I was nominated by Joyce Peng to do a 7-day self-portrait challenge: 7 days, 7 self-portraits, and 7 nominations to keep this going with other artists/photographers. I invite Erik Mathy to take the time to extend the fun.
I put a small twist to this challenge as well. I will be composing self-portraits through the viewfinders of different cameras.
Today, I am viewing through my 1970s Canon QL17 GIII camera. It was the most sold rangefinder with over 1.2 million copies over twenty years. Int this day and age, we will be lucky if a camera last more than 20 months! The viewfinder is super clean and the yellow rangefinder patch is bright and easy to focus. The aperture priority marker on the right is also bright and clear. In the photo, I am holding another legendary rangefinder, the Revue 400SE. Both of these cameras feature super fast and sharp lens.
Day 2 of 5 of black and white photo challenge. Each day I am trying to post a photo that is taken from a different camera and a different medium. Today I picked a 135mm shot I did in Kyoto, Japan last year. Amy and my mom were walking in front of me and the shadow was perfect when I took this shot. Photo taken with Canon QL17 on Kodak TriX. Film developed in Kodak D76 1+1 and Kodak Rapid Fix, scanned with Epson Perfection V700. Today I nominate Michael Ho to accept my black and white photo challenge.
A recent discussion with Kirk Lau with the boiling water temperature of our taps converged on the topic of stand development. Basically stand development involves throwing away everything that I have learned so far about film processing. Stand development is simply develop your film in diluted developer and after initial agitation, leave it to develop for (almost) infinite time. You rely on the amount of chemical to natural develop your film, rather through agitation.
I still have six rolls of Tri-X 400 that I snapped in Japan back in June that still need to be developed. I haven’t done so not because I am lazy but recently in the development with HC110 dilution H, the grain size appears to be large. I suspect the culprit is the water temperature. Both the tap water in Hong Kong and Shanghai measured to be well above 28C. Even though I have compensated that with less development time but the grain size seems larger than before. I am holding onto these rolls until I figure out what’s wrong.
I attended Herbert and Elaine’s wedding ceremony recently and prepared to shoot the event with my Canon QL17, my Canolite D flash and a roll of Kodak Tri-X 400. The idea of stand development came back to me after the shoot and I figured I will give it a shot. I developed the Kodak Tri-X with Kodak HC110 (1:100) dilution. I did initial agitation of front, back, left, right, each 10 times, then gave the tank a good tap on the ground to avoid any possible bubbles. I then left it to develop in 25C room temperature for 60 mins, followed by a 5 mins water bath. Then I fixed it in Kodak Rapid Fix for 4.5 mins before rinsed in water again and wrapped it up with Kodak Photoflo.
The result was mostly successful. The film developed fine except again for the large grain size. I blame it on the tap water temperature again. I need to put in ice and prepare the developer and rinse water to be around 20C next time! Nevertheless, the shots at the wedding ceremony was super loto and turned out super classic! Totally reminded me of the ones in the dusty wedding albums of my parents.
For a while, my travel photo gears includes: Canon Powershot S90, Canon QL17 GIII + Canolite D flash and Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta B 532/16. The S90 serves as the all purpose camera, QL17 mainly for street photography and the Zeiss Ikon for portraits. For 135, I mainly use Kodak TriX 400, Fuji Xtra 400 and Agfa Vista 400. For 120, I use mainly Fuji Reala 100 which are excellent for portraits. All of these fits nicely in a small Crumpler camera bag.
Recently I went to Japan for a week and I was debating what to bring. I have upgraded to a Canon 5D Mark III recently and really wanted to try this out during this trip, but the sheer size of it gave me second thoughts. Since I am going for a week, the Zeiss Ikon also didn’t seem feasible. This medium format beauty can only produce 11 shots per roll, this means I will need to bring a dozen of 120s. Weight is not an issue, I am more worried about how the Fuji Reala will perform under hot temperature (30C+).
The final verdict, I took the dive and brought the 5D, along with the stock 24-105mm F4 L lens, 40mm F2.8 pancake lens and a Yongnuo YN-568EX flash. I decided to drop the Zeiss Ikon and brought the QL17 and S90.
I didn’t realize until I took the photo above that I have a complete Canon lineup. I swear that it wasn’t intentional, just happened that way. The S90 continued to perform well, especially for food closeup shots. I shot six rolls of Kodak Tri-X with the QL17 (awaiting for development). For the QL17, during the day, I often use a Kenko ND4 filter so I can use ISO 400 during the day. Nothing can beat the QL17 for street photography in my lineup, it’s small, non-intrusive, quiet and fast focusing. The 40mm F1.7 lens is perfect for that.
How did I find the 5D for traveling? It’s heavy but worth it. With the 40mm pancake lens, this is basically the same setup as my QL17 but with one huge advantage. That’s high ISO. I can shoot at up to ISO3200 without a lot of noise which makes this camera a winner for taking photos indoors and at night. The stock 24-105mm F4 L lens with IS gave a good working range for most travel shots, from architecture to far away objects. It is also quite a bit lighter than the 24-70mm F2.8 lens which makes this a bit more desirable for traveling. Did I need the flash? Yes! I actually used it often as a fill flash especially during late afternoon around sunset time.
All the equipment fitted in my Kata backpack. The new selection of travel gear added another few kilos compared to before but the 5D took beautiful photos and was worth it at the end.