The Analog Experiment

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by jloden, Oct 29, 2014.

  1. jloden

    jloden Leica Place Rookie

    22
    Mar 28, 2014
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    A few weeks ago, I met a new friend Chris Scrivens who happens to be a Leica shooter, and he generously offered to loan me his M3 so I could try my hand at shooting film and get my first rangefinder experience at the same time. I put several rolls of film through the M3 with my 35mm and 50mm 'lux lenses, and even got a chance to try developing my first roll of Tri-X with Chris's help.

    The first event I shot film at was a worship concert night at our church. This was a challenge to say the least, working with a meter-less camera, Tri-X ISO 400 film, and a pitch-black venue (we typically shoot digital at ISO 1600-12,800 even w/slow shutter speeds for these). I was also surprised to find that I only shot about 40 frames total on film. FWIW, I'm not sure the Tri-X developed quite right since the other BW400CN shots came out much cleaner, but I rather liked the end results anyway as they have a sort of organic feel.

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    More Worship Night 2014-10-08 by jloden, on Flickr


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    More Worship Night 2014-10-08 by jloden, on Flickr


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    More Worship Night 2014-10-08 by jloden, on Flickr


    A few more from a roll of Portra 400 also. I don't have a scanner but I was able to make do by rigging my D800 to do negative duplicating (hence the odd EXIF data which I forgot to clear before uploading).

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    Portra 400 by jloden, on Flickr


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    Portra 400 by jloden, on Flickr


    This mirror self-portrait was way under exposed (operator error) but between developing, duplicating, and post-processing it picked up some crazy coloration, grain, and scratches. The obvious flaws in the end result were sort of fun, a bit like the instagram filters people are so fond of :p

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    Portra 400 by jloden, on Flickr


    A quick available light portrait of my wife taken during our weekly progress photos. Next time I need to make or DIY a negative carrier, as I'm pretty sure the light bleed from the improvised table is what caused the color flares at the edges of some of the shots. I kind of like it actually, but it's unpredictable so I'd like to be able to keep it under control if I can.

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    Portra 400 by jloden, on Flickr


    My digital cameras are in no danger of going idle, but it's safe to say I've got the analog bug now! It was lots of fun shooting film again now that I'm serious about photography. Not only do I think and shoot more contemplatively but I find that even my post work on the scanned/duplicated negatives is very minimal. Generally I just use Photoshop to invert the image and adjust curves for white balance and contrast. I find that I usually don't even crop in post with the film shots, though whether that's more a consequence of the rangefinder or the film process I couldn't say.

    I'm sure I'll be sharing more M film shots to come... just as soon as I can get a few rolls of Tri-X and HP5+ developed :D
     
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  2. carlb

    carlb Leica Place Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    782
    May 1, 2013
    Rangefinders and film are like Fred and Ginger. Just doesn't get better. :)

    Great shots Jay. Especially like the glow of the votives.
     
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  3. jloden

    jloden Leica Place Rookie

    22
    Mar 28, 2014
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Agreed Carl - I have yet to really try a digital M, but there's something about the aesthetic of a rangefinder that just seems to 'fit' with film just right. I'm not sure I'd have had anywhere near as much fun with a film SLR :)
     
  4. Mijo

    Mijo Leica Place Veteran

    272
    Apr 11, 2013
    San Francisco
    I commend you on going meterless, I've been wanting to do that myself for some time. I've moved back to film (developing and printing in a community darkroom) for a little over a year now. After recently experimenting with pushing / pulling film as well as split filtering when printing, I've come to realize that correct exposure isn't as important when shooting film. IMO any over or under exposure can ussually be corrected for during printing (to some degree anyway).

    It's interesting that the grain in your second image is so prominent, in comparision to the first image. If those are from two separate rolls of the same film, I wondering if the roll of film for first image sat in the developer longer. My experience with Tri-X (which is not one of my favorites) has been that the grain is less noticable if you add additional time in the developer. If those two images are from the same roll of film I wondering what accounts for apparent difference in the grain.
     
  5. jloden

    jloden Leica Place Rookie

    22
    Mar 28, 2014
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Indeed, I've yet to start developing my film but I've been doing lots of research in preparation and I can see there's quite a bit of latitude when developing. I can definitely see how you can adapt to meterless shooting too... it's tricky at first, but you get a feel for it fairly quickly. That said, I still think I prefer having a meter in the camera even if it's just a rudimentary one to get you in the ballpark :D

    The first three images are actually all from the same roll of Tri-X. Chris was saying he thought maybe his developer was a bit out of date, since the resulting grain was rather unusual. The other possibility I can think of is that I over-agitated it, since it was my first time souping film so I don't have a great feel for the process yet. As soon as I get a chance my plan to try some stand developing with Rodinal. I've seen some excellent results with stand development of Tri-X and HP5+ films, which is what I intend to shoot most of the time.