The big day finally arrived! I dropped off the rolls of film (Portra 160) to Paul Stack on Tuesday. On Thursday I got an email saying they were ready to be picked up, and I did so on Friday. I had tried to shoot the film at box speed, at close to the indicated exposure, and didn't give any special instructions about developing. If you've been following along, you know I had some adventures with the camera, see here. That explains why there's only 6 images instead of 16.
I chose to do DSLR scanning using a Canon 6D mk ii, with the Canon L f2.8 100 mm macro lens. The settings are ISO 400, f3.2 and exposure varied between 1/60 and 1/125. For this first time I mounted the camera underneath the tripod, with the light pad on the floor. Not the most convenient setup, but this is a bit of an experiment with the whole process. (If I'd had my wits about me I'd have taken a photo of the setup. Maybe next time. I was eager to see the scans.) I think what I'd like to do is create a permanent setup where I can clip the camera in, turn on the light pad, tweak the camera settings, and start shooting. However I'm not sure what that looks like just now.
Overall I'm pretty pleased. There were a bunch of firsts here:
-First time shooting a medium format camera.
-First time shooting a rangefinder focussing system.
-First time using a light meter (the iPhone app myLightMeter).
-First time scanning the negative with a DSLR.
-First time running the Negative Lab Pro software, which is pretty easy, and offers lots of choices for editing. Some are similar to Lightroom, some are not. I'm going to have to work with these a bit to see what works best for workflow. It's really easy to push the sliders and have have things look weird.
These photos are cropped and rotated to be square. They are lightly edited in Negative Lab Pro, and a few more tweaks in Lightroom. The first couple might be a bit dark.
Without further ado, here's the photos. 1 and 2 are Bebo Grove, and the rest are Shannon Terrace in Fish Creek.
3. This is actually the first shot I took. The blue car pops out nicely.
5. Bridge 2 is my favourite, but I wasn't going to walk on what might or might not be solid ice to get the nice shot looking up river.
I can say without hesitation they look different than digital photos, though I don't think I could describe how or why. The only one I don't actually like is the last one, the stump. I was feeling a bit rushed on that shot for no reason I can articulate, and I think it shows.
Even though the camera problems were frustrating, I kept in mind that it was a 40 year old device, and who knows when it was last shot. It could have been sitting on a shelf feeling unloved for a decade or more. The borrowed GL690 is a sweet shoot, though it doesn't feel as comfortable in my hands. I can't wait to have the GW back.
Editing for digital photos is mostly a no brainer now. My camera is set up to produce the images a certain way, I typically expose shots in a similar way, and it leads to doing similar things in Lightroom. Things are different working from a medium format negative. I emphatically do NOT want to edit them to look like they were shot digitally! So this is going to be a work in progress. I'll probably take some time and bang the sliders around on a virtual copy, just to see what they do.
One thing was right in my face. Dust spots. They aren't on the negative. I removed a bunch, and there's probably more. When I looked later the camera lens was filthy.
Something to try. Set up the camera so it shoots the the negative in portrait mode, and take 3 or 4 shots to create a panorama of one negative. Done right, this ought to bring up more detail.
My learnings, so far:
-Go through things methodically, step by step.
-Think about composition.
-Double check the light.
-Make sure the lens cap is off. (I didn't goof on that, but I'm told it's just a matter of time with a rangefinder.
-Take the time to get the settings and focus right.
-Clean the camera lens!
-Check for dust on the sensor and negatives and light pad.
-The camera needs to be a little closer to the negative, and block out more of the extraneous light.
There is a roll of B&W being developed, stay tuned.
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