Tag Archives: Kate
Realizing that portraits with the Eastman 8×10 View Camera would be very difficult without some kind of artificial lighting, I purchased a Westcott/Adorama Spiderlite TD6 kit from the always reliable and reasonable Simon at Adorama. He gave me a good deal and shipped the bulky kit for free the next day. Perfect service.
Westcott Spiderlite TD6
Image from the Westcott website.
The kit included the TD6 head with six light sockets, six bulbs, a light stand, a 24×36 soft box, and soft carrying bag. This light gives me 1200W of constant, daylight-balanced light. What this translates to in the real world is f8 at ISO 400 and 160th of a second. That’s great for a DSLR user, but in the LF world portraits are often shot at f22, which works out to 1/4 of a second (without figuring in an extra stop for bellows extention). My lens does open to f5.6, but the depth of field is too shallow for even both eyes and noses to be in focus. Kate and I did a mini photo shoot over the weekend to test the TD6.
I shot this at f22 and 1/4 of a second. Kate is very good at standing still. It would have been easier for her to sit, but we both really wanted to do this pose. That’s my shirt and the looking down and rolling of the sleeve was Kate’s idea. She’s the brains and the beauty in this partnership.
Assembling and using the TD6 kit could not be easier. You can choose two, four, or six lights (I chose six for sure) with switches on the back of the head and the 15 foot cord even has an on/off switch. The light from the bulbs when tempered by the softbox is bright, but still soft. I shot this one with the light about five feet from Kate.
I tray developed this negative in Kodak HC 110 Solution H (1+63) at 20C for 8 minutes using “brush agitation.” The brush agitation gives you a nice even development over the whole surface of the negative. People often use brush developing to control uneven development in skies. This agitation method has really grown on me. I like the act of brushing the developer onto the negative. It’s very zen-like.
So everyone likes sparklers right?
On our recent St. Michaels vacation, Kate and I teamed up for this admittedly kind of corny shot. This was after cocktails on the dock and I already had my 4×5 camera set up to capture the sunset. I used Fuji Provia 100 slide film and the meter reading told me the exposure should be one minute at an aperture of f11. The sparklers only stayed lit for 45 seconds so I had to cut the exposure a bit short. It worked perfectly though. Kate held her legs still and did an amazing job at keeping the repeatedly drawn hearts in a tight pattern. You can see a larger version of this picture at my Flickr account.
In the Flickr comments a few people were curious about the “not as successful outtake” of this shot. Here it is.
It was obviously much more difficult to try to repeat K-A-T-E so she just spelled it once and then added these little flourishes at the end as the sparklers fizzled out. I was laughing too hard to ask her to stand still.
Hope everyone has a good fourth. We are hoping to hit the beach tomorrow.
While I’m definitely over the “I have to carry my camera everywhere” feeling that gripped me last year, I still like to occasionally wander around aimlessly with a camera over my shoulder. I’ve had a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 in my Olympus OM-1 over the last week or so and after getting the film back from the lab on Tuesday night, I found more than a dozen images that I really loved and several I had forgot that I had taken. Some of the latter were my favorites from the roll.
Most of these were taken in various parts of Brooklyn as Kate and I enjoyed our normal, meandering, long walks. I still can’t remember being in the East Village with this camera and this roll, but I had two shots of the East Village Cadillac on there somehow.
East Village Cadillac, Kodak Ektar 100
Funny story about this Cadillac, a couple of my images were used by the New York Times East Village Local and the owner of the Cadillac responded in the comments section.
Church Board, Gowanus, Brooklyn, Kodak Ektar 100
Eventually, I’m going to do a whole series on these church boards of Brooklyn. I’m not religious in any way, but I’m fascinated by these signs and the level of detail they preserve about the church. I’m attracted to the signs that use different fonts and sizes to get their message across.
Triceratops Custom Cab, Gowanus, Brooklyn, Kodak Ektar 100
I’ve passed this truck before without taking a picture (it’s on the way to our favorite pie place Four and Twenty Blackbirds) and this time Kate saw me hesitate and reach for my camera. “Go ahead,” she said as she stood there waiting for me as I waited out the traffic.
As much as Kodak Tri-X 400 is my go to 400 speed B&W film, Fuji Neopan Acros 100 is my go to 100 speed B&W film. I can’t imagine anything else for my medium format B&W work.
The Fuji works so well during the daytime that I never have to worry about the light. If it’s sunny and early in the morning or afternoon, then the Neopan is perfection. Recently, I was in the Meatpacking District (on the way to The Highline) with the Hassselblad 501cm and I just happened to have a roll of Neopan in my bag.
This roll was developed in Kodak Xtol developer at 21C for 7.5 minutes.
Love Stories Suck, Meatpacking District, Fuji Neopan Acros 100
I walked past this little piece of graffiti and kept thinking about it. So I asked Kate (ever the good sport) to pose beside it for a picture. Yes it’s kind of cheesy, but it was one of those photos that would have bugged me if I didn’t take it.
When you consider razor sharp depth of field or crazy blurred background, you might think of the super fast lenses for 35mm cameras – the f1.8 lenses, the f1.4, and even the occasional f.95 lens. They will definitely deliver shallow depth of field. But when you step up to medium format (not to mention large format where f5.6 is speedy!) an f2.8 lens feels super fast. The f2.8 Zeiss Planar lens on my Hasselblad spends most of its time between f5.6 and f16. The subjects that I tend to shoot with this camera don’t really need exaggerated depth of field and f5.6 gives me a nice pleasing background if I want to isolate something that’s a normal distance from my lens.
The other day at the park I set the lens to f2.8 just to play around. This is pretty shallow, really just an inch of two of grass is in focus. The lens was set at the closest focusing distance.
This one was also at f2.8, but I wanted to get a pleasing, useable photograph, not a freakshow. I selected the leaves closest to me, knowing that the sun streaming through the leaves behind them would create a nice blurred background.
And just for fun, I focused on a few strands of Kate’s hair that I could see in the evening sunlight. Those few strands are crisp and clear, while everything else is soft and a little dreamy.
There’s no point to this exercise besides just playing around. I do think shallow depth of field has its uses, but I avoid using much of it in medium format film. The margin for error is so steep and you only have 12 shots on a roll. Still, it’s kind of cool to play with.
On a side note, I’m *really* starting to like Fuji Reala in 120 format. I’ve heard that Fuji may be phasing it out, so I might need to grab a stash for the fridge!
It seems like the new Kodak Portra has been getting all the love lately in film circles and deservedly so. Film shooters were upset to lose the VC and NC designated film for an amalgamation of the two, but I can’t imagine anyone is complaining about the new Portra 400 formulation. It’s one of the best color negative films I’ve ever used. The 400 ISO version is pretty much perfect no matter how you shoot it, but I haven’t been as thrilled with the new (and much pricier) Portra 160 ISO version.
Enter Fuji Reala 100, which is a slower negative film that is supposed to give very realistic tones, hence the name “Reala.” After shooting a few rolls of Reala, I’ve learned that it’s a very forgiving, realistic tones film. And on a recent vacation it definitely outperformed the new Kodak Portra 400 when I shot several rolls from a boat out on the water. The Fuji film just seems to handle summer type shots really well, but I wondered how it would stand up to everyday shots in the city.
The following were all shot with my Hasselblad 501cm and an 80mm f2.8 Zeiss Planar lens.
I recently purchased an additional A12 back for the Hasselblad at the bargain price of $70. It does have a light leak between the first and second frame for some reason. Although it doesn’t happen every time, I like the effect it gave here.
For my birthday Kate and I decided to spend a week at her parents house in St. Michaels, Maryland. Besides New York, it’s probably my favorite place in the world. Since we’ve moved to the city, St. Michaels has been the perfect compliment to the fast paced life we normally lead. On Maryland’s Eastern Shore you don’t hurry. You don’t feel rushed, you don’t feel like you have to do this or do that. You relax. We read, take pictures, nap, eat, drink, then repeat.
I took a fistful of film, my Hasselblad 501cm, Nikon FM2n, and the new Polaroid 400 Land Camera with me for our weeklong stay. As I look at my pictures, I realize that Fuji films are definitely better for pictures of water and boats. Kodak Portra is still perfect for people and things on land, but there’s something about Fuji films and water that look better to my eye. Fuji slide film (like the Astia I used) does have a tendency to shift to purple, but you can correct that in post processing if you want.
The Selina II sailing on the Miles River, St. Michaels, Maryland, Fuji Reala 100
The Selina II is a beautiful sailboat that offers cruises. We haven’t taken advantage of one of their trips, but we will one day.
On Wednesday evenings, they have sailboat races on the Miles River. Wednesday just happened to be our last night and our neighbor and friend Bob invited us to go out on his boat for an amazing view.
Red Sail on Miles River, St. Michaels, Maryland, Fuji Astia 100
My latest Film Friday features the Meatpacking District and the West Village. Check it out over at Embarrassment of Riches.
Kate and I have been taking advantage of the beach this summer. Early on Saturday we took the crippled A train (not working at Fulton, no sign of course and then on the F local track until Jay Street before finally switching back to the A express to Broad Channel) to Rockaway Beach and it was just about perfect. Before we slathered on sunscreen I took this picture of Kate in her hat with the Polaroid 420 Land Camera. We sat there together for 120 seconds and then I had her peel the image off of the film sandwich. As she saw just how perfect this photograph was, her eyes lit up behind sunglasses. In her hand she had an almost instant snapshot capturing that moment in time forever. There’s something to be said for that.
Cresting Waves on Rockaway Beach, Polaroid 420 Land Camera and Fuji FP100C Instant Film
Kate in Water at Rockaway Beach, Polaroid 420 Land Camera and Fuji FP100C Instant Film
I’m totally sold on the new Portra 400 film for medium format work; I don’t think you can beat it in a color negative film. However, sometimes 400 ISO is a bit too fast when your maximum shutter speed is 1/500 of a second. I’ve tried the new Portra 160 and am also happy with it. However, the Portra 160 is almost $30 for a five pack. When I looked around for alternatives I noticed that the Fuji Reala 100 is only $19.95 a five pack. Two dollars a roll doesn’t sound like much, but over the course of the year it’s significant enough for me to try the Reala.
These shots are from my first roll of the Reala. It’s also the first roll from a second A12 back that I picked up for my Hasselblad from Simon at Adorama. The back works perfectly, exactly as I would expect from Adorama’s fantastic used department. I have several more rolls of Reala to play with, so I’ll see how I like it. The color is true to life and it has a fine grain as you would expect from a medium format 100 speed film.
Roa Bird on Kent Street in Williamsburg, Fuji Reala 100
Cadillac Outside the Jake Walk, Brooklyn, Fuji Reala 100
While Kate and I were having drinks outside the Jake Walk, I was composing this shot. Kate knows what catches my eye SO well that she said, “I’m surprised you’re not taking a picture of that door across the street.” As you can see I framed the Cadillac, but was careful to include the door across the street. As I said, she knows me.
All shots were from the Hasselblad 501cm and Zeiss Planar 80mm f2.8 lens