This image is a lazy image. I did not set up the picture, I did not guide a model nor did I travel far to capture it. This was shot just outside of our kitchen in Perth Australia and my son is responsible for setting up his little figures on the back of the tricycle. But this is not why I consider it a lazy image. It is a lazy image because I developed it using Rodinal and stand developing technique.
The normal film developing process takes about 45 minutes and involves 5-20 minutes of actual development which requires periodic agitation of the chemicals. This means you are a prisoner of this time and cannot leave for any length of time over 1 minute.
Stand Developing film is a process which requires minimal agitation but long contact with a weak developer. It has its good qualities and its negative ones but on balance, it is a respectable way to develop your film.
Stand Development the Film Still Photography Way (patent pending):
Buy Rodinal. This developer is one of my favorites. It has a shelf life measured in years, so you can buy a ton and just keep it, never running out of developer. It is very forgiving and produces a nice print. It can be used as a fast developer (developing film in 10-15 minutes) but is really excellent in very low doses.
The complicated, secret, ultra lazy formula: I mix 1 part Rodinal to 100 parts of water. So for 1 liter I would mix 10ml to 990ml or water. That is it, nice and weak. So a 250ml jar will make me 25 liters of developer! Who can beat that!
Pour the mixed developer into the developing tank, and agitate for 1 minute. I do this by using the little mixing stick that comes with Paterson development tanks and swirl it one direction per second.
Put the development tank aside. Have a cup of coffee or update your blog. Around 30 minutes later, agitate again for another minute. Let is sit for another 30 minutes.
The use STOP and Fixer as per your normal method.
Tests Yet to be Conducted:
Here I am comparing the SAME roll of film (HP4+ at ISO 125) shot on the same camera (Nikon F3). I shot the entire roll on a tripod aimed at the same scene (high contrast scene) I then cut the roll in half and developed the first half in ID-11 and the other half in Rodinal stand development.
Below is a 100% crop of the scene. The image on the left is processed in ID-11 and the one on the right is Rodinal Stand Development.
That is really all the conclusions one can draw. If you want smooth grains, lower micro contrast then stick with modern developers and modern techniques. If you do not mind grain, or are looking for this then give Rodinal Stand Development a try, at least your blog will be updated.
Below is the full image of the scene from the Rodinal batch.
I have just found out that Colin O'Brien has passed away. For those who do not know him, you owe it to yourself to see his work. He shot England in the 1950's and since he came from a humble home he was able to shoot a part of London that most never knew.
Here is his website. He has a couple of books for sale here but even if that is not your thing, just have a look at his shots. The one above was his first shot that he took as a kid and it is what brought him into the world of photography.
I purchased an app after reading most photographers condemn them as being untrustworthy. Everything I read indicated that they only way to go was to drop USD500 on a light meter. But I decided to try it as it was a little over a dollar.
I have used it countless times since then and have NEVER gotten a poor reading. Every shot I took using it came our correctly exposed. I have since read some reviews and found that other photographers, who actually put these apps to the test, found that for general use they are indeed very effective.
I suggest you give it a go. Buy old cameras, if the light meter works great, if not then pull out the cell phone, take a reading and shoot away. By the way unless the light changes a great deal you can take a single reading and use it for all shots. No need to pull it out for each and every shot you take.
I am not the sort who keeps a diary nor do I shoot color film however when it comes to film photography I do find it very valuable to keep a journal. I call mine my "Film Photo Book" to step away from the sentimental connotations of a "journal".
I use it to jot down ideas of things to try, plan the photography portion of trips and my lessons learned. If I look at my recent entry on a quick trip to Paris I see a list of items I want to take, five key photos I want to capture, three different film related tests I wanted to accomplish and a host of lessons learned. Below is a quick extract:
1. Bir Hakeim Bridge with Eiffel Tower
2. Eiffel Tower from a bridge
3. Notre Dame from Seine Bank
4. Louvre Pyramid with a wide angle lens
5. Musee D'Orsay balcony shot
6. Sacre-Coeur Basilica
Things to Try:
1. Long exposure with Variable ND filter
2. Long exposure in a church
3. Push Ilford FP4
MUST check that the film rewind spool turns with every film advance. I shot a wasted roll as it was not engaged properly. Novice mistake!
Nice and simple that was it. You will see that I keep my target shots to a short list. The first five are my real targets but I add one or two more as a bonus shot. On this trip I managed to get all five of my target shots plus the sixth bonus one.
I was able to try the first two tests but did not have a chance to push FP4 as the days were very bright. I was shooting at 125th of a second with 125 ISO film!
Without a book of notes to go back to I would have forgotten many of these things. I have seen photographers running around with a Moleskin notebook and a Montblanc pen (both of which I love) but this is not needed. A simple spiral notebook and a Bic will work out just fine.
I have seen people track every photo they take, noting the f-stop, ISO and lens type used. Frankly I find this too exhausting. I prefer to use my notebook to ensure I get the shots that I want, jot down the lessons I learned and some ideas for the next trip or photoshoot. A three day photography trip may only see two or three small pages of notes mixed in with a few drops of wine or coffee.
This title and concept comes from an article written by Philip Lee Harvey and was discussing an interaction between him and another photographer. I forget the details however I do recall that when they finally reached the destination they were going to shoot Philip pulled out his camera while his companion told him "tea first, then photography.
I love that story and Mr Harvey told it well. The concept is a great one which is that as in all great activities you must take your time. Contemplation about what you are trying to do, and how you plan to do it can only bring about more enjoyment and a greater chance of success.
I spent the day in the darkroom making some contact prints and some 8x10 enlargements of some shots from vacation. I like the darkroom, it is a quiet, cool place to focus on the photos that were taken. I remember each shot, what I was thinking, how I was feeling and what I wanted to get out of the shot.
This is why it is important for me to think about what I am doing. So days, weeks, months or even years later I can look at an image and know what I wanted to do. So in a digital world, where cameras can capture an image, post process in the camera and upload directly to Facebook, take the time to have a cup of tea first, then photography.
Patrick...confirmed film & digital photography addict.