Episode 205 – November 15, 2018
Topics include: Pin Blad Pin Hole Adapter, Eliminating Water Spots on Film, Yodica Creative Films, Four Essential Filters for BW Photography and More.
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It’s the Film Photography Podcast, and in the studio today is Michael Raso, with Leslie Lazenby, Mark O’Brien, Mat Marrash, and FPP Superfriend Joseph Brunges! Topics covered on today’s show include the Pin-Blad, Getting Rid of Water Spots, The Yodica line of film, and Essential Filters for B&W Photography and so much more! So grab your coffee, (in a can or in a cup), and sit back and enjoy the shoe! (What Shoe!?!?!)
Out Damn Spot – Getting Rid of Water Spots on your Negs
The Doctor is in to address a huge problem that happens to many home developers – water spots on your negatives. These spots make scanning your negatives difficult and negatively effect printing in the darkroom. Spots almost always occur on the film base side of negatives and are usually caused by hard water. Leslie suggests two ways to help prevent these spots: the first is to use distilled water when mixing your chemistry, and the second is to use a washing agent when washing the film. What’s a wash agent? The most popular one is Kodak Photo-Flo 200, but we at the FPP have our own Foto Flow wash agent. These agents help sheet water off your negatives while they dry. Of course, you also have to mix the flo correctly; if you get suds, the mix is too strong and will cause additional problems. Kodak recommends a 1+200 mix on their Photo-Flo, hence the 200, or 2mL of flo for every 500mL of water. But Leslie has an old-timer trick that works just as well, you take 32oz (946mL) of distilled water, a cap of 91% Isopropyl Alcohol and a drop of Flo, and use that as a final rinse. The alcohol acts as a fast drying agent, and the flo sheets the water off and the distilled water has little mineral content. Give it about 30-60 seconds sloshing around, and you’re good to go. And then use a film squeegee, providing you follow the rules. First up, replace often, the older your squeegee is, the more likely it is to scratch your negatives. Second, be gentle, no violence required. And third, clean it off after you’re done and hang it to dry. Once dry, store it clean dry space. If you drop your squeegee, inspect it, if you can clean it do so. If not, toss it. The only time Leslie doesn’t use a squeegee is with Motion Picture Film that has a carbon backing or remjet (like Kodak Vision3 films), because the remjet will junk up the squeegee. As for the colour film, especially C-41, Leslie will dip her squeegee in the Stabilizer to wipe down the negatives, but don’t use Photo-Flo on your C-41 film (Photo-Flo is for BW film only)! Alternatively, use a genuine Shammy Towel (NOT Vince Offer’s Sham-Wow), soak it with Stabilizer, wring it and wipe down the film. And Leslie’s insider tip to getting rid of remjet is to clean it using a microfiber cloth (just make sure to keep switching to a clean spot on the cloth).
Okay so that’s how to prevent the spots, but how do you get rid of spots if they’re already there? For Leslie, there is only one option, and that’s a product called PEC 12 , which comes in a liquid form or in pre-wetted wipes. Produced by Photosol Inc, the product is available through some photo stores or just order them from Amazon. Leslie uses PEC to help recover water-damaged negatives, even ones that have survived a fire! And because of the product recovery was easy. Heck, the stuff even removes permanent marker from prints. But there is a caution, the product is modern, so she wouldn’t recommend using it on antique photos. Kodak once had a similar product, Kodak Film Cleaner, but it contained some fairly toxic chemicals. While you can’t drink PEC 12, it’s far safer to use. Now if you do have scratches on your negatives, there is a product to help out (for both scratches on the emulation or scratches on the base) – Edwal No-Scratch. It’s a liquid that is no fun to use, but it’s a miracle worker when you’re printing in a darkroom. When scanning, you can always repair scratches using the healing tool in photoshop.
The (Creative) Force is Strong with this One
Straight from Milan, Italy is the Yodica line of films! So what’s so special about these films? Well, these are colour films that come in seven flavours, each with a different special effect. And with names like Antares, Siro, Vega, Atlas, Andromeda, Polaris, and Pegasus who wouldn’t? So how does the film work? Well, each film has been pre-exposed to show off different colour shades across the entire image, from a rose-coloured tint to a rainbow mashup! Processing is easy, just use C-41 processing (so you can just do it at home if you are up for it). The canisters are non-DX coded so be sure to set the ISO/ASA rating. The film is 12.99$ (USD) a roll, and ships from the USA but is imported from Italy. If it tickles your fancy, you can check out all seven in our Store!
Filtering it right – the Essential Filters from Black & White
Mark O’Brien has many camera bags that he takes on his walks and travels, and one item that always is with him is contrast filters from B&W photography. But in individual containers, they rattle about and are difficult to get onto the camera. So he found this lovely little filter holder that makes life so much easier. But what filters does he always keep in his case? Mark believes that there are four filters that are essential to B&W photography. First up is a polarizing filter, these help in two ways, first off they can cut down on glare and reflections and can even work as a neutral density filter. Now there are two types of polarizing filters, linear and circular. If you’re using mainly manual focus lenses the linear is fine, but a CPOL is best for AF functions (not to mention you can adjust the alignment of the polarizing element to get the look you want). The next filter on Mark’s list is the Red-25a, the filter kicks up the drama and helps turn that blue sky black. A third is a K2 Yellow filter if you don’t need the same level of drama as the red filter but still need that cloud separation. And the final filter that never leaves the bag is a standard Neutral Density Filter. Mark carries a 4x version that will drop your exposure by 2 stops allows for that silky water it’s just enough. And if you have the room, a UV filter, just to keep that front element protected from a possible fall. Of course, if you’re shooting Infrared films, you need to get a proper IR filter, and that’s a bit deeper than your average red filter. To get that true IR look on say older Kodak HIE or Konica IR filters, or today on Rollei IR 400 film. The best filters to use on these are the 89b or R72 filters, and of course, follow the required exposure rating. Since you won’t be able to use your camera meter because they will have a hard time reading through the filter, best to use an external handheld meter (Gossen Luna Pro F) But if you’re shooting Ilford SFX 200 you just need a Red filter. Fiilter size can be an issue especially if you have a large number of lenses that are across different systems. Most Nikon lenses use a 52mm filter, while Canon would be 58mm, and Minolta is all over the place. You can use adapter rings, just remember to watch how much of a step up or step down to avoid circles. Another option is to use a Lee Filter or Cokin Filter system that has mounting rings. The filter is square and mounted in a holder. And as always keep your filters clean to help get the best results possible.
PinBlad – Making your Hassy a Pinhole Camera
It seems Pinhole is seeing a resurgence of late ! But what does Hasselblad have to do with it? So how did Leslie bring her pinhole love to her Hasselblad without drilling a hole through her darkslide? Well, that’s all thanks to a kit from Light Leaks Lab and their Pinblad Kit. The device is a 3D Printed unit that fits on top of a standard film back of a Hasselblad 500 camera. The kit comes with everything you need, the pinhole and shutter assembly, a bracket to mount on the film back (as well as a cold-shoe for an auxiliary viewfinder or level and a tripod socket) and three different cones for different focal lengths (18, 24, and 35mm). You can buy the cones separately or as a deluxe kit! Well, Leslie sprung for the full kit. The pinhole is .2mm, so you’re looking at f/135, 200, or 300 depending on the focus cone. Now there is a fair amount of play between the mount and the film back, so you will get light leaks, but you can either use gaffer’s tape or get some thin light trap material if leaks aren’t your thing. If you want to check out a Pinblad or one of the other products from them, you can take to their new shop on Tumblr and be sure to visit them and give ‘em a like on Facebook. (The A12 backs are getting up in price but if you’re lucky you can get one on the cheap.) And, the fine folks at Light Leaks Lab, are working on a kit for the Mamiya RB/RZ67 backs.
Book of the Show – Master Photographers
We continue our trip through Mark’s extensive library on photography. Today’s book is called Master Photographers, edited by Pat Booth. The book came out in 1983 and shares the techniques of the greats in full-out interviews, not just dry biographical details of the masters who are long dead. And the list is extensive! It’s a big book (200 pages) and covers everything about them, even their failures and screw-ups. What Mark likes is that it gives each person a human element, you get inside their minds almost! And proves that it’s not your equipment, it’s what’s between your ears. While the book is not available new, they are available on the used market.
That’s it for this show, but we’ll be back in a short two weeks. We love to get messages, you can email us email@example.com or by regular mail, Film Photography Podcast PO Box 264, Fairlawn, NJ, 07410.
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Alex Luyckx is an IT Professional at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. He loves shooting both film and muskets as well as reading and reenacting history. He has a particular love of Military History from the French-Indian War up to the end of the Cold War. You can follow along with his adventures at www.alexluyckx.com/blog.