Independent Photography

Posts tagged “120 film

Into ‘Winter’

I haven’t seen blue sky in five days, we’re entering the edge of what locals here call ‘winter,’ which means rain. It looks like the clouds may be starting to break though, so hopefully…

I’m going to try something new with this blog post, rather than chronological order I’m going to start with my favorite photos and work down.  I should also make two notes, there are sunset photos near the end, for those who are followers of this blog you’ll note there are lots of sunset photos, you have been warned.  Secondly there will be a geeky final paragraph about some film stuff, if you don’t want to read a lot of technical film/photography jargon, then skip that too.

There were a lot of ‘firsts’ for Nosara this month, first mini-golf tournament, first charity race and first motocross race.  The motocross race on May 13 was cool, it was hosted in a field in the north part of town, and like most events here was low infrastructure.

I was able to wander all over and cross the track even during the race.  I’ve also always wanted to shoot motocross, so this was cool.  It was a loud muddy overcast affair, but I came away with some good clean pictures and had the chance to be creative.

Wicho, a rider in the rookie category flies past a lap marker during his race. Despite an earlier fall he tied for 7th out of 12 riders in his category.

Wicho falls off his bike after bumping with a rider in mid-air. There were no injuries and Wicho got back on the bike and finished 7th out of 12 for the day in his category, but held a position as 5th overall out of 20 riders because of points from previous rounds.

From left to right, Carlos, Wicho and Luis Diego follow each other over a jump during the rookie race at Nosara’s first motocross race on May 13.

I tried to slow the shutter here to keep the crowd sharp and the riders blurry.  I didn’t think to use a flash, second curtain sync would have given me the same picture with a slightly sharper view of the bike at the end of the blur, would’ve been cooler.

Riders land a jump in front of a crowd of onlookers perched on a hill near the start line.

A week and a half earlier there was a community outreach event.  A local hotel, provided dental services for school children from neighboring communities over two and half days.  Harmony Hotel has a community sustainability committee whose job is community outreach and development.

Dental access, like everything in Nosara, is limited.  Dentists from Nicoya visit once a month but their time is limited.  However, the university of Costa Rica’s dental program has an internship component.  Usually students fulfill this obligation by doing volunteer work in Costa Rica’s countryside.

Harmony Hotel’s sustainability committee contacted the university and offered to pay for transportation and accommodations for the dental students.  Several students and their prof showed up in the afternoon of May 2 and took over one of the hotel’s cabinas to use as an impromptu dental office then for the next two days then cleaned kids teeth and wrote referrals for anything serious.

A student from Garza’s school has his teeth cleaned in a Harmony Hotel room on May 4.

Saturday morning was a much-anticipated charity run through the jungle, I’ve been asked to write two preview articles for it to date.  There was both a 12k and a 5k race and the money went to charity, run of the mill stuff but I like the starting line picture.

Runners take off from the start-line for the first Adventura Nosara charity run. Both the 12k and 5k races started and ended at the same point in Playa Guiones on May 13. Proceeds from the race will fund three programs in town, the firefighting, security and recycling associations.

A week before on May 12 there was a mini-golf tournament, welcome to small town news.  It was little affair, surprisingly popular with the adults…

Two kids take part in the Mini Jr (Under nine) category of Nosara’s first ever mini-golf tournament on May 12. The course was designed by Mael Van der Weid, the 10 year-old son of CafŽ de Paris’ owner Thierry Van der Weid, Mael funded the course construction, all $20 000 through the sale of his paintings. Mael said he likes trophies and a tournament was an excuse to have trophies made.

During the first two weeks of the month my girlfriend Yamina came to visit again, it was pretty awesome, the next three pictures were taken while she was here and we were wandering around.

Horseback riders make their way along Playa Guiones in front of a storm front on May 4. Climatologists believe the oncoming rainy season, referred to locally as ‘winter,’ will be milder this year, with much less rain. Speculation focuses on the ‘El Ni–ño’ phenomenon and effects of global warming.

Here are the sunsets…

and here is the geeky post…

I like to shoot film, I brought a Baldex med format folding rangefinder with me, some Kodak D-76 developer, fixer powder and my developing tank.  I had never used the Baldex before so I’ve been testing how it works with some expired Tri X 400 a friend gave me as a birthday present.

I was able to develop two rolls so far, one at 400 ISO and one pulled to 200 ISO.  Although I don’t have an enlarger or a med format scanner to scan them, I saw a post on Petapixel (a photoblog I follow) which detailed how to build your own med format scanner with a remote flash, a DSLR and a cardboard box.

A Canon 5D mkII with a 135mm f/2 and 2x extender is used to ‘scan’ medium format negatives. The negative is held in a box with a flash placed behind it. The flash is triggered by a remotely by a pocket wizard and digital picture is cropped and the curve inverted to turn the negative into a positive.

The cardboard box I modified to light the negative and take a picture.

The results I got were ok, although I’m not sure if that was the expired film doing weird things or the ‘scanning.’  I have some rolls of still good Panf 50, so I’ll try that next and see.  At the very least it’s a good way to quickly scan negs to make digital contact sheets.

Picture of a palm tree on beach shot n the Baldex scanned with the 5D.

So yeah that’s it, some community meetings/events this week, then it’s back to Nicaragua for another visa run at the start of June.

Paz siempre,

Adam Dietrich

Back into the digital age

I recently bought a Canon 5D Mk II, brand new.  It’s a full frame, 1080 DPI, 22 megapixel, 28 000 iso capable camera and it weighs less than the lenses it uses…  Previously my primary digital bodies had been the 1D Mk II and 30D, fairly good crop body, 8 megapixel cameras, biggest issue with the 1D was its weight though, it weighs about 10 bricks.  I posted about my new camera on facebook and a friend responded with the following:

“I just wanted to say, welcome to 2011. Since you’ve been stuck in 2003, a Black man is President of America, The European Union has realised they can’t artificially inflate their currency. The Canadian dollar is higher than the American dollar, There was a giant earthquake in 2006 in the Indian Ocean that made the Earth change it’s orbit slightly. Oh, and Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi are dead.”

Pretty much sums it up, my 1D was released in 2003 and the 30D a year later, in short – The 5D is the most advanced and only new camera I’ve ever owned.

That said it’s low light performance is a little slow (my only complaint).

I found it ironic that the same night I purchased my 5D I also purchased a bottle of paper fixer for black and white paper printing, regardless the darkroom process gave me something to shoot right off the bat: the darkroom process.

My friend, photographer Christopher King, selects a negative to use for printing. In the background you can see the enlarger and bathtub used to develop the prints.

Christopher King adjusts the temperature of the water bath for the developing chemicals. In the foreground the enlarger projects an image of the spider in front of the National Gallery of Canada taken on 120 medium format film.

A photo of the process: the left tray has developer in it, prints develop there. The top tray has stop bath (mostly vinegar) in it, that stops the reaction of the developer. The tray below the stop contains fixer which finishes the developing reaction and contains a paper hardener to harden the paper. My print is sitting in the final tray, containing just water for a wash. The whole process takes about 3-4 minutes per print.

The final step, the completed prints are left to dry by hanging from a line.

I haven’t had an actual event yet to cover with the camera, although I have no doubt it will perform well when I need it to.  I mostly keep it in my bag on my to and from work and school, and sometimes make an interesting picture or two.

A seagull takes flight from the side of the Rideau Canal at Hartwell Locks near Carleton

I need something to shoot….

For now that is all peace,


Medium Format

It has been almost two months since my last post.  While I find that hard to believe, the last little while has been very busy.  Although I’m not inundated with photo work right now I am in the final stretch of my undergraduate degree at Carleton.  I’ve also been preparing for Costa Rica somewhat.  One consideration has been which film camera to bring?  At the advice of a friend I’ve decided against bringing a 35mm SLR and opted instead for 6×6 medium format.

I’ve been playing around with a Bronica Medium format.  I’ve used it for a few daytime walk arounds but for the most part I have had unstable results with low light exposures.  However, last night I performed test using a roll of Ilford HP5+ rated at ISO 1600.  I’ve figured out the camera’s operation, mostly and have my first scans.  The operation and results have been great thus far and medium format strikes me as a great new medium (hahah) to play with.

Firstly; the frame is square, for someone used to the standard 4×6 ratio of a 35mm frame this is new.  Secondly; the camera uses a top down view finder which means rather than hold the camera to your eye you cradle it in your hands and look down to frame, its called a ‘waist-level view finder,’ great for low angles.  Also the focusing screen is mirrored so all the framing movements feel backwards.

Here are some low-res uploads regardless the sharpness and level of detail is incredible…

Self-portrait of myself taken at the new Ottawa Convention Centre

The Chateau Laurier and the locks in front of it pouring into the Ottawa River.

The back of the Parliament buildings and a Rideau cruise ship on the river below.

The statue of Samuel de Champlain overlooking Ottawa and Gatineau. It's on a point behind the National Art Gallery and provides one of my favourtie views of Ottawa.

The massive spider outside the National Art Gallery, it was supposed to be a temporary installment - but positive reaction lead to it becoming a permenant thing. I tried to frame it like it was eating the church...

A view from beside the Chateau Laurier looking North towards Gatineau and the Ottawa River.

The view of Cowan Lake near Huntsville, Ontario. It's from a trip to my dad's cotage at the end of August.

The view of Cowan lake at sunset from the water level.

The colour photos were shot on Velvia 100 ISO 120 format film and processed by the good folks at Labworks on Bank St.

The black and white photos were shot on Ilford fp4 ISO 120 format film and processed by myself in my kitchen..

However, the cost of scanning 11 negatives at medium resolution (equivalent to 3 megapixels or so) was $37… Kinda ridiculous, the film is still affordable, especially if you buy in bulk and purchase online; scanning at high resolutions is not.  So I think I need to find an affordable high-res medium format film scanner.


Adam Dietrich