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Tuesday, July 30

Misty day at the fleet air base

I managed to get along to HMS Peewit a few days ago just in time for the infamous North Sea Haar to drift in across the water. I love conditions like this but I tend through sheer bad luck to be driving somewhere without a camera when they crop up. Not this time. I was determined to shoot a few frames but I didn't want to spend too long on the job as Cath was with me - we were heading out for coffee.

Think the flyers will be grounded today...

Deanna Durbin or Linda Darnell. Who do you reckon?*

One of the things I enjoy when considering a new project is which film to use. For the first visit I made to HMS Peewit, I had Fomapan 100 in the Rollei but felt that I messed things up a little trying out Bruce Barnbaum's exposure/development idea (see earlier HMS Peewit link).

One of three remaining war-time hangars at HMS Peewit emerges from the mist.

This time I thought I'd try a roll of Pan F developed in Spur HRX-3 New, a fine grain developer. The negatives turned out quite nice. I haven't made up my mind yet which film to use for HMS Peewit. I've got a couple of rolls of Rollei Ortho which might give a subtly different look to the old navy airbase.

This day, anyway, it was Pan F and I had to rate it at 25 ISO because of the slight speed loss in HRX-3 New. Such a slow film doesn't cause too many problems in everyday shooting when the camera is tripod-mounted. The only issue was when I was shooting indoors in what I originally thought was an officer's billet (again, see the HMS Peewit link). It turns out it was a power station and fuel depot of sorts. The officers actually took over the big house attached to the farm. Who would have imagined that of the officer class?

Action, not Words. Good motto for a military unit.

I think I can just see a taxiing Seafire through the mist... 

Feel the nostalgia. Deanna/Linda just above the safe.

With reciprocity failure taken into account, my exposure times indoors were in the order of 50-130 seconds. There's a little known effect when shooting under those conditions - contrast can go up quite sharply. This is because the shadows hover around the toe of the film and so aren't too responsive to an increase in exposure but the mid-tones and highlights build density quite readily. My indoor photographs followed that pattern with strong, but not blocked, highlights.

There are two buildings from HMS Peewit either side of the tree. Both, I believe, were generator stores.

Isn't the SL66E a handsome beast? And isn't the iPhone bloody handy sometimes!

The indoor shots were otherwise straightforward enough and the other shots taken outside in the mist didn't pose any problems either. The tonal range in misty conditions is usually so short that it isn't difficult capturing both highlights and shadows. What you have to do when working out an exposure is to decide how you want the shot to look. If you want a light and airy effect then give a little extra exposure. For a dark and sombre mood, give a stop or two less. I should listen to my own advice because I couldn't decide how I wanted the negatives to turn out so I placed the green grass on zone five which gave me the option of printing it down a little or going lighter.

Sadly, my darkroom is chock-a-block with - what's the right word here - crap, that's it. I've got some tidying up to do before I can get printing but it's not as bad as it has been in the past. The black and white pics here are negative scans, something I don't like doing because my scanner seems to destroy whatever quality is in the negs. But needs must.

* I'd like to make it abundantly clear that both women were well before my time! However, my mum and dad brought me up on old black and white films and I consequently know more than someone my age (52) should about old movie stars.


morris1800 said...

Some nice shots Bruce and great idea for a project.When I saw this blog I thought of such a project done on old type film and developed in old developers like rodinal even thought of sepia look but that period was not of course all in black and white. I have added a link to 5x4 kodachromes shot in world war 2. Helped by some terrific lighting of course.

Pavel said...

I LOVE the "grounder Flyers" photo!! Do you sell prints, Bruce?

steve said...

The sl66 is a sexy camera. But I was interested by you comment about scanning negs. Do you generally only scan prints and not negs.

I scan all my negs, but i have noticed they are never as nice as the prints. Sometimes I think I should just make contact prints and only scan what i want to share online. But I'm still undecided.

Herman Sheephouse said...

This place looks to be quite a find Bruce - keep up the great work!



Thanks for that link. Some very evocative pics there. Imagine what a 5x4 Kodachrome would look like on a light table.

I've never sold prints before. Maybe I should think about it?

Whenever possible I scan prints as that's the best way of showing what comes out of the darkroom. I don't like scanning negs either. It shows up all the defects and magnifies grain. Almost everything I've scanned looks worse than a darkroom print.

If you're scanning prints remember there's no more than 200dpi worth of info on the print so you might need to make them bigger than contacts unless they're large format.

I get a bit lost in these place in the sense of time disappearing. It's like walking into a scene from Foyle's War. :-)

Donato Chirulli said...

Hi Bruce (sorry for commenting in this post but I found it searching your site for Fomapan & HRX). I'm interested in trying HRX but I saw in data sheet no info about developing time of Fomapan 100...
Do you have any hints about?

Bruce Robbins said...

Hi Donato,

Thanks for stopping by. Unfortunately, I can't help you out with Fomapan and HRX. If it's not on the Spur instruction sheet then it's either because the company didn't test that combination or felt it wasn't a good match. I think I remember that Fomapan wasn't recommended with an earlier version of HRX. The words next to that combination were "barely acceptable". I'd be inclined to look at another developer for the film. Rodinal 1:50 and HC110 dilution H have been recommended in the past as producing good results. Good luck!