Monday, 11 April 2016

Graveyard wander

So last week I had a wee poke around Killowen Churchyard.  A place not without significance - my mother and father were married in the Church in 1960 and my great-grandfather on my father's side is buried in the old graveyard out front.  Not that I ever knew that, mind, until I started poking around in the whole Family Tree stuff.  I mean, here's a place I pass several times a week and never knew there was a whole family of McNeills buried there until I spent a couple of days looking through the Church Records a while back.  It was all in old script writing - not the easiest to decipher, I have to say.

So now every time I pass there I have a wee thought or two for my great-grandfather and a wee wonder what his life was like.  He was a stone-mason, born 1840 and died 1912 - but I'll save the details for another day.

Anyway, on that particular day last week I was armed, unusually for me, with a Mamiya 645 Pro TL which had an 80mm f/2.8 attached.  It's a long story but I only had it for a couple of days.  Very nice it was too, I must admit - although a bit on the large&heavy side for me.  It has an electronic shutter and was the last of the 645 series made, a run which started in 1975 and ended in 2006.

Now this one isn't my great-grandfather's headstone, but it caught my eye all the same and I snapped it into the Mamiya at full aperture.  I split-grade printed it this very morning in the darkroom, on Kentmere VC with a dose of Sepia toner added for good measure:

I did 3 prints once I got something half-decent looking - one I left alone, one I toned in warm Selenium and then this one here in Sepia.  I asked the Usual Suspects (Ed: Great film that - old Keyser Söze keeping us guessing right to the end.) for their advice and while Missy liked the Selenium one best the Sepia one seemed to be the most favoured.

Here's the Selenium one just for comparison:

And here's the vanilla one, which I quite like:

If I was to print this again it might be fun to try a cooltone paper - even MG IV if nothing more specialised were available.  It might suit the subject matter more. Perhaps.


  1. First of all; a trio of great prints here Michael. Having looked, come back and looked more, then coming back for even more looks, I think I have ended up being on Missy's side of things for this one. I feel the selenium tone adds something on the right end for this print. Having said that, I know it's still a scan and nothing like holding the prints in your own hands.
    So, you were able to play around with the nice "little" 645 TL :)) I would love to give that kind of thing a try some day myself as well. It looks great, and I know it's a great camera, but then you know I got enough of them as it is... If I could use the lenses from the RZ67 system I might would have got tempted, but another medium format system is just out of the question for me.
    The snaps truly looks brilliant though, and I'm already looking forward for more to come... as I feel there might be more of this story from the graveyard.

  2. And, I could not hold back the urge to find out what they looked like, the two systems by comparison...
    There is a significant difference in size, for sure, but the 645 might be just as heavy as the RZ67 for all I know. That prism finder looks like it might add some weight to the thing?
    I got a prism finder for the RZ system as well, which makes the thing more or less "not liftable to any man"... so I got some thoughts about the adding of this feature, and not making it possible to remove it if you so would like. But maybe you can take it away and put a "chimney" on the 645 as well?

    1. Appreciate your comments Roy - thanks. I've been looking at the prints here for a couple of days now and think the Sepia has it by a whisker. But sure it's all good fun and something to talk about.

      But...seriously Mr Karlsvig I don't know how you carry around your big Mamiyas - that RZ is a monster! The 645 was nice in the hand though and did feel like a proper camera compared to the little German rangefinder or even the Japanese SLR. But I'm not sure my spondylitis would be happy with me carrying it around long term - well, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't do me much good in the neck&shoulders department. I think I'm going to have to stick to 35mm for most of the time but sure that's OK - I mean, we all like our grain, don't we?!

  3. So true Michael. We need something to discuss from time to time. Life would be boring without it. After all, that's another reason why we do this as well, I suppose. Showing up a few snaps now and then, to get some sort of feedback. At least I must say I appreciate it a lot.

    The RZ is a monster for sure, but the weight is not a big issue for me. As for yet, anyway. But, it depends a lot how much glass you carry with it. The lenses are truly heavy beasts, so you need to be careful and think things through if you're planning one of them longer ventures. Otherwise it's quite OK weightwise, but a bit awkward to carry because of the hugeness of the box. Sometimes I carry one RZ on the shoulder, with some lens attached, and got another one in a bag on my back together with 5-6 lenses. I will not be the one to walk for the whole day with that on my back I can assure you. I have not put them on the scales yet, but it would have been a bit fun to check one day...
    But hey, the 35mm format has come to stay, so let's just carry whatever we like, get something onto some film whatever format, and Stay Cool :))