Friday, 14 September 2018

A New Project - Fuji Velvia 100 slide film

I'd been promising to treat myself to a roll (or 2!) of Fuji Velvia 100 for some time now.  Fuji is notorious for stopping production of it's films at a moments notice (which reminds me that I have to stock up on some Acros 100!) and I want to try some of their colour slide film.

Fuji Velvia 100 has a reputation for super fine grain which gives great sharpness and, excellent colour representation.

This is a colour positive film, and used mostly for slides (remember?  those things that need a projector to view!)  It produces a positive image on a transparent base i.e. the film looks exactly like the scene.  What people are most used to are film negatives.  Now, these are called negatives because when you look at the film, the image is reversed; the lightest areas of the photo appear darker and the darker areas of the photo appear lighter.  Also, in the case of colour negatives, the colours are also reversed into their respective opposites.

The Fuji Velvia 100 has a couple of drawbacks that I have to remember.  It does not have the exposure latitude of a negative film.  Negative film has a lot of give and take when it comes to getting a correct exposure (about 3 stops) but with this film the latitude is only 1.5 stops.  It is also more contrasty than colour negative films I have used.  I have been doing some homework and there has been a trend to shoot this ISO 100 film at ISO 125 (that is about one third of a stop) to bring out more detail in shadowy areas that otherwise may turn out dark.  I think that because this is my first Velvia 100 film, I will shoot it at box speed to see how it turns out.  

A slight drawback with this film is that it does not develop in normal C-41 chemicals.  It requires E-6 chemicals and I will probably have to send it away or drive and drop it off (I think there is a place on the Central Coast that develops in E-6).

One other thing I look forward to is some long exposure photos.  I've read many reviews and all say that this Velvia 100 allegedly has a low reciprocity failure and can be exposed up to 3 minutes without a colour compensation filter.

This is not a film that I am going to go out and willy-nilly click through all exposures.  I want to plan my shots and record the settings.

Keep an eye out for the finished products!

Monday, 20 August 2018

Caves Beach and Pelican

Both of these locations are in the beautiful city of Lake Macquarie.  North of Sydney in NSW and just south of Newcastle, there are some great beaches and, of course, the lovely lake itself.

I have written about the lake before but, for those who came in late, here is a little bit of information for you.

Lake Macquarie is Australia's largest coastal salt water lagoon.  It's a decent size covering 110 square kilometers (42.5 square miles).  It is twice the size of Sydney Harbour and is one of the largest salt water lagoons in the southern hemisphere.   The lake is connected to the Tasman Sea via a channel through Pelican, Swansea and, Swansea Heads.

Caves Beach is located on the Swansea Peninsula just south of where Lake Macquarie runs into the sea.  It is named for the caves which are accessible during low tide.  It's beach is a well known surfing beach and the location is also popular for spearfishing.

Pelican is on the eastern foreshore of Lake Macquarie on the channel that runs out to the Tasman Sea.  It is popular with fisherman and boating enthusiasts, whether that be for skiing, sailing or, just hanging around in a small tinny catching dinner.  Pelican has some lovely parkland on the foreshore with electric BBQs and lots of picnic spots.  It is also a great area for swimming in the quiet waters of the lake.

Kim and I had decided to go down to Caves Beach for the afternoon to get out and explore the rock pools there.  Of course, I took my camera!  I also took my Tamron 10-24mm lens to get in with some wide angle shots!

The sunsets early over Caves Beach thanks to the high rock bluffs at the southern end of the beach.  Of course, within this bluff and cliff area are the amazing sea caves.  The tide and light was against us so we didn't venture into the caves.  Rather, I concentrated on the light reflecting off the rock pools as the sunlight faded.

Once we lost the light we decided to head home but, travelling north on the highway through Swansea, I realised that I would be able to catch the last of the light over the lake at Pelican.  We took a detour and arrived just as the Sun was sitting on the horizon and casting a lovely warm glow in the sky that reflected perfectly off the water of the lake.  Got a couple of nice photos before deciding to do some experimenting with silhouettes; as you will see!

Arriving home we toasted our lovely afternoon with a glass of red wine and contemplated how good life is!

Photos copyright © Life with Jordy Photography.
All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Bronica ETSRi and Fomapan 100 Classic

Wow, it's been a month since I posted!  That is way too long!

But, this is sort of a special occasion, so I hope you think it's been worth the wait!

For ages now I have been wanting to get another Medium Format film camera.  Nothing in particular, just a Medium Format film camera.  2 posts ago, in June, I introduced a couple of new additions to my film camera collection.

Here are the results from the Bronica ETRSi.  The Bronica ETRSi shoots in 6 x 4.5 format (which gives an actual frame size of 56mm x 42mm).  I get 15-16 exposures from the one roll.  This is great because my other Medium Format camera (Voigtlander Bessa 1) shoots in 6 x 9 format only gives me 8 exposures which is more expensive per exposure to develop and scan.

I took me a while to get used to this camera as I was shooting; the waist level finder can be difficult to compose a shot if you have never used one before.  The image through the waist level view finder is correct in the vertical plane but everything on the horizontal plane is reversed.  This is because there is only one mirror in the camera (unlike a 'normal' camera that has a 2nd mirror in a pentaprism viewfinder).  You have to move and tilt the camera along its axis to compose the shot and get it straight.  Apart from that, it is the same to operate this camera as it is any other camera; use the light meter (or sunny 16 rule if you are familiar with that) and change settings for each shot.

The lens is a standard size for this type of camera - 75mm Zenza Bronica EII f2.8.  This aperture may not seem as wide as some 35mm lenses but DOF in a medium format camera is much shallower because of the size of the negative.  It is a lovely sharp lens but I now have to pick up a new set of  filters to fit!

Winding the film onto the film back was a new experience too.  Read the instructions a few times and then found a great video on You Tube that showed it being done.

Not remembering to remove the dark slide from the film back also caused me some slight angst when taking a photo; I'd wrack my brain trying to troubleshoot the problem and them smack myself in the forehead once I saw the dark slide that was still in place!  I have 2 things from this camera to put into my pocket now; the lens cover and the dark slide.

For my first film I wanted to use a black & white.  I had some Fomapan 100 Classic sitting in the fridge that I had never used before.  I had purchased this film because it had been announced that my favourite black and white film, Fuji Acros 100, was to be discontinued and I wanted to start looking around for a replacement.

The Fomapan 100 Classic is billed as a fine grain, sharp film and, because it is a Panchromatic film, it has a wide range of halftones.  I wanted to see if it would fit the bill and, actually, I think I like it better!  Usually with the Fuji Acros 100, I would still have to digitally adjust the contrast because it seems a bit flat out of the scan.  These photos needed no adjustment in that regard.  It has great contrast and a wide exposure latitude (which means if I screw up the settings, I can still get a decent photo out of it!)

So, I'll let the photos speak for themselves.  Needless to say, I am loving the new Bronica; I look forward to acquiring new lenses, the hand grip and flash, a pentaprism viewfinder and an array of filters so I can expand its usefulness.  I still have quite a few rolls of Fomapan 100 Classic (in 120mm and 35mm) still in the fridge also so keep posted!

Photos Copyright © Life with Jordy Photography.
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Streets of Surfers Paradise

How remiss of me!  I'd had a great afternoon of street photography in the Cavill Mall at Surfers Paradise when we visited there last, and hadn't posted it yet!

We had been staying in a really nice AirBNB down at Tugun and had gone to Surfers Paradise for a river cruise up the Nerang River for lunch.  A very nice lunch and couple of wines whilst cruising the river and catching the sights.  After the cruise we walked up Cavill Avenue toward the beach; there was an afternoon market on, and we always love to browse at a market.  Of course, I had my camera and this area is a great place for street photography!

The Mall, and the Main Beach area was fairly buzzing.  It was the week before the Commonwealth Games and so there were last minute preparations going on as well as many international visitors who had arrived early to catch the Games.

I shot with my Canon 600D and 50mm f1.8 lens.  There were lots of different people in the Mall and those coming off the beach.  The 'theme' for Cavill Mall is the beach; everyone walks up to and back from the beach via Cavill Mall.  It has changed physically over the years with the addition of high rise buildings etc but the mood is still the same; sand and surf, sunlovers, some carrying surfboards, walking around in just swimwear; it's a very casual and laid back atmosphere and the feel of it hasn't changed since I used to visit from my home town of Beaudesert (about a 40 minute drive away) over 40 years ago!

Photos copyright ©Life with Jordy Photography
All Rights Reserved

Friday, 1 June 2018

The Collection Grows!

Well, what an exciting few weeks it has been!

My wife (Kim) and daughters went on a weekend trip north to Macksville.  One of my daughters was going to a wedding there and the girls decided to make a weekend of it.

Imagine my surprise when I get a photo from Kim of a film camera! They had been browsing in a bric-a-brac shop and she spied a Praktica LTL3 (35mm)!  It was priced at AU$39.  I zoomed in on the photo and it appeared in very good condition.  Kim must have been watching me and paying attention whenever I checked out vintage cameras in other stores; she wound the film winder, cocked the shutter and pushed the button to see if it would work ok.  She then opened the back and checked inside for any corrosion or damage and looked into the lens to see if it was clear.

She haggled with the store keeper and bought it home for me for AU$35!

It came with a Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Tessar 50mm f2.8 lens.  I had to replace the light seals and it has come up very nicely after a clean.  

I have loaded it with a Cinestill 50D film (crossing my fingers on that one considering the hassles with the last roll) and can't wait to get out and about on a sunny winters day!

A very spoiled husband!

I am always keeping an eye on (of all places!) Facebook Marketplace for film cameras.  Often people have a clean out and it seems most people aren't interested in a film camera anymore.

About a week and a half ago, a Zenza Bronica ETRSi (medium format) camera popped up in my feed.  It was very reasonably priced AU$300 and, appeared from the photos posted, to be in very good condition.  The seller had purchased it in the UK for a project that never quite got off the ground and she had never used it.  

Included in the deal was a Zenzanon EII 75mm f2.8 lens, a 120mm film back, waist finder and a 35mm film back also!

I was pretty excited to see the 35mm film back which, from all reports I read on line, was a panorama back.  That would be a lovely addition to the package.

I messaged her but the reply was that she was waiting on payment from an overseas buyer who was transferring monies the next day.  She did say that she would message me if that did not eventuate.  Well, true to her word, she messaged me the next day; she had not heard from her overseas buyer, would I be interested to have a look?

The next day, I went and checked it out.  Not a scratch on it!  Lovely clear lens and, the sweet sound of that shutter gave me goosebumps!  She did admit that she was not sure if the 35mm film back worked at all, hence the very reasonable price for the whole kit; she was throwing it in because it went with the camera.  It turned out that it was not the pano film back but just a normal 35mm sized back anyway.  I was not perturbed if the 35mm film back didn't work; I have quite a few 35mm film cameras!  If I can get it to work though, it will be a different way of shooting 35mm film.

So, done deal!  For AU$280 I bought home something I had been looking for for ages; a 2nd medium format camera!

The medium format camera I already have is a Voigtlander Bessa 1.  It shoots in 6x9 format and although I love the giant negatives, I only get 8 exposures from that camera.  This camera shoots in 6x4.5 format and will give me 15 exposures from the roll!

Tonight I have loaded it (that was an experience!) with a Fomapan Classic 100 black & white.  

It may take me a couple of weeks to get through both of these films but watch this space!

Photos copyright ©Life with Jordy Photography
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Variable ND Filter - Vario ND2-400 MMX

Recently, I purchased a couple of 'new' second hand lenses.  (see my earlier post, if you haven't already done so!)   

I was happy to see that included in that deal were 2 variable ND filters.  This was good because it meant that I didn't have to stack ND filters as I had been doing and also, I could focus through the variable filter at it's lightest setting and then adjust it to go darker without having to remove separate filters and then re-install them when I was ready to take the photo.

I went down to Rathmines where I knew there were some old piers of a wharf that had served the RAAF Base there when it was a Flying Boat Base.  It was my intention to use the variable filter to get some long exposure shots using the variable ND filter.

The filter I was using is a ND2-400.  ND2 being equivalent to 1 stop of exposure and ND400 being equivalent to 9 stops of exposure (according to Google!).  The filter cuts out the light coming into the camera.  This means that to get a properly exposed photo, the shutter speed slows right down and we are left with a long exposure photo.  You can see some examples of long exposure here in a previous blog post.

I took a few photos, chimping as I went along.  Now there's an interesting word; Chimping.  It is a virtual new word and simply means 'immediately looking at the result of a photo on a digital camera after each shot'.  Anyway, I wasn't entirely happy with the result.  Considering that the top level of the variable ND is equivalent to 9 stops (allegedly!) I was only getting a 2 second shutter speed from ISO100 at f22;  I had thought that I would get longer.

One thing about using the filter that I had not considered was the vignetting in each corner caused by using a filter on a wide angle lens.  This happened all the time when opened up wide to 10mm.

Another problem also showed up and this is a common problem found when using a circular polariser on a wide angle lens; it makes one part of the photo go darker.  Now, a variable ND filter is simply 2 pieces of polarising glass; one circular and the other linear.  One filter is turned to offset the polarisation, making the filter darker or lighter.  I did end up with this problem and a darker area appeared up the top of some photos, right in the middle!

I wasn't too impressed with my first use of a variable ND filter.

I think my next step is to purchase a 77mm filter holder and separate ND filters for this lens.  It may be a little more fiddly but I think it would give better results.  Once I have the holder to fit the lens, I can then purchase more filters for that as time goes on.

Photos Copyright ©Life with Jordy Photography
All Rights Reserved

The RAW file.  You can see the filter in the corners of the photo (at the widest of 10mm) and
the dark blotch in the middle at the top caused by the polarisation on a wide angle lens.
Shutter speed at  2.5 second.
It was always my intention to edit in B&W.  Photo edited in Nik Collection, Silver EFEX Pro.

Vignetting applied in Silver EFEX Pro helps to hide that dark blotch.

A New Project - Fuji Velvia 100 slide film

I'd been promising to treat myself to a roll (or 2!) of Fuji Velvia 100 for some time now.  Fuji is notorious for stopping producti...