Truck in the Center of the Town

Truck and TownWhen framing up these panoramas my compositional agenda was to look for layers. I tried to bring some object into the foreground while looking for a perspective that aligned interesting items behind it. While looking for this image, I walked all the way around the truck and finally ended here giving each element a place of its own.

Horizon Perfekt, Arista Premium 400 (TriX 400), Clayton Chemicals F76+ (1+9), 7:15 @ 68º. Agitate for the first 30 seconds and 2 turns every minute.

Propped Up in Bodie

Propped UpThe Horizon Perfekt is a Russian camera, made in China, and sold by Lomography. It is in a class of cameras called swing-lens cameras. This camera takes a 120º pano with a 28mm lens by rotating a slit from left-to-right. The film itself, ordinary 35mm film, is held in an arc so that the lens is equidistant to the film plane during the full image capture.

I was inspired to purchase this camera by the work of Jeff Bridges (yes, the actor, son of Loyd Bridges the star of Sea Hunt) who uses a vintage camera called a Widelux. Jeff Bridges uses his to document the making of his movies. I was looking to purchase a Widelux, but they are expensive and due to their age, prone to need custom repair. The Horizon Perfekt was $349 through the Lomo site and comes with a 2-year warranty.

Development notes: Arista Premium 400 treated as if identical to Kodak TriX 400. Developed in Clayton Chemicals F76+ (1+9), 7:15min @68º. This was an experiment to increase the development time to bring out a little more contrast than my previous TriX negs. I will keep this new time, especially for overcast soft lighting. Agitation first 30 sec, then 2 turns per minute. Your mileage may vary.

Bodie and the Horizon Perfekt


Do a search for Bodie on the inter-galactic-web and you will find lots of pictures. Color, black & while, and plenty of HDR. Each time I visit Bodie I want to capture its mood in a special way. My plan for this visit was to take a bunch of 4×5 looking to capture as much detail as I could muster. But I also took along a new toy – the Horizon Perfekt. The Perfekt is a “swing-lens” camera taking a 120º view by, literally, swinging a lens around an axis. It uses 35mm film, but the negatives are about 1.5 times wider. Once I started framing up the area with the Perfekt, I couldn’t stop.

Black and White and Chrome All Over

Alien Skin

They say that B&W photography was made to photograph chrome. Or maybe I just say this. Or maybe I just willed it. When this image rolled off the scanner, my hair stood on end. What I am learning is that some images roll right off and others take more work. This image, rolled right off the scanner – a little dust spotting and voila.

A fully chromed airplane stilling half in the hanger and half in the sun at the Santa Paula Airport.

Hasselblad 500 C/M, 80mm Zeiss Planar, Fuji Neopan Acros 100, Rodinal 1+50, 12:20min @ 70F. (I developed this at 70-degrees because it is starting to warm up here in Southern California. I adjusted the time instead of cooling the chems 2-degrees. The whole roll came out delicious. I may stick with this recipe.)



Some images deserve presentation with a big border and prominent attribution. Some images bring it all – content, structure, emotion, intrigue. Some images make you proud to be their creator.

This image was taken on a warm sunny winter afternoon in Santa Barbara. The local camera club had organized an outing to the Santa Barbara Zoo. And, while I wasn’t all that interested in taking animal portraits, I figured the zoo to be a good place to practice a little people photography. People at the zoo is a simple idea, but I had to make it harder. I would spend the day using a vintage 1970’s Mamiya C220 TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) camera that was gifted to me by a good friend. My film for the day was Kodak TMAX ISO 400 B&W.

Off I went to the zoo, looking for my opportunities and learning to use the camera all at the same time. I shot about 2 1/2 rolls at the zoo, 30 images. Most were boring. Some were down right desperate. For most of the day I felt like I was chasing the picture instead of having the picture come to me.

Lunch came to the rescue, an opportunity to leave the zoo and explore the neighborhoods. As we were looking for a parking space near our favorite Mexican restaurant, I noticed a barber shop on the corner. I walked over and stopped in front of the window. As I started fiddling with the camera, these two girls, bored and waiting for their brother or father for their hair-cut, turned to me and started playing for the camera. I positioned myself to use my shadow to see into the barber shop. Looked down into the waist-level finder, focused, cocked the shutter, and waited for the right moment.

Mamiya C220, Sekor 70mm f/2.8, Kodak TMAX 400, Clayton F76+ 8:00 min @ 68˚

My Weekend

Dairy Images

One of my goals this year is to use 35mm B&W film in a diary camera in order to push myself through the learning curve.

This weekend I loaded up the Leica M2 with a 24 exposure roll of Tri-X 400 with the intention of pushing it to 1600. The scene was a local deli, Brents, on Saturday night and a rib-joint in Burbank on Sunday called Ribs USA.

Here are my keepers. For the techies, a write up of my process is at the bottom.

Dairy Images

Dairy Images

Dairy Images

Dairy Images

Dairy Images

Dairy Images

Dairy Images

This roll was taken with my Leica M2 and Zeiss 50mm Biogon f/2.0. Most of the images are with the lens wide open at f/2.0 or  f/2.8 @ 1/60th. The lighting was  typically moderate restaurant lighting.

The developing was Clayton Chems F76+, dilution 1+19, 14:30 min @75F. Lowell Huff (the chemist behind F76+) recommends 1+19 11:00 min @75F “for push processing”. I assumed this was for one stop, so for two, I added another 30%. Normal dev is 1+9, 6:00 min @68F .

During scanning (VueScan) I measured a value of 2.09 for the Exposure Lock. The negs were a little thin, so I found myself pushing the Brightness setting to 1.5. I have found it better to push the brightness during scanning to avoid blocked up blacks.

Post in Lightroom/CS5 included small amounts of dodge and burn – artistic license to darken shirts, brighten faces, burn edges, etc…  Very little was done with any constrast tweaking and no curves adjustments.