Posts Tagged ‘ B&W ’

Daisy Scout Adventure: Owl Time

I went with Lily on her Daisy Scout field trip to the Anita Purves Nature Center in Urbana, IL. The troop leaders had scheduled a presentation on owls. I’m sorry to say that I don’t remember the name of the little guy above, but I do remember being told that when the owl’s ears are back, it’s not happy. As we can see, this one was starting to get grumpy with me….

The girls were pretty attentive to our speaker. She discussed a few of the different owls found in our local area, owls special traits, and their silent feathers.

At the end all the girls got to dissect an owl pellet. An owl pellet is the remains of the owl’s dinner that it can’t digest. Anything that it can’t digest (bones and fur mostly) get thrown up as an owl pellet. I think that all of the parents were a bit skeptical about this activity, but the girls had a blast. The found many bones and one girl even found a complete skull. Everyone was pretty excited.

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Lucy looking out the window (larger)

Continuing my trials with medium format, I wanted to try push processing. I am using TMAX 400 (TMY) and wanted to push it to ISO3200. When shooting around the house (especially in the winter), certainly 400 is too slow, and 1600 is pushing what I’m comfortable with hand-holding. Hence my desire for pushing to 3200.

Yes, I could use a bounce flash (sometimes) but I’ve not worked that out yet. Those are tests for a different roll.

I’d have to say that I’ve got mixed reactions. The picture above seemed to turn out okay. The contrast is definitely more that ISO400, but I think it’s okay.

Lily in the basement (larger)

The next picture is more typical of when I’d use a high speed push: in our basement. While there are several can lights in the ceiling, I meter to f/4 @ 1/30 (if I remember correctly) @ ISO 3200. It’s a high contrast pic, to be sure. I’m not terribly fond of the picture, but this just may be the overhead lighting and the subsequent shadows it produces on Lily’s face.

One aspect of shooting with the C330 is that I’ve only got full stops to work with. If I meter for anything in between, I invariably choose more light as opposed to less.

For what it’s worth, all of my development has been in XTOL replenished at stock strength. I’ve thought about trying XTOL 1:1 or 1:2, but that will burn through my developer pretty quickly. Using it replenished is very economical. 

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Hand-held low-speed

Norah (larger)

My next roll was my hand-held, low light roll. ISO was held at 400 for this roll, but I wanted to see if shooting at f/2.8 and 1/30th was going to work out. Norah’s picture above was (if memory serves me) f/2.8 at 1/30th.

Let’s start by discussing what I think went well in this picture:

  1. Clarity
    I’ve very happy with the overall clarity of the picture. I’m quite enjoying medium format.
  2. The eyes.
    I’m also happy with the reflection in her eyes. I’m very happy to report that the reflection was quite intentional and I moved around to get it. Now, you can scoff and think to yourself “well, duh” but I’ll tell you that it’s not easy for me to remember all the little details when shooting.
  3. Blur isolation
    I also like the blur of the lens that the aperture provided. Granted, I chose the aperture for exposure reasons, but nonetheless, I’m still happy with the isolation it provides.

Things that could have gone better:

  1. Dust, dust, dust.
    Dust spots are still a major problem. I spent a considerable amount of time in Lightroom removing dust. I’m working on it, but I’m still not sure where it’s all coming from and how to mitigate it effectively. Aaargh!
  2. Overall composition.
    It’s not bad, but it is just a grab shot. While nothing to be ashamed about, I’d still like to strive for better.

Stella on fire (larger)

Of course she’s not really on fire. I just think the rim lighting of the sun makes her hair look like fire. I don’t remember what speed I was shooting here, so I don’t know if this qualifies for my “hand-held low-speed” shooting or not. Still like the picture though….

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Medium Format, Frost, and Bugs

Asian Beetle on a Mum

I finally got a medium format camera. I’ve been hemming and hawing about this for a while: 35mm, 6×6 TLR, or 6×7 SLR? I finally went with a Mamiya C330 TLR purchased from KEH via Ebay. It was relatively inexpensive, but could use a good cleaning.

Frost killed tomatoes

The picture above is from my first roll of file through it, Kodak TMAX400. All in all not too bad, I’d say. The scans reveal an incredible amount of detail. It’s really quite stunning. I seem to have a bit of a lint issue somewhere, as all of the negatives have somewhat large squigly pieces of lint in them as well as regular flecks. I’ll have to think about my processing procedures and see where I can try to reduce dust contamination.

I’m very happy with the sharpness of the pictures. I also like using the waist level finder. It’s easy to get focus (though not fast). The biggest downside is the price. A single roll of TMAX400 film costs about $3.80. I get 12 exposures from a roll of film. Once the bloom wears off my new toy I’m guessing that I’ll shoot a roll a week or so. I had thought about trying some slide film, but the cost of the film plus processing is approaching $10 per roll. A bit too much for my blood.

I’ve already got a series of shooting strategies for my next several rolls:

  • Hand-held push: My current roll has several shots at 1/30th shutter speed. I want to see how that will turn out.
  • Under the lights: I want to see how the camera / film / pictures respond when using it for portraiture and my lights.
  • Pushing: Push the film to ISO1600 and/or ISO3200.

I had 10 rolls of film when I started. I’m down to 8 rolls now. Soon to be 5.

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Sailboat on Lake Shawano

Sailboat on Lake Shawano

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Random Film Shots

Stella by the Pool
Honestly, how is she standing? Stella’s straight, but nothing else is….

Norah in Sunlight
Lily making letters using her body
Norah finally sleeping

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Stella on a Swing

negative_scan_13 toned
Stella on a Swing

This is a picture of my third child, Stella, on a swing. I shot this by pre-focusing to a set distance on the lens and then just waiting until I though she was in focus. This picture is several weeks old now and I was initially disappointed with the results due to the lack of sharpness. While I didn’t expect miracles I can still hope, right?

Anyhow, I’ve just recently purchased Lightroom and have been making the transition from Aperture to Lightroom. Last night I was importing my scans into the library and had just watched a tutorial on split toning in Lightroom. So I figured I’d play a bit.

I can say that I like this better than I did initially, but I’m still not sure about it.

Here’s the original un-toned negative scan:


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Hiding in the Couch

One of my biggest issues with shooting film is focus. It seems I’m always just a bit in front of where I want the focus. Now, I know that my eyes are okay as I’ve just had them checked. And I try to use the focusing screen to the best of my ability. But, here we are. Another shot just slightly out of focus.


On a positive note, I’m continuing my semi-abstract shadow explorations. I think that I’m going to give the shadow topic a go for SoFoBoMo this year.

Finally, a favorite from opening weekend:

Piano at Sunset

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Piano at Sunset

Continuing with my playing with Chiaroscuro (or pseudo-chiaroscuro?), this is our piano at sunset. This was taken with my digital camera and processed (in Aperture) with the red filter for B&W conversion. I think that I like the “mini” direction this is moving in. I’ve got several shots that are waiting for me on film, but none with a red filter. I’ll need my tripod for that, and that will be a bit more challenging with the little ones (especially around dinner time).

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Piano at Sunset, detail

A detail shot of the music holder and shadow. Should I have tried this at a different angle? More dead on? Again, processed with the red filter during monochrome conversion.

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Prints from Summer vacation

Life Buoy
Life Buoy

Going through my negatives, I found these two that I wanted to print. The one above, “Life Buoy” was particularly difficult on me. I’d like to get the water on the top to have a bit more detail, but I’m pretty happy with the rest of the picture’s tones. Since I’m still pretty new, I’m not 100% sure how to go about this. Should I burn it in? Try pre-flashing? Just leave it alone? Hmmm.

Stella Magnified
Stella Magnified

I think that I’m pretty happy with Stella Magnified. I think that it might be about 1/2 stop light, but I’m mostly okay with it.

One thing that is not obvious from these scans is that the pictures are askew on the paper. I printed at 6×9 on 8×10 paper. I can’t seem to align the paper correctly. Bummer. I’m using an easel, but something’s just not working.

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