Wednesday, October 3, 2012

New (used) Enlarger For My Darkroom

OmegaD5XLEnlarger_a by Bruce Garner
OmegaD5XLEnlarger_a, a photo by Bruce Garner on Flickr.

I currently have a very tiny dark room and two enlargers that I have to swap in and out depending on if I'm printing from 35mm or from Medium format.  I'm missing key accessories from each enlarger to allow me to only use one.  When I started getting interested in large format, I decided to look for a single enlarger that will do 35mm, Medium and Large formats.  And it had to be a common enough model that parts and accessories could still be found.  I decided to look for either a Beselar M45 or an Omega D model.  What I found was this Omega D5 XL.  It's currently in a friend's garage in Knoxville where I found it on Craig's List, but I hope to bring it home soon.

I started tearing out the counter top in my darkroom (which is really just the back corner of my bedroom closet) to make room for this beast.  It is a monster.  I hope to have some photos up soon of it in it's new home.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Speed Graphic

IMG_8961.jpg by Bruce Garner
IMG_8961.jpg, a photo by Bruce Garner on Flickr.

I believe this is an Anniversary Speed Graphic. This belongs to a friend of mine. He's a photojournalists with over 20 years experience, but he's never shot this one. He bought it off a veteran that used this in the pacific theater during WW2. This camera has literally been to war. I've given it a light cleaning to make it easier to use, but I'm reluctant to do too much to it. The battle scares give it character.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Stitched 4x5

Stitched 4x5 by Bruce Garner
Stitched 4x5, a photo by Bruce Garner on Flickr.
First portrait shot using the borrowed Speed Graphic. The 137mm lens is crazy wide and the ground glass is sort of difficult to frame with. The combination of those two facts explains how miss-framed the paper backdrop.

This one was an experiment. The Speed Graphic I'm borrowing doesn't have a X-sync port on the shutter. So what I did was set the F-stop to 11 and the shutter speed to bulb. I opened the shutter with a cable release in my right hand then tripped my Alien Bee with a Cactus V4 in my left hand, then released the shutter. The Alien Bee is in a small octabox above and left.
This is a 4x5 negative, but my V500 only has a scan window of about 3 1/4" wide. So I scanned it in 2 pieces and stitched it together.
Arista EDU Ultra 4x5 film
Diafine developer (3+3)

I'm developing in trays since I don't have any hangers or daylight tanks for 4x5. I can't even use taco development because my JoBo is too short.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Dark by Bruce Garner
Dark, a photo by Bruce Garner on Flickr.

I shot this of our friend Lauren the other night when she was over visiting my daughters.  I had gotten stagnant in my portrait shooting and  wanted to do something different from my normal style.  I was tired of the overly posed corporate head shot type photo.  I also wanted more contrast since my recent prints in the darkroom were very grey. I felt that her blonde hair would contrast nicely with a black background.  She gave me exactly the expression I wanted.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lots going on

This post is going to make it sound like I'm made of money, but I'm not really.  It's just that I have several little projects going on at the same time.  I've been putting back a little cash, plus it's tax return season so it going to look like I'm spending more than I am.

First of all, I've ordered some new developers.  I've been using mostly Kodak HC-110 and a little Kodak D-76.  I had just about given up on the D-76 since I have to mix it up a gallon at a time and it starts going bad as soon as you mix it.  I like the HC-110 because of how easy it is to mix up for single roll use.  Sticking with that same idea I ordered some Adox Adonal, which is the same formula as the old Agfa Rodinal.  It's a very old formula that I've been wanting to try with some stand development.  I also have some Diafine coming.  It's a very interesting developer.  It comes in an A and B solution that is largely usable at any room temperature.  It's a compensating developer and doesn't necessarily develop at box speed.  You need to expose your film with the developer in mind.  Both have something different to offer me in the darkroom and both have very long shelf lives.  I look forward to trying them out.

Speaking of trying out.  I was reading a forum post about someone using some odd film.  It turns out they were talking about Kodak SO-331 High Contrast Pan Intermediate 35mm film.  It's supposed to be used as a motion picture film, but others have been using it in SLRs.  It ships in 1000 foot rolls as opposed to the normal 100 foot rolls I usually buy.  And it was cheap,  $41 after shipping.
1000' roll of film and a bulk loader.
I shot a few test frames to experiment with development in HC-110.  The results were better than I expected, but I don't have the exposure and development times nailed down yet.  I can't wait to try it out with the new developers I have coming.

Speaking of things I have coming.  The legs on the cheap tripod I bought a few years ago finally starting turning to mush.  The ballhead is still is good shape, so I ordered a new set of legs.  I should have a set of Manfrotto 294 legs here on Friday.  I'm also just about ready to order the new (old) film body I've been wanting, a Nikon FM2n.  I'll talk more about that later.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New old lens

A month or so ago, I got a new lens.  New to me at least.  I picked up a Zenzanon 150mm for my ETRS.  Here it is mounted on the body alongside my 75mm.  I'm hoping to pick up a 50mm in the next few months.  I'd really like a 40mm, but I don't think I'm willing to invest that much into it.

Bronica ETRS with 150mm f3.5 (mounted) and 75mm f2.8

Test photo of my daughter taken with the 150mm on my ETRS.  Light is natural from window left and a reflector on the right.

Talking to myself

I don't really expect many folks are reading this.  Outside of a few friends I send links to and a top secret government data mining project, I expect this to go largely unread.  Irregardless, I will type anyway.  BTW, did you know irregardless is not a word?

Since my other blog with all my photo ramblings got eaten by a giant internet worm, it won't do much good to refer to my old posts on this blog.  I'll give a brief description of my photography and see how it goes.

I took a photography class in class in high school.  I think it was my junior year, probably 1983-84.  I enjoyed the class a lot and learned to develop film and make silver prints in the dark room.  I learned a little about photography but didn't really pursue it outside of class assignments and working on the yearbook and school newspaper.  An opportunity wasted.

After a few years of college I took a job as a graphic artist, mostly creating newspaper advertisements.  And while over the years I worked closely with photos, it was some time before I decided to try my hand a expanding my photographic skills beyond taking family snapshots.  It wasn't until after my second daughter asked for an upgrade from the family's digital point-n-shoot to a digital SLR that my interest was rekindled.  We got her a Canon Digital Rebel and she proved to be quite talented with it.  I was jealous of her camera almost immediately, but I fought the bug for a while.  I eventually broke down and bought a Canon 40D a few lenses and a flash.  Then a tripod.  Then my first (and only, so far) L series lens.  Then I bought an Alien Bee monolight.  By this time I was actively reading photo books and blogs.  Then I picked up a cheap EOS 650 on eBay.  I started shooting film again.  Then I was given an enlarger and some other darkroom equipment and picked some more on Craigslist.  All the while I'm trying to learn as much as I can about both the science and art of photography.

Since then, I've expanded my film interest into both medium format and 35mm.   I've scored a Yashica Mat LM, a Bronica ETRS, several 35mm SLRs, and rangefinders. I've love to pick up a 4x5 or *gasp* dare I dream, an 8x10 large format camera.  I've mostly been shooting 35mm on a Minolta XG-7, but I have my eye on a Nikon FM2n.

I do photography because I enjoy it.  I do it for myself, and as tempting as it can be, I resist the urge to try and make money doing it.  Maybe one day, under the right circumstances I will, but for know I will leave shooting for money to the real pros.  I don't want to be another guy with a Facebook photography business that doesn't know an f-stop from a hole in the ground.  In my defense, I know what an f-stop is.  More or less.