I’ve seen some rather interesting Halloween photos cross my desk over the past week or so. Few that are quite as interesting as this project from photographer Markus Hofstätter, though. Shooting some Halloween portraits on large format wet plate. Best of all, he shot a behind the scenes video showing how it was done. While it’s not a 360° video, it makes some fairly heavy use of a 360° camera, with some pretty cool effects and transitions.
Every few months it seems like Fujifilm are going a bit less “film”. To the point where they should probably get ready to just drop the latter half of their name altogether. In the latest round of culls, Fujifilm have announced a few more film stocks and formats that are going to be disappearing in 2018.
Fujifilm seem hell bent on killing off their film products entirely. Well, if that’s their plan, they’re certainly doing a good job. Many film photographers have already made the switch to Kodak & Ilford films due to the doubt over Fuji’s future. Kodak’s decision to bring back Ektachrome has also aided a few choices.
And when we say from scratch, we are not kidding. This isn’t just ordering a bunch of components online and bolting them all together. Other than the lens and a few hinges, every piece on this camera is hand made. Right down to the perfectly hand ground glass.
The camera is the wonderful creation of very talented camera builder, Dieter Schneider. Whether you want to build your own camera or not, it’s a fascinating video to watch. The attention to detail, and ridiculously accurate workmanship is remarkable.
I’ve been fascinated with the darkroom ever since I started shooting film. For years it was this mysterious thing that I’d never be good enough to justify having my own. It took making the complete switch to digital, and the rediscovering film a decade later that got me hooked. Having now built my own darkroom, I love seeing videos like these, and seeing what new information I can learn.
Marc Silber has covered many wonderful analogue photographers over at the Advancing Your Photography YouTube channel. Most notably, his series on Ansel Adams. Now he’s taking a deeper look into the world of Edward Weston, one of the great masters and pioneers of photography.
I recently had a few prints made from some medium format negatives. The prints are for a specific purpose so I wanted them to be of the highest quality possible, this meant taking them to a local specialist where the film was scanned with a Hasselblad Flextight X1. The Flextight is about the best quality scan you can get, before moving up to dedicated drum scans that can be messy, time consuming, and expensive.
I realised I could use this as an opportunity to compare how good my Epson v700 scanner is to the Flextight scans, and also to try to improve the scans from my v700 by calibrating the workflow. You could also apply this to the v800 models of this scanner as they are effectively the same. Note that I’m not considering wet scanning, as I’m dealing with medium format film.
I found a WWII British Air Ministry Pentac 8 inch f2.9 lens in a second hand store about a year and a half ago. It was made under a military contract during the war and a number of British manufacturers filled this contract. The best of the lot were made by Dallmeyer, the original designer of this lens. This lens sample isn’t marked to indicate the manufacturer, and it doesn’t have a traceable serial number, so the maker remains a mystery. Like many lenses that were made for aerial reconnaissance work, they were intended to be mounted on a camera with a built in shutter. To make this lens usable in a modern sense would involve controlling the timing of an exposure. Mounting this lens in a large format leaf shutter can be an expensive undertaking, and due to it’s size, the shutter options are somewhat limited. Because I’m of dutch descent (thrifty, cheap, frugal…), I took it upon myself to find an inexpensive solution to this particular problem… Bonjour Marie Antoinette.
Most of us hold our cameras. Or mount them on a tripod. Either way, most of us are on the outsides of our cameras. For Canadian photographer Ross den Otter, though, stepping inside his camera is exactly how he makes his portraits. Needless to say, it’s a rather large one.
Ross uses a camera obsurace. Essentially a large room with a hole in one wall. In this hole a large format lens is mounted, which projects the outside scene onto a wall on the inside. Using photographic paper, one can capture that projected image. Because of the nature of a camera obscura, Ross was able to also use it as his darkroom. This meant that paper could go straight from the wall to the developing tray. A few minutes later, he could emerge with the finished print.
These days, making a landscape appear as if it were inside a jar would typically be relegated to Photoshop. In the past, it was done by the use of double exposures. In a double exposure with analogue, you’re shooting twice without advancing the film. So, you’re basically adding one photograph on top of another (like Photoshop’s “Add” blending mode).
But there’s really no substitute for doing it in-camera. You can do this with modern DSLRs, but it’s a little more tricky than it was with film. In this video by Anders Lönnfeldt, photographer Christoffer Relander shows us how it’s done. Done well, it’s an amazing and fascinating technique. But, it is not one that’s easy to master.
The Ironman Kona Championship is one of the toughest races on the planet. With over 200km of swimming, cycling and running, it’s pretty challenging. The strong wind, lava, and high temperatures add extra risks. Some people just like to really push themselves, I suppose. The same is true of photographers. Like Czech photographer Dan Vojtech.
Working with Red Bull Photography, Dan chose to photograph the Kona event with a large format Polaroid camera, and the results are quite intriguing. Dan shot the Polaroid camera alongside a Nikon D810 with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens to confirm lighting and exposure. He tried to create the exact framing between the two cameras at the same distance for comparisons.
Sometimes, the stories behind why we may own a certain piece of kit can be more interesting than the item itself. This short film from Andrea Casanova of Branco Ottico embodies that idea. Called “The Camera Collector”, the mysterious narrator recounts his tales of gear acquisition over the past half century. The beating his father gave him after purchasing a Leica, and his determined response to make a living from photography.
He doesn’t collect just kit, though, but all kinds of photographic history. It really is a fascinating look at how we perceive things. What makes something special to us. Is it the item that’s special? Or the story behind it? The unknown collector does finally make peace with his father, in the end, too. The video is in Italian, but has English subtitles.