A while ago I accidentally bought a box of Arista Ortho-Litho 3.0 that was too big for my 4×5 film holders. (This film comes in two sizes, one that is cut down a 1/10th of an inch to fit in film holders and one that’s not.) It’s been sitting around since then gnawing at me to figure out something to do with it. So when I recently found out about lumen prints, it clicked.
Lumen prints are typically made by exposing photo paper to the sun for a long time, anywhere from a half hour to a day. The result is that the paper sort of auto develops and you get an image. Typically they are made as photograms with organic material on photo paper. But you can use a negative to make a contact print. And you can use film instead of paper.
My first thought was I would make contact prints and display them with a backlight. So here are my first contact prints, scanned and tweaked slightly. They look pretty good. I’ve sent them to be printed as 8x10s. Curious to see how they look. Next step is to build some cardboard frames for them to see if I can light them
Another option I am considering is making photograms and then printing them in the enlarger. I just need to scrounge up some material.
I was super excited when Ilford announced that they would be releasing Ortho Plus in 35 and medium format. I’ve been looking for an orthochromatic film I could shoot in the Diana and this seemed like the perfect option.
Between Christmas and New Year, we took a trip up to Jim Thorpe, PA so I brought along some Ortho Plus and the Diana as well as my Rolleiflex to compare.
The low ISO for the Ortho Plus, 80 in daylight, limited how I could use it on this trip. Jim Thorpe is in a valley and the sun never really got far above the surrounding mountains. Then we had a couple of days of rain. Most of the shots I took came out underexposed. I did get a few passable ones though.
The Rolleiflex was much better. I even got Nora to sit for a portrait. The skin tones with this film are nice, though not for everyone.
Here are the highlights from my past few weeks in the darkroom. Most of these are printed on some expired Kodak Kodabromide paper I got from eBay. One is expired Agfa Brovira 111. Which is which should be obvious 🙂
Normally I do my lith prints on Fomatone MG 131 paper. But lately I’ve been experimenting with different papers to see what looks I can get. Here’s some examples on Ilford Warmtone MGFB, Fomatone MG 131, and Agfa Brovira 310. I like the Ilford the best, but the Agfa is also nice.
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
Picked up a new lens from Surplus Shed for the Speed Graphic. It’s an achromatic, coated 145mm lens at roughly f3. It should have fewer aberrations than the opera glass lens though it’s hard to tell wide open like this.
I also bought some Ilford Ortho Plus, which looks great!
With a rubber washer and a little black tape, I made the opera glass lens f6.3. It’s not quite the f8 or f11 I was hoping for, but it’s a significant jump from f3. This really helped with the depth of field.