Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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I know I’ve said that flickr is somewhat creepy. But I still like it (a bit). Particularly with my love for black and white photos, I quite like the Black & White groups there. I found that those are above average when compared to the many other photos and groups seen on the site. Possibly because people making the conscious effort to take black and white photos tend to be on the more advanced, skillful or ambitious side.

Anyway – browsing around photos and enjoying them is fun, particularly with that PicLens plugin for Safari to give the best full screen viewing experience. (Although I’d quite like to have a screensaver that’s all of pretty, easy-to-use, actually working and able to display group photo pools for the Mac – none of those I tried actually did what I wanted it to do.) But what sometimes freaks me out are the comments people make on photos. Sure, it can be difficult to express why you think a photo is cool, interesting, pretty, exciting – but that doesn’t keep people from leaving those words. Very frequently when reading comments - positive comments – I think they are just creepy and often sound like a patronising well done. And while that may seem strange, probably a childish LOL, fantastic!!! or sweet! is as good as things can get. While on the negative side, I find comments including the word composition the creepiest.

When people write something like Great composition!, I can’ help but having to think about the writer being some fat geek, sitting at his computer and having a book on photography a Wikipedia page there that gives a nice definition about what composition is and when it is good. After checking that, said person will gauge the image on a personal 1-5 scale and then leave a a comment…

And while that fits beautifully into the whole concept of user participation and ratings of the (second) web, it just seems to miss the point of taking and viewing photos.


[Taken on ADOX CHM 400 at ISO 800 with a Canon T-70 and 500mm f8 lens. Look at the background to get an idea of the perspective/distance this was taken from or take a look what the scene looked like through my little digital camera’s lens. Darn, that supertele is hard to focus and hold, but perhaps I’ll still get a reasonably nice print from the shot with a hard gradation. [Larger version on Flickr]]

December 6, 2006, 0:43

Tagged as bw.


Comment by Thomas: User icon

that photo is good composition wise… I find it very pleasing to the eye and you kept everything on the 3rds…. so that is good.

so what is ADOX like? any good? seems to have little grain in combination with Rodinal for a 400 film. my Tri-X comes out with more grain I think… same for HP-5 in Tri-X.


December 6, 2006, 11:43

Comment by ssp: User icon

For the ADOX films, I’m not 100% sure what to make of them so far. They aren’t bad, but I’m not as happy with them as I’d like to be. Which may also be due to my developing skills and experience not being the greatest.

Basically the ADOX CHM films are said to be the same as Ilford’s films. So this should be like HP5. But I shot it at ISO 800, so it has been pushed a bit. I think the grain – while all right – is quite clearly visible (but perhaps obscured by scaling and JPEG compression, I can send you a link to a full quality scan if you want). I’ve been told that I should try a higher dilution of the developer to get finer grain.

So I’m mainly getting those ADOX films because they’re cheaper than buying ‘proper’ Ilford.

The ADOX CHS films are completely different beasts, though. They are said to be much finer (and only go up to ISO 100… although I once accidentally shot one of them at ISO 400 which was cool in parts but did give a lot of grain). I think I’m not getting the most out of those films yet and may need to try a different developer to see how things turn out then. Some of the shots still turn out nicely, though.

December 6, 2006, 12:20

Comment by Thomas: User icon

It was always my understanding that higher dilutions give more grain. A quick search seems to confirm this: http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=dilution+developer+grain&btnG=Google+Search&meta=

Maybe you could try a lower dilution, but just make sure that the development time stays above 5 minutes. So I think you don’t have a lot of room to play. If you want to go for less grain try something different from rodinal, again it is my understanding that other developers give less grain.

And the real solution is of course Efke 25… but I have never tried it, so can’t tell you what it is like.


December 6, 2006, 14:52

Comment by ssp: User icon

Thanks for that link, I guess I’ll have to look into this a bit more – it’s what I was told recently and it sounded reasonable to me (less chemicals → longer time → more effort → less grain). But I guess I’ll have to check this again. [Do you know about any reasonably comprehensive tables of developing times? Which include different dilutions, pushing by a step or two and so on. I never seem to have the information I actually want around when time comes to develop a film.]

Actually reading an answer to this question (third paragraph in Michael Feldman’s answer) suggests that Rodinal can cause the grain to clump which happens less at higher dilutions. So things seem to be a bit tricky as usual.

I think I’ll try to get a ‘finer’ developer to check that out. And definitely the efke/ADOX 25 has tempted me. But ISO 25 just isn’t a lot, particularly in winter. Tempting nonetheless.

Have you seen the ADOX CMS 20? Take a look at the detail in the example images, that’s just amazing. Seems to need a special developer, though. I’ll go photo shopping this weekend, so I’ll have a look what I can reasonably get.

December 6, 2006, 15:27

Comment by Thomas: User icon

Hadn’t seen ADOX CMS 20… most interesting. and the page you are looking for is http://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.html

And remember… these times are reference times… always try it first and find your own times accordingly.


December 6, 2006, 16:35

Comment by ssp: User icon

Thanks for the link Thomas! Great thing to find after four hours in the photo lab and coming out feeling a bit drowsy.

A great list that will at least give me starting points rather than leaving me to guess. That said – while I always read that such numbers are merely suggestions, I don’t think I have enough experience yet to opt for varying from them in a meaningful way. Just as I usually don’t feel compelled to say things like ‘this film could have used an extra minute in the developer’.

December 6, 2006, 23:09

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