If you’d believe it, I’ve been shooting more digital this year. At this point, I can’t describe it succinctly. I suppose with my studies I’m eager for more rapid learning in composition and exposure, which digital allows. Not to mention the fact of frugality: notwithstanding the previous investment, each digital exposure is essentially free. And yes, I’ve learned. And yes, I’m often editing to emulate film. I suppose as with most passionate hobbies, I’m not really sure why I’m shooting digital. I’m not really sure why I’m shooting photographs. It just seems to have to be done. Unfortunately, photography’s presence in my life has nearly reached a status quo. It doesn’t have tangible, recognizable benefits that are clear to me. Yet without it, something’s missing. I’ll just leave this here.
I’ve previously written of experiencing a photographic renaissance, whereas my yearly exposure count doubled. Yes, the exposure was “a process I love[d]” (see previous link). It is apparent that in 2012 my number of exposures rose significantly.
Yet that ignored the processing, scanning, and deliberation. Which, as of recent, has been tumultuous. Furthermore, the exposure has become preemptively overwhelmed. “Is this the proper exposure?” “Will the processing ruin my exposure?” “Will dust ruin the digitization?”
Subsequently; I announce a second renaissance. My process has changed significantly: capture equipment, development, and digitization. After many frustrations, I’ve found some pleasing results. Perhaps my process will reintroduce the ultimate analog: printing.
Following the renaissance I gave some thought to development. I frequently expose in available light, and am drawn to dark scenes. I’d been pushing a lot of 400 ISO films (e.g. Ilford HP5+ and Kentmere 400) to 800, sometimes 1600. My previous attempts in both Ilfosol 3 and Rodinal yielding grainy, contrasty negatives that were poorly rescued by my previous digitization and then processing. The Online Darkroom turned me on to Barry Thornton’s Two Bath developer, a two bath compensating developer nearly immune to exposure speed. It’s an inexpensive developer that can be mixed at home, and although I’d read it lacked contrast I was intrigued by the results others were getting.
The first attempt was wrought with agitation issues, but still the results were encouraging.
The second attempt was very satisfying. One roll was tormented by a loose “felt” from the reloadable film cassette; present in almost every exposure. I’ve tried Kalt metal reloadable cassettes, which have fallen apart and ruined rolls. And now the “felt” on these Kalt plastic cassettes is causing problems. Re-using prepackaged film cassettes is a pain, so I’m trying to avoid that option. What to do..