The best aspects of the film and analog photography community is that most people are eager to hang out and shoot together.
This post shares some memories of pre-covid times, along with two of my fellow CCR co-hosts and photography friends. On this walk I was able to hang out with John Meadows, Bill Smith and fellow film shooter Dan Novak of the Buffalo area in Western New York.
We could not have asked for a nicer day to stroll around Toronto. It was a beautiful July day back in 2019 before lockdowns and Covid-19 protocols.
I was shooting my Hasselblad 503cx loaded with Rollei Retro 80s with a Red #25 filter. Notice the extra punch of contrast the red filter adds. I recommend trying a deep red filter with 80s, I think you’ll love the results. There’s also something special about shooting square negatives!
Have you tried long exposure photography? Want to create some mystery, drama and an ethereal feel to your images? When shooting film we need to consider reciprocity failure.
When we first learn about photography, we’re taught to control camera shake and to use the fastest shutter speeds available to create sharp images. Later on, we add motion blur, and use techniques like panning to add a sense of movement or dynamic feel to our images. Long exposure photography is a great way to explore these elements of design.
I’m not going to write a dissertation on reciprocity failure. If you want to learn more Google is your friend.
If you’ve been shooting film for a while, you might be familiar with “reciprocity”. Reciprocity failure is when film loses its sensitivity at longer exposures (usually longer than 1 second). As a result, your image is underexposed. You need to increase exposure time to adjust for the film’s loss of sensitivity.
There a number of reciprocity Apps available. All films have their own reciprocity failure characteristics. An App is a great tool to have that information handy. You could also refer to the film manufacturers data sheets or website to see their reciprocity failure times.
The Magic Bullet?
Fuji Acros (the original stuff) is my favorite film for long exposures. Acros is not affected by reciprocity failure for exposures less than 2 minutes. I haven’t tested reciprocity on the new Acros yet.
Did You Leave the G.A.S. On? – Here’s What You’ll Need
There are really only three pieces (and a possible fourth) of equipment that are absolutely necessary:
A film camera with a “bulb” setting.
Shutter Release Cable/Remote.
The 10 Stop ND
A 10 stop ND filter blocks light by 10 stops of light. It allows you shoot long exposures during daylight hours. I use the Lee Filters 10 stop “Big Stopper”. I recommend starting with a +10 ND filter.
Tips & Tricks for Long Exposure Images
Movement and Stability!
An element of constant movement such as water, clouds, blowing trees, grass or people.
A strong, stable and unmoving subject, a tower, rocks, a building.
The combo of the two elements are required to see the full drama of long exposures!
I love infrared photography (IR). When done right, will get you some dramatic images. IR is a unique form of photography, that allows you to produce some “other worldly” like images.
IR requires you to step a little out of your comfort zone. In this post you will find a basic understanding of the limitations and behaviour of IR. I hope this article will encourage you to give IR a shot or several shots!
UNIQUE QUALITIES OF INFRARED
The beauty of IR comes from the mood and feel that you get with IR images. IR photography resemble an inversion of the images you would see in natural light. You might notice unusual patterns that aren’t normally visible. The differences are especially visible on foliage and flowers. Some foliage reflects more IR than others, and of course the main attraction are the dark dramatic skies that contrasts the white puffy clouds.
INFRARED BOOT CAMP
Infrared light is invisible to the human eye. To capture IR images you’ll need IR sensitive film like Rollei Infrared or Ilford SFX.
Firstly, an IR filter is required to block out visible light and only allow the IR light to pass through. IR filters are available in a range of intensities that range from 550 to 800 nanometers (nm). The lower the intensity (the number) of the filter allows the most visible light through and gives the least IR effect. Lower IR filters however, allow you to use higher shutter speeds.
The R72 IR filter only allows light wavelengths of 720 nm to pass through and is pretty much the standard filter for IR photography. The R72 will likely be the only IR filter you will buy. I used a R72 filter for all the images shown in this post.
A BASIC IR KIT
A manual camera, with a T or B setting.
A lens with a matching filter thread to mount your R72 Filter, or filter of your choice.
See item #1, your camera needs the ability to do long exposures to reduce camera shake use a cable release mirror lockup if you have it.
An Infrared film, to my knowledge Rollei IR (ISO400) is the only readily available true IR film available today, Ilford SFX is considered a near infrared film with “extended red sensitivity” this means it’s only sensitive to the strongest wavelengths of the IR spectrum.
EXPOSURE – RULES OF THUMB
An affordable and accurate IR light meter would be a great kickstarter idea!
Unfortunately photographers don’t have an infrared light meter in their kits today. So, what to do, it’s not an insurmountable problem by any means. IR comes from sunlight and with experience and experimentation you’ll likely get the best results on sunny and not so windy days with spaced fluffy clouds. The same rules of exposure such as sunny 16 apply to visible light photography. Due to the cost of film and my need for consistency and accurate exposure, I use a light meter.
I usually overexpose by 5-6 stops. For example, I rate 400 ISO film at EI 12 or EI 6. I also regularly bracket using baseline exposure compensation of +5 stops and shoot at a minimum aperture of f/8, and bracketing 1 stop over and under for a total of 3 bracketed exposures; -1, N, +1.
FOCUSING WITH IR
Ever wonder what the red or orange lines or numbers mean you the barrel of your lens? infrared light doesn’t focus on the same plane as visible light, it focuses slightly in front, this is called “infrared focus shift.”
This is easy to compensate to ensure sharp images, most lenses have a red infrared mark on the depth of field scale, once you achieve visible light focus you note that point and turn it to the infrared mark. I recommend shooting no wider than f/8. f/8 has enough deep depth of field that you likely not notice any degradation of sharpness. For most lenses as well f/8 is in the “sweet spot”. As a result at f/8 or higher your images will come out very sharp.
GO FOR IT!
Once you have a good understanding of the basics get out there and shoot! Most photographers, are keen on shooting green vegetation, blue skies smattered with big well defined puffy clouds. Remember that your blue skies will appear dark and black, your green leaves and foliage white and glowing. This combination will make for dramatic images. Be mindful that conditions may change quickly wait for sun blocking clouds to pass or make adjustments to exposure.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different scenes, backlit, side-lit, and front-lit scenes to see the effect on your images. Also switch it up try shooting people and see the effects of IR on various skin tones, and shoot some architecture as well.
There are some challenges and lessons to learn with IR photography. I’d bet you’ll love putting this technique in your arsenal, as Nike says “Just Do It!”
Recently, I had the honour and pleasure of hanging with my great friend John Meadows at the Only Cafe where we both “shot” each other! It was an honour being part of John’s project and I felt it only fitting that I return the favour. I shot a few portraits of John too.
John is a fellow co-host of the Classic Camera Revival Podcast (CCR). The CCR talks film, and film cameras to both educate (as much as we can) and of course contribute to the GAS of film photographers everywhere!
Shot on a Pentax 67II, Tri-X 400 at box, developed in Tmax Dev 1+9 at 20°C for 10m30s. I have a few more that I shot on my F6 on Tri-X coming soon. I hope you enjoy (especially John!) This is the entire roll and I’m having trouble picking a favourite!
Every photo taken with any given lens tells a story, is it any different with a super/ultra wide?
Which lenses are capable of telling the best stories, the meaningful ones, the dramatic ones? Most landscape photographers would likely tell your there isn’t a better lens for story telling than the wide angle.
What is a Wide Angle Lens?
Although considered to be members of the wide-angle family the 35mm and 28mm, in landscape photography the best stories are often told with the ultra-wide-angle lenses like the 14mm to 24mm range. Occasionally, fish-eye lenses offer some great effects. One of my favourite ultra-wide lenses is the Nikon 14mm to 24mm zoom lens.
Why so Wide?
There are several reasons to use ultra-wide lenses. Primarily, wide angle lenses are used for their large angle of view. Viewing angles of 84° for a 24mm and 115° for a 14mm lens are excellent choices. Most importantly the best attribute of them is substantial depth of field. A typical 28mm lens stopped down to f/22, will result in a depth of field in that scene from 3 feet to infinity. That’s a huge area of total area of sharpness. Compared to a 20mm lens at the same f-stop (f/22) the depth of field increases to 18 inches to infinity.
What does that extra 18 inches get you with an ultra-wide? It gives you a foot-and-a-half of usable sharp foreground. Most good quality wide-angle lenses more than any other type of lens are capable of capturing some very up close perspectives.
Note the deliberate inclusion of foreground elements to hook the viewer into the photograph.
The Stigma of Wide Angle
Despite their great qualities, ultra-wide-angle lenses often bear various stigmas from a lot of amateur photographers. Perhaps it’s due to the fact they might believe that it’s more challenging to create good compositions with them. Complaints such as, “it makes everything so small and seem so far away and there’s just too much distraction in the frame” are quite common in my experience. Often new photographers are taught that they need to “fill their frames” and as a result tend to gravitate to longer focal length lenses with really tight crops.
This is why they are my go-to lenses for the majority of my landscape photography. The scope of subject matter that an ultra-wide is able to include in the frame provides so much to manipulate. Wide angles allow you to emphasize foreground areas in compositions resulting in images that draw the viewer in.
Use Wide Angle to Add Elements of Design
Ultra-wide lenses amplify the sense of distance from fore to backgrounds. They create an illusion of depth and perspective. When used successfully they emphasize foreground components as a “hook” to instantly grab the viewer’s attention. The most admired landscape photographs include viewpoints with foreground interest such as, stones at the edge of a lake or stream, colourful wildflowers in bloom at the base of a mountain-scape.
Creating compositions with effective foreground interest make for images that evoke powerful emotional responses. These images can awaken the sense of smell, touch and sometimes taste. This allows the viewer to immerse themselves emotionally into the scene.