Being on voluntary lockdown on COVID leads to boredom, but it also lead me to explore my vast collection of photography books which I began to draw inspiration from for a little project. I love portrait work especially informal and street portraits. I began this little project two years ago at the start of the pandemic.
My only limitation was that my subjects are going to be photographed on film rather than digital. I love working within the confines of film, because a lot of digital photographers tend to overshoot and end up with dozens of repetitive images. At the same time, I decided to experiment with various types of film, new and old, on my subjects matter. Some of the images were successful, while others were not due to processing with unfamiliar chemicals. I decided to do some portraits visiting our friend’s home and at times at my residence.
The cameras I used:
Voigtländer Bessa-R, Skopar 35mm f2.5 Lens
Nikon FM2, Voigtländer Ultron 40mm f/2 lens.
The film I used for some of the sessions was the Classic EZ 400, which was introduced last year. I decided to purchase a few rolls. and before loading my camera, I decided to read some online info and watch some Youtube videos. The information on processing was limited, so it left me to experiment on my own to learn about the film’s limitations. I have the feeling the manufacturer left this up to the photographer. So I shot two rolls of, dealing with various lighting conditions and exposure situations. I used various contrast filters to see what effects I could achieve. One roll was photographed in Palm Springs and the other at Various locations in Seattle.
I processed the film in Rodinal which I have used in the past for push processing. Normally my “go-to” developer for regular processing is Kodak D-76, but I decided to use Rodinal because I already had it on hand. I used the recommended volume and processing time, (1:50 @ 68F for 11 minutes) but neglected to pay attention to the amount of recommended agitation.
I was disappointed in my results. The images were very grainy and contrasty. I did some further reading online and discovered that Rodinal does not require a lot of agitation that I was giving. Actually, it required less to the point of stand agitation. Unlike D-76, Rodinal is a more concentrated developer and may require more dilution to avoid a very high density within the image. The next time I would avoid using Rodinal and try D-76 developer to improve the contrast and get finer grain.
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