It was supposed to be foggy everywhere yesterday, and it certainly was at home, so I headed for Dinorwig as I had a plan. It was of course not so foggy up there, even near the top! Didn’t expect too much, but thought I’d see how well my new Fuji S5 compares with my old S3 for colour under such conditions and plodded on. Turns out it was a good idea, though I wasn’t there long a handful of opportunities presented themselves and the S5 managed fine, even as the last embers of light faded away.
The last couple of rolls of Ektar seem to have missed the processor!
Here’s a few examples. Have to say I’m loving this film under blue skies, not so much under my favourite conditions of cloud cover with sun spots though, it always comes out flat and doesn’t pick out the sunspots at all. Not to worry, I have Velvia for that, and the newly acquired S3 of course 🙂
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!
Seems my Signs feature became very occasional! Nearly a year since the first installment! Actually I do have some taken in between but haven’t posted. Maybe signs 3 will be a retrospective. Anyway, the 2nd installment. This is the former smithy on Pen Diphwys level of Dinorwig. Seems it’s played host to an impromptu camp!
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 🙂