Old Man’s Cave Trail, Hocking Hills on Flickr.
Middle Falls, Hocking Hills on Flickr.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but after fav’ing nearly 1/2 of their Flickr stream, I’m confident I love Shimon & Lindermann’s style! What they’ve captured in their part of the Midwest is everything I’ve ever tried to capture in my Barbershops series, and more.

rlfsoso said: Hi, how do you process xray film if not in trays? I mean with development by sight & stuff… very interesting write. I hope to be able to enter large format (only 4x5 see: intrepid camera tumblr) later and slowly build up my stuff (& confidence) Thanks R.

Hi R. and thanks for your LF question.

Developing x-ray film by inspection is a pretty easy process once you’ve got down the basic steps. 

Instead of using open trays, where the x-ray film’s weaker emulsion would be vulnerable to all kinds of surface scratching, I’m using stainless steel hangers and tanks. Depending on the size of film being used (8x10” is the most common x-ray film size), the tanks range anywhere from holding 1.5L of liquid to a massive 13L. That’s a LOT of developer, even for hand-mixed batches of relatively cheap developers. The hangers over the past few years have gone up in value some, partially attributed to a larger number of entering LF shooters getting started with x-ray film. For 4x5, the equipment is overall a little bit cheaper, and thanks to my buddy and co-host Mike at the Film Photography Podcast, you can now get x-ray film in 4x5:

http://filmphotographyproject.com/store/fpp-super-green-x-ray-4x5-film

Unlike trays, agitation of film in the hangers is simple, lift up, tilt to one side slightly and drain. “Clank” the hanger to the side of the tank to dislodge more developer, dip back into the developer, lift out, and drain tilting slightly to the opposite side. Then re-insert the hanger into the developer for a set period of time. Since x-ray films are orthochromatic (don’t see red at all), a weak red safelight can be used when loading and processing the film. This really comes in handy for first timers in the large format world, and removes a lot of the basic errors that can be made in those first few loading and processing sessions. I recommend a Kodak Jr. bulb, which is an adorably sized 7w incandescent bulb that fits nicely in a shop light reflector (any hardware store/superstore/craft store will have these). Aim the safelight for indirect illumination (aka not directly on the film or tanks) and start inspecting.

To inspect the film during processing, bring the x-ray film out of the developer at the 2 min. mark and while agitating, look for any faint density starting to appear on the emulsion. Under the safelight, the emulsion when undeveloped will have a creamy-white appearance. When highlight density starts to come in on the film (highlights first, mid-tones second, shadows third/last), watch how fast it appears. If you see any density before the 2 min. mark, likely the film was overexposed or your developer is too strong. The beauty of inspection is that you can now place this film that’s coming in too fast back into the pre-wash (if you use that bath) or a cold water stop bath to retard development temporarily, before re-inserting with the rest of the film. After 30 sec. to 1 min., place the film back into the developer, and process for the remainder of the development time as normal.

Those are the basics to development by inspection, and I hope this has helped. The most important thing to remember is that compared to modern B&W emulsions, x-ray film is ridiculously inexpensive, and with that comes the ability to experiment with the film like mad. Get out there, have fun, make mistakes, and then make some cool work.

Thanks again for your LF question, and if any of you out there have your own large format questions, please feel free to ask!

Nothing to See Here, Just Film Photography Kicking Ass

Oh, this? Nothing to see here. A film manufacturer coming back from the dead ten years later. No big deal, just 35mm, 120, Super 8, and 16mm COLOR film stocks coming back to the film photography market. Seriously, if this is the first you’ve heard of this project, watch the above video, and at least kick-in for the fabulous Italian accents. If you’re a film shooter, kick-in and get some of their first run films, because this project IS going to make it and you’re going to want to shoot this brand new film!

Never have I been more confident about a Kickstarter campaign, and beyond excited for what these newly produced film stocks mean for this little niche of the photography world. If you’d like a little more news on Ferrania, and some other film related news, also be sure to check out the latest episode of the Film Photography Podcast.

http://filmphotographyproject.com/podcast/2014/09/film-photography-podcast-110-%E2%80%93-october-1-2014

Now what are you waiting for, get in on this Kickstarter! Already backed? Share the living hell out of this! If people aren’t complaining about how much you’re sharing this, you’re not sharing it enough. NEW. FILM. MANUFACTURING. Leave me a comment when you back and share this. :)

Nothing to See Here, Just Film Photography Kicking Ass

Oh, this? Nothing to see here. A film manufacturer coming back from the dead ten years later. No big deal, just 35mm, 120, Super 8, and 16mm COLOR film stocks coming back to the film photography market. Seriously, if this is the first you’ve heard of this project, watch the above video, and at least kick-in for the fabulous Italian accents. If you’re a film shooter, kick-in and get some of their first run films, because this project IS going to make it and you’re going to want to shoot this brand new film!

Never have I been more confident about a Kickstarter campaign, and beyond excited for what these newly produced film stocks mean for this little niche of the photography world. If you’d like a little more news on Ferrania, and some other film related news, also be sure to check out the latest episode of the Film Photography Podcast.

http://filmphotographyproject.com/podcast/2014/09/film-photography-podcast-110-%E2%80%93-october-1-2014

Now what are you waiting for, get in on this Kickstarter! Already backed? Share the living hell out of this! If people aren’t complaining about how much you’re sharing this, you’re not sharing it enough. NEW. FILM. MANUFACTURING. Leave me a comment when you back and share this. :)

hkos:

after looking at mat marrash’s infrared gallery i got very curious to try the efke 820 film that he used for those images.
for now those rolls will live in a fridge … but eventually i’ll need to figure out which camera to shoot them in. options include the kiev 60, the rolleiflex - or i guess i could get a roll film back for the sinar.
i’m mostly leaning towards kiev and sinar. either way i’ll probably want some new 720nm filters …
shipping from this ebay seller was ridiculously fast: ordered sunday, received wednesday. (there’s no expiry date on the packagine, but according to the seller, these rolls are from some of the last batches sold by efke - and should have expired around 06/2014)

Apparently I’m a bad influence. ;D

hkos:

after looking at mat marrash’s infrared gallery i got very curious to try the efke 820 film that he used for those images.

for now those rolls will live in a fridge … but eventually i’ll need to figure out which camera to shoot them in. options include the kiev 60, the rolleiflex - or i guess i could get a roll film back for the sinar.

i’m mostly leaning towards kiev and sinar. either way i’ll probably want some new 720nm filters …

shipping from this ebay seller was ridiculously fast: ordered sunday, received wednesday. (there’s no expiry date on the packagine, but according to the seller, these rolls are from some of the last batches sold by efke - and should have expired around 06/2014)

Apparently I’m a bad influence. ;D

caitiborruso:

emmalynsullivan:

Beach bae loves New York (at Coney Island Beach)

this is me not wearing pants & shooting large format

No pants + large format = photography zen!

caitiborruso:

emmalynsullivan:

Beach bae loves New York (at Coney Island Beach)

this is me not wearing pants & shooting large format

No pants + large format = photography zen!

Working with Large Format X-Ray Film…Continued

Since first blogging about x-ray film two years ago, I’ve gained a little more experience (~300 sheets more!) with this film and would like to pass a few things on to you fine ladies and gents. In no specific order, here they are: 

  1. EVERY Large Format Photographer Needs X-ray Film in His/Her Fridge

    Let’s face it folks, panchromatic films are getting pricier by the day, especially in the 4x5 and up sizes. X-Ray films, at their most premium, are still half the price of high end Kodak and Ilford B&W emulsions. At their cheapest, x-ray films run nearly $0.40 / sheet, which is cheaper than photographic paper! This means a film that can be loaded and developed under a safe light, AND is worlds faster than orthochromatic silver gelatin papers. Got light leaks? Test ‘em out with this stuff! Sorry 16x20 and 20x24 shooters, no help for you guys here, but there is always 14x36” x-ray film.
     
  2. The Double-Sided Emulsion of X-Ray Film is Tricky

    X-Ray film can be a little finicky to deal with, and can not, by any means, be handled the way you would any other film. Handle it without gloves, there will be fingerprints, man-handle it during processing, and there will be scratches. Fail to prewash it, and there will be uneven absorption into the dual-emulsion. With a gentle hand, a few pairs of nitrile gloves, and hangers and tanks for processing (see video below), x-ray film becomes a manageable, consistent film. Word to the wise, if you plan on tray processing this film, you will waste film, time, and what little patience you entered the darkroom with.
     
  3. Orhthochromatic Means Red Things Go Dark, Very Dark

    A film that can only see blue and green spectra of light doesn’t get along very well with light reflecting off of red objects. Red leaves go dark grey, red bricks go darker, and red shirts and skin blemishes become quite prominent and dark. Without conscious effort to work around this spectral shortcoming, even the kind of light you’re shooting in can become your own worst enemy. Top things to avoid with x-ray film: red backgrounds, red shades of lipstick, and hot lights!
  4. This is Not a Low Contrast Film

    X-ray film, when processed in standard developers, builds contrast very quickly. A quick glance at any x-ray shooters’ developing times will show you that even very dilute solutions have a time of < 10 min. Even in my highly dilute Pyrocat staining developers, I’m developing for ~6 min., give or take, depending how it looks under the red safelight (develop by inspection). Taming contrast with green x-ray film can be accomplished with some yellow/pale yellow filtration during exposure. In otherwise “flat” light, x-ray film at “N” (normal processing) will provide you contrast equal to N+1 development with conventional films. In contrasty light, prepare for some even more contrasty (still scans well) negatives.

    Lately, I’ve been experimenting with ultra-low contrast dilutions of catechol-baed pyro developers, namely Pyrocat HD and Obsidian Aqua. Instead of normal dilutions of 1:1:100 for Pyrocat HD and 1:500 for OA, lower contrast solutions of 1:1:150 and 1:1000 have been working out much better. Unlike Pyrocat HD, Obsidian Aqua doesn’t have a restrainer, so one has to be very careful in watching x-ray film develop (that contrast builds quickly!).

  5. Shoot it Quickly, Shoot it Often

Going hand-in-hand with how touchy x-ray film is, from my shooting experience, x-ray film doesn’t have as long a shelf life as modern, protected emulsions. While x-ray film doesn’t mind being frozen for storage, it keeps for only ~1 year in controlled 68 degrees Fahrenheit environment. In warm temperatures, the emulsion can deteriorate even faster, so don’t even think about leaving loaded film holders in a warm car/trunk. Fortunately, it’s low cost and high availability allow it to be a film you can have fun with! Not ready to commit that $10 sheet of B&W? Bracket off a 5-stop range on x-ray and see what happens!

Below is a quick sampling of some recent work shot on x-ray film. A mix of portraiture and nature work provided to highlight the nature of x-ray film. All images shot with an 8x10” camera and Fuji HR-T green sensitive x-ray film, rated @ 200 ASA, developed in Pyrocat HD 1:1:100.


If you’re interested in trying x-ray film and looking to source some, my recommendation is trying a pack from the Film Photography Project Store. They ship quickly, worldwide, and every transaction there helps the FPP continue its bi-monthly podcasts and affiliated content. And if you ever have any questions about working with x-ray film, feel free to ask in the comments, or use the contact form to send me an email.

Until next time, keep on shooting, and if you’re working with large format, might as well save a buck and shoot some x-ray film!