Making my own B&W Prints

I managed to light seal the Laundry (not pretty… but it worked) and started playing with one of the enlargers I bought recently. I had a bit of an inkling from some reading I did ages ago about what I had to do to make prints.

I didn’t really have any developer meant for prints… so I just grabbed some Rodinal and dived right in. Basically started with the lens wide open and around 0.5 to 1 seconds exposure.

Because I was just experimenting, I skipped a stop bath (did a rinse though) and then straight into some fixer.

Here are the results of my experimentation (photos taken with my phone of the drying prints)

bench (print)


Contrast these with the scans of the negatives:

dedicated bench

by the water

Reciprocity failure

As the light level decreases out of the reciprocity range, the increase in duration, and hence of total exposure, required to produce an equivalent response becomes higher than the formula states” (see Wikipedia entry).

Those of us coming from having shot a lot of digital, especially when you’re experience of low light photography is entirely with digital are going to get a bit of a shock at some point. Why didn’t this image work exactly as I wanted it to? Why isn’t there as much.. well.. image!

You’ll probably read things like “you don’t need to worry about it until you’re into really long exposures” or maybe you’ll start reading the manufacturers documents on the properties of the film and just go “whatever”.

Ilford Delta 3200 Professional is one of the films where you have to start caring about it pretty quickly. Basically, you need to overexpose once you start getting exposures greater than ~1second.

In decent light, handheld with a pretty quick exposure, things look great:


But whack things on a Tripod and have a bit of a longer exposure you’re going to start failing a bit. Even though I like this shot, I find that it’s just not quite got everything I would have liked to capture. Just exposing a bit more I think would have done it. I had to do too much in scanning and the GIMP…

under the bridge

So I learnt something with this roll, which is always good.

More film developing

I’ve developed some more film! Here’s some shots from last time I was in Hobart. All shot on Ilford HP5+, which I quite like. I’m still getting used to this developing thing and next time should be much better!

The HP5+ was shot at the box speed of 400 with my Nikon F80 and the wonderful 50mm f1.8 lens. I developed in R09 OneShot (Rodinal) for the standard 6 minutes that the Ilford box tells me to. I used my Epson V350 Photo scanner to scan the negatives with iscan. I am wishing for better scanning software. *seriously* wishing.

These first four are probably going to be recognisable to anybody who knows Salamanca.

Buskers at Salamanca

boat in the fountain

Dead leaves and a bench

The Telegraph

For those who love the Lark Distillery or English Bitter, I snapped a shot of (one of) the pint I had:

Hand pumped bitter

So I’d count this as fairly successful! Of course, need some animal shots:

black and white rabbitBeaker on film

… and there was a stop at a Sustainability Expo that had a surprising lack of bountiful vegan food when we got there…
Hobart Sustainability Expo

I have to say, pulling that film out and seeing an image is incredibly rewarding.

If you want to know more about how I do it all on Linux, come to my talk at LUV this upcoming July 6th.

Experimenting with Ilford Delta ASA 3200 B&W Film

So it has been a long time since I’ve shot film… and it pretty much was always colour. Part of this was in prep for Burning Man. i.e. how to take a photo in the dark (and part was “hey, what cool tricks can I do”).

Reading up on film, I found Ilford Delta 3200 Professional as something that could be interesting to shoot with. I’d read a bit about it, checked out the flickr group and decided what the heck, it’s only money.

I grabbed my dad’s old Ricoh SLR and took some photos – trying to learn how this film responds, what I can and can’t do with it along with developing my own skills.

I got Michaels to develop and scan (hey, they do B&W processing in Melbourne in a reasonable time frame)… ignoring the advice of some that doing it yourself gets you best results (anyone for a Laundry/Brewery/Darkroom?)

While at Rrose, I took this shot which I quite like:

Rrose drink
If you look at full size you see the wonderful graininess that is this film:


But a simple GIMP Despeckle gets you:


(and a much smaller JPEG file size). But I do kinda like the speckle.

The amazing thing to note is that this was shot handheld with a not particularly fast lens and without any artificial light beyond what was at rrose at 9 or 10pm in August.