Monday, March 2, 2009

Imaging . . .

Lately, I have been spending a lot of time pursuing my photography hobby. Whilst I have had many digital cameras during the past decade I have lost touch with my analogue roots. I think there is a conspiracy from all the photography manufacturers to entice us to keep up with technology thus making our cameras obsolete every year or so. I know there are other bloggers such as Steve (click for his recent post) who photograph their scooters against scenic backdrops.

(Granville Island, Vancouver, BC)

I am preparing to embark on more rides focused towards photographic destinations. As A past camera collector, I dusted off a few collectibles and ventured out last weekend shooting B&W film for the first time in many years. I know that Steve (Scooter in the Sticks) mentioned recently that his darkroom was a cozy place. Well, I can tell you that in the past I have spent many hours in my darkroom until the wee hours of the night making prints and listening to my music.

(excuse the darkroom mess)

I have a Durst M601 (dichroic head) medium format enlarger where I use for enlargements from 35mm to 6x6. For my larger formats (MF/LF: 6x7, 6x9, 6x12 & 4x5) I use my Omega D2 (condensor). I also have a subminiature collection and I use my minox enlarger for those.

(Jobo CPE-2 colour processor, with lift, magnetic drums)

Most of this stuff hasn't seen the light of day for years. I originally purchased the Jobo to be able to do my own E-6, or C-41. As you can see, I am a hobbist and was not afraid to purchase all this equipment to "learn the trade". I have spent countless hours learning/practicing and I think that I have come to the point where I have forgotten mostly everything.

I was interested to shoot a couple of "test" rolls to get back into the developing groove. I was going through my film supply of black and white film and found that my most recent roll had expired nearly 6 years ago. Oh well, not to worry, just a little loss in speed or a minute or so of more developing. While I was pondering which camera to use, I noticed that my Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta A had a partial roll loaded. You can tell by looking through that little red window on the back (120 roll film). The Super Ikonta A is a small 645 folding camera. The one I have is prewar (non coated lens) made in the late '30s making it over 70 years old.

(Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta A, 645 folder with 3.5/7cm lens)

After I finished the film, I switched over to my Certo-Six (6x6 format). This is a lesser know model over here in North America but it is made in Germany and is a very solid camera with an excellent reputation.

(Certo-Six, w/ Zeiss Tessar lens)

Not wanting to "ruin" both rolls I took my first "test" roll from the Ikonta A and prepared to develop the film. I purchased "fresh" developer the other day, BUT in an effort to save some $$, I found a brand new, sealed bottle that I have had sitting on the shelf for 6 years. I opened the seal and noticed that the liquid had turned a muddy, dark brown, sort of like a strong cup of coffee. I used it anyway which was a big mistake. I developed for 7 min, in 1+9 dilution of Ilfosol agitating every minute and the negatives came out a little "light".


Tonight I came home and decided to "run" the other Certo roll using my fresh developer, Ilfosol 3. When I opened the bottle the solution was nearly clear light water, NOT brown like the old mixture

(Ilfosol "s" OLD, vs Ilfosol 3 NEW)

Because of my error yesterday, today I overcompensated and developed the negatives too long. I developed for 8-1/2 min, 1+9 dilution Ilfosol 3 agitating 10 sec/min. Now that I have honed in on my times, the next "batch" should come out just perfect. Ilfosol is not my usual developer, it's just the one I use when I am testing new film, or in this case, I haven't had time to mix up a new batch yet. I am a purist and prefer to mix my own developer from powder. I have had good results in the past using a divided D-76, 2-step developer system which develops in 2 stages; A + B which you can tweek for contrast control, or to collapse the "zones" to elimininate burning and dodging when making your prints.

(False Creek, Granville Island, Vancouver, BC)


Summer's not quite here. While the sun is out and the rain has stopped the heat of spring is just around the corner. Next weekend we start Daylight Savings Time. One more hint that summer is near.

During my travels on the weekend, I came across this tree full of "Bald Eagles" and tried to go for that silouette look. How many bald eagles can you spot ?

(Bald Eagles, Delta, BC)


  1. Dear Bob:

    If you want to see some utter dynamic photographs taken during a ride, you need to look at REDLEGS RIDES. The link can be found on my blog. The author is Domingo Chang, who fnds some really interesting backdrops in the rockies. The result is great pictures of mountains, vallies, rock formations and some unusual destinations. I am trying to combine his sense of the dramatic, with Conch's devotion to editorial detail, and Steve's ability to work with what's at hand to make more dramatic photo presentations.

    By the way, I checked your blog every day for a week for this last post. If the weather is as nice in your locale as the pictures indicate, you should be riding around all over the place.

    Fondest regards,
    Twisted Roads

  2. I meant to add, that with your skill and equipment, I stand no chance in the photographic competition department.


  3. Jack: I also check your Blog/comments for new stuff. I just love your STYLE. Sorry for the short absence (makes for fonder hearts). I noticed that Steve (scooter in the sticks) is still working on his 3 picture project and here I am with all this equipment and doing nothing except digital. I decided that I would resume developing again but all my stuff has expired. Both film and chemicals have dated lives. Plus I have a sizeable camera collection. During the past month I have been going to camera get-togethers and tonight is "our" camera meeting. I belong (or used to) the Western Historic Photographic Camera Association, just a group of OLD guys, shooting with OLD cameras and talking about the OLD days before digital (ie: just like us BLOGGERS)

    Except for the ice and snow of December/January, I have been riding constantly but nothing exciting. Just normal stuff like meeting friends for Sat AM breakfast and doing errands. No joy rides yet but you have already seen lots of pictures of these Haunts so without something new to post -- I didn't. Plus the fact that there have been massive snow storms in the eastern US and I didn't want to rub in the fact that we were basking in Spring like weather. It even got up to 15c (~59F) on Sunday, but this weekend the cold front is returning with mixed snow and rain.

    There is a Pi Rally in a couple of weeks down in Bellingham, WA

    Starting from Breakfast the ride starts and stops at PIE places along the way so we can eat and be merry. It I had one of your Sorry Harp Seal look T-shirts perhaps I could find Angie's or Gina's sister and just forget about those pies, I can catch up later . . .

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

  4. Bob,

    Impressive lot of you that Zeiss camera is worth a fortune now.

    Great pictures of the Bald eagles in Delta. Was it on River Road?

    Thanks for sharing

  5. hey Breve:

    Are you into photography ? I actually have a few of them. I used to be a camera collector, I think the markets are down now from what I paid 10+ years ago. The one I used on Saturday is actually known officially as a SUPER IKONTA 530, pre-war probably made during the mid 1930's. For North American they changed the number sequence and called it the Super Ikonta A. I also have a Super Ikonta C which is 6x9 format, and a Russian copy called a Moskva 2. I have been doing photography for longer than I have been riding, and I started riding in the mid 1960's so once in a while I will do a Photog essay.

    There happens to be a lot of trees around the Boundary Bay Airport which are just full of Bald Eagles (for some unknown reason). When I saw that tree I just had to stop and take a pix. Take Hwy 17 towards Tsawwassen, then head east on Ladner Trunk Road for about a mile or two and turn right towards the Airport. Perfect roads for riding. Little traffic and lots of farmland.

  6. Hi Bob,
    When our first child Alex was born (Back east) is when I started photography and never looked back...thousands and thousands of shots.Some good, some bad and of course a lot of garbage....
    I have collected a small number of cameras over the years..I also have the old Moskva, used to be my Father in Law's and an old Zeiss from my uncle who used to be a photographer down in Richmond Virginia. So I can appreciate what you shared with us very well and can tell you have some valuable gear.
    I am familiar with the road you describe...It is very beautiful indeed but then again we are blessed with many beautiful places in British Columbia...What's there not to like, eh?
    Take care and keep well

  7. I keep swearing I will undertake the journey of becoming a competent photographer. Somehow I never seem to find time between riding, working, and blogging! Can you just publish a "quick guide"? :)

  8. dan:

    actually I find that time is in short supply. I have been neglecting my YouTube channel. I have material waiting to be compiled into video clips but instead it just sits on one of many external drives. I have started to develop my B&W film again and exposed films are now starting to pile up because I have been going to camera club meetings. I am in the same boat as you, but if the weather is good this weekend, I'm going to throw my hand up in the air and go for a ride and snicker at Jack (as he can't ride until March 20th)

  9. Bob,
    I forgot to tell you that Nikon is one of may favorite gigs cause they use, as you know ZEISS lenses.