Tag Archives: Kodak T-Max 400

Film #15

Another black and white night film finished, push-processed at ASA 800 up from 400. Underexposed but with a few good results.

I consistently get the exposure wrong for night scenes, shooting around EV3-5; with a fast f/1.4 lens and a Kodak T-Max 400 shot at ASA 800 this should give me a comfortable minimum of 1/30s shutter speed to compensate for shaking. Yet looking at the negatives, most scenes on this roll required at least another stop to be properly exposed. As I’ve mentioned before though, it’s mind-boggling how much information is still in the negatives, and how much of it can be extracted by my mid-range Epson V600.

I like Midnight Hook-up for the empty atmosphere and corner romance; being underexposed is perhaps even adding to the picture here. Likewise, the sharp contract needed to pull anything from Piggyback fits with the blur and mood of the picture (this was not what some might call an artistic choice; I simply did not want to stop walking while taking the shot). Finally, I also really like Midnight Metro, and wonder if I did not get a fair amount of mood for free here by using an analogue camera.

Nikon FM and Film #10

Another analogue camera arrived in the mail about a month ago, but this time a Nikon FM instead of the usual Olympus OM-1! Granted, it is silly to get involved in too many systems as the lenses from one system often cannot be used on a camera from the other (and as a result you need to buy two separate sets) — but I kept reading about how much of a classic the FM is, … et voilà!

Here’s first the result of quickly running a film through the camera to see if everything worked alright before the return option expired:

I like Le Guardien for how it draws me into the frame, and the dynamics added by the central walking character. For Passing Sky it’s the silhouettes, although this was not entirely my intention. And as RooftopBalcony Overview, and Paris shows, I’m apparently not quite done with negative space and rooftops yet. For Gare du Nord it’s the dynamics of the various lines, the contrast they contribute, and the movement of the two characters at the bottom.

The camera is the black version and I thought at first that it could be used together with the 18-55mm lens from my digital Nikon D60. The lens mounted alright, but after a few shots something seemed wrong. I went back to check the fine print, and while I had already read that the lens would not cover the entire frame at the wide focal lengths, I had missed that you’re forced to always use the smallest aperture, meaning f/22 in my case! The Passing Sky photo above is a perfect example of the implications: the corners are black and rounded, and the shadows are heavily underexposed. The former is not critical, perhaps even a bit interesting, but the later made me look around for a new lens.

At first I thought about a 50mm f/1.8 standard lens. But discovering that the price-drop for Nikon lenses has nowhere-near followed that of the Olympus lenses, I gave up on also starting a set of Nikon primes and went with a 28-70mm zoom instead; at f/3.5-4.5 it is a lot darker that my Olympus primes, but at 70€ it seems to have been a bargain.

In the end I hence ended up spending around twice, but so far have been very happy with the outcome. The camera it slightly bigger than the OM-1 it was apparently made to compete with, but this is actually not a bad thing as it fits my hands better. It also feels slightly more robust, not least the film advancer and the shutter. On the other hand, the viewfinder in the OM-1 kicks arse (!!) and having the shutter dial around the lens mount so far also works better for me, even if I most of the time work only with the aperture.

Film #9

Another film has been processed at the kitchen sink, this time a T-Max 400 shot at ASA 800 and accordingly pushed during development. With the 50mm f/1.4 this has given usable photos from low-light concert and night scenes.

To be honest, no photo in this set gets me really exited; there are a few cute ones but haven’t given more than 2 stars to any of them. Maybe this will have changed by the next time I look at them, but until then it doesn’t really matter because I remember having a great time shooting them: walking around the city at night is a sure way to get a glimpse of the romance seen in the famous photos from the 1920-30s!

First (and Last?) Olympus OM-2 Film

You might remember how by a rookie mistake I managed to waste an entire film a while back. Well, I loaded a new film into the camera and the results are finally here. And why did it take so long? Firstly, I started to prefer shooting on the OM-1. And secondly, a personal dry period when shooting meant that nothing on the film really caught my eye, and in turn a delay of a few months before scanning them.

Let’s start with a few shots from the film:

I like the two Scholastique (…) but it goes a bit downhill from there. My girlfriend pointed out a while back what difference my mood often has on my photos — when going through a generally content period the result so far has often been better — which, I suppose, is not too surprising, yet obvious in these shots: while finishing the Ph.D. there honestly wasn’t much energy for anything else, including creativity in the finer arts.

The Church photo is from my hometown Esbjerg, as is Where I Used to Swim of the swimming pool where I spent the greater part of the teenage years; it is less remote than it perhaps seem and was actually taken during a quick walk from my parents’ house. Notice that these two shots both contain significant light leaks, meaning the foam that is supposed to prevent light from creeping onto the film through the rear door has probably become too old. On Church I’ve applied my newly acquired Photoshop skills in an attempt to repair it, yet it took so long that I’m still building up momentum to start on the second one (I tried a few different approaches but in the end frequency separation as used in beauty retouching yielded the best result).

The use on Photoshop brings up an interesting question, namely how does analogue and digital photography mix? Since I can’t currently make prints due to the lack of a darkroom, scanning and working on the photos digitally is tremendously convenient if they are to have any kind of life. Plus, as the light leak repair attempt shows, digitally I can (sort of) do stuff that seems almost impossible to do in the darkroom. But that of course begs the question, why even bother with shooting analogue then? I suppose it’s just to try something new. And the prospect of eventually going to the darkroom to make proper prints.

A Bunch of Black & White Films

I try to keep my Flickr photostream and this blog somewhat synchronised such that most photos on the former are given a context here on the latter. However, I realised the other day that a bunch of recent black & white photos have leaked onto the photostream without a proper presentation.

The first is a roll shot on the Fisheye primarily back in Aarhus, at a point where I didn’t have the time to develop it:

The next is from around the same period and the first roll shot on my Olympus OM-1 nicknamed Kurt — notice how many of the shots are from my former university office; didn’t get much out at the time:

Moving on, the next two are from the period around handing in my thesis, and contain a mix from my hometown Esbjerg, my grandparents diamond wedding, and going to Paris:

Finally, the last roll is also from Paris but this time on the latest OM-1 nicknamed Jane Graham:

So there it is, order has been restored!

First Shots from Olympus OM-1

When we took the darkroom course our teacher Barbara would dismiss our every mistake with a “it’s good that we come across this now so you know what to do”. Taking it perhaps a bit too literally we’ve since continued to discover how safe one actually is when shooting digital. For instance, you don’t have to worry about dropping the raw film on the floor when trying to put it on a spool in complete darkness; nor about keeping your cool when running out of correctly tempered water in a situation where seconds make a difference; nor about closing the box of unexposed paper properly before turning on the light.

And this brings me to the title of this post: it was supposed to say First Shots from Olympus OM-1 and OM-2, and it was supposed to be even more exciting by including shots from a newly acquired lens. However, apparently there was a lesson that needed to be illustrated more vividly before sinking into my head: when loading a film make sure that the crank has a proper grip on it and is really rolling it out. This is very easy to test by the way, by simply noticing if the rewind wheel is turning with the crank.

I didn’t do this test I suppose, with the result that after opening the tank with the developed film from the OM-2 I was very surprised to find a film completely blank, without any marks of light ever hitting it. For a second the camera was the suspect, but only until I was ready to accept my responsibility. Lesson learned, and the OM-2 with the lens is already making it’s way through a new film.

On the other hand, the film from the OM-1 turned into splendid negatives, here scanned with my new Epson V600 scanner:

Having used the batteries that’s been in the camera for 20-25 years I had a certain scepticism towards the light meter, but as it turns out this was entirely without cause.

One thing to notice though: the water marks. This was the first time I didn’t use a wetting agent and it clearly shows — another lesson learned.