The Tide is Low

I have been to the Washington Avenue Pier along the Delaware River a couple of times to shoot. But yesterday was the first time I was there with the magical combination of low tide and golden hour. The low tide gave me the opportunity to get down among some of the pilings for some more interesting shots. And the late afternoon winter light was incredible.

For the second time in a few days, I was out shooting with my brother and sister. I’m sure they took some amazing photos. I was a little hamstrung with just a single roll of MZ-3 and my Nikon Fm2. But I was not unsatisfied!

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That’s a knife

I’m pretty sure I’ve owned some type of Swiss Army knife since I was a teenager. I got my current knife sometime in the late 80s or early 90s. So almost 30 years. That means countless boxes opened, a bunch of IKEA furniture assembled, some light switch plates screws tightened, a few bottles of wine uncorked, and dozens of beer bottles uncapped. I don’t think I’ve used the awl tool that much. I know I used the long blade for something I shouldn’t have since the tip is broken off. The toothpick is long gone but the tweezers stuck around.

I was looking at it and thinking it might be time to get a new one. Then I got sentimental. There’s really no point in getting a new one. With all its issues, it still works. With a little luck, I will die owning this knife. Of course then it will probably end up in the trash. I can’t see my kids keeping it around.

I shot these pictures of the knife with an even older Nikon fm2 loaded with Ilford HP5 plus pushed to iso 3200 and developed in HC-110 dilution B

1600, 3200, 6400, whatever

I’m continuing my experiment with Delta 3200 in the Diana camera. Testing film is a bit tricky with this camera since your exposure options are limited. Basically, you need to find lighting situations that fit the single shutter speed and 3 available f-stops. Here’s what I’ve tried so far:

  • Metered at 1600 assuming 1/30 sec shutter speed and stand developed in HC-110 for one hour: results were meh. A lot of underexposed frames. Clearly needed an EI higher than 1600
  • Metered at 6400 assuming 1/30 sec shutter speed and developed in HC-110 dilution a for recommended 6400 speed: similar results to the first try. Clearly underexposed.

Before I go any further I wanted to check my shutter speed assumptions. I just assumed mine was 1/30 since that is pretty standard for other box cameras I have. However, the shutter speed in the Diana is reported to vary from 1/200  to 1/30 sec due to the springs that operate the shutter. Those springs can get weird with time and temperature, not to mention sloppy manufacturing.

As a test, I shot the following scene using the Diana’s three apertures–f11, f13, and f19.  I figured keeping the lighting the same and varying the f-stops would help me figure out my shutter speed.

Meter reading from Pocket Light Meter app

Here are the three frames. I developed them in HC-110 dilution b for recommended 3200 speed. I’ve seen recommendations that metering at 1600 and developing for 3200 is the way to go with this film, some even suggest shooting at 1000. I probably should have kept to one of the other developing recipes I already tried, but whatever.

Shot at f19, assumes 1/40 shutter speed

Shot at f13, assumes 1/100 of a second
Shot at f11 assumes 1/160 of a second

It looks like the f11 shot has the most shadow detail. That would suggest the shutter speed is somewhere around 1/150 of a second. I like the f13 shot as well, it’s got some nicer blacks.

I also did one shot with my daughter Nora just to get a sense of how skin tones work out. This was metered at f11, 1/50, iso 1600. But clearly, that was off. The negative was thin, again looks like I needed at least another stop of light.

Given all this, I will assume 1/100 for now and see how that works.

Time heals

As a follow up to my previous post, I tried another test shot, this time adding a stop of time.

EI 0.8!

An EI of 0.8 had the expected result and delivered a negative that was significantly denser. There is still some loss in the shadows, but not nearly as much as with the EI 1.6 negative. I don’t understand how people are shooting this stuff at ISO 3 or 6!

These negs will never be bulletproof

Haven’t had time to test print, but here is a scan that I didn’t do anything to in LightRoom. Looks pretty good.

Scan with no fiddling in LightRoom

I don’t mind the loss of speed too much as I won’t be shooting this stuff handheld anyway. I’m glad to have the HC-110 developing option since I won’t have to buy more Dektol if I just want to shoot this occasionally.

Dektol versus HC-110 for Ortho Litho

At the beginning of my One Project, I decided to use Dektol as my developer because most of what I read suggested it was the best choice. I feel like I’ve gotten to a point where I am comfortable with Dektol. And as I come to the end of this project, I think it’s time to explore other options. I noticed on the Massive Development Chart a recipe for HC-110 at 1:200 dilution for 14 minutes. HC-110 appeals to me since I happen to have a bottle. So, I decided to run a little test to see if this recipe could get me similar results to the Dektol.

I set up a quick scene in my backyard with some blacks and whites and midtones to test. Here is a screen grab from my iPhone.

 

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A box of Arista Ortho Litho included for some black

 

I took 2 shots of this at f4.5, 2 seconds. The first I developed in my usual Dektol 1:30 for 2:07 minutes @24°C. The second in HC-110 1:200 for 10:07 minutes@24°C.

As you can see from the negatives, the Dektol version had more detail in the shadows, though both were pretty thin. I think I should have added more time for reciprocity, but I can’t find anything online about reciprocity failure with this film.

 

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Dektol gave decent shadow detail
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HC-110 blocked up the shadows

 

Just to be complete, I did contact prints of both negatives. Both printed at 10 seconds at F32 (they were thin!) with a number 2 filter on Ilford Multigrade Fiber, glossy. As expected, the Dektol negative gave good shadow detail but also blown highlights

 

Dektol had good shadow detail

The HC-110 negative had much less shadow detail, but I did like the blacks better. Of course, a higher filter on the Dektol negative would probably get the blacks right.

 

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HC-110 less detail, nicer black

 

 

While I was doing this experiment, Load Film in Subdued Light was also dipping his toe into Ortho Litho using HC-110. His recipe is 1+200 for 18 minutes. I am going to try that to see if the extra time helps with the shadow detail. If not, I will stick to Dektol.