Saturday, December 26, 2015

Fall Color

Okay, that title is a little misleading since I am only going to show black and white photos in this post. But I was out around the neighborhood shooting some colorful leaves the other day and the film I had loaded in my Pentax K1000 was my trusty Kodak Recordak Dacomatic. This film was intended for use in the Recordak Microfilmer.

I am old enough to have used microfilm and microfiche in college. It was just for copying text and half-tone images, so really it was just a high contrast medium, not intended for pictorial use at all. There was no need for it to be even panchromatic (sensitive to all visible wavelengths of light), so it was orthochromatic (sensitive to the blue/uv end of the spectrum). That means that red things tend to be dark, even black when photographed with this film. So I had this in mind when I went out for my walk. There aren't many colorful trees here in San Diego, but one that does turn a nice color is the liquidambar tree. The leaves turn a deep red color from November throughout the winter. If there isn't much wind or rain, many leaves stay on the tree. So I decided to try a few shots of these red leaves using my orthochromatic (red insensitive) film. I got pretty much what I thought I would... some very dark colored leaves with good detail. I developed the film in X-tol diluted around 1+3 for 11 minutes with agitation every 30 sec. The film was exposed at EI 100 which is a little fast for this, especially with red subjects, but I still got some decent images.


This last one is of a red Christmas Cactus with some water drops. The red subject with this film becomes pretty abstract, which I often like.


I hope you enjoyed this little trip down 'Orthochromatic Lane'. Expired microfilm is a fun change of pace for people who like black and white images, but are a little bored with the usual offerings of Tri-X and FP5. Give it a shot and let me know how it goes!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

To correct or not to correct...

While driving home from a high school football game last Oct, we happened across North Algodones Dunes Wilderness Area. There was a pull-out, so I thought I might get a few snaps of the place. I think it would be worth going back at a better time of day or maybe pre-dawn and just sit and see what the light does. Anyway, I had Some Ektachrome Slide Dupe film loaded in my Fed-3 and I just snapped a few shots off casually. I developed the film a couple of months later and was in a bit of a rush when I decided to scan the negatives. So I just put them on the scanner and let the auto settings do their magic. Well a couple of things happened. First, I hand wound the film into an old 35mm canister and as it turns out, the light seal was imperfect, so there were some light leaks on the film. Some shots had worse streaks than others and so this in turn caused the scanner to make different decisions about what was 'white' in each frame. So when I came back to view the photos, these shots of the dunes, while taken at the same time in the same place, were different colors. It looked like this.

Sand Tryptich

You can see that the center one doesn't have a light leak in it and it looks more 'true' to the color of sand (mid-day-ish). The other two got shifted with more red and blue. I thought this was sort of an 'interesting' outcome of some random inputs, but I wondered what the same triptych would look like with the color balance corrected so they all looked alike. So I went about rescanning them, using the RGB levels of the middle photo to adjust the other two manually. I do my scanning with the Epson Perfection V600 flatbed scanner and the Epson Scan software that comes with it. It is easy to use and produces results acceptable for sharing online which is about 95% of what I do with my photos. Here is the result of the adjusted photos (sorry about the dust, I didn't bother doing the dust spotting on the second scan).

I like this version, but not as much as I like the first one. That left me with a question though. Is it artistically honest to accept my scanner's decisions resulting in random changes to my images? Can I post those photos and tout their beauty when this was not my intention when I took them? I might just have to leave that one to the philosophers and accept the "happy accident" of light leaks and scanner color shifting. I like the results too much to delete them.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

LC-69 Process Film

What's that?? You've never heard of LC-69 film? Well apparently, not many other people have either. I certainly never had until I was given a very generous gift of a Pentax K1000 with a few lenses, filters, and not surprisingly, an old roll of film forgotten in the bottom of the bag. The canister said "Images Professional Color Print Film". Then it had three little boxes where you would put a check mark next to the speed at which you shot the film, 100, 200 or 400. then there was a mysterious marking, "Process LC-69". What sort of color print film was this? Well, straight to the Googlz I went and oddly, there was very little to be found about this beast. What I did find was not very informative as far as how to process it. So, I figured, what the heck... shoot it at iso 100 and process it in C-41 at room temp and see what you get. Worst case, I would have wasted some time on murky brown images. I did learn that this film was used by the mail order places like Seattle Film Works where you would mail them your film, pay for processing and they would send you replacement film for free. I also read somewhere that there was rem-jet on these films, but more about that later.

The Pentax had been stored for quite some time, but it was in a bag with silicone packs, so I figured it was probably servicable as far as shutter speeds go. Heck, the battery that powers the meter is still holding a charge! Anyway, I went down to the lovely Balboa park on a sunny December morning (yes, most December mornings are sunny here in San Diego) to meet some friends from work. We were going to do a photo walk for a couple of hours and I was heading the charge. Of course everyone else was shooting nice digital cameras, both SLRs and mirrorless. I shot up the LC-69 film and some Dacomatic copy film as well as a roll of Acros in my Bronica S2a. But you are here to read about the LC-69, right?

I decided that I would follow a procedure outlined by Reinhold of fame whereby regular C-41 chemicals are used at room temperature instead of the usual 102F. I figured that would be more gentle on the emulsion if this happened to be a sensitive film. So the temperature in my house was about 70F and Reinhold's calculations said that I would need 17 minutes in the developer. That seemed like a long time, but I'm all about the trust. So 17 minutes with 4 inversions every 30 seconds passed. I did a strip test on the leader in the Blix and it looked like it cleared in about 3 minutes, so the usual 6.5 minutes in the Blix was going to work. It didn't look to me like there was any rem-jet on the leader after the blix test, but I did a 1 minute soak and agitate in some Borax at the end of the Blix cycle. Nothing really came off, so I think that part was erroneous.

The scans look like regular expired cross processed slide film. Nothing surprising or extra special about the LC-69 film. Sorry, that's anti-climactic, I know. But here are some nice pictures for you to look at.