Bluebell Hunt

In Cork two weekends in a row (a rare treat) and the promise was made to seek out some bluebells to photograph. Currabinny woods has nealy always been a good spot, something I believe I pointed out on the morning we were setting out to go and take some photos. Without knowing I’d already jinxed the operation completely. Although there were bluebells, there was nowhere near the amount I’ve seen in previous years. So instead, I contented myself with using the remaining frames on the roll of God knows what that was in the A-1 while Julie tried to make the most of it.

When the film counter rolled past 24 with no sign of it stopping, I imagined that the loaded film (which had been in the camera for months by now) was a lovely roll of black & white. Just the ticket for bluebell photography. So I pretty much rattled off the remainder of the roll. I shot the sky, trees, the ground, Julie, grass, more sky. You get the idea. Having rewound the completed roll, it was a nice surprise to open the camera and find a 36 exposure roll of ‘that expired film’ staring back at me.

My distaste for scanning is intact and as such, expect to see spots, lines, hairs and other foreign bodies lurking in the scanned negatives above. It’s only the very special photos these days that get the full spit polish in lightroom. Again the DSLR sat in the bag and the above is a product of my two (and only) gorgeous lenses for the A-1; the 50 ƒ1.8 and the 135 ƒ2. There is a shopping list but it’s better not to explore that too much in case my bank balance gets wind of it and goes into hiding. Let’s just leave it by saying there’s a couple of ƒ1.2’s on there. Or, if I was feeling extra flush, maybe one of those ƒ0.95’s you don’t really see many of anymore.

I could go on and spitball at length about how my love of the FD lenses has led me onto the notion of selling an unused EF lenses and buying a Sony NEX-5N but then I’d just be waffling. And that wouldn’t be like me…

Watering Hole

It must be the very first time I got all the way through scanning three entire 120 rolls of Velvia without swearing loudly and thrashing my arms like a mad man. Anyone that’s ever been in that position will know that what you get on screen is a hell of a lot different than what you get when you hold the developed film up to daylight. Although these shots might not be the best examples of what Velvia is good for, I liked them enough to post them.

Much of what I’ve got through tonight are rolls that have been sitting in their paper sleeves for about 12 months, in that ‘I’ll scan that someday’ pile. Today was that productive day. Or hour anyway. I think I was spurred on somewhat by ogling cheap 6×6 cameras earlier today on ebay. Then after scanning the first of these frames shot on my Bronica, I’m almost inspired to shoot a few more of the rolls that have been sitting in the fridge since 2009. Most of the pain with E6 is the not to be underestimated job of developing after the relatively easy part of correctly exposing is done. After my first outing and complete disaster into the world of E6 development, I treated myself to an expensive used Jobo CPE2 Plus from a chap in the US. It took a good portion of the leg work out of the process, tank agitation and the all important temperature control. Of course with the kit I bought there are seven separate chemicals so it was still a time consuming pain in the balls but when that final rinse was done and a half dozen rolls of perfect slides came out of the tank, the task seemed to be worth it.

But that was before I knew I could get slide film processed for about a fiver a roll. Like having your favorite meal served up to you and not having to do any of the washing up afterward. You’re still paying for the pleasure, you just don’t have to do the nasty part. Sounds alright to me.

So that leaves me thinking about passing the Jobo on to a new owner. This isn’t a me being a shill, I’d genuinely be sad to see the Jobo go. It just hasn’t been used in such a long time that it’s really pointless keeping it. That and the amount of E6 I shoot makes up probably about 5% of my total film use. We’ll see. If anyone does want to sell me an affordable 6×6 camera, do get in touch.

More about this place I guess. Going from what was on the roll before and after it, I’m guessing it’s somewhere in either West Cork or Kerry. Before it on the roll, Inchidoney. After it, more Inchidoney. Pretty sure that’s just because I screwed up scanning the roll in the right order. Glengarriff, Bantry, Timoleague and all those other nice places. If there ever was a happy roll of Velvia, this is it.

Garden Rambling

Back to the grounds of IMMA before I retire these two rolls worth of scans into the cavernous expanses of my photo archive. First, some Pan F 50 lovingly modified by lightroom.

Secondly some SFX, split toned in the only method I know; Ham-fisted. That’s about it for IMMA this time around I think. Of the 26 or so photos from this session I haven’t put up, I think they’ll have to remain semi-retired sitting in the ‘current jobs’ folder until I clear out that lingering job from 2009.

The Royal Hospital

IMMAAfter yesterdays ‘oh shit I can’t post what I wanted to post so I’ll post something else taken with the same camera’ entry, here’s what I wanted to post. Having got my hands on some fresh developer, this is the result of the test SFX 200 roll I’ve had sitting in the fridge for over a year. It taunted me every time I went in there for milk so it had to get used.

Having looked over the roll, I’d give the result an astounding ‘meh’. For €4.85, I expected more of the ‘near IR’ to be visible. Maybe it requires something in post processing to pull that out, mabye I screwed the exposure, maybe I screwed the developing? Maybe it doesn’t like Rodinal? As with everything film camera based, there are way too many variables to consider.

I’m going to have to scan the roll of Pan F+ I shot the same day in the same location to work out the differences, but from looking at the negs drying I can’t see much in it. At least my untrained eye can’t.

IMMA is such an amazing location, more or less peaceful, amazing building, fantastic grounds and you don’t get hassled. Well, much. I was approached at one point by a security guard checking who I was working for because I ‘looked professional’. Nice guy though. Certainly didn’t give me any trouble as I strolled around with a bulky tripod and a camera noticably larger than your average tourist point & shoot.

But I digress. SFX? Pah! I’ll stick with Pan F+ in the Bronica, Neopan 100 in the Canon A1. Nice to try it out though. If nothing else, it lets you know you’re not missing anything special. Having said that, I welcome all commenters offering their two cents on what I did wrong.

Meander

DunloeA bit further up (if I remember correctly) from where I took this, but the same roll of film none the less. Spurred on today having just had the Bronica out for the first time in a hell of a long time. Shot two rolls of B&W in the Irish Museum of Modern Art, came home all enthusiastic ready to dev & scan. Nope, developer is well expired. Balls. Decided not to risk it with the rolls as one of them is SFX 200 that I’ve had in the fridge for the last 18 months at least. I really want to see how that comes out. Shot the whole roll with a 25A red filter and chanced my arm using the metered prism finder.

Anyway, that’s the reason for the medium format shot today. Also reminded me that we passed the Gap of Dunloe only a few weeks ago on the way back from Waterville and my intense desire to ride up through there on the bike was cut short by worries about the lack of tread left on the rear wheel. Still haven’t managed to get the tyres changed so riding has been somewhat restricted of late. That and the weather is pants. This is priority one for the next trip to Cork. Spin down to Killarney, through the gap and onto the pancake house nearish Kenmare for something cheesy and bacony.

I’m sure the sun will come back for at least another week…

Place to be

The weather is beginning to turn again and although some Donegal weather forecasting prophet has predicted more snow in the next couple of weeks, I think I’ll take a chance on a green Patricks day instead of a white one. So yeah, weather turning. Thoughts of getting back out and taking some landscapes. Loaded up lightroom and this jumped out of my catalog list. It’s from an almost forgotten roll of velvia I scanned some time back. I’m pretty sure this was taken at Barley lake in west Cork.

It also serves well to remind me that I haven’t done a tap this year photography wise and also that I’ve got a whole balls-load* of velvia to get through. I’ve never been much of a fan of slide scanning, mostly because it’s a pain in the arse to get the colours right on screen. Or maybe I’m just crap at it, that’s also a distinct possibility.

So this is the place to be. I might just print this one out and stick it to the side of my monitor in work. Possibly next to the countdown clock that I’ve set to mark my departure to the UK on my motorbike next month for a wee spot of touring.

*the new collective term for a lot of film to scan.