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Alan7140

Going way back....

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Posted (edited)

Now it's a circa 1908 Thornton Pickard half plate camera, using Ilford Multigrade IV print paper as the negative, today I photographed the old #1 Railway Bridge over the Derwent river at Plenty, Tasmania, using the original Thornton Pickard Rapid-Rectilinear f/8 lens. In open sunlight the exposure was 8 seconds at f/45.

 

Two versions are posted of the photo, both with an added effect to mimic the appearance of a gold-toned albumen print still common when this camera was first used. Unfortunately the original Thornton Pickard behind-lens roller blind shutter is no longer serviceable (a common enough situation with these things) and was removed from the camera a long time ago, so method of exposure is via good old lens cap remove/replace while timing the seconds on a stop watch. Brings back memories of my early studio days when we used incandescent light for set-up photography, although we did use proper Copal shutters with a more friendly "B" setting.

 

The first photo is a more-or less straight rendition after copying with a Sigma sd Quattro-H camera and reversing the result to positive, the second was after applying a "equalise" command in Photoshop and demonstrates just how much detail actually exists in a paper negative - the paper of course being orthochromatic at best and therefore insensitive to blue light. What was also very apparent is that the camera was completely outclassed by the detail in the ultra-fine grain paper emulsion and lost a lot of fine detail particularly after downsizing for Internet.

 

The last is a 100% screen capture to give an idea of the detail that was captured, as well as that marvelous atmospheric softness rendered by that old, uncoated glass (the "grain" is from the copy camera's sensor, the image is perfectly grainless even under the strongest magnifier I have here). I was also amused by the shadow play on the pylons which made them look like they were leaning heavily to the right, which of course they weren't as is evidenced by the vertical lines of rivets in the upper structure.
 

9N1Re8B.jpg

 

MbYFu3T.jpg

 

qHdbvA9.jpg

 

...and the camera in question, at its first test location

7T5oWTP.jpg

 

The shot I took on that occasion to establish the ISO of the paper (3 ISO, by the way) made for an interesting tone-dropout:

d47xbZl.jpg

 

Edited by Alan7140
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I take we are not talking auto-focus here Alan?


Mike Gorman

 

Lumix G9 , GX8 - Leica 12, 15, 20, 25, 42.5 - 8-18, 12-60, 35-100, 45-175

 

 

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I’m looking forward to having a closer look on a bigger screen when I get home tonight.  Certainly an interesting experiment!

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5 hours ago, Mike G said:

I take we are not talking auto-focus here Alan?

 

No batteries either, Mike.

 

Oh, and not to mention a requirement that you know and understand what you are doing, as there is no cpu/processor/programmer's code to have the camera help you out in even the smallest possible way. :)

 

2 minutes ago, crowecg said:

I’m looking forward to having a closer look on a bigger screen when I get home tonight.  Certainly an interesting experiment!

 

If only I could post something that actually looks like the paper neg does under magnification, but the technology doesn't exist to do that, as any monitor is woefully inadequate compared to the resolution of that paper's emulsion, never mind the inadequacies of the digital capture device. Given the impracticality of contact printing the paper neg (which shows both the paper fibres and has the resin-coated matte backing spread the illuminating light), the only way I could make a hard print of this appearance and resolution these days would be to get involved with the collodion wet plate process, and I really couldn't be bothered taking things to that extreme.

 

I'm thinking that this will end up being more than just a passing experiment, though, as having spent 37 years of my career involved with dealing with the copy and restoration of original photos from earlier eras I',m finding that this has been the nearest I've got to duplicating the look and feel of those images, something I've previously failed to achieve with more modern processes and cameras.

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Posted (edited)

An intriguing experiment, Alan!  So, you just did point & shoot!

Edited by Akira

"The eye is blind if the mind is absent." - Confucius

http://www.flickr.com/photos/akiraphoto/

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11 hours ago, Akira said:

An intriguing experiment, Alan!  So, you just did point & shoot!

 

:D :D  - actually that would be physically impossible to do, unless you had an arm with the best OIS ever invented surgically fitted (8 sec exposure, 240mm focal length), and an uncanny ability to imagine what the camera was framing without any form of viewfinder while taking the shot. Then there's the lack of a shutter and having to manipulate a lens cap as the shutter instead. As well there is no facility to hand hold the camera whatsoever. :D 

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4 hours ago, Alan7140 said:

 

:D :D  - actually that would be physically impossible to do, unless you had an arm with the best OIS ever invented surgically fitted (8 sec exposure, 240mm focal length), and an uncanny ability to imagine what the camera was framing without any form of viewfinder while taking the shot. Then there's the lack of a shutter and having to manipulate a lens cap as the shutter instead. As well there is no facility to hand hold the camera whatsoever. :D 

 

Alan, as you did, a tripod and a hat will come to the rescue!  :D


"The eye is blind if the mind is absent." - Confucius

http://www.flickr.com/photos/akiraphoto/

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14 hours ago, Akira said:

 

Alan, as you did, a tripod and a hat will come to the rescue!  :D

 

 Speaking of which, he "tripod" that came with the camera was basically a collection of sticks each with its separate attachment points, and how the camera wasn't smashed years ago when being dropped as the photographer juggled the legs and camera while trying to get everything attached and the camera stood upright is beyond me.

 

At the moment I'm working to modify one of the rails of a disused Nodal Ninja 3 pano head to attach to one of the original leg's two attachment loops so the rail will sit along the right underside of the baseboard, and then have an Arca plate fitted to the rail's 1/4" tripod screw thread, after which the camera should sit comfortably and securely with the RRS ballhead at the right rear corner of the baseboard (when looked at from the rear of the camera). If I get things right this will have the added benefit of the rail's spirit level protruding behind the camera just below the ground glass, and should cure the other near impossible thing to do with the camera in its current configuration with separate legs and no level indicator - and that's simply getting the horizon straight! :D

 

Doing things this way will leave the original large central hole in the baseboard so the camera can still be collapsed into its folded-up travelling state with lens attached, something that solid adapters with a central mounting screw prevent altogether without taking the lens off altogether. This might be OK for an as-new camera, but this one is well worn and I'm loathe to be adding more wear to the lens mounting thread and/or camera mount for the lens panel by continually removing and replacing the lens.

 

So yes, the Gitzo tripod will be well off centre, but the camera isn't heavy and should pose no problem for the RRS ballhead and Gizo tripod to keep the thing rock steady, which as the moment is a real cross-your-fingers-and-hope-for-the-best thing - one gust of wind during the exposure and you may as well throw the neg away with the current wobbly tripod legs and precarious mounting system.

 

The hat - well, yes, with Tasmania's overhead ozone hole, and my virtually hairless bald head, the hat has played an important part in my life for a couple of decades now, and not just for photographic ad-lib purposes!  :D :D :D 

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Posted (edited)

Then there's the added fun of the paper emulsion not only being insensitive to red light, but also having limited sensitivity to yellow and even some greens. Ergo, a still life takes some tomatoes, a jar of tomato relish and one of beetroot and gives them both the appearance and tone of onyx. :)

pQ0IBpi.jpg

 

And just to prove these dark, stoney looking things are tomatoes, here's the setup:

wgXQmQQ.jpg

 

lot of light was needed - 2x 1000w/s monos pushed through softboxes, 6 flash actuations required at full power @f/11. Primary side-light flash tube about 4.5 feet from subject, front fill tube about 6' away.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Alan7140
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