I have been hooked on photography ever since my father showed me how to use his basement darkroom when I was in my teens. I took my first ‘real’ camera — a Pentax Spotmatic — to Europe with me as a college student in the late 1960s. I used Kodachrome 25 and 64, bought and ‘rolled’ bulk Kodak Plus-X Pan and Panatomic-X, and photographed my way through the 3-month trip. Since then I’ve built and abandoned at least 3 basement darkrooms as we’ve moved about the country.
The Nikon F3HP I used for these photos was given to me as a gift by a urologist friend and his wife after I delivered their son. For many years following a move back to Michigan, I did very little outside of snapshots of my children as they grew. It wasn’t until I wandered into digital photography that I rekindled my interest and began exploring photography beyond where I’d been before.
Now that I’ve retired from full-time clinical medical practice, I can focus (sorry for the pun) my creative energies and not worry about a 3am phone call from a patient in labor. We now live on a beautiful lake in northern Michigan, but because of my concerns surrounding the wet-chemistry involved, I send my film away for development and have the negatives scanned so I can print them digitally, avoiding potentially contaminating the very fragile eco-system of the lake.
I’ve enjoyed the 5 Frames feature of EMULSIVE/35mmc since I found them some time ago. This past summer a post about infrared photography really piqued my curiosity. So I ordered some Rollei Infrared 400, an R72 IR filter and scoured the internet for helpful hints on how to use this crazy film.
I waited for a sunny day, loaded up my trusty F3HP, Nikkor 24mm f/2.8, grabbed my tripod, and headed up the bluff behind our house into the forest. I hoped that the bright summer sunlight would filter through the forest’s canopy, giving the scenes an otherworldly effect. I set the ASA (does that tell you how old school I am?) at 25, figured out focusing without the filter on the lens first (bless Nikon for the little red dot on the lens barrel allowing for the focal shift for infrared light), and metered with my old handheld Polaris meter.
Can I give a shout out to Tyler at Silver Image Photolab in Chicago for his help processing? I was really blown away by the increased contrast making the ethereal quality of foliage so remarkable and dramatic. It’s as if I stepped into another world altogether…maybe not such a bad thought in this crazy time of COVID.
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IR photography is much simpler using an M film body or M8. No need to swap out the filter to see and focus.