Well it is the end of the year afterall! 2012 for me was a year of experimentation, trying new things and learning. Not all has been successful, but hopefully I can use this new found knowledge to good effect in 2013. The biggest change in 2012 was a move to home developed film. This meant a massive overhaul in gear, losing all my digital gear in favour of an Olympus OM film system. That turned out to be a bit of a mistake, and I’m now back with a DSLR as well, though film is still one of my main passions in photography.
Adox CMS20 is an ultra fine grained document film, which boasts not only invisible grain but also an ultra high resolution of around 400lp/mm, that’s pretty damned imoressive! Why isn’t it popular then? Because it’s slow. Glacier slow.
However Caffenol can change that! Caffenol can up the useable speed to 160, Provided you like the look if gives which I have decided is T-max on steroids! You get the same dark and deep shadows with cris detailed highlights that you get with Kodak’s own wonder film, but you get none of the grain and a lot more detail!
To try it out I took t to Dinorwig on a forum meet up, and it didn’t disappoint. These are all straight from the scanner without any dust removal. (The dosnside of a film like this is the dust is bitingly obvious when there’s no grain to mask it!)
It works incredibly well in flat light, bringing out tons of detail that would otherwise be murky. The climbers were shot handheld at 1/125 on a 135mm lens at f2.8necessary I’m afraid, otherwise there would be a whole lot more detail available in the rock. The slate fence and the compressed air pipe both show amazing texture detail!
The film has a fantastic dynamic range, well beyond my scanner’s capability which is a shame, and means grads will be a necessity for landscape work.
The recipe for 300ml:
Coffee 5g; Decahydrate Soda Crystals 10g; Ascorbic Acid 0.7g.
Development time 21 minutes, constant agitation for 1 minute then every 5 minutes.
This stuff fixes nearly instantly – if you use rapid fixer at 1:4 strength then it probably would be instant i na fresh mix. I’m using a seasoned 1:6 mix and it still fixes in around 10 seconds flat! The fixer is turned bright pink, which goes after a while back in the bottle.
So there you go, a new film to play with, capable of remarkable enlargements when done optically, (not so if scanned, film scanners suck) and offering remarkable detail in a 35mm negative!
As the weather started to change I headed up to Dinorwic to finally achieve what I’ve never done – reach the summit of Garrett quarry! I’d already reached the top of Braich on my first ever visit, and now I have touched the top on the opposite corner.
It’s a strange place the top corner of Dinorwic. It’s much less visited and feels a lot more eerie and somehow forgotten, despite having a lovely road running right up to Swallow level.
The character of this corner is very much different, the buildings feel a lot less elegant, they are more substantial and have a very utilitarian feel. The Mill at Twll Mwg for example feels like some kind of Bastion or last retreat rather than the big airy mill on Australia level or the even larger ones at Steam Mills.
It’s also a very recent section of the quarry – the present Inclines were not built until the 20th century, and even the famous Penrhydd Bach loco she did not appear until then.
Anyway, onto the photos that have made it!
One is the interior of Penrhydd bach shed, shot Contre Jour, it gives a real sense of the decay. Yes it really is leaning that much!
The other is of the Garrett pit viewed from Bonc Roller (Point of Interest: bonc Roller is a name given to galleries at the top of an incline,yet Bonc Roller is currently half way up on. It was however the top of the original A6 incline which is still partly in evidence) – even here the scale of the hole in the ground is not fully revealed. It’s a weird thing but at the top of the quarry you don’t see the bottom and somehow it seems smaller, but when stood on the narrow gallery on Swallow level you really know about the size of the hole! But that is for another shoot 🙂
A small local trip, to a place not very far from my home yet somehwere I have not been before – Trwyn Llanbedrog. The idea was simple – check out whether it’ worth a return visit! Naturally, I took pictures this time round too! The wind was biting, despite the beautiful cloudless sky! (You won’t hear me say beautiful and cloudless often!)
Gwaith Canol is one of many small scale granite quarries on the headland, but it has left the most photogenic set of remains – those of it’s jetty on what is now known as Quarry Beach. Between 1885 and 1921 it was operated by Llanbedrog Granite Co. Ltd, and was likely in the hands of 1873 Llanbedrog Quarry Co. Ltd before that. Between 1895 and 1900 the agent was a Thomas Lee Roberts, who was also fiddling around with other mineral prospects in the county.
The technicalities: Pentax LX with SMC-M 50mm f1.4 shot onto Kodak BW400CN film at EI50 (Red Filter in place), developed in Caffenol CH 1+1 dilution for 16 minutes. There was a little isue with uneven development which I reckon was down to the dilution of Sodium Bromide, will use a little extra next time to make up for it.
Finally got round to developing some Rollei IR 400 that had been sat waiting since October. Not only was this a good thing to finally see the images, but it was my first ever home development and the first attempt at using Caffenol.
The first film was given 16minutes, wrong move unfortunately, but the 2nd at 25 minutes was just right. There is also a 3rd at 30 mins but it’s not got a lot of interest on it. Luckily Film no.2 was a real cracker!
Now I just need to perfect my Negative handling as I’ve noticed a fair few drying marks and so on, although dust is considerably less than the labs I’ve previously used!