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Wednesday, September 12

Black Dog

A few months ago, in this post, I was bemoaning the fact that I could never get a big black dog to appear in photographs when I needed one. Well, patience wins again. I decided to pitch a tent on the grassy bank overlooking this scene and just bide my time until a suitable hound showed up. I left a trail of aniseed on the grass to encourage some canine interest. Eventually, after several days of frustration, I got what I wanted.

The preceding paragraph is a load of bollocks, obviously. I just happened by Drumgeith Park one drizzly day and thought I'd try another pic with some mist for atmosphere. Having taken far too many shots of this scene on the F90x that morning, I was about to head off when the dog and its owner showed up. My first reaction was to get the dog on its own, which meant cropping a tiny bit off the right hand edge of the frame when scanning as the owner had just sneaked into the picture.

Then I thought I'd be as well including the owner which was a good idea as that pic is probably the one I prefer. The dog looks as if it's about to disappear down a hole but that's just an illusion. Capturing the human figure at the right point can be tricky, though. I always try to catch people in full stride, as in this pic, but sometimes their legs aren't separated enough or their arms are by their sides making them look more like a pole that's about to topple over.

I've got another 16 versions of this subject, all without man and/or dog, that look pretty well identical on the negs beyond some slight variation in density as I fiddled with the exposure so that I could print the scene lighter or darker with the minimum of fuss. In truth, I could have got away with taking just one photograph as it's almost impossible to get the exposure wrong on a scene like this where there are hardly enough tones to capture as it is.

The exposure for both the pics here was the same but I darkened the foreground in the top shot to increase the 3D feeling and the atmospheric recession of tones. For the man and dog shot I left the foreground untouched as I had in mind a generally light and airy scene with just the two blobs of darkness in it. When it comes to making the print, I'll need to dodge the bottom left corner just a touch to make it the same tone as the rest of the foreground.

The film was an old roll of Delta 100 which I rated at 200 ISO and developed in Microphen stock. This was about the eighth roll I'd developed in the 1 litre stock solution and I cocked up the calculation - each film after the first one needs an additional 10% - so the highlights are a bit dense. One of the good things about Delta 100 is that it needs the same development time as HP5 in Microphen stock whether rated at the box speed or pushed a stop. If I settled on those two films for 35mm and 120 I could bung everything in the same tank and save a bit of time.

I might stop by Drumgeith Park again if I'm passing but I'm quite happy with the man and dog image and no longer feel the need to go out of my way. The shot above was pretty much what I had in mind when I first saw this scene and I'm pleased that a combination of perseverance and good luck have delivered a decent result.

Friday, September 7

The Robbins Files

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to do something about my non-existent negative filing system. It was getting beyond the ridiculous stage making it impossible to find anything without riffling through piles of see-through sheets.

In the course of this effort, I started unearthing negatives I hadn't seen since the days when I could also see my feet when standing up. Yes, some of them were that old! I scanned a few of them and pinged them to Phil Rogers as, for some reason, he likes looking at my old negatives, particularly if they're 6x9, as some of them were.

Sunday, August 19

Plucked from the bin

This is a 5x4 shot from the Speed Graphic that I've had lying on my desk in the man cave for many, many months. During that time it's picked up some scratches and lots of dust since it wasn't even in a neg bag. It's suffered terrible neglect and the reason was because it was 1. underdeveloped, 2. I didn't have any scanner software, 3. the darkroom was in no shape for printing and 4. the bulb in my big Durst L1200 had popped and I hadn't got round to buying a replacement.

Monday, August 13

Back to the Future

Way back in the mists of time, I was an early adopter of things digital. The cameras were handy for a young father with little free time and helped me get back into photography after a lay-off of several years. Mucking about with image files on the computer was good fun but I soon wanted to see some prints. That's where the problems began.

Saturday, August 4

The Carse - quick update

It's been a while since I posted anything about the Carse and when I realised I still had some unpublished snowy shots I thought it was time to bring you up to date - before the next winter is upon us.

These are all 35mm negative scans dating back to February. One or two might look familiar since I've covered some of the same subjects before but they're all new pics. I've not spent much time on the Carse project for a couple of months having, it has to be said, begun to tire of repeatedly shooting the same or similar subjects.

Maybe the old enthusiasm will rekindle of it's own accord or perhaps I just need to work a bit harder at finding new subjects, locations or viewpoints in the Carse.

Tuesday, July 24

Mamiya Press update

Farmyard at Evelick

I've been having a whale of a time with the Mamiya Press outfit I bought recently. It's the first rangefinder I've felt entirely comfortable with because, for the first time, I can see all the of the frame lines with my glasses on! I grew to love the Leica M2 but that took some perseverance and involved a certain amount of guesswork when it came to the edges of the frame.

Monday, July 16

FP4 and Microphen

Bridge at Finlathen

HP5 and Microphen is working out nicely as far as the 6x9 negatives from the Mamiya Press go so I've been turning my attention to the 35mm format and what might give me a similar look. Having decided a while back that I'd try to stick with more traditional films rather than the T-grain stuff, I loaded up some FP4 in the OM1 and went for a wander.

Monday, July 9

If I don't reply to comments...'s because bloody awful Blogger no longer sends me an email alerting me to them. I try to remember to check the admin side of the blog for comments but I got so used to the email alerts that I sometimes forget.

I checked five minutes ago and found about ten comments dating back to June 23 that I hadn't approved. I have to use an approval process otherwise spam bots would flood the comments with garbage.

All comments are greatly appreciated. If from now on your comment doesn't appear in a timely fashion then please remember that it's not laziness or disinterest at work but just my bad habits. Hopefully, though, I'll not be quite so forgetful in future.

Sunday, July 8

The Angus Glens

It's been a while since my last post but a lot has been happening none of which, sadly, has been conducive to photography. Cath and I decided to knock down an internal wall in the house and install a new kitchen. We did all the down-takings but got a joiner in to build the new kitchen. That involved about a dozen trips to the local municipal dump with car loads of kitchen cupboards, appliances, flooring and the various elements that go to make up an internal wall. Thankfully, we're just about finished now.

Wednesday, June 20

Soul Survivor

Here's another shot off the first roll I exposed in the Mamiya Press. You might remember the big, threatening cloud from the earlier pic? If this had been a digital shot, I'd have cloned out the scrubby bushes to the left of the single tree. See what's so great terrible about digital? It can turn you into a big liar, photographically-speaking. The temptation can be overwhelming, even for the most honest of photographers. I did it all the time when I was using digital cameras.
“Digital photography can be a totally lying experience - you can move what you want, the whole thing can’t be trusted really." Don McCullin.
That single tree preoccupied me a great deal when sizing up this scene. It was the main reason for taking the photograph but it was difficult getting it in the right place. The idea, which was obvious enough, was to show a sole (we'll forget about the clonable shrubs for this exercise) survivor threatened by the massive bully of a cloud.