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Ilford Fp4 on Large Format

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It’s a Saturday morning and it’s raining outside. I like photography but I really couldn’t be bothered to go out in the rain. trust me, I thought about it and even started wondering what camera to take, but then I thought… It’s Saturday morning. I’ll watch some TV… Nope, I’ll take some photos indoors…, nope, I’ll watch some TV.

So I did. I sat in my TV chair which is next to a large patio door and down near my feet are a stack of packaging boxes that my Daughter uses for mailing out her Wax Scents. The light coming in from the window onto the packaging boxes looked beautiful and I stared for a while and then I took a photograph on my phone.

I noticed the light wrapping around the boxes looked really nice and I wondered what I could do on Film. This is one thing I love about Large Format. I can set up and take just a couple of sheets. Thats what I did. It just takes a while to set up and compose, which I don’t mind. It’s Photography on a super slow scale!

I grabbed my Intrepid 4×5 Camera, a Schneider Kreuznach 90mm lens, a cable release, light meter, grey card, Film holder and Ilford Fp4 sheets.

It took me a while to get the movements and composure for the photograph. I set the lens aperture to f/45 and proceeded to find my shutter speed for the scene using the Sekonic Light Meter in Spot Mode.

I placed the grey card just on the corner of the boxes and toward the camera. I wanted to get detail on the shaded part of the boxes for which, you can’t see, but I had a white reflector bouncing some light back in.

The meter gave me a reading of 15 Seconds at f/45. I am now into reciprocity failure territory! But, before I calculate that I have to measure my bellows factor. That came in at 160mm from the lens board to the back of the film plane. My lens is only 90mm so I know I need to allow for the bellows or my photograph will be under exposed.

You can see I had to allow for almost 2 stops extra!

15 Seconds plus 2 stops is 60 Seconds. But I chose 45 Seconds.

Reciprocity Failure for that FP4 Film I worked out to take me to 121 Seconds. That was my exposure time for which I then proceeded to take my photograph.

I then took another photograph changing composition which gave me slightly shorter bellows so I compensated accordingly. I also metered with the Gray card pointing toward the window and not the camera.

I developed the two sheets in Rodinal at 1:50 in my Stearman Press Tank which holds 475ml of working developer. I put 9ml of Rodinal into a 500ml of water and proceeded to develop the sheets for 14 minutes with 5 inversions to start and then 5 inversions on the minute every minute. Stopped with just water and then fixed with Ilfords Rapid Fixer.

I was pleased with the way the negatives looked (although they may look dense in this photo hanging). I was hoping for more than usual grain and a contrasty negative.

This is the first Photograph.

I think by metering on the grey card toward the camera was a mistake. I should have metered it looking back toward the window as I was clearly over exposed.

This photograph was much more where I wanted to be.

It’s difficult to know if my over exposure was due to the times I chose or if my development was too long. I feel as if I developed these at a few minutes less I would have had a flatter, more pleasing negative.

Whichever I now have this on record for another time to reflect back on.

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