a long time since the smell of photo chemicals has been upon me but I finally got back in the game after an autumn sort out. I’ve started on a dozen rolls of Ilford HP5+ I’d shot but not processed, just to get my hand back in. These were shot with a Leica M3 and an old 50mm Summicron  ISO400 with a yellow filter.

It may take a few rolls to get in the swing but it’s good to hear the sound of water gurgling. Some of these photos are processed in Adox Adonal and some in Ilford HC, both attesting to their ability to still work after a long period of sitting on the shelf.  I’m not a big fan of the grain but that might be accentuated by the Epson V700 scanner and my ham-fisted processing.

I’ve had problems with dust so I’m trying to find a regime that reduces that to a bearable level.  Dust was the thing that got me using a digital camera most of the time.  I find myself dreaming of a drying cabinet when a shaft of sunlight reveals the dust floating in the air as a wet length of film drys.

Nothing exciting here all tweaked in Lightroom then an Antique preset.

Nostalgia on a Roll of Rollei Retro 400S.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2015 by yammerman

Pic013 There are projects online where people take great pleasure in processing old film that has been left for years sitting in a camera or on a shelf. These are moments in time, waiting to be revealed to a world they could not have imagined.  Young girls that are now old maids, soldiers on tanks their fates as yet unknown, an analogue world pregnant with possibilities.

Then there are those so seduced by the new digital age that, though they shoot film, are actually too lazy to process it preferring the instant gratification provided by the shiny new pixel machines. Not me, of course; I would never allow 10 rolls of film to back up on the shelf for years, convinced that nothing in the viewfinder was of much interest, but merely created because the sound of a shutter clicking is rather pleasant and fondling a film camera is a delight……..well, OK, maybe.

So this is the first roll that’s been through the chemicals,  a three year old roll of Rollei Retro 400S shot while the country was awash with Olympic fever in 2012. I think you’d have to agree that these images capture the true flavour of the spirit that gripped the nation during that heady summer. It’s hard to believe such a remarkable record of nostalgia could remain unprocessed for so long.

The Massive Dev chart reckoned on 22min in Rodinal 1+50 @20degrees  but I always find those numbers too long for my setup and went with 17.5 mins.  They seem to scan a bit better when under developed like this. The only problem is the dust, which drives me nuts and which I get bored trying to clone out.

I give you eight off the roll not because they are any good but because I can. In a world with some staggeringly good photographers, I feel I could claim a niche in the ‘dullness’ movement. I just need to work up my artistic statement and then, look out, Turner Prize.

I feel duty bound to leave no film unprocessed upon my demise as I can only imagine the disappointed faces of the retronauts when they unfurl the rolls from the fix. Scanned and tweaked in Lightroom.

Double Exposure with a Nikon F3

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2014 by yammerman


Still in my on-going familiarisation process with the Nikon F3, so I thought it wise to have a look at the manual to ensure I was its master.  I was prompted by the fact that I couldn’t find the self-timer which I was convinced it must possess.  My assumption proved correct as the movement of a lever by the shutter dial does the trick.  I noticed that I could also achieve double exposures with the use of another small switch by the shutter button.   This aroused my curiosity with the possibilities.

This week I set about my annual ritual of oiling the garden furniture which means placing the chairs in two rows in the garden.  Rows of empty seats are familiar to me from my days in no-hoper bands, playing to an indifferent public; so  it occurred to me I could perhaps use these in conjunction with my new found understanding of the Nikon F3 to create some images.

To this end I set about what is recorded in the selection of snaps below.  It’s best not to indulge in too much analysis of what on earth I was thinking, though professional psychologists might enjoy holidays in five star luxury on the fees they might accrue from seeking an explanation.

It is said you should become familiar with just one type of film so, ignoring that advice, I’m on my third different film this week. This time it was Rollei Retro 100 in Rodinal at 20 degrees for 10 minutes.  That’s over 20% knocked off the recommended time but it seems to work for me just fine.  All shot with Nikon 60mm.


Tweaked in Lightroom 4 for no other reason than I can.


Light Found in a Bin with a Nikon F3 and 60mm Macro.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2014 by yammerman



I’m tidying the darkroom/studio in my attic  the night after I’ve seen ‘Looking for Light‘  the quite splendid documentary on the life and work of Observer photographer Jane Bown. I’m thinking about the huge 35mm prints up on the screen and the Olympus OM-1 sitting in a bag somewhere amongst the pile of old cameras I’ve acquired  over the last few years.  I’m feeling inspired by the images I’ve seen and the slight grain I could see in the prints leaves me itching for the smell of fixer and the gurgle of water.  But the rain hammers on the roof  and I must clear enough space so that my brain can function before I shoot anymore film.

I plod on and then as I throw redundant packaging and old guitar strings into the bin, I see the roll of film I’d processed on Sunday and grumpily thrown there when I’d discovered my own stupidity manifest as a light leak. I remember an image in the viewfinder of a  plant standing tall and a twisting piece of metal looking like a cobra about to strike. I surveyed the roll and discover that image and several others have escaped the full eviscerating effect of their accidental exposure to light. ‘There you are’  Jane Bown used to say after wandering around her subjects till she found the person she was seeking for her portrait and I mumbled  the same as an incantation to the gods of photography.  They are not perfect as the gatecrashing light seeps in one side of the images but I like them well enough that I’m glad I gave then a second chance before the oblivion of landfill. I found twelve images I could rescue and after scanning choose the four below as worthy of posting.

I love a happy ending though it’s back to the tidying for me now.


A Few Shots with a Nikon F3 and 60mm Macro

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2014 by yammerman


Further use of the Nikon F3  using the 60mm Macro, which has always been a favourite for both film and digital.  A stroll to the pier and then some macro in the garden. It was all going so well until I discovered the back of the camera opened as I rewound the second roll. Give light a second and it does it worst to those grains of silver. A  deep sigh then processed and found to be ruined so straight in the bin. Naturally the second had the award winning images on so that was a damn shame. Here is the best of the first roll.

Shot with  Ilford FP4 at 125 processed in Rodinal/Adonal 1 to 50 for 12 minutes at 21 degrees.

Large Format Pinhole 10×8 in Penarth

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2012 by yammerman

A year or two back I bought a Robert Rigby 10×8 pinhole camera, mainly because I wanted to achieve as big a negative as possible and this seemed the cheapest way of reaching my goal.  Plus it was a manageable size compared to the huge large format contraptions I was looking at on eBay.

It rather goes against the DIY ethos of the pinhole movement not to make one yourself, out of a shoe box or a tin can, so maybe that’s why I never really got into using it.  I did some experiments using photo paper as a negative but ended up with nothing that really inspired me.   The exposure calculations were complicated and I realised I needed some good light and a calm day to ease things along.

This year I resolved to do better and found some 10×8 Fomapan 100 and loaded up the dark slides I’d acquired with film. I then waited for a sunny day without too much wind and after the wettest April since records began, this week that day finally arrived.

The Robert Rigby 10×8 comes with three focal lengths: 150mm, 200mm and 250mm; plus there are three apertures to match with f stops of: f429, f449 and f480.  This is achieved by changing the size of the box and switching the pinhole you are going to use.  It is actually a very neat system and works well.

I found very useful in showing me a method of calculating exposure.  I simply set my meter to its highest aperture of f152 and, using a chart that mrpinhole provides, changed the ISO on the meter for the actual f stop of the pinhole.  As an example  with 100 speed film, the meter is set at ISO 10 for f480.  I confess I embarked on this with only a small amount of faith but the results were very good.  It suggested 8 secs given the sunny condition and who was I to argue.

I took a couple of shots of the house and then processed the film in trays. This, of course, is done in total darkness which with Rodinal 1+50 @ 20 degrees  meant about 10 minutes in the dark after stop and fix.  I still find slightly unnerving the sensory deprivation of being in complete darkness with only the indifferent voice of the talking timer to punctuate the silence.  I was willing the time to pass and tension was mounting as I reached the point where I would see if it had been a success or failure. Deep joy when the lights went on; there was at least some kind of image on the negative.  I can’t tell you the relief.  Nothing is perfect and I could see I had a bad light leak, but I also had the biggest negative I’d ever held in my hands so I had to call this a triumph.

With this encouragement I steeled myself to go out on the streets of Penarth and use up the other three dark slides – that’s a whopping six more shots.  The camera is quite light and with a carbon tripod and a small backpack for the dark slides I loaded up the car and went hunting something to shoot.  I attracted some looks as I wandered the streets and  at one point a passing cyclist shouted “Look he’s got an old camera”.  I found the process of taking a shot very simple  as you just have to line the shot up by triangulating some pins on the top of the box.  Afte a hour I had my 3 darkslides exposed.

Below is what I achieved with the light leaks cropped out of most of them. I’ve since stuck a torch inside the pinhole box and turned the lights out so I could see where the holes might be.  It seems I need to increase the rubber seals and I should be able to solve the problem.  The photos aren’t always sharp but they do have a certain evocative mood. I’ve toned them in Lightroom with an Antique Greyscale pre-set.  I’m keen to contact print them on to photo paper at some point.

I didn’t do enough research on agitation methods with trays and seem to have flows of developer across some of the negatives.  This I think can be solved by larger trays.  I used 10×8 trays for 10×8 film which is a mistake by all accounts.  Also continuous agitation seems to be important so I will try that next time with, I assume, a reduced processing time.  I’m far from disappointed by the results and am in fact encouraged to perfect my technique.

It still amazes me that a tiny hole in a box with film at the other end can produce such images.  If you don’t believe in magic, give this a whirl and you’ll be convinced.

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.