Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Yes! You can Freeze your Film!

I recently went out to Port Stephens with my daughter Kassandra.  Our intent was to do some walking up Mount Tomaree where there are wonderful views of the Port Stephens area, Shoal Bay, Zenith Beach and across the Bay to Winda Woppa and Tea Gardens.  It's a beautiful spot and the walk can be a little challenging carrying a bag full of camera gear.

So, I decided to lighten the load a little and only took a film camera and 2 x rolls of Fuji Superia 100 colour film.

We arrived at Anna Bay but, because it was a beautiful day the place was packed up to the gunwales and there seriously was not a car park to be found anywhere.  We decided to drive on to Fingal Bay and see what that area had to offer.  Arriving at a lovely park with a great view 'Barry Park' on Pacific Drive we discovered that there was a walking track that followed the coastline south around Fingal Head.  This gave us great views of Fingal Bay and some of the smaller islands that lie off the coast from there.

The 2 rolls of Fuji Superia 100 were sorta special.   They had been gifted to me last year and, although the expiry year was 2005, they had been frozen since purchase.  The film was also stored in zip lock bags which had the air sucked out of them.  I was eager to get out and about and use the film to test just how successful it is to freeze your film.  I had read quite a few articles about freezing film and the tech reasons behind doing so.  Basically, freezing stops the emulsion on the film from degrading over time and keeps it fresh.  So, ignoring all of the rules about exposure values for expired film, I decided to shoot it at box speed.  Before loading the film I removed the lid off the canister and let it thaw out overnight.

My camera of choice for the day was a Pentax SFXn 35mm with a Sigma 28-80mm f3.5-5.6 Macro Zoom.  The lens gave me some leeway from wide angle with the ability to zoom should I need it.  As you will see, the Macro function also came in very handy with some of the flora that was found along the way.

The results speak for themselves here!  The film turned out wonderfully!  As can happen with expired film, there is no loss of colour, no ultra graininess, no age misting.  It appears that freezing the film has maintained its freshness over the years.  I have some more rolls ready to go to the lab and will drop them in next week; stay tuned!

These photos can be purchased.  Contact Me if interested.

Copyright © Life with Jordy Photography
All Rights Reserved.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Silver Efex Pro 2 - the Nik Collection

I recall years ago when I purchased my first DSLR, I was in a quandary about which editing software I should use.

As I started to search the Internet, one programme that stood out to me was Silver Efex Pro.  I used to search for photos edited in Silver Efex Pro; it seemed to be the very software that I was looking for.  It had all that I wanted for converting my photos to Black & White apart from just hitting a 'convert' button on some generic programme that came pre-loaded on Windows 95.  It did make it difficult, however, that the software was developed in the USA.  I searched the shops here in Australia but it seemed that no one had it available.

As a couple of years went by, I began to note that it was but one of a few photo editing programmes developed by a company called Nik Software, owned by private investors plus the camera giant Nikon.   Finally, about 9 years ago (or thereabouts), thanks to an article I found online, I was able to purchase the entire Nik Collection via internet download for $149.  I jumped at it and have never looked back.

In 2012, Google purchased The Nik Collection along with popular Nik Software programme 'Snapseed'.  A short while later, Google was giving away the Nik Collection for free!  Whilst many photographers were dancing in the streets about that news, it was dampened by the news only a short time later that Google was not going to upgrade the Nik Collection and that it planned to discontinue the software.  I believe that the reasoning for this was that Google wanted people to use the Snapseed programme and also use the on line editing for its new formed Google Photos page.  

A lot of sad photographers over the world realised that, with the advent of new operating systems and 64 bit processing, the Nik Collection would gradually become defunct if not upgraded.

But there was to be a reprieve on the horizon.  Once Google announced it was not updating the Nik Collection, enter DxO, a company already known for its advanced image processing tech.  DxO acquired the Nik Collection.  They were able to update the source code to make it compatible with modern Operating Systems and as plugins for other photo editing software.

Silver Efex Pro is great software for black & white conversion.  It emulates many of the effects and skills of the darkroom through preset functions.  These presets are not written in stone though, each one comes with slide controllers for a finer adjustment which means that I can take a generic preset and adjust it exactly to my liking.  I can also save any changes to a personal preset and keep it for later use.  It also uses 'U-Point' technology that allows for localised adjustments within a photo without having to adjust the entire photo.

Now that I have given you that little snippet of Nik Collection history, have a look at how I put it to use.

So, about a week or so ago, I was at a loose end.  We have been having the worst Summer heat wave that I have seen for years!  As a result I'd been hibernating inside in the air conditioning to escape the heat and the Sun.  I sat down at the computer and decided that I was going to re-visit some files and re-edit them in black & white with Silver Efex Pro.

My favourite preset in Silver Efex Pro is definitely the Film Noir 1 preset.  It enhances the contrast of the original file, and puts a level of grain into the photo that reminds me of Ilford Delta 3200 film.  Sometimes I keep the grain because it has a certain air of nostalgia about it.  The preset also puts a white border around the photo, reminiscent of the old style prints printed in a dark room as opposed to an electronic machine.  I remove the white frame because I prefer the subject of my photo to go right to the edge.  Also around the edge of the frame is a vignette that can be adjusted to represent either a burn or dodge process.  The software also offers a selection of film types; mimicking the results that would be found if processing from film. It also comes with a range of colour tones that can enhance a photo to make it look old.

Here are the results of that mini project that kept me busy for a few days.

These photos can be made available as prints.  Contact me if interested.

Copyright © Life with Jordy Photography
All Rights Reserved

2012 Pittwater to Port Stephens Yacht Race.  The yachts stopped over in Newcastle
for the night.
Port Hunter, Newcastle, Australia

2012 Pittwater to Port Stephens Yacht Race.  Yachts jostle for position prior to the start of
the 2nd leg of the race from - Newcastle, Australia

2012 Pittwater to Port Stephens Yacht Race.  Yachts racing out to sea for the final leg.
Port Hunter, Newcastle, Australia

May 2011.  A famous Newcastle icon building on the left; The Star Hotel.
 It has since been renovated and is looking wonderful with al fresco dining
outside of a night in the laneway.
Devonshire Street, Newcastle, Australia

May 2011.  This entire area has been renovated since and looks totally different today!
Newcastle, Australia

May 2011.  This entire area has been renovated since and looks totally different today!
Newcastle, Australia

Rainforest - Dorrigo National Park, Dorrigo, Australia.

The applying of the black & white effect on this has it reminding me of a
French Provincial scene.  It is
actually just outside of Dorrigo, NSW, Australia

An awesome looking country fence!
Nymboida, Australia

Abandoned Farm House - Trenayr, NSW, Australia

Abandoned at Trenayr, NSW, Australia

Saturday, 9 February 2019

New Life for an old Camera - Yashica EE Rangefinder

Well, a post about this camera has been a long time coming!

This Yashica EE with Yashinon 45mm f1.9 lens belonged to Kims Dad.  Ken used it quite a bit, for family photos and,  for slides from his overseas trips.  He gifted it to me when he found out that I still love to shoot with film.  So, even though it cost me nothing, there is no price to be put on the sentimental value of such (from what I can see) a rare camera.

It came in the original leather case, as most cameras from that era did.  This case has protected the camera very well over the years.  Nary a scratch on the metal and the leatherette is still in perfect condition.  

The Copal SVA shutter has settings from 1/500 sec through to Bulb (500, 250, 125, 60, 30, 15, 8, 4, 2, 1, Bulb).  Aperture ranges from f1.9 to f16 and ISO is from 10 to 800.

I gave it the usual going over when I first got it; wind the crank, fire the shutter, check the workings inside.  The lens was free of mould but, as with a lot of older cameras, there was a problem with the shutter.  The shutter was working but would not open wider than about f16.  The shutter on older cameras can be a problem sometimes; not from a mechanical defect point of view but simply because a camera has sat unused for a long time.  Fine dust that has entered the camera throughout its life can settle and cause the shutter blades to jam.  Also, any lubricant initially used in the camera can dry over a period of time.  That, mixed with that fine dust, is what can jam a camera shutter.

The camera sat in my camera display case for a couple of years.  I was loathe to send it away for a service by mail, it being such a precious, sentimental thing, so I started searching on line for tips and tricks to try and find a solution I could apply at home.  

One such solution was that sometimes the shutter can stick because of a faulty or dirty timer spring.   I read a few accounts from other photographers who had had this problem and had fixed it by cleaning the timer spring which then had a flow on effect to the shutter workings.  I didn't want to take the lens apart so, I looked at the problem and came up with what I hoped would be a simplistic fix. 

First, I took my monster blower and blew out those areas of the lens that were open, where the controls for ISO, Flash setting and Timer appear out of the casing.  Once that cyclone had blown through, I flooded the timer spring gap from where the lever comes out of the lens casing with Isopropyl Alcohol and left it to works its cleaning wonders.  Isopropyl Alcohol is 90% proof and the good thing about it is that it cleans and then evaporates leaving no sticky residue. After about 4 hours, I started turning the aperture control ring and the aperture blades started moving!  I also noted that when I fired the shutter the timer lever started to move back to its proper setting.  For the next hour, I turned the aperture control ring and fired the shutter so that any remaining sticky stuff would wear out and loosen the blades even more.  I let the camera sit overnight; next morning the blades were stuck again but at a larger aperture setting.  Long story short, this is what I did for the next few days; spray and work the mechanisms.  It worked!  The aperture started working as it should and the timer lever reset itself.

I loaded a film and that is when I noticed the next problem, although, if you know how to work a camera manually and use a light meter, this is not a big problem.  The Yashica EE has Selenium Cells surrounding the lens.  For those not familiar with the tech specs for selenium cells, they are an electro magnetic instrument that are light sensitive and produce an electric current when exposed to light.  The resultant high or low current is determined by the brightness (or dullness) of the light around the subject.  The high/low current moves a needle within the viewfinder of the camera indicating over or under exposure.  Selenium meters degrade over the years to constant exposure to light and unfortunately the cells on this camera have past their use by date.  

This photo shows the Selenium Cells that surround the lens.
About time I mentioned the film I was using.  I chose Fomapan Classic 100 black and white film.  I love this film!  It is not as fine grained as some of the other modern B&W films I have used (Acros 100 comes to mind!) but although it is a more traditional grain, it can still give sharp renditions.  It also has a wonderfully classic, warm feel about it.  Like most films, it has a wide exposure latitude which allows a greater variance of exposure and still produces an acceptable photograph.

In memory of Ken Rendoth who recorded his life through the lens of this camera.

Copyright ©Life with Jordy Photography
All Rights Reserved

Kim & Barney.  Barneys fav toy is a floating yellow boomerang.
Booragul - Lake Macquarie, Australia.

Rocky running around with his fav toy!
Booragul - Lake Macquarie, Australia.

Barney is very happy running around with his toy and then jumping in the lake for a swim!
Booragul - Lake Macquarie, Australia.

Rocky loves to play fetch with his toy but he also loves trying to rip it apart as well!
Booragul - Lake Macquarie, Australia.

Barney loves to go swimming.  Luckily his toy floats!
Booragul - Lake Macquarie, Australia.

Rhiannans' Birthday.  Shot at f5.6 1/250

My girls - shot at f5.6 at 1/250.

Kasey - shot at f5.6 at 1/250

Architecture - Newcastle, Australia.

Hunter Street Mall - Newcastle, Australia.

The State Government removed the heavy rail line into Newcastle a few years ago.
The railway station has been renovated and turned into an open air events location.
This was taken on a very  hot, clear blue sky in the middle of the day.
See how the film still shows detail in the very bright area.  This is what they mean by the term
exposure latitude.  f4 at 1/60.
Newcastle, Australia.

The renovated railway station has a cafe now.  I haven't tried
their wares but will wait until the current heatwave has past!
f4 at 1/125
Newcastle, Australia.

Once the heavy rail line into Newcastle was closed, work started on a light rail tram system.
  It runs virtually the entire length of Hunter St and up into Scott St from a new constructed
transport interchange station at Wickham.  It has only just been finished and is now partially
operating as of a few days ago.  Might be interesting to have a day in Newcastle and ride the trams!     f11 at 1/250.
Scott Street, Newcastle, Australia.

Pacific Street, Newcastle, Australia.   f11  at  1/250.

Students take refuge in the Gazebo shade during the recent shocking heatwave we have
been experiencing in Australia.  f11  at  1/250.
Pacific Park - Newcastle, Australia.

Bar Petite and the East End Hub.  f11  at  1/250.
Newcastle, Australia.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Afternoon in the Heat!

Newcastle, and the rest of Australia, are in the grip of a heatwave!   Here at Newcastle the temperatures have been in the mid to high 30's (Celcius).  Today it is currently 38℃ (about 100℉ in our backyard) and considering it is 3pm here at the moment, it could climb further!.  For the last week the lowest overnight temperature was 21℃  and  the highest day temperature was 40.2℃ (104.4℉ for my friends who are not metric!)  The constant heat of a heatwave just sucks the energy from you!

I have been basically hibernating in the air conditioning at home when not working; it is just too hot to be out and about with cameras.  Perspiration makes for wet, sticky hands which can ruin the leatherette on a camera.  I had a melanoma removed some years ago and I am a bit averse to go out into a day that will fry you after 5 minutes!

So, when the temperature dropped for a short while last week, I grabbed my gear and headed on out to the beach at Newcastle.

My intention that afternoon was to hang around until Sunset.  The big Aussie sky was filled with Cirrocumulus Cloud (little fluffy ones that remind me of a school of fish for some reason!)  I figured that if I went to the end of Nobbys Breakwall, I would get some lovely Sunset photos with these clouds being present for most of the afternoon!

I arrived a couple of hours early for Sunset and went down to Nobbys Beach to start off the afternoon.  It is a lovely beach and you can see all the way up  the beach to Nobbys Lighthouse and the Meteorological buildings.

A couple of photos there and then moved down to Newcastle Beach.  An obligatory photo of the Ocean Baths Pumphouse and of people wading in the Canoe Pool just in an effort to keep cool.

From there I drove up to Nobbys Beach and began the 1.5km walk up to the end of the Newcastle Breakwall.  It wasn't too bad, about 31℃ but there was a sea breeze which made it bearable.  On reaching the end of the breakwall I turned to see where exactly the Sun would set and how I could work it in with the lighthouse and the water in the harbour.  Uh-oh!  My lovely high altitude Cirrocumulus Cloud, which would've looked great just after Sunset, had been replaced by darker Altostratus Cloud which blocked the Sun as it was going down and put paid to any chance of a golden Sunset!

Now, this had happened to me before and I have learned to stick it out because you never know just what will happen!  I took a few photos from the end of the breakwall but unfortunately, the cloud just got thicker as it moved eastward and blocked the Sun entirely.  No lovely golden Sunset for me on that night!

It wasn't an entire waste of the afternoon.  I did get some good photos of Nobbys Beach and down at the Canoe Pool earlier.

© Life with Jordy Photography
All Rights Reserved

Here you can see those beautiful clouds that had me all excited about the possibilities of the Sunset!
Nobbys Beach - Newcastle, Australia.
Looking up to Nobbys Point from Shortland Esplanade.
Newcastle, Australia
The Sun was getting low and the exposure was a little blown out.  I took three bracketed shots at +/- 1 EV
to merge for a High Dynamic Range photo which I edited with the Nik Collection HDR Efex Pro software.
Ocean Baths - Newcastle, Australia

The same photo as the one above.  Converted to Black & White in the Nik Collection
Silver Efex Pro software.  It is part of my work flow to see how photos will look in Black & White as I edit.
Really liked how this one has turned out!
Ocean Baths - Newcastle, Australia.
It was much cooler on the coast!  This young bloke had the right idea!
See that 'waterhole' in the middle of the photo?  The water in there comes
in via a crevice in the rock.  Each time the waves crash against the rocks
the water pours in through the crevice and the water level rises.  Mind you
it disappears just as quick too!  This young man spent most of his time
jumping in and out as the water reached its highest point.  The man standing
on the rocks was counting the waves to determine the set for when the
biggest wave would hit.
Rock Pools near the Ocean Baths - Newcastle, Australia.
The leap of faith.  Here we see that young fella jumping in when the water
was at it's peak.  I should probably have changed lenses to get a bit
closer in with this shot but there was a lot of sea spray around and I
didn't want anything to get into the camera!
Rock Pools near the Ocean Baths - Newcastle, Australia.
As soon as I had taken this I knew exactly how I was going to edit it.  Taking the photo directly into the Sun
didn't do much for the exposure and I knew how good it would look with an edit in the Nik Collection
Silver Efex Pro software.  I used the 'Film Noir' preset, which gives a very contrasty finish and added
a burnt vignette.  I think this edit highlights the very mood of the afternoon; everything burned to a
black finish by the hot Sun as the surfer seeks the cool solace of the water.
Canoe Pool - Newcastle, Australia.
Many people decided to just go for a quick paddle in the shallows of the Canoe Pool.
Newcastle, Australia.
This Newcastle Icon is like a magnet for photographers.  The Pump House
of the Ocean Baths.  Every time I see it the light is different in some way and
so I simply have to take a photo.  There was a big blowout in exposure
where the shade from the Ocean Baths wall cut across the Pump House so
I bracketed my shots +/- 2 EV to obtain a better overall exposure after merging
in the Nik Collection HDR software.  Further edited in PS using the Burn
& Dodge tool.
Ocean Baths Pump House - Newcastle, Australia.

So, this is how the lovely high altitude cloud turned out when I reached the end of the breakwall
to get some Sunset photos.  As you can see, the heavier cloud in the west had moved in and was moving
east so it was going to be blocking all that lovely golden light that I had hoped I would capture.
It was still a lovely afternoon out on the breakwall though!
Newcastle, Australia
And this is what was left of the 'Sunset'.  I was lucky to capture that little bright gold hint of colour!
Nobbys Lighthouse - Newcastle, Australia

Yes! You can Freeze your Film!

I recently went out to Port Stephens with my daughter Kassandra.  Our intent was to do some walking up Mount Tomaree where there are wonde...