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ID 11

“Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate”

The above sentence translates to “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”
That sums up my 2016 regarding film photography.

I can’t remember being so long without using film cameras and shooting film and that fact is, of course, tied down to having changed my income activity from graphic design to  photography.

Back in 2014 I was shooting and developing two rolls a day, yes, every single day!
(Those who follow this little blog know that the goal was to feed Cooking Film with experiments and examples of films/developers combinations.)

Changing my main income activity makes me shoot a loot more and to edit a lot more. My clients don’t care about the “visual poetry of film”. They care about the result and, many times, the result is not a photograph, it’s a visual product.

That is fine, those are the rules. The clients play the tune and I dance to it. I know my way around the digital tools and I have no problem in meeting the clients desire. I don’t aim to be like Paolo Roversi, or Dan Winters, or Anton Corbjin… I don’t have their talent and I’m just starting to build a name for myself and I’m already too late at it.

I know it will not be a name connected to talent but, I hope, very much connected to competence.

The bottom line is getting home too tired to even think about photography. I don’t have the mental energy to pick up a film camera. I need to reboot. My 9 to 5 is what it is but I need to find that extra bit of energy to keep shooting film.

Many of you know the following story but I’ll write it anyway because it means a lot to me and I often go back to it when I need to restart.

A few years ago I sold my Leica D-Lux 3 (amazing camera) and bought the Leica X1. It was such a bad, bad decision. I hated everything about it and instead of making me want to shoot more, it almost made me give up the whole photography thing.

Luckily I came across the work of two amazing pinhole users on Flickr (thank you Nhung and thank you Wayne). Everything changed! I discovered new possibilities and also a new camera, the Zero Image 2000.

And that was a (photographic) life changing event!

I never use the Zero on a tripod and, as you can guess, exposing for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 seconds, hand held, can produce some pretty… abstract stuff. To me that was magical. I couldn’t care less about the results, I was enjoying the process.

In a couple of weeks I’ll take a few days off. I’m planning a little road trip with my son and I will take the Zero 2000 along.

Zero 2000 means fun, means letting light do the whole thing. Means I can just relax, enjoy and uncover/cover the pinhole from time to time.

 

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A friend of mine was setting up a bed and breakfast surf house near Lisbon and asked if I could take some digital color shots to advertise the place on websites and magazines.

By the end of the session I loaded the Hasseblad with some RetroS film and toke these shots. These are just for fun shots but it was the first time I ever used the RetroS for portraits.

From my experiments, the RetroS, can be a very moody film, specialy when used in strong contrast situations but these were all taken under fairly controlled soft shadows.

The results are very consistent, the skin tones are well balanced and the grain is tight and soft.

On the other hand these guys look great.
Great tan, healthy bodies, great smiles… I guess that getting up early, everyday, rain or shine, and surf for a couple of hours before going to work, or to school, causes that.

If you are planning on coming to Lisbon on a surf trip, check this out: Geckosurfhouse

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This little guy is so cool! Next Kelly Slater judging by his enthusiasm.

This little guy is so cool! Next Kelly Slater judging by his enthusiasm.

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Surfers age well.

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Gear:
Nikon FE
Nikkor 50mm/f1.8

Recipe:
Agfa APX 400
Ilford ID11
Stock
12 minutes.

I’m not a street photographer (or any kind of photographer). Sometimes I like to take pictures on the street though. It allows me to present different examples other than shots taken on the boat or on the subway.

On the other hand it’s hard to capture people and I just don’t have what it takes to stick the camera in someone’s face, so I try to do it as discreet as possible but… I’ve been learning a few things.

Here’s my approach… Lisbon is a city visited by thousands of tourists every week and the Portuguese people are pretty much tolerant to visitors so… I got a map, a map of Lisbon. I always take the map with me in a visible way. When someone looks at me, he or she, assumes that I’m also a tourist and in that way I have a lot more freedom and tolerance to capture people or street vendors.

I’ve heard things like “look at this guy, they all take pictures and none of them buys anything”… I secretly smile and move on but I get the shot.

Yesterday I had another brilliant idea (pun intended). I went to Lisbon and I tried to look at the city as a visitor would. Capturing monuments, churches, the famous city views and all that. I tried to capture all the things a “local guy” does not pay much attention to, or not enough to photograph it. So… with my CSI cap on, my sun glasses on, my map folded in one hand and my camera on the other and out I went.

One sad thing though. My borrowed Nikon FE is dying. It has all the signs of electronic faillure. Erratic meter needle with an ocasional total failliure and the mirror failling to return to position after the shot is taken. These are the most well known issues with the FE and FE2 cameras.

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You can see the river I cross every day, on the background.

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Gear:
Contax G1
Zeiss G45mm lens

Recipe:
Kodak TriX 400@6400
Ilford ID-11
1:1
25 min.
First 10 seconds of agitation, and 10 seconds more half time.

The very few times I’ve pushed a 400 ISO film up to 6400 was out of sheer necessity. What I mean is, it was never out of some aesthetic choice. Usually I only go as far as 3200.

Being out of necessity also means that on top of pushing it so high I also had to take pictures at 1/30s with an aperture of f2.0/f4.0… and that’s pretty much my absolute limite in every way for hand held photography.

The first time I did it was on a concert. Almost zero stage light and the only way I could capture something was, again, pushing a TriX up to 6400 and to work with the Mamiya 645 AFD at 1/60, 1/250s at f2.8.

I’ve ruined two rolls while trying to figure out the dev. time for that combination and I ended up with ID-11, 1+1 for 25 minutes.

Samples here and here.

These set of pictures were taken last Summer while visiting some caves in Portugal. Using that same ID-11 recipe the results were consistent with the ones I got from the Mamiya experience in 120mm film.

This recipe is a keeper and I plan on using 6400 ISO on less extreme situations as I’m very confident that the results will come out more presentable.

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1:1 detail
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1:1 detail

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