My First Developed Roll
When I first came up with the idea to make a photography blog I was trying to come up with ideas to make the content of this blog different from my Flickr Stream. So one of the things I am going to do is to post my contact sheets and look at 5 images off the roll to discuss why I took the shot, what I like about it or what I should have done in hindsight.
This is the first roll of Black and White film I ever developed back in February this year (2011). This year I have made a promise to myself to try and take my photography to the next level. So one of the things I had decided to do was to take a class and learn something new. The Australian Centre of Photography had an open day where you could go in and discuss what courses they were offering. What they forgot to mention was that there was a test to determine how much technical knowledge you had about photography before discussing what classes were options for you. So after passing the test I enrolled in Process, Proof & Scan, I had already been shooting some colour film so Black and White was the obvious next step.
The course was run by Michael Waite ( Flickr, Blog) who happens to be a great guy and very knowledgeable about all things film. I really enjoyed the course and hope to go back soon to do the follow up course Black & White: Print later this year.
For the first class we were asked to shoot a roll of film to process in the first class, they suggested Kodak Tri-X so to keep things simple that is what I chose and have since fallen in love with. It was also suggested to try to shoot in different types of light, and try bracketing some shots so you can see what it looks like on film as working with film is really a 2 step process, capture and development.
Proof Sheet 001
The film used was Kodak Tri-X with EI400 (exposure index) and was developed in XTOL 1:1 for 9 minutes at 20.5 C with agitation for the first minute and then for 10 seconds every minute afterwards. I used water as a stop bath, Kodak Rapid fixer for 5 minutes and finally Hypo Clear for 2 minutes before the final water wash.
At a later stage I will go into more detail about the development of film. When you develop film there are a couple important variables, film speed (ISO), exposure index (EI), developer used, time, temperature, and agitation. Different combinations will give you different aesthetic looks.
The white marks that you see on the contact sheet are from when the film was in contact with it self so the developer got stuck on that part of the film. The cause of this was me being in a rush to load the film and forcing it on to the real. This caused some of the film to buckle and jump out of the grove.
Geometric Shapes at Sydney Uni
This was taken is just off the main walkway at Sydney Uni. I originally found this as I was wondering around looking for an interesting pice of architecture for an online competition last year. What attracts me to this location is the strong geometrical shapes of the triangles and circles, with the strong bold lines and smooth curves of the circles. The other thing I like about the location are the different textures of each surface.
A cool Jazz Cat
Of all the people on the street I find buskers and musicians the easiest ones to approach. I always walk up and drop a couple of dollars before even asking to take their photograph, I think it tells them that I appreciate who they are and the music they are making. Normally if they are playing I will just motion to my camera with a smile, if they smile or nod back I will take the shot. If not, just walk away.
As you can probably tell from looking at the contact sheet is that I have cropped out the couple that were walking by. The original idea was to include some one walking by to fill the space on the left, however this couple spotted me and were either trying to be nice and get out of frame or did not want to take there shot. I am quite happy with the way it turned out though, the way he leans against the wall and is looking out towards me. After seeing how that couple reacted I don't think he would have been too happy if I hanged around scaring every one away so I moved off.
She was just around the corner from the Jazz player in the middle of her shift working at the Löwenbräu bar in Sydney as a waitress on the outside tables. She is also the first time I have ever walked up to someone and ask to take there photograph outside of street musicians. I was a little bit nervous and made a bit meal off it but she did not say no. She is a lovely women , I really like how smooth her skin turned out as well as the detail in her uniform.
What I see every time I see this shot is her trying to look anywhere but this crazy guy with an old Nikon F3 camera. What I really should have done was tried to get her to look at me to get some more light into her eyes.
Feel the Cords
This was taken just 100m further down the road from Bianca. He was a warm up act the the band that are setting up behind him. I started by trying to take a shot of him playing with the audience watching (100 people), but after I took that shot I remember Capa's quote that you always need to get closer. So I headed right down to the front and took a seat on the ground and waited for about 5 minutes, listening to some great classical guitar music, for the guys setting up to move out of frame.
Looking back on it now, I like the expression on his face, the concentration the feeling of the music and, the slight movement of his foot as he keeps the beat. But for me I wish I had captured his hands in a slightly better position.
The Problem Frame
Some times every just goes wrong. This is a Frame in point. This was originally going to be a night scape of Cronulla beach like the previous shot but one stop longer. But the batteries died, yep it can even happen in some of the old SLR's. So I gave up for the night forgetting that I had another set of batteries in the other camera till I got back to the train station. You can see some of the lights of the buildings.
While I was waiting for the train to head home I took another shot at the train station. So I put in the set of batteries in from the other camera and as not to waste the frame used the multiple exposure feature to cock the shutter while not advancing the film, took the shot and thought it was all ok. Opps, I had forgotten to turn the nob back to normal film progression so when I wound on I had not advanced the film but only readied the camera for the next shot.
At the time I was trying to capture the final image the architecture of the building and him washing his face, but I wish Capa's quote came to mind here as I think the real shot was to get up real close instead of hiding at the entrance of the alleyway. It could have had a real timeless quality as it was the middle of summer during a hot spell, but by his act and what he was wearing with that building as a back drop it could have been taken in any era.