Friday, 6 October 2017

You have to try...

It's that time of year when the weather in The Liberties can be a bit miserable.  Believe it nor not, in this part of Ireland we do get the odd overcast day when it rains, or seems to, all day.  Once we get to winter proper I find things improve, light-wise, so in the meantime we just have to put up and be patient.

Of course such days are good to spend in the darkroom but sometimes you just want to take some snaps, so the other day I dusted down the Sinar 4x5 (aka Big Boy) and took a couple of indoor shots.  Something I should do more of, I tell myself every time I use the Sinar, since it really is a lot of fun when you're in the mood for it.

I've no shortage of stuff to take photographs of, since my wife is an avid charity shop browser and buyer of junk objets d'art.  When she comes back with her latest purchase I typically greet her with a 'What are bringing now, woman - more aul' tat?' just to get a rise out of her but after all these years she's wise to my ways and no longer takes the bait quite as quickly as she once did.  Takes all the fun out of it, it does - well almost...but you still have to try, though, don't you :) And she loves her candles, bless her, so I nabbed one of her latest investments and disappeared upstairs to my lair/studio with it.  This is the result:

This almost came out as a contact print - in hindsight, I should have contact printed it since I was using 5"x7" paper, so not much larger than the negative itself.  The few times I have contact printed though I find the 4"x5" just a tad too small in the hand - even though it's very close to postcard size (6"x4" or thereabouts).

I'm quite aware of the implications of that last statement, by the way.  Dangerous territory, that -  8"x10" sheet film is not cheap but then again, decent sized contact prints and all those lovely alternative processes.  And life is short...hmm.

Anyway, back to reality this particular shot was taken as close as I could with the only lens I have for the Sinar - a 210mm Schneider Symmar-S f/5.6 - so the bellows were almost fully extended.  Wide open there ain't much in focus, as you can see in the print.  Actually I think this might have been f/8, but still a very shallow depth-of-field and maybe I should have stopped down a bit more to at least get all of the hanging chains in focus.  I used a little front movement in order to set the plane of focus to coincide with the candle-holders...12 degrees of swing was enough according to the Sinar's scales and it seemed to work out OK, although I'm no expert - obviously.


  1. I used to print 35mm and medium format film in a darkroom but gave up some years ago when we moved to a smaller place that wouldn't fit the equipment. We moved again last December and there is still no space for a darkroom. But I thought about getting an 8x10 camera and doing contact prints in the bathroom. No enlarger required and the equipment I do need could be stored in a cupboard. But . . . the film's not cheap, the camera's not cheap, and I think I should probably concentrate on making good images with the equipment I do have.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Marcus. I'm lucky enough to have space for a permanent darkroom otherwise I doubt if I'd print very much, if at all. Like you, I've enough options for taking photographs as it stands - and still plenty to learn about making better prints with what I've got.