Sorry, I’ve been missing and in this blog I’ll tell you why.
My summer in Snowdonia has been terrific. Forget the rules about mid day summer sun, this year was quite different. Yes, the best images would have been captured in the Golden Hour or Spring and Autumn, but I have enjoyed every trip into our beautiful National Park.
It was with my pals and one is a Black and White aficionado, with film being king. Those who have seen earlier posts will have seen my images of the large format and this got me thinking. NO, not large format, but a concerted return to film, but unlike my younger days, Medium Format as well. A dream in the film days as MF cameras were way outside my budget. You know, 3 young kids, a career and just no real “me” time. In those days I did have my own darkroom, where I used to disappear and say to “management”, “I won’t be more than an hour” and return 3-4 hours later. My son says that the darkroom red light and watching an image appear in the tray is an enduring childhood memory.
So, I took the leap, or perhaps it’s taken over me! My pal has shelf upon shelf of vintage Leica’s, Voitlanders, Nikon’s, Canon, Olympus, Kodak and those are just the 35mm, add the Medium Format cameras and then the 5×4, 10×8 cameras. Add on a fully equipped darkroom and you get some idea. I have no desire to match this as my budget is well….limited. However, I decided to take the plunge and this is my story thus far. If you have no interest in Film and analogue photography, please leave now!
The building of a Film kit….or…perhaps a bit over the top!
How many reading this have heard of NAS or CAS? Well, NAS is an acronym for “Nikon Acquisition Syndrome”, a similar one exists for Canon users, hence CAS! There is no known cure and it can be an expensive, but a very satisfying disease nevertheless. Well, let’s welcome AAS, the newcomer on the block, “Analogue Acquisition Syndrome”! In my film days high level 35mm cameras were extraordinarily expensive and Medium Format the preserve of the Pro, compared to the wealth of disposable income today. OK, yep a recession and as a pensioner I know all about that. However, trawl the well know on-line auction sites and be prepared to be amazed. Top draw film camera in mint condition for relatively buttons compared to the film days. Much more about this later.
So, In May of 2013 I took the plunge and my pal loaned me a Canon AE-1, OK a programme camera, but a start. He also supplied me with a 35mm Ilford Delta Pro ISO100 35mm B&W film. I was off and away. He also very kindly developed and printed the film. I was hooked when I saw the results and was transported instantly back to the 1970 and 1980’s. Below is one of my first images.
Canon AE-1 with Canon 50mm f1.8
Alright, perhaps not that inspiring. However, this is my very first image of my new film era. After this I became hooked and bought in an auction a mint Nikon F8 for about the same as a good night over the pub. This gave me some flexibility in that I wasn’t restricted to a 50mm lens and could use my existing Nikon lenses normally found attached to my D7100 or D800 digital DSLR’s.
Once used to the F80, I became very thirsty and a very mild form of AAS kicked in. I say mild as my first SLR was an Olympus OM10. I belong to the North Wales Monochrome Group and a member brings along various analogue camera and other items of paraphernalia etc to sell. To my absolute joy, he arrived with a mint Olympus OM10 with the Zuiko 50mm f1.8 lens still in it’s original, but well used, soft case. He let me have it for the cost of a bottle of Scotch Whiskey! So, that was my first SLR, now I wanted my favourite Olympus, the OM2-SP. At this point I can hear film guys saying “Oh no, you should buy the OM1N”. I bought again a mint model with a Zuiko 28mm f2.8. So that was 35mm taken care of…..oh perhaps not, read more later!
Along came the Medium Format search. I wanted the best possible I could get without breaking the bank and getting ear ache. To fund this I had a mega clear out of unused “stuff”, including my Elinchrome studio lights. This funded a mint, boxed ETRSi with 120 backs (one for B&W, one for Transparency). Picked up an unmetered prism for the price of a bottle of champagne (not Bollinger or Veuve Clicquot I hasten to add) and I was set to go.
Now the fun starts!
My Gear – Mostly Manual
Left to Right – Bronica Grip, Bronica ETRSi with Zenza 75mm f2.8, Zenza 50mm f4, Olympus OM2-SP with Zuiko 28mm f2.8, Olympus OM10 with Zuiko 50mm f1.8.
A Closer Look at the Bronica Kit.
All manual with the exception of the Olympus OM2-SP, you set the aperture the camera sets the speed.
My Auto Collection.
So I could use all my Nikon lenses and not wishing to spend money on a Nikon manual SLR, I already had the F8, but managed to pick up yet again a Nikon D100. This was the last semi pro SLR Nikon made and was discontinued in 2006, its big brother being the F5. Nikon still produce an SLR, the F6. The D100 when new retailed for £1200! I paid the same as a reasonably cheap night out.
Nikon F80 and F100.
So, that’s my collection. I already had a light meter, essential when using a manual camera. However, I have been known to use it with my Digital cameras when I was doing some studio photography.
Finally, one cannot use B&W film outdoors without filters. A UV and to emphasise clouds and detail. Also, ND graduated filters. To save money I bought some Kood Yellow, Orange and Red square filters with a Kood square lens mount filter adapter. I already had my Cokin Z Pro ND Graduated filters (see left of picture), so no cost there.
Cokin ND and Kood Colour Filters and lens adapters.
First Images with the Bronica ETRSi.
My first attempt was a disaster with only 2.5 of 15 being successful. This was because I had trouble getting used to the dark slide which will not allow a photograph to be taken with it fitted! In fact the idiot in me put it in upside down, which is thought not possible. It doesn’t insert fully upside down and will let the shutter fire, it did fire and all I got was a black exposure with a strip of exposure on the right side where the film could see the light. The black slide is there so the film backs can be removed with B&W film loaded and another back fitted with e.g. sllide film. An expensive lesson learned. However, ever onwards, ever upwards and I had another go. Below are a few of my very first handheld Bronica images. Taken on the wonderful Fuji Velvia ISO50 transparency colour film.
Bronica Images – All with the 50mm f4 lens.
Llandudno Promenade – November 2013
The Llanrwst Bridge and Tea House.
I seem to have a blue cast which is quite prominent. I shall try and find out why and report back.
That’s all for today, but I shall continue my journey very soon when we look at film, chemicals and images.
Thanks for looking. Richard.