Wednesday, July 24, 2013

07/22/2013: Through A Glass Darkly

Location: Approx. 25th and Parrish
Camera: Fujica Gs645
Film: TX-120, at ISO 200
Develop: HC110 1:49, 7 min at 68F
File Size: 11.5” x 17” @300 dpi
Scan: Epson V500
Proof print, 4x5 approx., Epson 1400, Cone pigment inks

Given the mercurial weather, it’s been a good time to stay in and get caught up on the many undeveloped rolls of film I have in the ‘fridge. It was perhaps a few months ago that I shot this and I barely remember the jaunt, but I was, and still am thinking about images that somehow feel like an alternate reality.   

Even using an inexpensive scanner, like the V500, I’m always startled at how much depth and detail larger film engenders.  A 4.5 x 6 negative, which the Fujica shoots is closer to 43 x 56 mm, about three times the area of 35mm. From what I have been able to glean, this odd camera was originally popular with wedding photographers in the pre-digital age. While it’s a bit futzy to use (for instance, you have to be sure to cock the shutter before you close it, or you’ll break the shutter linkage), when folded it is very compact and it sports some very smart features such as: a parallax corrected rangefinder with a good size split-image center spot, rapid film advance, and an easy-to-use built in meter. The 75mm f3.8 Nikon lens is an excellent optic. Automation?  None!  The camera takes two small button cells for the meter, but will work without them. It’s not fast on the draw, but is a great camera for things that are fairly static (or cooperative) that will benefit from a richness of tonality and detail. 

To get the final printable file, I made multiple scans. The value range of the Epson V500 is somewhat limited. I find no matter how much I tweak it I either clip the shadows or the highlights. The way around this is to make at least two scans, each covering a certain value range and then combine the files in Photoshop.  I made a special darker scan for the fluorescent light in the upper left corner. Film is very forgiving and unlike digital that just blows out highlights, you can often coax detail from spot areas that are overexposed.

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