First Portrait On Film

Discussion in 'Portraiture' started by Kav, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. Kav

    Kav Member

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    I have had a year that has been bad beyond words for me. I will not go into details, but photography has helped me to keep my sanity along with some amazing friends. In particular shooting on film has been therapeutic. It's time consuming and you have to think about it. Instant gratification need not apply here. I have been shooting digital, but I had gotten a Graflex Speed Graphic and have been using it to document my time here. I'd like to share a shot from the first batch of film from my Graflex of an amazing friend that flew to the other side of the world to tell me it's going to all be OK some day:

    This is a photo of a 4x5 contact print. It looks soooooo much better in person. Out of all of the the prints, this one looks the worst in person, but showed up the best on the quick photo I took.

    Taken with a 1945 Graflex Anniversary Speed Graphic (from the USS Alabama) with a Kodak 127mm F/4.7. Shot with Kodak Portra 400.

    [​IMG]

    My first time shooting large format, and shooting with out a light meter.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 14, 2011
  2. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Congratulations. Nice shot, particularly considering no meter. I've not done as well WITH a meter sometimes. :smile: Wish you continued success and enjoyment with your camera.

    P.S. Can I ask how you know the origins of your of your camera? Sounds like it might be an interesting story in itself.
     
  3. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Kav, I have often advocated darkroom work as a wonderful therapeutic activity to help reduce stress. Your post seems to support that view.
     
  4. Kav

    Kav Member

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    Thanks! I will be sending some of the negatives back to the states to get scanned and enlarged. I'll hold off on posting the others until I get that done.

    The camera was an eBay find. It's in great shape and came the case and most importantly with the bill of sale from 1946 from the Navy to the first civilian owner. The bill of sale is embossed with the seal of the USS Alabama. It also has all the serial numbers listed on it, and they match the camera. The funny thing about it that's I bought it to document our deployment out here in Africa. So it started out with the military, and after about a 65 year hiatus it's back in use with the military. (I've been tasked with being the photog for our deployment, and have been having the time of my life with it. If you want you can see some of the digital photos here: http://kavanaughmp.smugmug.com/Deployment/Djibouti-2011 and here: http://kavanaughmp.smugmug.com/Animals ) It's been a hit on base, but due to the cost of film and the time required to lug it around I do not take many non work related photos with it. Someone also just donated a well nice Hasselbad 500ELX and some film to me. That was a surprise to say the least, so I've been shooting with that too.
     
  5. Kav

    Kav Member

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    That's one thing I'd love to learn... How to develop my own film. But that will have to wait for now. There is no way I could have a darkroom out here. But for now I'm enjoying the shooting aspect of photography. But I do hate that it takes SOOOOOO LOOOONG to get the film developed. It has to go from Africa to the US, get develped, go back to Africa, I pick out the ones I want prints made of and/or scanned, send those back to the US, have that done, get them sent back to Africa. It takes awhile...
     
  6. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Kav, that need not be the case. It is very easy to develop black & white film with very limited darkroom avaiklability.
     
  7. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Hang in there Kav, I know what it's like to have very bad years!

    Nice work. Keep it up!
     
  8. Kav

    Kav Member

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    It's something I will look into when I get home, but out here I am very short on space I have about 7' by 7' of personal space to work with. And half of that is taken up by the bed I sleep on. Maybe I'll set up a darkroom in my house back home and once I understand what I am doing I'll take a small darkroom with me the next time I get deployed.
     
  9. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    Kav, you don't need a large space. Before your camera was even new military and war correspondent photographers were developing and in some cases even printing in the field in less than primitive conditions. Obviously you have access to a computer so google it and see what you come up with. Good luck, keep shooting (pics) and hang in there.
     
  10. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Thanks for explaining the cams background. Also, thanks for the links to you other shots, very interesting. Keep 'clicking.' :wink:
     
  11. Kav

    Kav Member

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    I did look into it. :smile: I'm trying to see what I can do when I get back home. By the time I got all everything I needed out here I've have to pack it up and go home. If I was only shooting B&W, odds are I could make it work and develop in trays. But I have not found much on developing color film in trays.
     
  12. jacaquarie

    jacaquarie Member

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    You can do this.
    I do not have the "dark room" I have the "dim room".
    The basement and set up trays on the washing machine and such. To process your own Black and white, you would require the changing bag, and the daylight tank. All of which can be had from sponsors (Freestyle) of the APUG.
    This adds another layer to your creative abilities. And yes in the day this was done in the field. So you would be going full circle.

    Some suggestions


    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/322730-Arista-Changing-Bag-27-in.-x-30-in.

    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/459809-HP-Combi-Plan-T-4x5-Film-Developing-Tank-with-Lid?cat_id=1603

    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/4945-Yankee-Adjustable-4x5-Cut-film-Developing-Tank?cat_id=1603

    Keep up the good work
    Arthur
     
  13. jacaquarie

    jacaquarie Member

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  14. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Kav, everything you need to process your own 4x5 film can fit in a backpack. There's a guy on here (somebody will post a link to his product) who sells a holder that allows 4x5 processing in a standard 2-reel plastic canister. Probably the most logistically difficult part of it would be finding a scanner with light in the top wide enough for scanning the big negatives. You can load the canister wherever you now load your film holders.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2011
  15. pukalo

    pukalo Member

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    As long as you have hot running water, developing color neg is super easy. Get a digital cooking thermometer, a Paterson plastic hand tank, and a cheap styrofoam cooler or even use the wash basin/sink, and order a Tetenal home developing kit, and you are set.

    Here is a video showing how easy it is:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1718csN3I0U
     
  16. pukalo

    pukalo Member

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  17. pukalo

    pukalo Member

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    Even better, get a Tetenal E-6 kit, and a few rolls of Astia 100f or E100G. The slide images are works of art in and of themselves, and a lot easier to review and decide which you want to print. Plus, they are stunningly beautiful!
     
  18. Kav

    Kav Member

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    OK,OK,OK... Enough with the arm twisting.... :tongue:

    Thank you all for the links. I picked up the Yankee 4x5 tank and one that also does 120 film. (A Secret Santa sent me a Hasselblad 500ELX so if I'm developing LF negatives, I might as well do MF as well.) I did not know that you could buy these press kits and develop yourself like this. This is going to be very handy. My friend (the gal in the portrait) wants me to come visit her in Thailand for a while, and she was hoping I could bring the Graflex to turn it into a photo trip with her. If I can get good with the press kit I should be able to develop that film while I'm there. I was also due for a film order anyways so this worked out pretty good. I got some Ektar 100 and Ilford XP2 for the Hasselblad. I still have 70 unexposed sheets of 4x5 film, so I'm good there for now. I'm going to have to get a film scanner when I get home. But in the meantime I am going to go over to medical and see if they have a light board or table that they use for x-rays. I figure if they let me uses it, I can place the negative on that take a digital (sorry) photo of it, invert and correct the colors so I have an idea of what ones I want to print, and what ones to do not. It’s far from ideal, but adjust, adapt, and overcome…

    On a side note, I called back to the states last night and was talking to the gentleman that has been developing my film. He asked me “how did you take these photos?” I didn’t understand what he was getting at so he asked “how did you get the helicopter shots?” I told him I was sitting on the ramp at the back of one of our cargo helicopters and that I wear a belt to keep me from getting tossed out the back. He then asked “well, if you are sitting on the back of a helicopter, how are you taking such sharp photos?” I told him I don’t have a light meter so I use the sunny 16 rule, but I open the F-stop to shoot with a faster shutter speed. And that I would guess that the weight of the Graflex helped to keep it steady too. He seemed impressed with them. I should get them back and day now and will share them when I do.
     
  19. Kav

    Kav Member

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    And look what came in the mail today... (evil maniacal laughter in the background)

    [​IMG]

    I'd like to thank you guys for getting me pointed in the right direction. This should be fun...

    Here's a "better" copy of it. I can't scan the negative here. So I have to go to a medical clinic and use the light box they use to look at x-rays. With that I could take a photo of the negative and do the best I could to reverse it. So with this I have better detail, and crappy colors. But that should be fixed once I get back state side:

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  20. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Kav, thank you for serving your country and for the way you are documenting the service of others.
     
  21. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Kav:

    You could try taping the negative to a window and shooting that with your digital camera.

    Glad you are getting joy from this.
     
  22. Kav

    Kav Member

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    No worries :smile: and I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. I can't wait to get the military ones scanned in to share.

    MattKing,

    I'll give that a shot. Maybe the light board is just too bright.
     
  23. Kav

    Kav Member

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    Finally got a good scanned of the negatives, here they are:

    [​IMG]

    Missed focus:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  24. Kav

    Kav Member

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    I forgot to add with the lens being uncoated I still like the contrast it has
     
  25. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Holy moly. That chick has some heavy firepower.