A Hard Lesson in Patience | Park Life

Yesterday I spent the day in Parc Laurier. Hung out with a friend, got some nice shots of him. I got what I assumed were going to be great shots of some fellas playing petanque. Got a little of that park life.

And then I fucked up when I developed the film.

Putting 120 film on a developing reel inside of a darkroom bag while you can’t see what’s happening is easily the thing that tries my patience the most in my life. Getting it started can take anywhere from 7 seconds to 45 minutes. I can do it outside of the bag in seconds. When it’s inside the bag and I can’t see what’s happening, it’s a whole other story.

I did manage to get it start quite easily this morning, but it did not feel quite right. I thought, ah screw it, it’s good and just got it all wound up and in the tank.

And that was a mistake.

Only two pictures came out of that roll. The rest must have been crammed together somehow, and there was only a top part of an image for each of them. What I’m left with are these two unremarkable pictures that tell the story of how great the others would have looked. I used HC-110 dillution B for six minutes, agitating the TriX 400 roll only once a minute. I see the possibilities here, so I’ll wait for another cloudy day and hope I can capture some equally interesting moments.

Mile End Fire + Ultramar | Canon A-1 | Kodax Ultramax 400

This is the first roll I shot on my Canon A-1 and I’ve just now gotten around to developing it. I’m disappointed by the fire truck and EMT shots. I should have squeezed the aperture down lower, but I was afraid I’d miss the reds and yellows in the trucks.

They’re not fantastic shots, but a lot to be learned from them. I do like the Ultramar shots and the billboard. That Ultramax 400 seems to be a good choice for nighttime shots of high-contrast subjects.

Tiny Dancers | Mamiya M645 1000s | Kodak Ektar 100

It still amazes me that I’m able to have a photographic idea, set it up, put it into action, and then see that idea come to fruition all in the space of a few short hours. Being able to develop at home gives me that means to find out whether I’m right or wrong almost immediately.

That means that I can then take what I’ve learned from the first session and apply it to the next.

For this one, the concept was simple, the execution inelegant—but in the end, more effective than I’d hoped.

I keep seeing these photo background boxes pop up in eBay. The ones that people who photograph products might use as backgrounds, generally with a white or black inside. The idea was that I’d build one of these boxes, and photograph this small statue that I’ve been wanting to take pictures of for a while.

I’d intended to shoot it in black and white to try to force the contrast between the two ‘dancers,’ but I have been wanting to shoot some color in medium format for a while, and when my “solution” presented itself, I jumped at the opportunity.

All I had on hand was either large or small boxes, and some sheets of construction paper the would fit in neither one very well. Not necessarily out of frustration, but rather desperation, I stuffed a sheet into the small box, and then a couple of others to fill in all the corners, and came up with the backdrop you see here.

Instead of searching for perfect lines, I quite liked the way the background was imperfect—to me it looked like shooting dancers in front of some intentionally skewed lines in an art gallery or a city hall.

I set up the box on my kitchen counter, aimed one of my studio lights at it (from a couple of different angles), got my camera as close as I could, and played around with placement.

I measured the light but misinterpreted the measurements on the first few shots. I also added a little fat Buddha for another look, but the main intention was to get the dancers to look as interesting as possible.

There’s an interesting point between overexposed and underexposed where it seems to give the game away. It gets a little too real. The best shots, in my opinion, were slightly underexposed and brought out more of the background colour and less of the background definition. They’re all a bit interesting in their own way.

Judge for yourself below.

Found more pics from Havana | Minolta Hi-matic AF2 | Kodak Gold 200

Developed a couple of rolls this evening and found that I had a few pictures from Havana left that hadn’t been developed. The roll was still in the camera and didn’t go to the lab with the rest, so it was a nice surprise to see these.

They are in no way noteworthy. There’s nothing special about them other than some great memories. The first few are from the Universidad de La Habana (amazing morning, walked too much, had a spectacular ham and pineapple pizza), and there’s one of Wife and our favourite waitress at El Dandy in Old Havana.

There’s even one of a lovely couple of gals we met from the Netherlands and the old guy next to Hemingway is either me or the most entertaining British ex-filmmaker I’ve ever had the privilege of spending an afternoon belly to the bar with.

Mile End and Weird Exposures | Ilford Pan F 50 | Canon A-1 | 55m f1.8

This is the roll of film that made me fall in love with Ilford Pan F 50. A hazy day with just a little bit of light, and I’ve got some of the best pics I’ve ever taken. A little bit of sun in a cafe, spotlights on a beautiful wife, sunshine on a great friend all add up to some great shots.

But then a little weirdness. I think what happened to the ones that look double exposed is that they got wound up in the reel in such a way as to have a few of the photos stuck together. Hence the weird double exposures. It’s a drag because those shots look like they would have been great on their own, but we’ll go with the Bob Ross philosophy and call them a happy accident. I will be purchasing more Pan F just as soon as I’m able.