Sunday, October 4, 2020

Link to my Website

 Black & White

Just recently discovered a new magazine, at least new to me. It's called Black & White and it's published out of California. Great images, great content, great paper quality, more than 125 pages per issue and it arrives shipped in a plastic bag to help reduce any damage in transit via the USPS.

Almost always there is some kind of photo contest sponsored by the magazine. I've submitted photos for their "Single Image" contest, within the landscape category, and I'm in the process of submitting more for their "Vintage Image" contest; photos taken prior to 1980. Both of these contests are for publication in 2021 with winners being notified by December of this year. I trust I may have a chance since they expressed an interest in my photos for the "Single Image" event. We'll see.

Black & White magazine is published 6 times per for a rate of $35/year. Well worth it for me since I'm exclusively a B&W film photographer. However they have articles/photos from the digital world as well. My choice of film is medium format and my camera is a Mamiya 645 yet the magazine has plenty of room for articles/photos on pin hole cameras and plastic Holgas. Pretty cool! 

Let me know what you think if you have or will have access to the Black & White magazine. I'd be interested in your comments one way or the other.

Thanks - Hank

Monday, August 17, 2020

 More on Ilford SFX 200

I've found that setting my Mamiya 645 at f8 for 1 second or f11 for 2 seconds gives me the best depth of field and sharp focus as mentioned previously. The manual cameras allow you to set the focus on the lens barrel to match up with the red infrared mark also on the lens. Again, bright sun shinning on your subject and little if any breeze which will show up as a blur with a slow shutter speed. 

My brief discussion here centers on what I do in my darkroom with this film. The developing time in my film tank gives me the best prints when I process to 8 seconds. This is 2 seconds more than the Ilford suggestion but I like the negatives to be on the strong side, if you will. Using MultiGrade RC paper takes anywhere from 10-30 seconds depending on the f stop I prefer to yield a finished print. For special occasions, I've used Ilford Art 300 paper which is a double weight 100% cotton RC material. Great for greeting cards.

Please post any comments/suggestions you may have about these Ilford products. Thanks!


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

 Ilford SFX 200

This infrared film is one I'm quite pleased to use. It loads and unloads as any other B&W film in subdued light unlike Kodak HIE of years ago. My choice of format is 120 which I shoot in my Mamiya 645. This film format is easier for me to handle in my darkroom and I need not expose 36 frames as with 35mm to complete the roll. 645 yields 15 exposures allowing me at least 2 frames per subject just to be safe. 

I have found that using a consistent exposure of f8 @ 1 second, SFX produces a great negative from which to then develop a great print. You may chose to bracket around f8 or the 1 second shutter speed if you like. Of course, I'm exposing in "sunny 16" lighting which means very bright sun and deep dark shadows. The sun light is behind me and shinning directly on my subject. This enhances the IR effect on blue skies and green foliage. The sky turns dark and the greens turn "Twilight  Zone" white. 

My Beseler 23C allows me the option of printing with variable contrast filters. My favorite is the 3 1/2 contrast when using Ilford MultiGrade RC paper. My developer for film is ILFOSOL 3 (one shot) and for paper it's Ilford Multigrade. Stop baths are any variety. Ilford Rapid Fixer works for both film and paper as does Ilford Wash Aid (like Kodak Hypo) but Ilford Ilfotol (like Kodak Photo Flow) is only used with film.

I trust this brief discussion will prove helpful to anyone exploring Ilford SFX 200!

If I can help in any way, post me a comment. I don't have all the answers but I'll do my best.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Why Infrared Film?

My interest in this type of film dates back to the 1980's when I first discovered it. The best film available then was a Kodak product, HIE Infrared. Great film once you got the hang of it since it was quite sensitive to a number of factors like heat, humidity, loading and unloading in absolute darkness, and the brightness of the light falling on your subject. However, with practice you got what you wanted. I always took 2 or 3 exposures of the same image to be sure I had a great workable negative.

Then came along a Konica product, their 750 Infrared. Much easier to use than Kodak's film and would yield negatives as good. Sadly, both films have been discontinued. Now we have Ilford SFX 200 and Rollei Infrared films. Good products but not true infrared films. Kodak and Konica films would work very well with a 25 red filter whereas Ilford and Rollei require an extreme deep red R72 filter, so dark you can't see through. That's why I use the UUrig RFS adapter as explained in my previous blog post. Handy accessory for Infrared photography. When printing the new negatives I use a 3 1/2 contrast filter to increase the blacks vs whites in the final print.

I just like the deep blacks and twilight zone whites only available with Infrared film.

The print below, "Sugar Shack" from the Infrared Scenes of my website, was captured using my last roll of Konica 750. Other images were done with Ilford SFX 200; I'm starting to work with the Rollei Infrared to compare the finished print with my results from Ilford. 

Some of my customers really like the infrared look for their home decor because it does make an entirely different presentation as opposed to standard B&W. They claim the infrared is eye catching on their walls. 

Do any of you use infrared film in your photo portfolios?

Sunday, July 26, 2020

It's been a while! 

Far too long indeed. However, during the absence, some great things have happened. More visits to my website, more interest in my Infrared images, 3 license agreements signed with a Hollywood production company and more exposure in retail outlets.

Enough about me. Do any of you use filters on your camera, film or digital? If you do, I found a great gadget that might interest you. It's a UUrig RFS (rapid filter system). Imagine a circular clam shell with a hinge between them. One half you screw into your lens and, in the other, you screw in your filter. When you wish to view through your lens, you tip the filter half parallel with the ground. When you choose to use your filter, simply tip the filter parallel with your lens. Works great for me when shooting Infrared film since the R72 filter is totally black to the human eye. 

No more finger prints on the filter, no more filters dropped on the ground which I've done more than once.

Super product available from B&H Photo NYC around $25.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Beseler 23C Enlarger

Sorry for the above print size but blogger would not let me make it any larger. I tried to make it bigger but to no avail. Hopefully you'll be able to read it.

Perhaps one of the best known pieces of darkroom equipment is the Beseler 23C enlarger. Yes, there are others available but this particular model appears to be more of the well rounded units suitable for a number of negative sizes and types of projection.

THe 23C is heavy but also very steady and stable. There's no vibration which would yield poor negative printing. The elevation handle (10) is well geared so that once you crank it and then stop, it stops with no further travel. There's a measuring rule on the right side of the frame, where the handle is located, so that you can take note of the negative/cropping height for each print. Very convenient for me. The baseboard is large enough so that you can easily move an 11 x 14 easel into position as you seek the print crop you desire.

There are a number of negative sizes which the 23C can handle:
  • 8 mm - 16mm and 110
  • 35mm - 126
  • 2 1/4 x 2 1/4
  • 6 x 4.5
  • 6 x 7
  • 2 1/4 x 3 1/4
Each of these sizes requires a negative carrier specific for that size negative. They're well designed and easy to use. You simply put the negative into its carrier and then insert the carrier into the negative stage (6). Once in place you're free to rotate it any way you wish in order to get the crop/print you're looking for. 

Another great feature of this enlarger is that you don't have to change the condenser with each change of negative size. There is a condenser stage guide (13) built into the unit and all you need do is turn the condenser stage adjustment knob (12) to the correct marking on the guide that reflects your appropriate negative size. Simply raise or lower the condenser stage so that it rests at the correct point. This point is the one that provides complete light coverage of the negative area, with the proper flatness of field and the avoidance of "hot spots".

The 23C has a bracket which will hold contrast filters that swings under the lense so that you can make variations to your final print. I use Ilford MultiGrade IV RC paper and always start with a Beseler #3 filter. Multigrade IV is a warm tone paper so the #3 filter helps me achieve stronger blacks. For me, it's a good place to start on my way to a completed print.

Printing with the 23C has always been a pleasure. With my darkroom timer, I have 3 easy settings. The first is focus which I use to crop my neg and then get it into focus with a grain focuser. Next is the safelight setting which allows me to take my paper from the light safe and put it into my easel. Lastly, the print setting turns on the enlarger bulb and turns off the safelight. Then it's time to put that paper in the developer and watch the "magic", something that still fascinates me after all these years.

My 23C was purchased back in the late 1970's from a retailer in NYC. The package included the enlarger, the frame, the baseboard, 3 lenses, 3 lens boards, 3 negative carriers, and a box of contrast filters. The reason I remember so well is that the "package" cost me $333.00. Forty years have gone by and so have these prices.  

Obviously, I'm not qualified to comment on your darkroom budget but if you want quality equipment that will stand the test of time than the Beseler 23C deserves your consideration.