Film photography at Bosham
A couple of weeks ago I published a general blog about photographing Bosham, going there to see the dawn, the high tide and the bird life. This is the companion blog that is about the film photography that I've done there.
I think some of the photos I've taken have been good, some pretty ordinary, and some of the experiments with time expired Kodak Ultra have been awful. But we learn from our mistakes.
My first SLR was a Zenit B, bought in about 1971. I kept the Zenit for about 9 years and then bought a Pentax K1000, a real gem. After a while, that camera needed servicing and I replaced it with a Pentax MZ30, which turned out to be pretty poor. In the early 2000s I bought my first digital camera and after a short period of overlap, I sold the K1000 and gave away the awful MZ30.
I was exclusively digital for around 10 years and then in 2012, I bought a Canon EOS-1 on eBay, it used the same EF lenses as my digital cameras.
Time expired generic film
On my first trip to Bosham in 2012, I took my EOS-1 along. I had some TruPrint free film that had been lying around my office for some years and also some Ilford FP4+.
The TruPrint film was great, really good colours.
OK, mea culpa, I was so excited by the bright colours of the boat and channel, I chopped the tip off the church steeple.
Black and white film
I honestly can't remember if I used a red filter on this visit, the lack of sky detail suggests not, but I soon picked up a Hoya red 25 filter and it pretty much sits on the Canon EF 24-105/4 IS that is my go to lens for film.
Something I did on that first visit was to try some long exposure photography. Of the Ilford films I've used, FP4+ is easily the most forgiving of long exposures and gives good results without having to worry too much about reciprocity failure (In my hands, Pan F 50 has been awful).
What I've got here is a couple of stacked images. I've taken the scans and stacked 5 or 6 images in Photoshop and then did a median stacking mode. I don't think mean worked that well.
In addition to FP4+, I've also used HP5. Other BW films I use are Ilford Delta 100 or 400 and the rather expensive SFX 200, which I haven't used at Bosham yet.
I added a Canon EOS 1v to the EOS-1, and I put BW film in the EOS 1v and put colour film in the older model. Eventually, I replaced the EOS-1 with another EOS 1v and then bought a third EOS 1v to use exclusively with Ilford SFX 200 and then I needed to get a red 29 filter for optimum result.
I think the best thing about Bosham, is being there for the high tide. You have to be check tide tables, weather forecasts and generally do your homework and be lucky. When you are lucky, it shows.
I have to add here that I really didn't get good results with long exposures and HP5+
This last image was photographed on HP5+ in a Zorki 4K that I'd acquired. I held a 77mm red 25 filter in front of the lens for the shot. This was the last roll of film I'd taken with that camera. The rewind mechanism failed and I was quoted £130 for repair. The camera cost £35.
In the end, I sold the 50/3.5 lens and the camera body is on display on one of the shelves in my office with a dead EOS 5D.
Ilford Delta films
This was shot on Delta 100 and was one of the most magical morning I've seen at Bosham. High tide was at dawn, so we had the golden hour too.
Time Expired Kodak 400 Ultra
By the time I was taking these photos I'd gained a FED-3. It was a nice enough camera that has since been replaced with Leica iiif.
Having had such good results with the other time expired film, I snapped up 10 rolls of the Kodak.
Bad error, I should have bought just one.
I can't begin to tell you how much of a disappointment that awful film was. Unfortunately, I'd used a few rolls before getting it processed.
A little bit about processing. I don't want to seem like a heretic here, but I haven't developed or printed film since 1980. I used to process my own film at university and afterwards during my PhD, but not since. I've either used PeakImaging or AG Photographic. They provide me with a disk and depending on how much I pay for the scanning, I get some small to very large files.
I get my final jpg to the final display version by processing in Photoshop. I've tried two different ways, one is adjustment layers and the other is to open the file in camera RAW. In particular, I think the latter gives me better control of the gradients to bring out clouds or lighten up the reflections in water. it's also very good at sport and scratch removal. I look on Photoshop as being the equivalent of preparing a print. I do also get my work printed, and soon I'll have to get one of my negs re-scanned at very high resolution for an art print. Expensive but worth it.
I thought you might be interested in the camera gear.
My first film camera after going back into film photography in 2012 was the Canon EOS-1 This was the top of the line film camera in the late 1980s, it had one AF point a the similar metering modes to current digital cameras and a general feel of professional solidity. It came with a massive battery pack that almost doubled the weight, so I changed that for the standard battery. One day I must eBay the battery pack.
My next acquisition was the FED-3, that I bought for a separate project I was working on. It was a pretty good machine and the lens was excellent, a very sharp 50/2. The light seals on FED-3s were suspect in some instances, so you had to keep it in its leather case. I had no troubles with light leaking, but always kept it in the case. I used the FED-3 for colour film, because it came with a brown leather case.
After I bought my Leica, I sold the FED-3.
After the FED-3 came the Zorki 4K. I'd thought about getting one of these for years and I used it for Ilford HP5+, because it had a black case. It worked well, right up to the point when it died. The 50/3.5 lens didn't look special compared with the nicely solid 52/2.8 on the FED-3, but stopped down to f8 is gave some excellent results.
Eventually, I added a Canon EOS 1v to my collection. It's the last film camera that Canon made, it's a huge lump, but it is just so very, very good.
So I bough two more. Although those camera bodies were very expensive when they came out, they are actually not that expensive now. When I bought the last one it was about the same price as a low end DSLR (later I've paid import duty from Japan). But those cameras are so astonishingly good, it's worth getting at least one. As I mentioned earlier, one is standard BW, one for SFX 200 and one for colour film.
Finally, I bought a Leica iiif. It's a little jewel of a camera, so very beautifully made and so very nice to handle. the one I bought came without a lens, so it's got a Russian 50/2.8 sitting on it. I haven't used the Leica at Bosham yet. It needs a service, because I managed to damage a shutter curtain and I'll need to get that addressed.
Here is my current film camera stable.
As I have three identical film bodies, I need to know which one I need. I've solved that conundrum by having different coloured tape on the back of each one. It's not a foolproof system, I once thought I'd taken photos of Beachy Head light house with colour film, but actually got it in BW.
The Lens hood on the EF 24-105/4 IS has tape on it, so that I can quickly distinguish between a film camera and an EOS 5D3+24-70/4 IS when I'm using both.
I hope you have enjoyed this little blog.