Afterexposure Photography

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Posts Tagged ‘Diana F+’

One image, two shots

A while back I posted about this digital shot I used to check exposure for a similar shot on the Diana F+ :

Parkerhouse, Digital

Parkerhouse, Digital (click for full sized image)

I got some time on Sunday night to develop the Lomography ISO 100 film after some leg work to figure out the correct time for my developer… it’s ‘Shanghai’, so for Xtol the Massive Dev Chart shows a 1+3 dilution and a 16 minute (!) soak. Here is the result, a little tweaked to match the slightly darker tone of the digital image, but uncropped:

Parkerhouse, 120 Film

Parkerhouse, 120 Film

Diana F+ Cheat Cards

I’ve never been really satisfied with the icons on the bottom of the Diana lens that change the aperture, and wanted more ‘exact’ information on what was going on.  After some searching, some fiddling, and some trial and error, here is a cheat card you can print and fold in half to hang from your Diana strap:

Diana Cheat Card

Click for full size!

For different editable versions, click here for the source doc in OpenOffice format.

This chart is a kind of nomograph; you select your film speed on the left, follow the line through the current weather/lighting condition in the middle, and you’ll find out which aperture to set the Diana to on the right. I didn’t put the little icons from the Diana on this chart on purpose as they are bit misleading. Just remember that f/22 is the smallest aperture, and is the little sun icon; f/11 is the biggest aperture, and is the cloud icon.

On the right side is a 35mm turn advance guide. I have my Diana’s winder knob marked off in ‘hours’, or 12 spaced tick marks, so this is the number of ‘hours’ per frame that you should turn the knob. So a ’12’ means one full turn. The X at the start is to load some film before shooting the first frame, and the bold ’10’ is where a roll of 24 exp might run out… same deal with the last ‘!’… you may or may not get this frame, depending on how accurately you’ve been winding.

So where did all this goodness come from? Not me! I’m standing on the shoulders of giants, here folks. Here is where I pulled the information from:

With very little digging I found a chart at Indian Hill imageworks that gives a great summary of exposure times.

But it was a little ‘big’. I tried printing it small, and hacking off the bits I don’t use, but still wasn’t happy.

I wasn’t really sure about the EV descriptions, either. So another 2 seconds of Google and Wikipedia had this to say about Exposure Values.

So now I could use more meaningful descriptions (at least to me), and I could use only the ISO values that I was shooting at to create my own chart.

I also wanted to put something on the back of the chart. Since I sometimes shoot with 35mm film loaded, why not a film advance guide that gives the number of turns per frame? With 35mm loaded there little red window is taped over, so you do have to guess a bit.

I started with this chart over at Photon Detector… but again… wanted something smaller. I also confirmed the number of turns by both putting film in the camera with the back off and counting as I advanced, and of course by shooting some film and checking the results. Depending on what you are using as a take-up spool, and if you use any masks, you might want to change these numbers.

Now, time to get out there and do some shooting!

Diana Surprise

I shot a roll of Ilford XP2 Super 400 last week, and was all excited to develop it… until I realized that although it was black & white,  it needed C-41 development! Ooops! I bought it on a lark without even reading the box, just to take it for a spin, so not a huge deal.

For development I took it to Vistek, since they seemed a likely place to get C-41 120 format film developed, and they did a great job. If only my scanner was up to the job! Most of the scans have streaks in them; in some I’ve minimized them with some digital editing if it was overly distracting.

One technique that worked really well, and is a HUGE cheat, was to shoot every frame digitally first. I had my K10D with 28mm lens set to ISO 400, 1/60, and read the aperture right from the cameras meter. To confirm I did the shots in digital, and it also helped that I had set the camera to use full stops instead of halves or thirds of a stop. So besides a double exposure on the first frame, I ended up with a roll of perfectly exposed film, and 12 usable (if some boring) shots, which was sort of surprising.

The bigger surprise, however, was the clarity of the Diana F+ and it’s plastic lens in some shots. And the not-clarity in others. To get super-crisp shots is almost disappointing; I’d rather they came out all funky and weird! All of these images are hosted over at flickr, and you can see higher resolution versions of them there.

Decent clarity, nice contrast. Surprise!

Decent clarity, nice contrast. Surprise!

Or not so clear. Surprise!

Or not so clear. Surprise!

The interaction between aperture and focus is really pronounced on this camera. Even though the estimated apertures of  f/11, f/16, and f/22 seem to be grouped at the slower end, the depth of field can vary from almost infinite at f/22 @ infinity focus to really shallow at f/11 @ 1-2 meters.

Here are some more:

Sharp. Surprise!

Sharp. Surprise!

Not so sharp. Surprise!

Not so sharp. Surprise!

And on and on it goes:

Sharp, sort of.

Sharp, sort of.

Soft. Except for dead-center.

Soft. Except for dead-center.

It’s almost a 50-50 split between the sharp and soft shots from that day.

Fairly sharp (less so at full resolution)

Fairly sharp (less so at full resolution)

The physical prints are fairly impressive in their own right. Although they were only printed at 5″ x 5″, they show a bit more shadow detail and tonal range than the scans do. I was expecting something less crisp; what I had read about this type of chromogenic film was to expect ‘dye clouds’ instead of silver particles… well, that’s not exactly accurate. At large print sizes I could see it contributing to the overall quality, in fact I could see using this film for just that effect with the Diana, or any Lomo camera, especially when it could be printed at poster sizes, or bigger. I think I’ll compose some images for printing at LARGE sizes and see what I get.

Right now the Diana has some of that no-name Lomo film in it, and then I have some T-Max and Delta that are going for a head-to-head in my developing tank, so look for more black-and-white goodness over the next few weeks.

Just for fun: Cross-Processing

First off, this isn’t about cross-dressing, like the killer in ‘Dressed to Kill’. (Great movie. Lots of little plot details. Even a bit of a photography angle, in the form of character Peter Miller, who hides a camera to catch a killer.)

Nope, this is cross-processing; the intentional developing of one type of film in chemistry intended for another. You’ve seen the look; like Kodachrome, but more vivid, darker blacks, and blown highlights, and often incorrect or unnatural colors.

Cross-processed Fuji Sensia 100

Cross-processed Fuji Sensia 100

When I got the Diana F+ one thing that drew me to it were the samples; unreal colors and flaws that are really difficult to produce by editing digital, if only because of their apparent randomness.

My first couple of rolls were some Lomo 120, ISO 100. Not bad for outdoor use in bright light. But black and white; and I developed myself – the first time in 25 years, so a little lacking in deep blacks. But that’s another post.

My third roll, and one I was dying to shoot, was some Fuji Sensia ISO 100, a slide film. I had purchased it intending to use in the Kodak Stereo Camera on a mountain hike, but the hike evaporated, and there sat the Diana, just begging for some color film.

The first surprise is how hard it was to get it processed here in Calgary. Within 15 minutes of me are probably a half-dozen drug-store processing machines, all C-41 (print chemistry). What I had was slide film, or E-6 chemistry. I did a little leg work and found that neither WalMart or London Drugs would take it, first citing fears that I wouldn’t like the results, and second that it might somehow gum up their machines. I did a little reading after that, and found that the only film that’s likely to do that is Kodachrome – no longer available. (There are others, but likely to be in unmarked/self-loading 35mm cans).

In that search I found a local lab that would process it ‘wrong’ for me, but I’m going to have to keep it a secret; I don’t want a sudden influx of hobbyists flooding the lab because they don’t make much (if any) money from it. If you have a roll, live in northwest Calgary, just do some leg work (and a Google search). You’ll find it.

The next surprise was that the slide film came back as a negative… I hadn’t thought about it; all the shots that I’d seen online, even those with sprocket holes, seemed to be clear slide film. A thread over on APUG showed me the light; the chemistry dictates if the results are positive (slides) or negatives (for prints).

But it wasn’t an ordinary negative; the actual film substrate turned green. Yikes! Again, the APUG threads indicated this is normal-ish… for certain films, notably a few of the Fuji’s, like my Sensia. Ah well…

My next challenge was to scan it and see if I could invert it digitally. I was hoping to avoid any digital manipulation at all – and go totally lo-fi, but what the heck; I had an HP film/photo scanner, so let’s see what we have…

Step 1: Scan as Slide

The scanner did some pretty funky things to the scans if I told it to ‘scan as negative’, so I lied to it and said it was a slide. Also, for this sample strip I did NOT use the film loader; it hides the sprocket holes! I put the slide into a print carrier, which is just a bit of clear plastic with a white paper backing that is only sealed on one edge. Great for feed loading delicate items, like this. But the big reason why I like this way: I get sprocket holes.

What the film looked like from the lab. Ugh! (click for bigger version)

The scanner saves this as a TIFF file; which is perfect for more manipulation…

Step 2: Color Inversion

This is really straightforward: I loaded the image into the GIMP (think ghetto Photoshop) and selected ‘Invert’ from the Colors menu. That’s it.

Ooohh! Thats looking better...

Ooohh! That's looking better... (click for bigger version)

I saved this step as another TIFF file also, so I could come back to it if needed. These files aren’t high resolution, so the files are really small, about 2.4 MB.

Step 3: The Tweaks!

This is where things get personal. I used the curves editor to drop the red a few notches, and bump up the blue and green. In the curve grid I simply drag the point from the right hand corner; straight down for red, and straight left for green and blue. Play around until you get it ‘right’. It’s possible to actually get colors that are really normal – but where is the fun in that?

The result: Lomographic goodness.

The result: Lomographic goodness. (click for bigger version)

That’s really all there is to it. You’ll notice that I didn’t get the film advance right, and one frame is damaged. Meh. That’s part of the process. If you don’t want overlapping frames then take the time to load and count turns; I used about 1.25 turns at the start of the roll which was waaaay to few; and 2 turns in the middle  – waaaay too many; and about 1 turn at the end… which was about right. That sounds like a whole ‘nother post, so I’ll leave it at that.

My flickr page has a few more samples, sans sprockets. Comparing the two: Sprockets Rule!

Accidental Exposure

I have a series of photography business related posts that are gestating in draft mode that just aren’t getting the attention they deserve. Something is distracting me…

On the weekend I bought one of these; a Diana F+.

Why, oh why, would I buy another camera?

Something about the imperfections and unpredictability really appeals to me. It’s fast, off-the-cuff photography. Not the super-buttoned-down studio style that I sometimes do. And certainly not how I frame and compose most shots; square on, level, and … boring. I’d been looking at flickr images tagged with lomo, holga, etc, and the honesty and simplicity really grabbed me.

I was visiting family in Edmonton on the weekend, and as chance would have it I found a retailer that stocked the Holga, Diana, and a ton of Lomography stuff. So on Friday I become the proud owner of a plastic lens camera, and I started to see the world around me in cross-processed, light fogged colors. Ahhhh….

I got up early the next morning, thoughts of the Diana and it’s image style compartmentalized, a memory of yesterday, not part of my today yet. I was in Mr. Photographer mode, of course I was shooting with my Pentax K20D, 360 flash, and 50-135mm lens, which usually travel with me.

I wanted to take some stock shots of the gardens;  really shallow, even out-of-focus images, to make page backgrounds for wedding albums, and since summer here is so short, having stock images isn’t a bad idea.

Then something odd happened:

White balance? White balance? We dont need no stinkin white balance!

White balance? White balance? We don't need no stinkin' white balance!

Ack! A mistake! An error! Ewww!

I hadn’t had my morning coffee yet, so with bleary eyes I switched the white balance to daylight, and kept on shooting. I forgot all about it; we had brunch, drove home to Calgary, and got caught up with chores around the house.

Tonight I managed some free time to sort through the 150+ images I shot, and came back to this image.

Wow, it’s an unpredictable, improbable error! And it’s really cool! And it’s digital!

And it took buying a plastic camera with a plastic lens to make me see that happy accidents don’t always have to be on film.