Tag Archives: Kodak Xtol Developer
Last week I posted some long exposures from a roll of Fuji Neopan Acros 100 and the Hasselblad shot during a night shooting in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Here are a few more from the same roll.
The shots below were developed in Kodak Xtol Developer (stock solution) at 20C for 8 minutes.
Night Long Exposure of Gowanus Canal with Downtown Brooklyn in Background, Fuji Neopan Acros 100
This was a difficult exposure, because the canal itself was so dark and the sky was lit up brightly in the background. I split the difference and chose to properly expose the dark canal.
Long Exposure of Random Office Chair and Street Art by Gowanus Canal, Brooklyn, Fuji Neopan Acros 100 Film
This was an almost 3 minute exposure, because there was very little available light and I really wanted to bring out the detail in the shot.
You can see the bushes moving about in the wind right behind the boat sign on this shot. If I recall it was a short exposure (30 seconds) because of the strong street light just above it.
On Wednesday night, I met up with good pal Barry Yanowitz in Gowanus for some night time shooting. He had his Rollei loaded with Fujichrome T64 color slide film (of which he gave me a roll and I can’t wait to try out) and I had my Hasselblad loaded with Fuji Neopan Acros 100 black and white film. It was nice to catch up with him and also to discover that the canal waters had receded to their normal levels after Hurricane Sandy’s rude visit. We each shot one roll of film during the evening.
The shots below were developed in Kodak Xtol Developer (stock solution) at 20C for 8 minutes. I’ll post a few more next week.
On Tuesday night I took my Toyo 4×5 camera and two lenses out to Crown Heights, which is only four subway stops from our place. Our new favorite pizza joint Barboncino is there and right down the street Kate and I found an amazing old school candy shop. Anyway, I had a free night and I really wanted to get back to photograph the promenade and this amazing bodega.
It was still early, so there was a fair amount of foot and car traffic. The one minute exposure helped with the traffic.
Here’s the thing about using a larger format camera in a public place – you are going to draw attention. People know what it is, but they might not have seen one up close. This is a perfect opportunity to be an ambassador for film photography. People stop and ask questions:
“Wow, what kind of a camera is that?” or
“Oh man, this is old school!” or
“What are you doing?” and most of all,
“Wow, can I look in there?”
I think this is awesome. I ran into three men who knew exactly what large format cameras were, one of them used to shoot high school protraits with a large format rig. We talked for about 15 minutes as I waited for the sun to disappear behind the horizon. Since I wasn’t in a hurry anyway, I took the time to talk to everyone that stopped, answered their questions, and always let them look into the back through the ground glass. After all, I wasn’t in a hurry. That was what attracted me to shooting with this type of camera in the first place. The best conversations were with kids who had only seen a camera like this in movies or on TV. They were totally curious and started by trying to be too cool, but ended up geeking out by looking through the ground glass and posing for each other. I think I, a total stranger to this neighborhood, enjoyed myself more than they did.
Cropped Portion of Above Shot
To really get a sense of what a 4×5 negative can deliver, just click on this cropped image of the above shot. I only scanned these negatives at 1200 dpi, but they were already in excess of 20MB. Scanning them at my usual 2400 results in 80MB files that my computer really can’t work with in any efficient manner.
Last night I took my Hasselblad and Toyo 45AII to the Brooklyn Bridge. It was cold and rainy, but my new camera bag made it much easier to carry all that gear.
Medium ALICE Pack
I remember using an ALICE (All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment) pack back in my military days and thought it just might make a good bag to carry my gear in. It’s actually perfect (and super cheap!). I put two lenses in two of the three outside pockets. The other pocket held my focusing loupe, light meter, and flash light. Inside my Toyo 45AII, five film holders, and my Hasselblad 501cm fit perfectly. Now I just need to find a better way to carry my tripod.
The bridge still had a good amount of pedestrian and bike traffic, but the rain held off most of the usual crowd. Using the 4×5 camera on the bridge was interesting. I had a lot of onlookers and people asking questions. I let a German family look through the ground glass and they got a kick out of that.
I developed the film last night in Kodak Xtol Developer 1+1 solution. I haven’t noticed much of a difference between undiluted Xtol solution and a 1+1 solution, so I’ve switched to using the 1+1 to make my developer soltion last twice as long.
Long Exposure of Brooklyn Bridge Tower, Fuji Neopan Acros 100
Long Exposure of Brooklyn Bridge Tower in Mist, Fuji Neopan Acros 100
It’s rare for Kate and I venture up to Midtown. The combination of the crowds, nondescript buildings, traffic, and chain restaurants makes for my least favorite NYC experience. If I only knew Midtown and Times Square, I would never choose to visit or live here. There are exceptions though. Maybe two or three times a year, something will push us north of 23rd Street. Probably my favorite exception is the Bergorf Goodman holiday windows. Sure, you will find gorgeous, imaginative windows at Bloomingdales or Saks, but for an absolute knock-your- socks-off, gasp-inducing session of window gazing, park yourself in front of Bergdorf’s. I know their team must work year-round on these windows and I can’t even imagine the budget. I don’t even want to know.
On Wednesday night, Kate and I met in Midtown, she with her Nikon D90 and me with my Hasselblad and two rolls of Kodak Tri-X 400. For stunning, full-color pictures visit her blog Embarrassment of Riches. Her pictures truly do the displays justice. Mine, however… Let’s just say that a hulking medium format, manual-focus, non-metered camera with B&W 400 speed film is not the proper tool for shooting windows in Midtown during an evening rush hour. But I made the best of it.
Since it was dark, I set my handy pocket light meter to 1600 ISO and decided to push both rolls of Kodak Tri-X to 1600. This allowed me to shoot at a reasonable aperture of f5.6 or f8 with a decent speed of 1/125th a second or 1/60th of a second. Not ideal settings, but not horrible either. The challenge came when I had to stop an average of 23.5 times an exposure while someone popped up in front of me with an iPhone to take their own pictures. I say pictures, not picture, because each person took approximately 47 photos as I waited to take my one shot.
I consider the evening a success, though, because I didn’t yell at, shove, or punch anyone. I did gently nudge one particularly prolific iPhone shooter out of my way once.
These pictures are okay. If I cared to go back, I would go later in the evening with a tripod and a few rolls of Fuji Neopan Acros 100. The shots would be well-framed, longer exposures, of course – a huge improvement over these. But did I mention that it’s in midtown? I’m not going back until next year.
All pictures were taken with Hasselblad 501cm, a Zeiss Planar 80mm f2.8 lens, on Kodak Tri-X 400 pushed to 1600 and developed in a stock solution of Kodak Xtol developer for 8.75 minutes.
A break in the rain on Thursday night allowed me to head out to Prospect Park with a tripod for some long exposures. Most of these exposures were between 30 and 60 seconds at an aperture of f11 or f16 as metered by my Digisix light meter.
This roll was shot with Hasselblad 501cm on Fuji Neopan Acros 100 and developed in Kodak Xtol Developer at 21C for 7.5 minutes.
Tree and Prospect Park Lake at Night, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, Fuji Neopan Acros 100
Fallen Tree in Prospect Lake at Night, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, Fuji Neopan Acros 100
Tree and Moving Clouds at Night, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, Fuji Neopan Acros 100
Grand Army Plaza Arch at Night, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, Fuji Neopan Acros 100
Grand Army Plaza Fountain at Night, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, Fuji Neopan Acros 100
Bark Hot Dogs at Night, Park Slope, Brooklyn, Fuji Neopan Acros 100
Firo Grocery Bodega on St. Marks and 3rd Avenue at Night, Gowanus, Brooklyn, Fuji Neoapn Acros 100
Man at ATM of Paul’s Grocery and Fruits on 5th Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn, Fuji Neopan Acros 100
I have a talented Flickr contact named David who regularly posts botched photos on Fridays. He used to call it Failure Friday, but now it’s Freedom Friday (as in Freedom to Fail). I like these installments and often learn from his explanation of the process and what his intentions might have been.
A photographer shouldn’t be afraid of failing often. I know that failure is an odd concept in the age of digital photography, where we can take a shot, check the LCD screen, delete, adjust, and take the shot again. There’s very little mystery and no heartbreak involved: just keepers, then those bytes and bits relegated to the virtual trash bin or languishing on a hard drive.
But for a curious film photographer, failure is real. That roll you haven’t developed yet could be just what your experience has taught you to expect – solid and well exposed. It may even contain a shot or two that just makes you weak in the knees – somehow the quality of the light and the emulsion have combined to give you something so beautiful and unexpected that you treat it like a gift. On the other hand, that undeveloped roll could be brutally underwhelming. Maybe it was your first time using that film stock, a new technique, or you thought that you could make bad light into good.
I’ve recently started shooting long exposures and really enjoy the change of pace that night photography gives me. There’s no concern about the quality of the light or the harshness of the sun. There is only light from the buildings, signs, streetlights, and moon. For my first long exposures, I did my research and picked a tried-and-true film (Fuji Neopan Acros 100) that would be easy to use and develop at home. I was very happy with those two rolls, even stunned by the quiet beauty of a couple shots.
Excited about those shots, especially the ones of Jane’s Carousel, I got a little greedy and returned to the same spot in DUMBO a few days later. Unfortunately, in my enthusiasm I downplayed the inclemenent weather and I shot a black and white roll in a light rain and heavy wind. The results were exactly what I should have expected and I now understand that shooting into a 20mph wind negates the careful use of a tripod. Lesson learned: check the weather next time.
That night, I also used the roll of Fuji Velvia that I happened to have in my bag as an experiment. I didn’t check the fact sheet for the film. If I had, I would have known that Velvia is not recommended for anything past 64 seconds (doh!). This roll of twelve exposures was muddy and underexposed. And now I know why: reciprocity failure is very real with Velvia. I bracketed my exposures, but none of them turned out very well. The carousel is well-exposed, but the sky looks like a purple mess of coffee grounds were smeared across it.
Not all was lost that night though. Despite the wind and rain, I managed to salvage this shot on a roll of Fuji Neopan Acros 100.
I also didn’t do my research when using Astia film on the Hudson River. (Turns out, it’s fine up to and even past 120 seconds provided you account for reciprocity failure and up the exposure.)
The slides were mostly okay if a little underexposed. But what was most alarming was the color shift when I scanned them.
Scanned long exposure slide of Fuji Astia about 10-15 minutes after sunset. Hello purple sky and water!
After color correction the Astia slides turned out decent, but they were not sharp. The lights in the buildings across the Hudson River are soft and a little “blobby.” I realized at the time that my tripod was resting on steel grate, not concrete. Joggers and walkers were tromping past during exposures…I remarked to Kate at the time, “That can’t be good for my exposures.” It wasn’t. Another lesson learned.
Reflecting the Stars Lights on Hudson Piers, Fuji Astia 100, Long Exposure
This slide of One World Trade Center jutting into the sky is also pretty unremarkable, but at least it didn’t have the crazy color shift.
All images were shot with my Hasselblad 501cm and Zeiss Planar 80mm f2.8 lens.
The results weren’t catastrophic, just a bit of a letdown. I knew when I handed them over that I might be unhappy with the results. I consider these two rolls a learning process or a starting point.
I’ve had a tripod for ages and, until this weekend, have only used it twice. Despite the bulk and weight of my Hasselblad, I shoot handheld comfortably to speeds of 1/60 of a second and use a 400 speed film to get dusk shots.
For months though, I’ve been admiring the night work of a few Flickr contacts (Daniel Regner, Andrew Mangum, Bryan Vana, and Michael Wriston). With every new night photo of theirs I hit the Favorite button and marvel over that little extra something that a long exposure photo at night possesses. Their night photos are full of mystery and possibility. It’s as if time has stopped and anything (or absolutely nothing) can happen in that frame. And frankly, they also make it look like fun. Often someone else will be there capturing a shot of the photographer taking the shot; this behind the scenes photo will sometimes show up in the comment section.
Inspired by these intrepid nighthawks, Saturday night I loaded up my Hasselblad with Fuji Neopan Acros 100* and grabbed my tripod. I had a cable release (unused until then) in my camera bag already, so with camera, film, light meter, tripod, cable release, and watch I was ready to tackle long exposures.
I walked down to Brooklyn Bridge Park, set up my gear, and realized it’s really not that much work to do long exposures. I set the lens on the Hasselblad to Bulb setting, took a meter reading (between 2 and 3 EV), calculated a 30 second exposure at the tick between F11 and f16 and then hit the plunger of the cable release. I hadn’t brought a flashlight so my watch was useless. Luckily, I had my cell phone, which has a timer function on its clock app.
For my first experience with long exposures, I’m pretty happy with the results. These were developed in Kodak Xtol at 22C for 6.5 minutes.
*I chose Fuji Neopan Acros 100 to use because it has no reciprocity failure until 120 seconds.
You don’t normally think of black and white film as the perfect way to capture the last summer weekend at the beach, but I happened to have a roll in my bag and wanted to play around with silhouettes. Luckily the roll was 100 speed Fuji Neopan Acros instead of my usual Kodak Tri-X 400. With the maximum shutter speed of 1/500 of a second on the Hasselblad, I was just barely able to take these shots in extremely bright conditions. With a 400 speed film, I would have had to pull the Tri-X 400 two stops (develop at 100 ISO instead of the box speed of 400 ISO) or use a filter. These shots probably would have benefited from a filter anyway, but I didn’t have one with me.
I was happy with every shot from this twelve shot roll; here are a handful.
I developed this roll in Kodak Xtol developer at 22C for 6 minutes.
And of course I had to capture my favorite subject.
When I started thinking about what film to take for our trip, I immediately thought about my standard B&W film – Kodak Tri-X 400. I knew exactly what it would look like at night and I wanted those strong, ink-black images. Maybe I was looking at too much Brassai or something.
The weird thing is that I shot mostly color on this trip. We were blessed with perfect weather all four days and Paris really seemed better in color. I used Portra 160 NC or Portra 400 depending on the brightness and time of day. On two nights though, I loaded B&W film into the Nikon FM2n and took several pictures. Then I’d wake up the next morning with a bright sky and a yearning to shoot color. And of course there was still B&W Tri-X 400 rated at 1600 ISO in my camera. I probably should have taken a second Nikon body, but I didn’t want to drag around three cameras. What I ended up doing was quickly firing off some random shots on the way to our destination to use up the rest of the B&W and then popped in a color roll. I don’t normally do this, but we only had a long weekend.
That’s one of the limitations of film, you’re stuck with shooting what you have in your camera at the time. Digital does makes it so much easier, but then again digital will never look like this.
A Dark Corner, Paris
Series of Arched Doorways, Paris
A Waiter Smoking on Place Saint-Germain-des-Pres
I was really more interested in the corner of the building in the light than the waiter, but he wouldn’t leave.
Saint-Germain-des-Pres Metro Sign at Night, Paris
The Seine River at Night, Paris
Paris Street at Dusk
Busy Sidewalk and Paris Metro Sign at Night
I took a lot of pictures of Metro signs. I mean a lot. What the hell was I thinking?
All images were developed at home in Kodak Xtol Developer for 9.5 minutes.