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B&W Neil 1st March 2011 11:50 AM

My entry for FADU 2010 - Tony Lovel
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Here we have another item on how one of our friends went about their FADU 2010 entry. Although I am posting this item the work was of course written by Tony.
Many thanks Tony for taking part in this series of articles.


My entry for FADU 2010 – Tony Lovel

I was up to date with my negative developing work throughout 2010 and was intending to enter some darkroom prints into the FADU exhibition. I had a number of prints completed which I thought would be suitable until I read through the rules and realised that all my prints were larger than the 260mmm x 360mm Dave was looking for.

Being short of time and rather than not enter, I had a look through my recent 10 x 8 negatives for some suitable shots in order to do some simple contact prints. I have never been than enthusiastic on the proportions of 10 x 8 and tend to take photographs on the 10 8 with a view to cutting them down when printing to a narrower format; often panoramic. Sourcing suitable negatives to print full frame with no marks or defects and with good exposures proved more of a challenge than I had anticipated.

The two negatives that I chose to contact print were both taken on recent photographic holidays to Ireland. The first shot of the interior of Muckross Abbey was taken in October 2009. The Abbey is situated in south west County Kerry, it is open to the public and on the day that I visited, was not too busy. Following a good walk around the grounds I set up my camera in the doorway (shown on the plan as E) looking down the cloisters to one side of the courtyard towards the dormitory door (marked F).

This was my first visit and there appeared to be a good number of interesting viewpoints. My choice of equipment was a wide angle lens (Nikon 150mm SW) which is equivalent to 21mm on a 35mm camera. I framed to look directly down the cloister and raised the lens panel to include the vaulted ceiling whilst maintaining the verticality of the columns.

This lens has a good covering circle and will allow around 50mm of rise in portrait format. To keep the whole of the scene in focus I needed to stop down to F45.

Having framed the shot and decided on the aperture, I took a spot reading on the courtyard pillar on the right hand side and recorded a value of 2!; I put this on zone 3 which gave me an exposure time of 1 minute which I increased to 2 minutes to allow for reciprocity failure (in retrospect this should have been 3 minutes) using HP5+ rated at 200ASA.

I had a few issues with members of the public walking into the frame and had to break off the exposure and restart a couple of times during the two frames. I also had a problem with the sun breaking through for part of both exposures and I decided to give N-1 development, hoping that I would still maintain the shadow detail. I developed using a Pyra staining developer and in retrospect I could have given less development to control the contrast, and, still maintain the detail in the shadows.

I contact printed directly under a sheet of glass onto Ilford Gallery Grade 2 paper. To control the highlights I needed to flash the paper before giving an exposure of 32 seconds at f8 under my condenser enlarger. The final print shows deep detailed blacks and bright clean highlights in the sunlit areas.

Muckross Abbey

The second shot I chose to contact print was of a ruined 17th Century church in the village of Fahan on the main Derry to Buncrana road in County Donegal located on the North-west tip of Ireland. The ruin is built on the site of the monastic site of St Mura’s Abbey and in the graveyard close to the church ruin is the ancient (8th century) St Mura’s cross which has a Celtic cross etched into the stone.

St Mura's Cross

17th Century Church Ruin

The church ruin was taken during a trip in July 2010 with keen film user and inky printer Liz Kemp. After a number of circuits of the graveyard I homed in on a view under an old tree where the branches framed over the remaining church gable. I started out considering this as a wide shot but this included modern houses in the background.

The view on my 450mm lens was too tight and I decided to use my 360mm f6.8 APO Symmar. This lens is a bit of a brute; I keep it in the car in a Pelli case and just fetch it when I need it. On 10 x 8 the 360mm is a standard lens, the same coverage as a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera.

I carefully positioned the tripod such that the upper triangle of the gable fitted into the gap between the branches and put on some front rise to remove the unwanted foreground and include the whole of the left hand side branch. As with the 150mm Nikon, the APO Symmar has a huge covering circle and it will accommodate over 100mm of front rise on 10 8 format.

After framing I judged the trunk on the tree to be the darkest area in which I wanted good detail. A spot reading on the trunk gave me a reading of 9 which I put on zone 4.

With good bright conditions and Ivy in a plenty I decided to use infrared film. EFKE PL IR 820 AURA film, which using an 89B filter I rate at 3ASA. To give me sufficient depth of field with this lens I needed to stop down to f32 and in turn this gave an exposure time of 30 seconds. The front element of this lens is huge so I fitted the 100mm square 89B filter to the rear of the lens inside the camera. I exposed two sheets of film with the same exposure time.

Base on previous testing I gave the film 17.5 minutes development in Pyra staining developer at 20 degrees. Both negatives were almost identical despite the sun coming in and out during both exposures.

As with the previous negative I decided to flash the Ilford Gallery Grade 2 paper, to control the highlights. The exposure for the negative was 45 seconds at f8 under my condenser enlarger, slightly longer than the HP5+ negative.

I burned down the base of the print slightly when printing. Had I been printing this under the enlarger I would have trimmed off the bright area of sky on the right hand side, which is difficult to burn down on a contact print.

However, satisfied that I had made the effort and produced a couple of darkroom prints in quick time, I washed, dried and pressed the prints and rushed them over to Dave the next morning.

Tony Lovell ARPS

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