After much faffing about cleaning, soaking shutters in solvents and practicing loading film into the film holders without looking, I shot some large format tonight on the way home from the gym. The Stillwater Lift Bridge never rolls its eyes, wanders off to go play with its trains, or closes its eyes just as you fire the shutter, so it became my first large format subject.
I am pleased to report that I managed not to totally screw anything up. Got the whole darkslide thing more or less sorted out. You don’t have the benefit of a light-tight idiot-proof container for holding your film like you do with 35mm. It’s all up to you, and whether you keep track of what film holders have unexposed or exposed film in them. Pull the wrong lever at the wrong time, and you could lose your exposure, or re-expose it.
Everything worked pretty well. My only major goof was running the developer (HC110 dilution B) a bit warm. I reasoned that the film I bought (from a shady Russian character at the camera show) was probably old, so I did the first three shots at the nominal development time of 8 minutes. Bad call. Those puppies are dense, indicating overexposure/overdevelopment. I figured it was the latter, so I dialed it back to 5 minutes for the second three shots, and that seems to have produced better looking negatives.
Luckily, modern scanning and image manipulation technology allows us to do things that Ansel Adams devoted entire books to, so I was able to rescue the overdeveloped negs. I was a bit worried after seeing the previews, but once I got everything into Lightroom I was able to pull them back from the brink sufficiently. Image quality suffered, but given the size of the negative there’s more leeway.
I get some weird shadows in the sky on some of these shots. Need to dig into that a little more. Time to join APUG, methinks.
Note: all of these images link to the Flickr images, which contain the high-res versions. I only used 600 dpi for scanning (For 35mm I typically use 2400, and for medium format I use 1200.) When it counts, my cheap old camera will be able to generate 100+ megapixel images. Now that’s progress!
Obligatory cycling content: What’s not progress is the Brooks saddle on my fixie. That damned thing is getting harder, not softer!