Processing film

To process my first test roll of film, I used HP5 processed in rodinal. I knew that rodinal, combined with HP5 created a high contrast result, so I chose to use the 1/50 dilution in oppose to 1/20 to lower the contrast. I had shot the roll on a sunny day, so I knew the film would already be high contrast. Using a 1/50 dilution means I had to process the film for 1 minutes over 6 minutes for the 1/20, so although it is more time consuming I am pleased with the result. Looking at the negatives on the light box, the majority looked correctly exposed although some frames looking flat, or very high contrast such as the frames of the pond.

I roughly scanned the negatives in on the Epson scanner, just to see the result of the frames in a positive image.

120mm090This was the first image I took on my roll. I noticed the strong highlights, and deep shadows and I wanted to test the rules I had learnt about exposing for 2 stops either side of your chosen exposure. I light metered the highlights, and the shadows in the fur on the left and right, and went with the middle value. I am really pleased at how it turned out, with all areas being exposed. Although some detail is nearly lost in the highlight on the head, this is something I had to sacrifice to ensure the darker shadows were still exposed.

120mm097I was drawn into this frame by the shallow depth of field. The strong highlights bouncing off the leaves cuts through the mid-tones, creating focal points. The sharpness of the foreground detail creates a striking contrast against the out of focus background. Although the subject matter here isn’t too interesting, I was experimenting with foreground and background detail.120mm102It was a very bright day when shooting this, so I am surprised I managed to get an sky detail. Although it is over exposed in the top right, I needed this to get the foreground detail. The prime focus of this frame is the connection between the father and son playing basketball, which is centrally framed to draw the viewers attention to them. The sun on the left of the frame, highlights the outline of the people and creates shadows which both capture your attention. I am pleased with the exposure of this in such a wide frame, although the foreground is slightly flatter than I would’ve liked. If scanned on a higher quality scanner such as the Hasselblad, I could then work in the image to get some levels in the foreground.

120mm105The exposure worked really well here, capturing the whites and blacks to contrast the trees and the sky. The sky detail has stayed present to get a well exposed landscape. What I found when taking landscape shots, was that using a 50mm lens was restrictive in capturing enough of them. If I was to take landscape frames again, I would take a 20mm-50mm lens to allow me to get wide, and close up frames.

120mm100I enjoy taking minimalistic shots on film, I feel like they set the scene in a rustic, raw way. Here, I captured chopping boards in my kitchen, with the sun beaming through the window on the right, causing shadows, then contrasted against the darkest (blue) chopping board. I exposed this using the light meter inside the camera, and I found it worked well in exposing the whole frame.

120mm107This is the closest macro shot I captured. The quality in the sharpness, and contrast between the black and white is really powerful. In the shadow, I could use a lower f number, f11, to capture this frame which created a shallower depth of field which I feel adds to the frame to focus on the pot and text.120mm109I like the composition of this frame as 2/3rds of the frame is sky, but the strong black lines cut across the white, with the fog lights pushing your eyes up towards them. The cut of shadow across the house again suggests the lighting conditions and time of day which I think adds to the frame. Although there is a harsh negative mark across the stop of the frame, this would’ve of been caused by touching or sticking to another negative strip in the drying process. I could begin a process of rewashing the negative to try and remove this, or use a steam like process which I could then wipe the negative to remove it, unless it as actually set in to the negative.120mm110The pond was the hardest lighting conditions I worked on, with the most intense highlight to shadow difference. I tried to always expose for the mid tones, which was the neural areas in the water (not where the sun was hitting). I was still amazed by how strong the contrast was in the negative, with blacks and whites controlling the frame. Seen most clearly in the portrait frame, the sun reflecting off the water, through the gaps in the bush, created star like highlights, although I think these are really beautiful and unsual, I wanted natural, complementary frames of the park, which I view as low contrast images, with strong tonal values. I think these images would be better for an artistic value instead of a document of the park. The only image I would use is the first landscape below, as it presents the ducks in the pond, although the blacks are still too strong. If I had exposed this less, maybe f/16, the details in the black area would’ve come through, but the whites would’ve lost the detail.120mm093


I feel this was a successful first test film on the park. I mainly focused on landscapes to perfect my exposures, but next time I would like to add some portraits to practice with both composing for people, and working with them.

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