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Saturday, April 28

How to stand out in any field



It's easy, really. Just get a pair of wellies. That works for me at any time of year - and is especially handy when the conditions are as you see them in the two pictures on this post. It can be hard to believe sometimes but my home town of Dundee is one of the driest parts of Scotland. That might sound impressive but it's a bit like being the safest part of Aleppo. In other words, we still get lots of rain up here where we at about the same latitude as Moscow.


These pics were taken about ten miles away near Tentsmuir Forest in north-east Fife. I'd been out in the car and on the way home when I saw this nice light glinting on a muddy field. Without me good old wellies I think I might have given it a miss. I once climbed into a similarly soggy field in pursuit of a picture wearing a pair of trainers. My first step landed in a cow pat soup and my trainers still smell of cat pee to this day. Nothing shifts the pong. I'd throw them out but I'm too tight and want my money's worth first.

These pics were taken on the Contax RTS II, the same camera that's now developed a fault (see previous post) and is awaiting its turn at the camera repairers. It's great when it's working, though, and the Zeiss lenses I have for it - the 28, 50 and 100 - make up a brilliant outfit for landscape work. The film was Tmax 100 developed in ID11 stock. I'm still working my way through the 5 litre pack I bought a couple of months ago so most films will see a dunking in that brew.

Conventional wisdom is that you lose a little sharpness using it as a stock solution but the tonality is definitely better for the weather I shoot in. I've never done a proper test but I'm not sure if the enhanced sharpness from using it 1+1 or 1+3 would be all that evident in a 10x8 print. I know I've said it once or twice before but I really think I'd save myself a lot of bother just sticking to ID11 for everything. Every time I use a new developer I have the inevitable "dial in" time before getting it right only to find that there's not all that much difference in my negatives anyway. Really, what's the point?


13 comments :

Herman Sheephouse said...

The top one is a corking landscape Bruce, and yes, wellies! Wouldn't be without them on Scottish holidays . . not sure about cow-pat soup, but when younger I was known to frisbee dried pats - they fly quite w . . er . . like dried cow-pats!

Developer Schmeloper - I know what you mean - end results are often rather similar aren't they.

Martyn Lacey said...

I assume You have captured the light in manner that represents how you felt at the time of taking or is it how you wanted to present it?
Or in other words when the print makes its first appearance from the tray do you think yes that’s exactly how it felt or exactly as it looked?
Maybe I over think my shots but I always try to capture the feel or atmosphere of a place.
Your print works well in capturing the light .......I should use T max now and again but I am a bit of a stick in the mud, pardon the pun, with film and use Ilford 90% of the time.
I too am currently working through 5 litres of ID 11 which I’m use at 1+1 and I have some similar shots to develope. One such shot was taken in a field here on the levels where willow is grown, known locally as withies, for basket making. At the edge of the field you can see how far up the withies the water has risen this winter by the watermark left. Wellies are a must for these occasions although I have ended up literally taking the plunge in pursuit of a scene whilst in the wrong foot ware.

DevidM said...

I'm inclined to agree with you about magic developers, but here's a chap who seems to have gone about as far as developing development can go.

http://www.powerofprocesstips.com

Bruce Robbins said...

Martyn,

I seldom photograph the scene as it presents itself to me. I look for potential and work with that. It usually starts with some nice compositional elements. Then I'm looking to see what I can make of the light - can it be used to add atmosphere or mood. I'd struggle to pick out more than a handful of pics that are representational of the scene as it appeared before me. As for Tmax, you'd do just as well sticking with Ilford and using the Deltas. I doubt you'd notice much difference.

Bruce Robbins said...

David,

There was a thread about that guy on FADU. Someone thought he was the bee's knees but all I saw was a man over-exposing, under-developing and split grade printing to make up for his low contrast negatives. Of course, the guy doesn't see it like that. Although he's doing nothing new that I can identify, he's dressed it all up into this "Power of Process" malar..., I mean nonsense, and presents it as a wonderful magic bullet. All available, wouldn't you know, at a price. I suppose if the skin of your pet snake is looking extremely dry then it might be of some use.

Bruce Robbins said...

Yes, Phil, those were the days when we were too poor to buy a frisbee. :)

Martyn Lacey said...

Cow pat frisbees.....now we're talking Zummerzet. I Never knew the practice extended North and over the border.

normusarms said...

Ian Grant has all the ID11/D76 variations on his website http://www.lostlabours.co.uk/photography/formulae/developers/devD76_variants.htm if you wish to make your own. I have just posted a question on FADU about G. Crawleys FX4 I believe this is similar to ID11/D76. We used car wheel hub caps as frisbees' when I was young, much more durable than cow pats, a bit mean on the dogs though, chomping on chromed steel didn't do their teeth much good.

Bruce Robbins said...

Thanks for that. I think I've visited Ian's site but it was a long time ago. Mixing my own would certainly save a few pounds. They don't make dogs, or hub caps, like they used to!

DavidM said...

Hub caps? Wimps! Manhole covers for me. Oops! We live in egalitarian times. Personhole covers.

Bill Wheeler said...

Much of interest to read and look at and think about since my last visit to your site. I like both equally, the pictures and the text. Thanks. Bill Wheeler

andy nutter said...

I blinked Bruce and missed lots of your posts I'm exhausted now catching up. I'm exhausted because as I was trying to catch up on your blog while my wife's watching Britain's got talent and not knowing how to watch TV properly i.e by herself it was hard work. But will comment on your posts when the TV is switched off.

Bruce Robbins said...

Good to hear from you again Andy. My fault for posting so sporadically - I've lost lots of readers in the past year. No worry - I'll just keep bashing away. Enjoy your reading. :)