Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Wide Experience... Of 6x17 Proportions!

Yay! I got my new 6x17 back for my 4x5 camera. Boy this thing is fun. I enjoy it much more than about any camera I have ever used. It's neat to look through the ground glass and see the actual panoramic image you're about to make.

So, I used some old expired film to make some test shots to see if there were any light leaks. Of course, I did something stupid and only shot one scene, when I should have shot a couple. Keep in mind that one roll of 120 film only produces four exposures. In said scene, I found that there was either a light leak or some sort of lens flare from shooting into harsh light. That meant I needed to shoot another test roll and take it in the next day. I posted a note on the LF forum and got mixed - almost 50/50 - reviews on whether people thought it was flare or a light leak.

Note the flare in the upper left corner.

Well, I really wanted to know if my new film back was messed up or if it was good to go. My local "pro" lab has a policy of in by 10am out by 4pm. I made it in about 9:30am to make sure that it'd get done that day. I told them how important it was that I get the roll processed the same day and if they couldn't do it that I would take the film elsewhere. They assured me that they'd have it done by 4pm. About 1pm I got a call saying that they couldn't get it processed that day. I asked them if they were still open for business, because if they were they should be able to get it done. A "Pro" lab not being able to get one roll of C41 120 film processed? I don't care if you have to take it to another lab, such as Penn Camera (Here in the DC area - I would have taken it there originally, but it's a lot further away from me.), or hand process it to get it done - when you tell someone that their film is going to be ready at a certain time you make damn sure it's ready for your customer. No matter what. Well, needless to say, they've lost a customer for life. Thank God I have a place like Chrome Imaging at my disposal. A bit more of a drive, but they always do what they say their going to do. If they can't do it at said time, they tell me straight up. I respect that. I may not like it, but at least their honest with me.

So, I packed up the kid into the car and went to get my film. Once I got it, I headed down to Penn Camera in Springfield, VA. (One of the Penn Camera's that can process 120 in-store..) Being as I have worked at that store, I knew the lab tech, Stanley, who got the film processed for me in about 15 minutes. No flare! Woohoo! That made my day. I'm not going to have any huge problems!

No Flare!!

So, Brian is happy. This past weekend a few of us from the Large Format Photography Forum (http://www.LargeFormatPhotography.info/forum) gathered at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens National Park in Washington, DC to do some LF photography. (I guess you could call 6x17 medium format, but I find that you can get two different answers on that from two different people..) My aunt also came to the Gardens with her Hasselblad and digital camera to have some fun. I always find that shooting in a group really helps inspire me. I do enjoy shooting on my own, too, but I love being out with other likeminded people. I really enjoyed meeting Bill and Scott from the forum. More people were supposed to show, but stuff happens.

I did learn some valuable lessons from this weekend's photo gathering.

1: Velvia is as contrasty, if not more, than what people say it is. Shoot it in relatively dull light and it will work wonders. Shoot it in contrasty light and you get a super contrasty image with super saturated colors. I do like this effect on certain things, but not most.

2: I need to pay more attention to bellows draw. I got my shots back and for a while actually thought that my shutter might be misfiring at different speeds. When I looked at the shots and really thought about what could be wrong - other than actual gear malfunctions - I realized I did not account for bellows draw. That ruined a few of my favorite shots. Oh well, that falls under the live and learn. At least I got a few shots I really like out of the deal. One is at the top and two more are here.

Thanks for tuning in! I'll keep you all up to date on my endavours with the new format.