Back in October, I wrote a post about my difficulties in going out for a few hours with just one lens. I know there are readers who can do this and they're probably bemused by my rumblings of discontent.
The photo trip in question was to the Fife village of Crail on a picturesque stretch of coastline known as the East Neuk. That wee outing caused me to do some thinking as I was pretty fed up carting the Rollei SL66 and heavyweight Benbo tripod over soggy beaches and rocks made slippery by the retreating tide.
There must be a better way of tackling this sort of thing, I thought at the time, and still do, to be honest. It was in the comments that a couple of people advised just taking the camera and one lens. True, this cuts down on a lot of faffing about and the heavy weight but I find it leaves the compositions I can achieve being dictated more by the lack of the "right" lens than by creativity.
I know you can never have the right lens for every photograph otherwise we'd all be followed around by a pack horse and a small Himalayan sherpa but it's still nice to tilt the odds in one's favour. Generally speaking, I'm happy with the 35mm format equivalents of 28mm, 50mm and 135mm in the bag with a 300mm lens in the car. As I wrote in the Crail post, I took three photographs there - one with the 80mm, one with the 40mm and a third on the 250mm. With just one lens, I'd have missed out on two photos.
I developed the film last week and posted here are the three pics I was referring to. They're nothing special but do illustrate the point. The first was taken on the standard lens and the second on the wide angle. The last one of the Isle of May was on the long tele.
I suppose if I'd used the wide angle on the harbour shot then I would have got the whole of the reflected house in the frame had that been bothering me but I'd have got masses on top of that as well. We're talking about the difference between a 24mm and 50mm lens on the 35mm format. The shot of the old cobble stones depends on the exaggerated perspective of the 40mm for its effect. Yes, I could have used the 80mm but there would have been little point in taking that photograph at all.
Here's the Isle of May. At the time, I thought I really needed something longer than the 250mm - which I don't have - but, looking at it now, I quite like the bit of foreshore. Again, I wouldn't have taken this pic with anything wider.
I was making the same complaints in October when visiting Alyth Den (never realised I was such a moaning old bugger!) again in the company of the SL66, its four lenses and the light-as-lead Benbo. I wasn't very happy with the pics I took - they were, eh, a bit boring - but here are a couple anyway which were taken with the 80mm (top) and 40mm.
That's why I'll never be a one-lenser. I had a similar problem today when Cath and I went for a run up to Glenisla. I took the lovely recent addition of the Super Ikonta and meant to throw my bag with some Nikon 35mm gear into the boot - but forgot. That meant I was up a lonely glen with light snow and mist with only a standard lens. I spent half the time telling Cath that I'd just seen a pic but needed a telephoto. I took a couple of those shots with the aim of blowing up the centre of the neg but it's hardly ideal.
But enough of my gripes. I've got a few options: stick to 35mm, put up with the heavy medium format gear, or go for something like the 645 format. I've been here a couple of time already in the recent past and I'm in no rush to make up my mind.
One good thing that came out of these rolls of 120 Tmax was the fact that you can develop a few rolls in a tank of D76 1+1 without any problems provided you stick to Kodak's recommendations. In this post, I wrote about how a couple of 35mm rolls had come out a little under-developed because I'd failed to stick to Kodak's recommended 250ml of stock solution per film. This time, I developed three 120 rolls in the one tank with the proper amount of stock and had no problems.
In between those two multi-reel sessions, I'd developed a roll of 35mm Tmax with 250ml stock at 1+1 and went with Kodak's fairly vigorous agitation sequence. That led to over-development so my regime now (D76 1+1) is the 250ml stock rule, ten minutes development and agitation of four inversions at the start and four every minute thereafter. I still don't like the results as much as with Firstcall Superfine (Rollei RHS) but that's another matter.