21. mai 2012

Infrared - Shooting what you can't see

The past two weeks, I've been fiddling around with infrared photography again.

I created a little slideshow from the result, for those out there more interested in the photos than the technical jabber.

Make sure to watch it in HD, enjoy ^^

Watch it on YouTube if maximise don't work

Last time I tried infrared photography (or more correctly, near infrared), was late autumn 2011 and my initial trials with EFKE IR820 in 35mm didn't go too well to be honest.

The negatives were vastly underexposed  and I could hardly get any good results from them, even after scanning.
- Too much noise and generally bad tonality, but at least I got my feet wet.

Generally, the first experience with IR-photography, can be summed up by this amusing and fitting meme by Copperrein over at APUG

Estimating exposure with IR is quite hard, because the light meter will only meter visible light.
The actual amount of invisible IR-light is unknown and will vary with the season, as well as the time of day and sun position.

A good rule of thumb though, is to measure normally, then calculate filter factors and then bracket from there. I use a Hoya R72 filter and calculate a 5-6 stop filter factor with it.

The EFKE IR 820 AURA (nominal 100 ISO without filter) was shot at EI ISO 1.5-3 and it worked ok. A little early in the day still (I like the sun to be lower), but I got good exposure and nice and quite normal'ish negatives.

The AURA version of the 820 IR film has a nice glow in the highlights. This is due to a missing antihalation layer on the film, which, in turn, let the film pass IR-light trough itself and then reflected back trough it.
This can create a nice moody halo effect, or misty effects around the highlights.

I also did two rolls of Rollei IR 400
These photos with Rollei IR400 were shot at EI ISO 12 and that proved to be just about perfect.

I just love the look from the Rollei, it's got plenty of wood effect and it seems to be a bit less contrasty and have pretty high tolerance to overexposure (albeit not fool proof if you're dorking around, like I do sometimes), definitely going to order more.
The Rollei has higher resolution and is less noisy than the EFKE -and the Rollei is a ISO 400 film unfiltered. (The EFKE is ISO100 but shows much more noise than the Rollei for some reason).

- I must stress that I more or less blew a whole roll with the Rollei the first day, I overexposed it grossly by shooting it at EI 1-3 (that's 2-3 stop overexposure, ouch!), more or less 100% like the above funny-meme. ^^

I only got one usable photo out of that roll, well, you live and learn.^^

I've decided to only use the AURA version of the EFKE, as I don't see a huge point using the regular version over Rollei's cool film.

So, the shots came out well.
Both films were processed in HC-110, dilution B for 8 minutes (EFKE) and 9 minutes (Rollei)

Still, one must take note that these shots were made -in May-, -at my latitude-, -at that time of day-, things can change rapidly trough the year.

Too bad Kodak decided to kill off the amazing color IR film a few years back, namely the Kodak EIR, the only option for color-ir now days, is to convert an old DSLR into infrared, effectively making it an IR-only camera.

Could be an idea to buy an old DSLR on the used marked and convert it, hmm....

I can't wait to get into the darkroom and print the negatives, they look really good and printable, scanning was a breeze.

7. mai 2012

Macro and the reversed 50mm trick ^^

Yep, true story, there exists a trick! =)

May is here, time to dust off that macro equipment and get the winter-dead body outdoors.

Still a little early here for anything spectacular though, I went for a ride on my bicycle in my neighbourhood last weekend, to see if any flowers had sprung.

A few flowers were up early, so I was able to shoot a whole roll of Fuji Acros with my Canon 1v with my macro stack on it. My stack consists of a Canon 25mm extension tube  + Tamron 1.4x teleconverter + Canon 100 F2.8 macro lens (works swell)

Acros is 100 ISO, so I had pretty slow shutter speeds (1/30s and such), even on F4 in direct sunshine.

I had a sturdy tripod with me though, so the only thing that was moving, was the flowers each time the wind picked up a little, so I blew a few shots on that.

Since I had a ISO 100 film in the camera (35mm) and didn't want to push, I decided to go with composition and play with shallower dof's (f5.6-f8).

Oh....and yeah, I did this first macro-outing with film because I wanted to see if I could get a couple of shots for my walls (tired of looking at the current ones here at home).

Two made the cut into the darkroom and onto paper and these two are now on my wall, framed in 30*40cm (12*16 inches), so mission complete, thus far this year anyway, I know I can do much better.

The prints are too large to scan, but I've scanned the negatives and adjusted them to be similar to the prints. I printed them on Ilford warmtone paper and thus I gave them a little tint to match here as well.

Both flowers are maybe around 0,5cm in diameter. 

The second photo was pretty heavily cropped (I framed it wrong in the camera), but still it holds up just fine in 30*40cm. Both look nice on the wall. ^^

I used Kodak HC-110 developer, dilution B at 6 minutes at 20 degrees on these, as my Tetenal bottle went sour the other day and I've changed over to another dev brand for a while.
(Idiot tip of the day: When Tetenal Ultrafin looks like strong tea, toss it! :) )

Also, the same day, I wanted to try out the reversed 50mm trick, but since I'd already shot a roll of 35mm film -and already knew that this trick would work with my Canon, I opted to try this trick with my Mamiya RZ67 medium format camera and see where it led me.

In medium format-land, I am in the very situation that I do not own a dedicated macro lens, so it's just fitting that I'm trying this trick out anyway, seeing it's a a poor man's macro solution. =)

Basically I had my 110mm lens on the camera and hand-held the 50mm in reversed position against that lens and fought to get focus.

Here are two captures from that fiddly session (it was really awkward to shoot like this, but I really wanted proof of concept):

The widest cross-section of this leaf is about 0,5cm (0.2 inches)
Mamiya RZ67 pro II with 110mm lens with a reversed 50mm lens mounted
Fuji Acros 100 at EI 200 in HC-110 Dil B

Mamiya RZ67 pro II with 110mm lens with a reversed 50mm lens mounted
Fuji Acros 100 at EI 200 in HC-110 Dil B

A couple of notes:

- The 50mm was set wide open, if I was to do this again, I would probably stop it down to at least F16 and lock it there, as the DOF is so shallow that it was extremely hard to focus.
As you can see in the above photos, even individual parts of the leaves, which seemed to be in the same focus plane, were in and out of focus.

- Film used was Fuji Acros (because!) but shot at EI 200 and pushed in HC-110. This was because I had limited light. I used a hot-light and not a flash for these.
Previous push attempts pushing Acros to EI400 in 120 format have been very successful, so EI 200 is no problem at all.

- The leaves themselves, are around 2.5 cm long in total (1 inch), and the leaf in the first photo is about 0.5cm (0.2 inches) wide. Both photos show a smaller part of those leaves which were actually in focus, but the latter photo was shot at absolute focus limit and have much greater magnification. You can really see extremely small details using this trick and the above photos could easily be printed in 30*40cm.

- You'll get massive amounts of vignetting, because you are basically looking into a smaller hole than your mounted lens has, so only half the negative area is left usable for the actual photo. Still, you'll have enough negative to make pretty big prints from it.

- Holding the lens to the camera isn't a good option in the long run (causes vibration and you are pushing the camera out of focus), so a reverse ring is highly recommended.

- Metering was pure guessing, so I was lucky, plain and simple :)

More experiments later this summer, next up on the medium format front, is infrared photography with Rollei IR400 (loaded, but I found out that we need another week before the foilage on the threes are large enough for any good photos).

Also up in a later post, the results from my collaboration with Imageakademiet here in Oslo, theme this spring is "Avant garde" and this year, I am working together with a group consisting of 2 make-up artists and one stylist.
Earlier years, we've only worked on a 1-1 basis with a single make-up artist.

Now get out and get those macro's going! ^^