developing 8x10 negatives

I no longer have a darkroom and I don't want to build one at Victor Harbour. I can't stand the chemicals,  they play havoc with my skin, and I'm happy with digital files rather than  the fine print made in the darkroom.  I'm not a good printer. 

That creates a problem with my 8x10 black and white  photography. How do I develop the negatives? Up to now I have sent the 8x10 negatives to a pro-lab inSydney--Blanco Negro--- to be  developed. It proved  expensive to develop  24 negatives--- I only have 12 double film holders.  

I've always thought it  would be  much more convenient to develop the 8x10 negatives in Adelaide at a community darkroom, even if that does mean  DIY.  Thankfully,  one now exists--- The Analogue Laboratory,  which is now situated at The Mill in Adelaide's CBD. What a great initiative!  

 It is  much cheaper if I do it myself and  Ii represents a return to the craft skills of photography that I was trained in. I used to tray develop sheet film in the Bowden studio,  but it appears that DIY at the Analogue Lab involves  sheet film  clasped in hangers that are then gently dipped  up and down in  a tank. 

You can develop more film  in one go, so it is more efficient than the  tray development that I used to do.   I guess the next step is using a Jobo   3000 series Expert Drum  at home. Jobo, however, went  insolvent in 2010.  

I'm looking forward to my first darkroom session this Sunday. 

8x10 colour

I finally managed to use the  old Cambo SC monorail to make some 8x10 colour pictures of  the bark of the redgum in the reserve.   

I mucked up one exposure---the first one--- as I'd forgotten to take off the yellow filter on the Schneider Symmar 210 mm lens that I'd been using for my black and white exposures. 

The next step  is  take the  sheet film to Atkins Technicolour to have them  to process the  negatives. That service will not be cheap-- probably around $16.50 for one sheet of film. The next step is to  scan the negatives  myself with  the Epson V700 scanner. 

I did  two abstractions of the  peeling bark in  the open shade:

I'm not sure that 8x10 colour is an economic  proposition or that it is worth the expense.  I had the sheet film in the fridge and I needed to use it before it expired.  


I've started back working on my sea abstracts and pink gum and Xanthorrhoea  projects  which  have been constructed in terms of DIY books in progress.  It has been several months since I worked on them. I've  been waiting  for Posthaven to get their publishing platform up and running after migrating the work from Posterous.  

I've  also been scoping for subjects for an 8x10 colour shoot. The  new Toyo double  sided film holders are loaded with film--Kodak Ecktar 100ASA.  I've returned to a number of locations that I had in mind, but winter has changed things dramatically.  The winter grasses have returned and its a green world now as opposed to the dry landscape of a few months ago. 

 It's been frustrating as possible location after location has been rejected. I'm going to have to start with a couple of abstracts of the redgum trunks in the reserve across the road from the studio.  

moving to Ipernity

Due to the recent changes to Flickr by Yahoo I am in the process of  moving away from Flickr and  setting up  a photostream at Ipernity. I'm moving even though  Flickr is still  the most commonly used photo sharing site and it  is  more dynamic now.     

Flickr  has been re-designed for  iPhoneography. Yahoo's  culture of design is one of people developing brands and imposing it on people, rather than building a culture of design that is rational, emotional and meaningful. The thing I hate most at the moment is when you click out of your stream of contacts' photos you are set back down at the beginning. This completely defeats any social aspect and flings everyone into the everychanging time to comment or reflect just stay at the latest photo.

 The new design  is for the iphone crowd, but it is  monetization  that is  killing the photo-sharing platform. It's time to move on. 

It appears that there has been a mass migration of the old school Flickr  film photographers to Ipernity.   I have followed them because of my desire to belong to this kind of photographic community.  Ipernity has a design that respects the photos much more than Flickr,  but it is a very quiet place. Maybe that will change with the  recent influx. Film is not dead, but  it will only get more expensive in the future. 

I hope the recent influx of photographers to Ipernity  revitalizes the site,   as the  work by  those community of photographers who take their photography seriously   is very important to me. Studying other people's work is how I learn to take better photographs.  I no longer read photography books to do this,  as I once did.  


I have finally had  the  batteries for the Rolleiflex 6006 system repacked by a battery outfit in  Thebarton.  The previous attempt to repack them in Adelaide was a failure, as the person doing it didn’t know what they were doing. The batteries, though new, would not recharge, and, if I couldn’t find anyone else in Adelaide to repack them,  I was faced with sending things back to Rollei  in Germany.   

The 6006 is  a bulky 1990s system, but a good one that I use regularly. However, the battery pack is an old fashioned one, and over time it holds less and less charge.  Without the batteries the electronic cameras become expensive doorstops. This system had been out of action for six months because I couldn't  find anyone to repack the batteries properly.

I'm happy that things up and running as it means that I can do more table top pictures in the studio. 

preparing for Ballarat International Photo Biennale (BIFB13)

A  loose group of Adelaide art photographers are having a group exhibition at  the  2013 Ballarat International Photo Biennale.   It will be in the  Mechanics Institute Building in Sturt St,  which  is in the central part of the city. 

The exhibition is designed to be  a platform  that showcases SA art photography, and,  as such, it will  also include  an A4 horizontal softcover book that extends the exhibition and a website that extends the exhibition and book.  I'm part of the group and I've started  to select the  images from the Tasmanian trips:

These trips were made over the last couple of years and the exhibition will centre around Queenstown and the Mt Lyell open cut mine. It will concentrate on the mine as a manufactured landscape,  the industrial ruins, and  tailings from the mine at  the mouth of the King River. This body of work is in opposition to the wilderness photography that is popular in Tasmania.

8 x 10 work

I have decided to shoot some 8x10 colour  film that I bought from B+H about nine months ago. It has been sitting in the fridge at Encounter Studio until I acquired a couple of  new Toyo double darkslides . They arrived last week. 

I used a poodlewalk yesterday to go  scouting for likely locations for large format photography.  Here is one possibility: 

The  location has to be roadside or pretty close to it,  as the   Cambo SC monorail and  the Linhof tripod are too heavy  to  carry  very far from the car. This location looks to be a goer--it needs good cloud formation through. 


I've been having problems scanning my black and white negatives. The highlights of  the scanned negatives have blown out and the files have been too contrasty. I initially thought that  these problem were caused   by over exposure  then the  overdevelopment of the negatives. This is an example:

No matter what I do with these kind of files,  the whites go muddy. It's hopeless. 

Yesterday, when I was scanning with the  Epson V700  flatbed using the  Epson software upgrade for the Mac's latest  operating system (Mountain Lion)  I decreased the contrast  on a similar negative  making it  flat and grey  to see what difference  this would make.  

The result above  is a file that I am able  to  work on with respect the highlights.  

So my problems were caused by  the  scanning. Before the software upgrade I did not have a reduce contrast option. What was being scanned  was way too contrasty when using the old basic  Epson Scan software  that came with the scanner. 

scoping for large format photography

I walked along the back country roads at Victor Harbor  this morning scoping for a large format shoot. This scene, which I saw on the way back to the car,  looked to have some  possibilities:

I was thinking in terms of making some 4x5 colour and 8x10 black and white   images over the next couple of days. The weather is looking okay. 

6 am

Early morning light--just after the first rays of   the sunlight. 

 I normally make pictures of  rock detail in the  open shade as I find the forms and tones easier to handle. 

I was on my way to a photoshoot west of Kings Head at the foot of the Newland Cliffs, when I saw the light illuminating the cliff face near where I'd parked the car.  So I thought that I'd  take a snap just to see what it would like.  

I am now  more willing to  introduce sunlight into my photographs.