Monday, August 12, 2013

Fern Leaves

I'm not really much of a 'closeup' or 'macro' photographer. So I don't really have many tips on doing it right, but I do know this. Your depth of field is WAY shallower than what you are used to or expecting. Now that can be good or bad depending on what kind of composition you have in mind. A small aperture (f/22 or higher) is still going to give a pretty deep focus. For this photo of a fern on my patio, I wanted a shallow DOF and some good contrast to accentuate the texture of the leaves. If the DOF were too deep, then the texture of the leaves would get lost in the overall jumble of leaves not just of the fern itself, but also those in the background. I shot this at f/5.6 on my large format Speed Graphic, so I got a very shallow DOF. I probably could have gone with f/8 and still had a pleasing composition, but I'm glad I didn't. For contrast, I added a green filter to the lens. This had the effect of brightening up the green of the leaves and darkening the reddish brown stems.

Like I said, I shot this with my Graflex Speed Graphic. I set it up about 18 inches from the fern and extended the bellows about 3 inches past the infinity stops. I didn't measure the focal length I came up with. Focusing is always a bit of a challenge (my eyes are old), but my dark cloth and 10x loupe help a lot. This was shot on Kodak Tri-X 320 at iso 320. I exposed for 1/10th of a second as metered (no compensation for filter or bellows extension). I developed the film in Adox Adonal (Rodinal) diluted 1+50 for 15 minutes. I agitated the tank (Paterson tank with MOD54) initially for 30 sec and then 4 gentle inversions every minute. The grain came out quite fine given these conditions and that it was probably a few degrees warmer than the recommended temp of 20C. This is a credit to the latitude and tolerance of this film. I really love Tri-X. It is hard to mess it up.