I have been on vacation this week and had a chance to bring my dad with me on a fun early afternoon of photography at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens. I recently purchased ten rolls of Ilford HP5+in 120 format for my Bronica and I have been itching to use it. I am on a black and white kick right now and the Bronica is so tight with Black and White!
I took the Fujifilm X-T20 with me for Dad to use since it has in-camera stabilization and full A-mode (plus a crazy beautiful X-Trans sensor and several great Fujifilm film emulations… but I digress) and I took the Bronica. I almost envied him because he got the camera strap and I had to lug the Bronica around like Henri Cartier Bresson casually tucking a Leica III behind the back. It is a heavy camera, but man it makes great photos.
I developed the film in Adox Rodinal 1:100 for 1 hour, and did an odd detour of 10 seconds of agitation ever 15 minutes. I use the swizzle stick method of agitation instead of inversions out of necessity — I lost the cap to my daylight tank. Yeah, it’s probably behind the fridge or under a cabinet but I’m too lazy to look and the stick works fine. I have, however, been getting some thin negatives so I figured agitation would help. It didn’t. I still had to dump the blacks in post and tweak the contrast a bit.
The other issue I have is that I don’t trust the light meters in my cameras very much. They mostly use odd batteries (many of them require mercury) and I just would rather carry a hand-held light meter with me. The downside to this is I’m using my phone and the Light Meter app. This isn’t all bad, it’s just not as convenient as my Sekonic hand held meter. With the phone I have to dig it out of my pocket, unlock it, launch the app (if I forgot to leave it open after the last spot-check) and then try and get a good reading. With the Sekonic it just hangs around my neck and I point and press for a good reading. In short, a good many of my shots might have been over-exposed.
I say might have been under-exposed because I really can’t tell on this laptop screen. It’s brightness and color are way weird so half the time my shots are find out of the camera, but look over-exposed on the screen so I drop the exposure in post and find by the time it gets to any other monitor it’s a tad dark. One of these days I’ll invest in a real computer with a monitor and put this old laptop to bed.
I really enjoy the Bronica. I use the 75mm f/2.8 lens on it, and all of the shots in this post are at f/4. The bokeh is so nice. The stray dust and hair on the negative… not so much. The above Shape is a new sculpture I haven’t seen before at the Dixon. It’s over near the newest addition to the main campus. I also noticed they moved some of the benches to different areas, but overall it’s still such a beautiful and peaceful place to hang out, and I never lack for subjects to photograph.
Above is a shot that is maybe exposed properly ? Hard to tell on the laptop screen.
I still think part of it is the Rodinal. I’ve been toying with the idea of trying some Kodak HC-110 developer instead of Rodinal. I have D-76 here, but since I rarely shoot black and white, my developer goes stale before I’ve really put it to good use. It’s kindof a waste of money to mix a fresh batch (1 Gallon) for a handful of rolls. Rodinal is 1:100 (ml) so a medicine spoon full of it mixed with the appropriate amount of water is a good one-shot developer.
Sometimes I take photos of odd things on the ground. This was a tree root reaching out across our path. I thought the Y-shaped pattern was cool and the heart-shaped knuckle sticking out of the ground was interesting.
I’ve still got 7 rolls of HP5+ left and then probably another 7 rolls of color to run through the Bronica. After that, I might hang out with my Fujifilm X-T20 for a while. I feel like I’m neglecting a big investment just to stay true to the Film photographer in me and I need to listen to my guilt occasionally.