Thursday, April 30, 2020

Kentmere 400

I loaded a roll of Kentmere 400 in my Pentax ME Super, shot it at 200 ASA and processed the film in PMK Pyro staining developer.  I was comfortable shooting this combination in a variety of lighting conditions and I was generally pleased with the results.

I'm thinking now that I may next try some HP5 at 200 ASA with processing in PMK to see how that compares to the results from the Kentmere.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Kentmere 100

I shot a roll of Kentmere 100 in my X-700 and processed in PMK Pyro developer using Rick Drawbridge's technique.  It does seem to me that gets the most from the film.  However, you lose a stop of speed in the process and that makes shooting in anything less than bright sun more of a challenge than I have patience for.

I'm thinking my next step with this film will be to shoot at box speed and process in Rodinal.  I also have some Kentmere 400 on hand, so I may try that at a stop slower and process in PMK.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

El Malpais

We decided we needed a bit of an escape from the city, so we drove a hour west from Albuquerque to Grants and then turned south into the Malpais National Conservation Area.  The campgrounds and picnic areas are closed, but the hiking trails remain accessible.  We parked at the Zuni-Acoma trailhead and walked for a couple hours through a landscape of volcanic flows, sandstone bluffs and  twisted old junipers.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Stretching Film

The economics of shooting film has taken on some added importance lately.  It is not a new concern and I have adapted procedures over a long period to keep my interest in film use viable.  The easiest solution, of course, is to just shoot digital, but I'm not there yet.

In regard to general cost containment, home processing makes film use orders of magnitude more economical than sending out film for commercial processing.  With careful technique and attention to adjusting C-41 times to account for use, a roll of color can be processed at home for about a buck per roll.  Using high-dilution black and white developers like Rodinal and HC110 along with stand development can make processing costs nearly negligible.

Because of the rising costs of old favorites like TMAX and Tri-X I have already switched to using some lower-cost alternatives like HP5 and Kentmere which work well with HC-110, L110 and PMK Pyro developers.  I am also looking forward to experimenting more with some other film choices like Ultra Fine Extreme and Fomapan. Buying any of those films in bulk will also help to tame costs.

A simple way to cut cost per exposure is through the use of half-frame cameras.  Many film camera producers came up with compact and elegant camera designs which allow getting up to twice the number of exposures normally available on a roll of film.

My Certo Dolly SuperSport has removable frame masks which give me either twelve 6x6 negatives or sixteen 6x4.5 frames.  The SuperSport's film compartment is also big enough to accommodate a 35mm cartridge, which produces an interesting sprocket hole border and a lot of exposures per session.

My humpback Mercury II-CX is the only 35mm half-frame I have at present. The camera doesn't quite double the number of frames from a 35mm cartridge because of the added spaces between frames, but it still takes me quite a while to work through a full roll.  The Mercury's rotary shutter is ultra-reliable and accurate, and it has a 1/1000 top speed. The  f2.7/35mm Tricor is coated and produces surprising sharpness.

My Zeiss Ikon Ikonta A 520 was an early acquisition when I got back to film photography.  Using only the 6x4.5 format, the camera can fold up to fit easily into a pocket and yet provide medium format negatives from 120 roll film.  My example has the uncommon combination of a Compur-Rapid shutter with an f3.5/7cm Tessar. Most of the black trim paint on the little Ikonta wore away a long time ago, but the camera's high-quality construction and reliability make it an enduring favorite.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Shut Down

The Minolta X-700 given to me by a friend recently came mounted with a Vivitar 2.8/35-70 zoom.  It doesn't seem a very versatile range for a zoom, but I thought I at least ought to give it a try.  The pictures from it look ok, so maybe I'll find a use for it.

The dog and I took a walk into Old Town last Saturday.  At 3:00 in the afternoon, the stores were closed and the streets empty.  Normally, the area under the covered walk would be full of jewelry vendors and their tourist clients.  I've shot the red chairs empty of diners before early in the morning before the restaurant was open.

Though there was no one around to appreciate it other than me, a fine old Oldsmobile was parked at the curb in front of the church.  I didn't see the owner.

We try to get out to the river with the dog a couple times a week.  This is one of the locations where there is a big sandbar where the dog can get in a run.

We have mostly stayed close to home this week.  That doesn't suit the dog, but the cat is fine with the current arrangement.