Bunch o' Firsts...

When medium format isn't big enough: 4x5, 5x7, 9x12, 8x10 and even larger.
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scott
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Bunch o' Firsts...

Post by scott » Sun May 24, 2020 11:50 pm

...First shot in the Seneca project 8x10, first shot with this rehabbed holder, first shot adjusting to 18x24 cm with 8x10 gear, first shot on Fujifilm UM-MA mammography film, first try guessing at exposure, first time guessing at development in HC-110.

So, through somewhat curious circumstances, I found myself buying a pack of one-year expired Fujifilm UM-MA mammography film. Carestream/Ektascan BR/A has been completely and utterly discontinued now, and this was available, so I figured I'd try it. I can find no examples of its use online. Big catch - the film is 18x24 cm, which is not 8x10 in. Asked around, pondered some engineering modifications, and decided on temporarily using double sided tape in the holder to keep it from flopping around as it's about 1.5 cm narrower than the 8x10 film rails. Have a lead on some actual 18x24 holders, which I'm hoping will work out. Film arrived a couple days ago; today was the first chance I had to use it.

So, I fettled a holder yesterday, waxed the slides, glued some cracks, taped the hinge. Seems good. Took it and the film in the closet this afternoon and loaded a sheet. Set up the Seneca in the front yard. Plan was to point the 18" Wray down the street and just get some image on the film to see if anything would be recoverable. Historically, my first frame in any new camera I bought/fixed/etc. was of my daughter, so I asked her to stand in the frame. She leaned up against her car. Set up, stopped down, closed the Packard, installed the holder. Hmm - holder is awfully sloppy in the back. Make sure everything is closed and pull the darkslide. Exposure was about 1/10 sec, film rated arbitrarily at EI100, so was going to open/close the Packard. Squeezed the bulb and let it expand. Nothing. Shutter's still open. Dammit - split my bulb. Got the shutter closed after about 3 seconds. Okay, keep that sheet as a baseline if I can't get anything to work.

Got out my gaffer's tape and patched the bulb. Loaded a new sheet in the holder. Set up again. This time I asked Maddie to stand closer, figuring I'd get a little distance between her and the background. Swapped the hose to the instant piston. Focused (lens was still stopped down to f/16, figured I'd be good), installed the holder again. Definitely too much room in the back. The springs aren't holding the DDS against the back securely. Need to fix that. Pulled the slide as gingerly as possible to avoid introducing light. Tried, anyway. Tripped the shutter.

Imageimg070 by Scott, on Flickr

Now, there are obvious leaks in the back. Knew that. Focus is about 2' in front of Maddie. Figured f/16 would cover that. I haven't shot 8x10 in, what, 6 years? I have absolutely forgotten how razor thin DoF is with large format (actual Large format). But I am beyond excited with this picture. Rated at 100, guessing development at 6:30 for HC-110 dilution H (a bit more than I used for BR/A). Didn't know if I'd get anything. This is like Christmas morning. I waited until evening and slight overcast skies to keep contrast down, as I'm assuming this is essentially ortho film like BR/A was. BR/A was also forgiving in exposure, but fairly reactive to developing. Anyway, I'm happy.

And, so is Maddie. She graduated high school yesterday. Kinda, according to her. She left for spring break first week of March and never went back. She took the loss of all the school traditions and finality very hard. This was one of her first smiles this weekend, and with the leaks and misplaced focus, well, she feels the photo is a great representation of where she feels right now.

Anyway, I got the camera over two years ago. Took forever to get it moderately finished. Took longer to source film. But sheet number 1 (well, 2) is to me, a success.

Thanks for reading,
Scott

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Re: Bunch o' Firsts...

Post by Brazile » Mon May 25, 2020 6:50 am

What a lot of fun! Yes, the wafer-theeeen DoF always takes me by surprise when I go back to 8x10, and having the T-distance of your film holder off by the thickness of the double-stick tape probably doesn't help. But still...result! And of a happy Maddie, no less! And you can see how to tweak the various problems to resolve them one by one. You're on the path, buddy, I have no doubt you'll get there soon.

As for me, I finally got out the batch of emulsion that had been sitting in my darkroom fridge for months, and ginned up the courage to open it up and see how bad it was (hadn't added thymol to the last batch, intending to pour it immediately...life intervened, oops). Not bad at all...a little mold, easily scooped away. Been meaning to try 8x10 (I jumped over and did 11x14 a couple years ago) for a while, so I finally poured one, then a 5x7, and a set of 4x5s. Should be dry this morning, so if the sun comes back out like it did yesterday, I'll have to finally shoot an 8x10 plate myself. Now you've got me wondering how close my old 8x10 plate holders are to current T-distance standard...hmm, have to compare to the spring backs on my Intrepid and 2D...

Robert

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Re: Bunch o' Firsts...

Post by Brazile » Mon May 25, 2020 6:53 am

Oh, and congrats to Maddie! My nephew Kevin, who is living with us this year for various reasons, is in the same boat. He's not quite "finished", but I think has one more project to turn in for "audit credit" this week and is then done. Similar sign in our front yard...

Robert

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Re: Bunch o' Firsts...

Post by alexvaras » Mon May 25, 2020 11:58 pm

It seems you did very good despite all the unknowns :)
Looking forward more in the future and congrats Maddie.

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Re: Bunch o' Firsts...

Post by scott » Thu May 28, 2020 10:10 am

Thanks guys. I mounted the 210 Sironar-N this weekend so I have a legit shutter and more light to focus by. Still amazes me that it covers. Will be shooting portraits today if I have any say. I think, too, I'm going to give this another 20-30 seconds in the developer moving forward.

Robert, I saw the results of your plate testing - very nice!

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Re: Bunch o' Firsts...

Post by Brazile » Fri May 29, 2020 8:09 am

Thanks, Scott! Look forward to your portrait work. The 210 ought to be nice, although I expect you don't have much in the way of space for movements...

Been thinking similar thoughts about portraits; my nephew is into photography (digital only so far) so he might be game for it. Certainly have to do a cap and gown setup for the family; his parents would like it and my mother is relentless about it.

Robert

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Re: Bunch o' Firsts...

Post by scott » Mon Jun 01, 2020 1:35 pm

Hi Robert -

I was surprised when I first tried this lens on 8x10 years ago. More coverage than I expected, room for some rise and fall. And at portrait distances much more room. It's a nice lens for this.

My experience through the years is that some people do well sitting for LF portraits, some don't. That may be an indictment on my technique, but my son has always been able to sit stock-still for extended periods while I set the aperture, install the holder, pull the slide and shoot. My daughter, OTOH, not only can't sit that long, but is visibly and physically bothered by sitting in front of the camera. Doesn't have that problem with smaller formats, just big cameras.

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Re: Bunch o' Firsts...

Post by Brazile » Tue Jun 02, 2020 6:50 am

Interesting. In my experience, I feel more pressure to move on than the sitters do; I'm always very conscious about all the fussing around that LF requires, while they mostly sit there patiently. I'm just aware that I may want them to do it again, so shouldn't make it (more) tedious!

My nephew is fairly patient, though, so he'll likely be willing to sit still like your son.

Robert

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Re: Bunch o' Firsts...

Post by scott » Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:37 pm

I move as quickly as I can. When I was shooting 10x12 I had it down to a very fast routine. I'm way out of practice now, and feel awfully clumsy when I try. Have a holder loaded to shoot a couple sheets on Braedan but he's taking a class right now, Monday - Thursday, and he's been working on it all day today. Hoping to get a chance tomorrow.

Worse comes to worst, Maddie's sunflowers are blooming...

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Re: Bunch o' Firsts...

Post by PFMcFarland » Sat Jun 06, 2020 4:56 pm

You worked a lot longer on your kids, Scott, and they turned out fine (Congrats to Maddie!), so I think the Seneca will come around in due time.

PF
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