Fabulous Film Fridays – January 14, 2011

Well, here it is!  The first film image I’ve made with Tachihara Tim.  I actually shot this awhile ago, but I’m posting it because a funny thing occurred when I was trying to make the image.

We’ve been collecting film from various sources, and before I shot this image on Velvia 100 slide film, Darwin thought I should practice on some ancient polariod sheets.  Donated by Mark and Leslie Degner, the Polaroid Polacolor PRO 100 sheet film has an expiry of…oh, December, 1996!  Darwin showed me how to load the film by sliding it into the film holder.  He took a couple of images and we admired the wacky results from the half dried-out polaroid.  Then it was my turn.  Wow, you have to really push to get that polaroid sheet to squeeze into the film holder!  Uncertain, I checked with Darwin, but he said “Yeah, it’s a bit tight; you have to push harder.”  So, I tried ramming it in harder but it  just did not want to go.  Darwin finally came over and his mouth fell open in astonishment.  Somehow, when loading the sheet of film I managed to direct the film below the roller (instead of above where it is supposed to go) and it was now jammed an inch or so into the film holder!  Darwin scratched his head: “I’ve never seen that happen before.  Ever.”  There you go!  Give me something foolproof and I’ll prove the fool finds a way!

We had a difficult time yanking the film out, but it did finally come out with a sickening screech.  At this point, Darwin thought it was time to switch to the Velvia ready load film.  He stayed to supervise more closely this time.  I made the film image above after a loooong time playing with the Tachihara, trying to get the darn plant in focus.  In order to see the scene on the ground glass on the 4×5, you usually work under a dark cloth.  Sweating under a stinky old T-shirt of Darwin’s with my face inches from a glass and wood contraption is not usually my idea of a good time, but after some frustration, the upside down husk looked to be in focus on the ground glass.  It is certainly a challenge to move the screws and knobs on the 4×5 without being able to see your hands; I have a new appreciation for large format shooters!

I also took a snap with my digital camera, the Nikon D300S, although by this time the light had changed.  Here it is:

In order to share the film images with you, we have to convert them to digital.  We put the film on a light table and photographed it with our digital cameras.  I have not done anything in Photoshop to the film image except add my copyright info, resize it for the blog and run it through the Tonal Contrast filter in Nik Efex (which I do to sharpen all my jpegs for the web.)  The final conversion looks very close to the actual film image.  It’s interesting to compare the result with the digital file!  Film definitely has its own look.

Catch you later — I have to go load some film!

~ by Samantha on January 14, 2011.

11 Responses to “Fabulous Film Fridays – January 14, 2011”

  1. […] week it’s Sam’s turn to show off an image she made using film. Her post is her very first image made with Tachihara Tim (her 4×5 view camera). Sam had quite an […]

  2. What a great shot!

  3. I could tell on Darwin’s site you were shooting something close up because of all the bellows draw! I love seeing you young people using tools that I have used for nearly 50 years. You will benefit in many ways. Are you doing your own darkroom work? I started processing transparency material when the Kodak process was E3. I have enjoyed the sites you guys post now for about two years I think!

    • Robert,

      I’m not doing much darkroom work yet, although I did attend a workshop on it last year, and we have borrowed some equipment…right now, I’m still figuring out how these cameras work! I’m learning lots more about photography, though.

  4. You maybe already are but if you use a loupe on the ground glass it makes it easier to focus.

  5. I checked Tachihara in Wikipedia in Japanese. and found the facts they use 300 years old wood, acceptable error range is 0.03 mm, and it takes 4 years to build one camera by only 5 workers!

    I like your way of presentation, including orange letters of the file brand name. It gives artistic look, I think.

    I have a good textbook for large format photography. I wish I could lend it to you, but it is written in Japanese.

  6. Hi Hiro,
    It is a gorgeous work of art in and of itself! The film picture is photographed as is; the light table makes the orange lettering have a little glow through its transparency. As for textbooks, I do have an excellent one by Leslie Strobel — a Bible for large format shooters, I’ve been told. It seems like it’s written in Japanese though to me!!

  7. Great shot Sam! It does have a very nice feel to it which digital seems to lack. I like the first version before the crop – adds to the fine art feel. I find myself excited for Fridays just to see what you guys come up with as you re-discover film.


  8. Hey Sam, nice film work! I will give up an A+ in the analog department and an F in the green thumb department. Water your plants man!

  9. Sam, that shot is a beauty. I love the simple comp and the nice soft light. Really nice.

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