An exciting find at a local general auction as added a new dimension to the images I can make with my 1900s New Countess 10×8 field camera.
The lens seems to be an ex-aerial photography lens made by Dallmeyer – F2.9 to 11 8″ focus length.
I love the 3-d like depth this lens creates in images. My only challenge with it is that since it lets in so much light I will need a shutter with it as exposure times are less than a second in daylight even with photo paper negatives at ISO 6!
Tempted by the low price I have some 10-year-old Kodabrome photographic paper to try as paper negative in my large format 10×8 1900s field camera.
I bought some IlFord Bromophen developer (as powder makes 5 litres diluting 1:3 for use) to process it.
Initial results show that is “fast” as its technical description says – at least ISO12 as compared to 6 for ilford multigrade RC paper. (nb ISO values vary with the type of light and, outdoors, with the amount of UV light – which varies by cloudiness, pollution and season! On a bright summer day the effective ISO can be 25)
The initial images show a much softer tonal gradation compared to the ilford paper and no pre-flashing is needed. Whether this is because if the age of the paper or its chemistry I don’t know – but I love it!
I have only tried the paper in the studio under studio fluorescent lights. It will be interesting to see how it behaves in natural light and natural light outdoors.
Saturday – A trip to Lacock Abbey and the Fox Talbot museum with the 10×8 and 4 negatives to shoot – sadly 3 big shadows on the images.
I ran a test on another fresh negative at home on Sunday morning and then went to Clevedon Pier as the day was grey and overcast – low contrast lighting which I was waiting for and 3 out of four shots here too with dark shadows.
I put a battery LED lamp inside the camera in the darkroom and went through the motions of adding the slide carrier, exposing the negative and replacing the dark slide to see if any light leaked out. On the second attempt yes – a light leak from the top of the camera as I was moving the dark slide. This was because one of the flimsy catches holding the camera back in place had slipped undone – something I noticed had happened at the pier, so I am pretty sure that is the source of the leak. I have added a strip of black felt along the top of the back of the camera body to help make a tighter seal and hopefully make the catches engaged more firmly. – So we try again tomorrow.
Here is the one more successful image of Lacock and Fox Talbot’s window.
Today I took the 100 year old large format (10×8) camera to Wales – waterfall country. Recent heavy rains meant a good flow of water over the falls.
I took 4 pieces of pre-flashed photo paper in the two dark slides plus some spare paper and my black-out changing bag. Today I would see if it was feasible to change the sheets “in the field”, having practiced at home in the darkroom – it did work , so I’ll definitely use the method again.
4 reasonably successful images of the first set of falls – I was exposing for mid grey – but the brightness of the water is blown out – so next time I’ll try underexposing and then leave the paper in the developer longer to bring out detail in the shadows – I think that’s how it works!? Exposure times of 4 -13s at F11-22 ISO 6.
The second waterfall site I visited – Henrhyd Falls was much more challenging as there was a lot of spray being blown off the falls. Also the tripod head wasn’t stable and kept moving so only one picture here. (4 seconds at F16 ISO 6)
All images here are scans of the original paper negatives which have been made positive in Lightroom.