Category Archives: film photogrphy

Ilford 200 ISO Black and white infrared film.

A r72 filter is used with this film. This filter is dark enough that you have to compose and focus your camera and then put the filter on. The working ISO with the filter in place is ISO 6 requiring slow shutter speeds. This makes it difficult to photograph on windy days, Chlorophyll reflects infrared causing trees and grass to photograph brighter. Water, which is cooler  and reflects little infrared, usually shows up black in infrared. Skies are always darker in infrared. Infrared photography can cut through haze.

Film b and white images tend to be grainy. This roll of fill was processed in D76 for 17 minutes at 70 degrees.

The best kept secret in Eastern Nebraska and a photographers dream!

Ft. Atkinson is located 8 miles North of interstate I-80 in Omaha. It is in the town of Ft. Calhoun and is part of the Nebraska State Park System.

Building on Ft Atkinson NE

Building on Ft Atkinson NE

Building on Ft Atkinson NE

Building on Ft Atkinson NE

Interior Ft Atkinson Nebraska

Interior Ft Atkinson Nebraska

The fort was the first to be established west of the Missouri River and was originated in 1819. It was no longer utilized after 1827. The fort was reconstructed in the 80’s and 90’s. The fort included a number of frontiersman including trappers, traders, and soldiers. It had over 1000 residents.

Initially an encampment was established along the river below the bluffs in 1819. The winter was brutal, supplies were low and scurvy was prevalent. The fort was moved up to the bluff and named Ft Atkinson.

Re-enactments are held regularly at the fort. Below are some examples of the individuals involved.

Ft. Atkinson, Nebraska

Ft. Atkinson, Nebraska

Ft. Atkinson, Nebraska

Ft. Atkinson, Nebraska

This was taken with a 4×5 speed graphic click here to see the extreme detail  file:///C:/Users/steve/Desktop/b&w-external/img254.html

Ft. Atkinson, Nebraska

Ft. Atkinson, Nebraska

Ft. Atkinson, Nebraska

Ft. Atkinson, Nebraska

The upper four photos were taken with a speed graphic using Ilford hp5+ film developed in Ilfosol.

Ft. Atkinson, Nebraska

Ft. Atkinson, Nebraska

Ft. Atkinson, Nebraska

Ft. Atkinson, Nebraska

Ft. Atkinson, Nebraska

Ft. Atkinson, Nebraska

Ft. Atkinson, Nebraska

Ft. Atkinson, Nebraska

Ft. Atkinson, Nebraska

Ft. Atkinson, Nebraska

Ft. Atkinson, Nebraska

Ft. Atkinson, Nebraska

Ft. Atkinson, Nebraska

Ft. Atkinson, Nebraska

More information can be found at this link http://www.fortatkinsononline.org/

I brushed off the old Speed Graphic camera and exposed some 4×5 b&w film

IMG_8054I bought this Speed Graphic camera at least 35 years ago and seldom used it so I bought some Arista EDU 4×5 100 ISO film and took a few pictures in the Omaha area.

Speed grapic with owner

Speed grapic with owner

You might as well see the photographer. Having been a professional for 30 plus years its nice to pick up a camera and do what ever you want and not be concerned whether it will turn you a dollar or not. The speed graphic is relatively quick to use compared to a view camera. I usually use the rangefinder and camera viewfinder and handhold my shots rather than drag out a tripod. 4×5 film holders take up a fair amount of room so I usually only take a few with and stay close enough to my car if I need more.

Omaha Skyline

Omaha Skyline

This image was taken with Arista EDU 4×5 100 ISO film. Freestyle Photography out of California sells this sheet film and it is reasonably priced compared to Kodak or Ilford films. I process this film in Ilfosol 3 developer at 68 degrees for 6.5 minutes using film developing tubes and constant agitation. Dust is a constant problem when drying film especially in winter. I use a humidifier in the room that I dry the film. All chemicals are mixed with distilled water.

Bob Kerry Walking Bridge in Omaha

Bob Kerry Walking Bridge in Omaha

The 4×5 negatives are scanned with an Epson v700 scanner which can handle 4×5 negatives and transparencies. Software provided with the scanner is relatively easy to use allowing you to adjust curves, levels, and color. I usually scan at 4800 dpi and touch up the image file which will have some dust and scratches. The file size is close to 100 mb. I scale the image down to send to local printers. The Omaha walking bridge is a popular spot near downtown Omaha and is very popular with photographers.

Joselyn Art Museum

Joselyn Art Museum

Omaha is not over run with interesting architecture but I’ve always admired the Joselyn Art Museum. This is a popular spot for wedding photography shots. I believe it is necessary to get permission from the museum to us it as a background prop in your wedding shots,

Holy Shrine on Interstate 80 west of Omaha

Holy Shrine on Interstate 80 west of Omaha

The first time I saw this shrine from interstate 80 I thought it was an oversized corn crib. In order to get close to the shrine you have to take the exit going to Gretna, south of the interstate about a mile and there will be a sign indicating the shrine is west on gravel. This picture was taken form that location.

Joslyn Museum Omaha

Joslyn Museum Omaha

 

Who in their right mind would shoot 4×5 film with a view camera when digital is so much easier?

Well as far as I now I’m in my right mind so why am I shooting 4×5 film? The same reason that a dog licks his balls. Because “he can” ! In this case I’m shooting B&W film because I can and I like it!

Several months ago I latched on to a 4×5 Cambo view camera with a 210 lens.

Cambo 4x5 view camera with 210mm lens

Cambo 4×5 view camera 

 

i couldn’t pass this up. $400 for camera, case, 2 lenses ( 90mm and 210mm), a bunch of 4×5 holders, light meter, bag bellows, and polaroid adapter which is pretty much unusable do to a lack of film availability.

So lets compare for a second, a digital verses 4×5 film image:  The 4×5 image shot on Arista 200 film  was developed in Ilford Ilfosol 3. The film was scanned with an Epson 700v scanner and colored in photoshop. Guess which one is digital.

sunkistB

sunkistB- 1 hour anfd30 minutes of time invested

sunkistA

sunkistA- one minute and 20 seconds of time invested

If you guessed sunkistA then you identified the digiital camera file.

 

Initially I invested $400 but that began to grow. I needed to develop these images so I checked out the  view camera store at viewcamerastore.com 

They sold a product called the BTZS 4×5 B&W Film Tube Kit which was ideal for processing 4×5 film.

Kit for processing 4x5 film

Kit for processing 4×5 film

This kit sells for $165 and is well worth it.

I also utilized an app called Massive Development Chart. This app gives you information concerning any possible combination of flim and developer that you could even imagine plus the app walks you through the processing steps with a development timer. .

Due to the cold weather I’ve stayed in the studio for my view camera photography at this point.

So isn’t it a lot easier to shoot with digital. Yes, it is but there is nothing like handling the film and processing it. There is always something magic about seeing you image come up after development. You have to be precise. Even taking the the picture has a number of steps.

1. compose the image with aperture wide open.

2. take a light meter reading

3. stop down your aperture and set shutter speed based on the meter reading

4. slip your 4×5 holder into place

4. Cock the shutter

5. Pull out the dark slide from the 4×5 holder

6. using a cable release trip the shutter.

7. slide dark slide back in place into the 4×5 holder.

On top of that you need to load the film holders with film in total darkness. The film has notches on it to indicate which side the emulsion is on. Put the film in backwards and, well, you have no photo. Screw up one step and you have no usable image.

Then you have to develop the film and make sure the temperature is right and the processing times are correct.

As you can see THIS IS A LOT MORE FUN!

Below are some examples a the images I produced with my view camera:

Liberty because of the 2nd ammendment

Liberty because of the 2nd amendment

lead trumps silver

lead trumps silver

successful hunt

successful hunt

 

repica navy revolver civil war vintage

replica navy revolver civil war vintage

Photographer takes a walk down memory lane

As photographers we all start somewhere and we all have to have a first camera. Mine was a Yashicha 35GSN which I bought at the PX at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma during an army reserve summer camp.

Yashica Electro GSN

Yashica Electro GSN

This camera was extremely popular at the time. Yashica sold millions of them. If I remember correctly I paid somewhere around $80 for the camera in 1973. Being used to photographs taken by an instamatic I was blown away by the sharpness of the GSN. I had to dig deep into the archives but I found several images I know for sure was taken with the GSN.

images captured with Yashica 35 GSN

images captured with Yashica 35 GSN

images captured with Yashica 35 GSN

images captured with Yashica 35 GSN

The GSN was fairly automated for its day. You selected the aperture and the camera selected the shutter speed. There was no manual mode and no shutter speed control. The lens was fairly sharp on this camera and if used properly one could get good photos. I lived in a community of 500 in rural Nebraska at the time so I was pretty limited on subjects for my photography. I set up a darkroom in my bathroom and experienced the magic of a photograph coming up before my very eyes in the darkroom. I was hooked. I carried my camera everywhere. Within a year I had a chance to buy a Minolta SR1 from a colleague of mine. He had purchased it while in Viet Nam. I had an SLR and I was in hog heaven. Looking through a lens and taking a photo was so much cooler. The SR1 did not have an internal meter. One was attached to the outside of the camera.  I joined the Columbus Camera Club and learned a little more about photography until I moved in 1974.

Minolta SR1

Minolta SR1

I moved to Minnesota looking for a teaching job in the Twin Cities where I had student taught. The timing was poor. There had been a big layoff of teachers in the Metro and there were many experienced teachers looking for work. During the summer of 1974 I purchased a Rollei twin lens reflex and I entered the word of medium format photography. I still have this camera today and it takes excellent photos.

Rolleiiflex twin lens

Rolleiiflex twin lens

I moved back to Nebraska that same year and took a teaching job in a small town 20 miles out of Omaha. I lived in Fremont Nebraska a town of around 22,000 at the time. I used my twin lens a lot and set up a darkroom in a closet. I shot my first wedding in 1975. The photos were taken with a 35mm and the Rollei. I didn’t have a flash so I used flashbulbs. To top that off I processed all the color film myself as well as printing all the images. All the film came out OK but I never realized how foolish that was until I had more experience. In 1976  we finally bought a home for around $17,500. The first thing I did is had my father-in-law build a darkroom for me. The darkroom had a light trap and I built a nice size wood sink which I fiberglassed to waterproof it. I had a carrier I built for my enlarger that would allow me to print up to 20×24’s by just dropping the print surface to a lower level. I joined the Omaha Camera Club and I was close to the start of a photographic career.

Below are several photos taken with the Rollei in those early years.

Images taken with Rollei twin lens

Images taken with Rollei twin lens

Images taken with Rollei twin lens

Images taken with Rollei twin lens

Images taken with Rollei twin lens

Images taken with Rollei twin lens

 

Photo from Rollei twin lens

Photo from Rollei twin lens

Photo from Rollei twin lens

Photo from Rollei twin lens

The rollei always produced a good image. It was probably one of the best built cameras I ever owned and it could take a real beating. I dropped it several times over the years with no damage. Try that with the new digital cameras.I purchased a Minolta SRT 101 in 1976.

Minolta srt101

Minolta srt101

It was my favorite 35mm camera. The metering system was match needle and it was pretty accurate. The Minolta has a special place in my heart because it is the camera I used to make my first dollars with a camera. In 1976 during the summer I was driving out in the country around Columbus Nebraska and I came upon a sign that said “Black Powder Shoot” I drove down into the clearing where the encampment was and got out and started taking pictures of all the participants which were dressed up in buckskins and various blackpowder  paraphernalia. I returned to my darkroom where I processed the film a printed a number of 8×10’s on GAF Indiatone paper. I returned the following week to another blackpowder shoot and sold enough photos to buy myself a blackpowder Mississsippi rifle. I still own that gun and I shot a deer with it. Below are several photos taken with the SRT 101.

photograph taken with a Minolta srt101

photograph taken with a Minolta srt101

A picture similar to this was entered in the Omaha World Herald weekly photo contest and it won.

photograph taken with a Minolta srt101

photograph taken with a Minolta srt101

The image of the skier was entered in N4C a council of camera clubs where it won an award. That fall I entered a number of images at the Nebraska State fair and took home 3 trophies. I knew what I wanted to be and I was on my way. In 1977 I made the big leap. I bought a Mamiya RB67 with a 127 mm lens. It cost me $560 which at that time was a lot of money.

Mamiya RB67

Mamiya RB67

I had to convince my wife it was a good idea because it would make me money. This the common story with many photographers. Their hobby gets expensive so they have to do some business to pay for their toys. I advertized  a special in the local paper. 5 8×10’s for $25 bucks. Not exaclty a big money maker but it got me started. My first customer was a mother with her child. I did the session out at Fremont Lakes which was very colorful that autumn day. When I got the proofs back I found out I forgot to turn the revolving back and most of my images had a portion of the head cut off. I had to call the client up and do a second session. The early RB’s had no indicator in the viewfinder that would tell you whether you were shooting vertical or horizontal. It was a lesson I learned early and the mistake saved me from more serious mistakes in the future. My next gig was a wedding. My ex-wife’s sister was getting married in MInnesota. We used the RB and my Rollei to do the pictures. My results were pretty good considering how little experience I had. By then I had a Pentax potato masher strobe and at least a rudimentary idea of what to do. Being a teacher I managed to pick up a gig or two photographing seniors. I didn’t have the studio lighting down very well and preferred outdoor photography. Sounds a lot like today’s newbie photographers. Slowly I built clientele and by 1979 I was doing about $12,000 a year in sales. I bought a different house in 1979 and put a camera room in on the main level. That fall opened up my studio and to my surprise a couple of high school girls showed up at my door wanting senior pictures. Of course I was excited as all get out. My wedding business picked up enough to cover my expenses and I was making a small profit.  I went to a Donald Jack seminar the following year and put out a brochure mailer based on his ideas that next fall and my numbers started growing. I went to the bank and borrowed money for two photogenic studiomasters . (the only time i ever borrowed money for my business.) In 1982 my senior business exploded. I booked over half the senior class from Valley the school district I taught in. My sales reached $37,000 that year. I continued 2 more years running a studio while I was teaching. There were days I was so exhausted that I felt like crying. I finally hired a friend of my ex-wife’s to help out with orders and things got better.

In 1984 I resigned my teaching position and went full time. Little did I know that I would be filing for divorce by July of the following year. Suddenly I was down to one income instead of three which included my ex-wife’s. My back was against the wall. I had to make it work. I hired another young lady to help me in the studio that summer and we had a great business year in spite of the emotional upheaval caused by the divorce. I added some Mamiya M645’s to my business.

Mamiya 645's

Mamiya 645’s

The primary reason I purchased m645’s is that they were much better for wedding work and in the studio you got 15 photos per roll of film instead of 10 that you got from the RB. I was using a lot of film and this saved me some money. 1986 was a bad year for the farming community and sales dropped considerably. I barely photographed a 100 sessions,  down from 140 the previous year. It was then that I decided that I might want to prepare for the worst and work on another degree. I didn’t want to teach any more so I decided on a Masters in Agency Counseling. By 1986 I was dating my present wife and in September of 1987 we got married and we moved into Omaha. She worked in a nearby town and I continued the studio operation in Fremont. 1987 was a good business year as I cleared over $32,000 but driving expenses were eating me up. We decided to buy a house in Ralston and put a studio in the basement. Starting a photo studio is a new town turned out to be a lot tougher than I thought. Business was slow for several years until I built clientele. By 1992 business had slowed in both locations and I decided to do some telemarketing to improve the cash flow. The economy sucked at the time  but I knew my future was in the Omaha area not Fremont. It was a tough decision but i decided to add on to the building and put a new camera room on the lower level along with a new outside entrance. The addition had no windows and just a set of double doors. It measured 25′ by 15′ . The total addition ran a little over $20,,000 and I had to borrow $5,000. This was the best investment I ever made. By 1995 my numbers had grown enough in Omaha that I could close the Fremont studio. I sold the building and moved everyrthng to the Ralston Studio. I had duplicates of everything. The numbers kept jumping and by 1999 I sold close to a quarter million dollars of photos. I went digital that year. I purchased a Kodak dcs330 a 3 megapixel camera. With the lens I had over $4000 in the system. I was capable of 11×14’s and even 16×20’s as long as the head size was big. Then I took the big step. I bought a 6 megapixel Kodak 660 based on a Nikon F body. It cost me $12,000 used. I  was ready to go digital. The biggest problem not many labs were and the first year it was a struggle to find a reliable lab to print my images on a consistent basis.

Kodak DSCS 660

Kodak DSCS 660

I used the 660 for outdoor pictures and wedding group shots. Initially I used film for the large group shots and digital for closeups. As I developed more confidence in digital I dropped film all together.

Below are several examples of outdoor photos taken with the 660.

photographed with Kodak dcs660

photographed with Kodak dcs660

 

photographed with Kodak dcs660

photographed with Kodak dcs660

photographed with Kodak dcs660

photographed with Kodak dcs660

photographed with Kodak dcs660

photographed with Kodak dcs660

The 660 was as heavy as an RB67 and needed to be used with a tripod. Maximum ISO was 200 and it looked much better at ISO 80.It was like photographing with vericolor 100 outdoors.

From 1999 through 2001 things went very well until 911 hit. Competition was heating up as more people were going digital and by 2002 I saw the need for a boost in marketing so I signed up for “marketing bootcamp” which was held in Vegas that year. I did everything the instructor said and purchased all his marketing materials which set me back at least $3,000. Then I put together a $25,000 marketing campaign and my numbers jumped and my bottom line swelled with it. Things went real well in 2002 and 2003. In 2004 I went to “marketing bootcamp” again. People were catching on to this marketing stuff and numbers were starting to slip, yet I still did very well. Numbers were still pretty good in 2005 but by 2006 I saw big problems ahead for the industry as a whole. I began posting my concerns on a professional photo forum. Most pooh-poohed me and said that all you had to do is up your game. I predicted that if we had a recession many full time photographers would go belly up or switch to part time. I began planning for the inevitable and started planning for retirement. I cut out weddings in 2008 and cut back to 3/4 time in 2009. In 2010 I cut to half time and retired at the end of the year. During a 12 year period I had photographed over 3,000 seniors and 300 weddings along with families, pets, and special events. There were bad times during my career and there were good times. There were frustrating days and there were exhilarating ones. The 35 year trek was worth it.

 

 

 

 




 

More Infrared Photos from the Archives

Kodak used to make ektachrome infrared film. Going through my archives I found several images shot on this film. My understanding there is only one place to get such film today and it is available only in 120 size and its expensive. Check out http://www.tarquinius.de/

Infrared film with yellow filter

Infrared film with yellow filter

Infrared film with a red filter

Infrared film with a red filter

E-6 slide infrared film taken with red filter

E-6 slide infrared film taken with red filter

E-6 slide infrared film taken with red filter

E-6 slide infrared film taken with red filter

You can take infrared photos with a digital camera but you will not get these results. Its too bad this film has been discontinued. Black and white infrared is still made by a number of companies. Freestyle out of California  http://www.freestylephoto.biz sells Efke ,Rollei, and Ilford B&W infrared in 35 mm and 120 size film. Most of these films require a dark red filter for dramatic effect. The example below is Efke b&w infrared film. The effect from this filom is not as dramatic. The image was taken with a red filter.

b&w infrared film Efke with red filter

b&w infrared film Efke with red filter

Of course you can shoot infrared with some digital cameras but most have to have some modifications done to them. The images below were done with the Fuji x-100 and an r72 filter which is a very deep red.

fuji x100 r72 filter

Fuji x100 infrared shot done with r72 filter

Fuji x100 infrared shot done with r72 filter

Fuji x100 infrared shot done with r72 filter

Why process T-max CN film in B&W developer? Because you can!

I found about 20 rolls of Tmax 400 CN film. This film is a monochromatic film that is processed in C41 chemistry. Since the film was 120 the number of places that process the film have decreased considerably in recent years. Rather than deal with the expense and hassle of finding a processor I started doing a little research and found that some people got results processing the film in d76. So I tried processing several rolls in d76 for 14 minutes at 70 degrees F. The processed film has a brownish mask but scans surprisingly well. I wouldn’t suggest you use this combination for important photos but it works well enough if you’re just having fun. I tried processing one roll in HC110 and got a denser negative that was not as sharp and much grainier. All images were photographed with a twin lens Rolliflex. The samples below were all scanned with an Epson v500. The last image of the woman was processed in HC110.

Council Bluffs Cemetery tmax 400cn film developed in d76

Council Bluffs Cemetery
tmax 400cn film developed in d76

Council Bluffs cemetery photographed with tmax 400CN film

Council Bluffs cemetery photographed with tmax 400CN film

Old Pontiac photographed with Tmax400 CN processed in d7

Old Pontiac photographed with Tmax400 CN processed in d7

Fort Atkinson re-inactor photographed with Tmax 400CN

Fort Atkinson re-inactor photographed with Tmax 400CN