Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bromide Streaks

"Bromide streaks?"
"Why yes... yes it does."
""They should arrest it for public indecency!!"

Okay, that's a terrible joke. The truth is that if you aren't careful with your development, you could get some ghastly, ghostly streaks on your negatives. Bromide streaks, also known as bromide drag is described best by some unknown source I found on the "internet".

The developer near the heavily exposed areas of the film becomes exhausted in the process of reducing silver salts to silver. Bromide ions are also produced in this process, and being heavier than the developer, they drag downward across the surface of the film, inhibiting development in those areas and leaving streaks of uneven development, called "bromide drag" aka bromide streaking. Agitation during development brings fresh developer to all areas of the film and flushes away the bromide by turbulence within the developer."

This tends to show up for me especially on 35mm film that is developed using "stand development" (long development in dilute developers with very little agitation). It seems that the borders where the sprocket holes are provide the perfect conditions for bromide streaks. Combine that with a low contrast area of the image and you will notice the streaks of over/under development. These two photos I took at my local filling station show bromides streaks at the tops.

The solution to this problem is to choose a development method with more agitation, or use a tank that you can flip over and set down every few minutes or so. That would prevent the bromide from "sinking". So don't let bromide be a drag. Keep experimenting and you'll figure out a solution. If you have experience with this, please share it down in the comments.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Transitioning Off Of Flickr

Looking back, I can see that it was inevitable. Flickr started making massive and dramatic changes to their site maybe around a year ago. At first they called it a 'Beta' and you could opt in or out. There was a seemingly huge backlash and people were writing scathing reviews on the photo forums and in the Flickr groups. Many people left at that point and found alternate places to host their photos. I tried to work with the Beta for a while, but eventually got fed up and tired of being frustrated, so I switched back to the older version of the user interface. I figured that Flickr would hear the outcry and modify their plans to change things so drastically. It was sort of 'out of sight, out of mind' for a few months, but early this week, they switched everyone over to the 'new' interface. No warning, no choice, and it was just as bad as I remembered. Additionally, my account is experiencing a bug so that I can only embed the original size photo here in my blog or on the forums where I like to share. Well, that is the proverbial straw that has broken the camel's back. I will not be loading photos on to Flickr and I have cancelled my 'Pro' account. I am going to give iPernity a try and see how things work over there. I did encounter one serious limitation initially, but have subsequently figured out a work around for it.

The problem was that I didn't want to jump into a paid 'Club' account right away. That meant that I did not have the functionality to get the embed code in html or bbcode so that I could share photos on my blog or the forums. I couldn't even get the url of a photo by the usual right-click -> Copy image url. It was completely blocked (as it is for all of their 'free account' users)! Now that seems a little dirty to me. The whole reason for using an image hosting site is to share your photos elsewhere. At least that is my primary use case. So what to do? Try another host like pBase or Photobucket? I didn't really feel like trolling around looking for the one image host that 'has it all', and I knew that many of my contacts from Flickr had moved to iPernity. As with many things in life Google has the solution! I generally use Chrome to browse the interwebz. I also have the benefit of being a bit of a computer nerd and have done some web development. So I thought I would just give the old CSS inspector a look to see if there was anything helpful there. Right click on the image and select "Inspect Element". Make sure that the "Elements" tab is selected at the top of the window that pops up at the bottom of your browser. There you will see a bunch of code. This is the cascading style sheet that controls what everything on a web page looks like (colors, fonts, layout, etc.). Right there on the highlighted line is the url (web address) for the image! BAM! Just what I was looking for! Now I can use that url to link directly to my photo. For the blog, I use html tags like this:

For online forums, I use bbcode like this:

If I want a different size, I just select that size on iPernity so that I am viewing it and repeat the right click inspect element step. Then I have the url for that size image. Easy Peasy!!

I hope you find this helpful especially if you are migrating away from Flickr like I am and want to try iPernity for free for a while. Here is a photo from the first roll out of my 'new' Yashica Electro 35 GSN. This is a rangefinder camera from the mid-70's that was mass produced. They are super easy to get in good-ish condition. They do have some inherent issues, but if you aren't afraid to get your hands a little dirty, and open up a camera you probably paid less than $30US for, then it is a no-brainer. Just go get one. They come with a pretty darn good lens, the 45mm Yashinon 1:1.7. That's right, a nice sharp, clear, contrasty f/1.7 on a cheap camera. I shot this photo on some old Ilford FP4 that had expired back in 1981, so it is a little grainy, but over all I like the look.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pushing Through XII

Wow, it's been a while since I've done one of these. This one is a root of a Ficus benjamina tree. If you live somewhere that these trees grow then you know what the roots do. They creep along the ground just under the surface and then they start to grow so that they break the surface and anything that has been built on it. That means that concrete sidewalks, barriers, foundations, etc. are all going to break. These are the trees that are going to be the rock smashers that level the cities after humanity has extinguished itself. For now though, they are an inconvenient beauty that decorates our landscape.

Pushing Through XII

Monday, March 24, 2014

Normal Lens Macro

I may have posted something about this in the past, but I'm too lazy to find out, so forgive me if I am being redundant.

Lots of people take macro photos these days. Hop on over to and you'll see what I'm talking about. Most of the examples on that site are amazingly sharp and bright and colorful. That is because they are taken with digital SLRs equipped with a 'macro' lens of some sort and then the photo is cropped down even closer. This can be done because of the high pixel count of the newest sensors as well as the sharpening algorithms used by modern editing software. Now I don't have a macro lens, so I have to make due if I want to get close. Most of my lenses have a minimum focusing distance of about 2ft, so I have to do something different to get up close to my subject. This is a technique that I learned a long time ago, so it must have been out of Popular Photography or Photographic magazine. Yes, I was taking photos well before the advent of the world wide web. What I do is to take my normal prime lens off of my SLR. In this case it is a Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 lens on my Nikkormat FTn. Then I flip the lens around so that the mount is facing outward and I hold the outer part up to the camera, pressed against the front. Got it? I'm just holding the lens backward against the front of the camera. There are 'adapters' that will convert your lens mount to a male screw mount so that you can use the filter threads to actually hold the lens in place, but I have never really found I need something so elaborate. Make sure the lens is stopped down a bit and focused at the minimum distance. Then you are going to have to move closer and farther from the subject until the focus is just right. The more you stop down, the more will be in focus (normal depth of field principles apply), but things are going to get really really dim in the finder window, so f/8 is probably about as small as you want to get with the aperture. I think I was more like f/2 for these photos. That makes for some shallow DOF, but I like the effect.

The film was some Ilford FP4 that had been rebranded as generic "Professional Film". It had expired back in 1981, so I shot it at iso 25. Development was in my old stand-by Adonal (Rodinal) diluted 1:100, developed for 70min with 10sec agitation initially and at 35min. What you see is pretty much how it came out of the Epson V600 scanner. I did a little dusting in PhotoShop. So what are you waiting for? Get that normal lens off of your SLR and take some great macro shots of your own! Jasmine I

Jasmine II