Tuesday, October 25, 2011

HOLGA: I Walk at Night

I am happy with the tonal range
I hid the hot lights behind the pillar
(highlights not blown out)
TMax 100 D76 (1:1) 9.5min (Normal)

Lately I have been having this fascination with; Film, Holga, and Night Photography after reading Lance Keimig "Night Photography, Finding your way in the dark"

After spending much time dedicated to reading this book, other books and articles dedicated to night photography the time was now to execute and start producing B&W night/low-light images. Sure, I could easily produced these images with a digital camera yet that was the easy out and I needed as hard a challenge as possible to stimulate my need for photography self education.Often I am asked, Why Film at Night? I just prefer the technical side of photography/ learning process, wading out in the middle of the night alone with my camera, taking in the muted coloured tonal range and stillness of the space being photographed while my brain is spinning at a million thoughts/min and eventually the pure pleasure of producing a one of a kind piece of art (my vision) from beginning to end w/o computer intervention or people.

hellolights from street light across the street
nice details in shadow area/ highlights (far left) OK
TMax 100 D76 (1:1) 9.5min (Normal)

 The technical stats for the Holga varied from website to website making my research very difficult. However, while taking on this challenge the biggest concern was determining the f-stop (reported sometimes as f8, f11 and other times as f13) with a shutter speed around 1/125 (for use in a future projects)  Being as lost as ever I decided that the best solution to my questions were to get out and experiment on my own and since I was shooting at night and with my preferred film (TMAX100) all I needed was a time that was specific to my Holga.

The first goal in this endeavor was to produce the perfect negative (lol), by 'bracketing' to establish my base exposure using one of the following category for Night Photography according to Lance Keimig.
  • Bright street scene/lights in shot
  • Average street scene/no lights in shot 
  • Dark urban area
  • Moonlight within 1 day of full moon

highlights ok/ shadows horrible
TMax 100 D76 (1:1) 9.5min (Normal)

highlight blown out/ midtones OK
TMax 100 D76 (1:1) 9.5min (Normal)

highlight blown out/ midtones on edge
TMax 100 D76 (1:1) 9.5min (Normal)

To Do List

Expose for the shadows with texture and/or details...based on the Zone System this is 'Zone III'

After determining what the highlights are based on the Zone, Develop for the highlights with texture and/or details, 'Zone VII'  If the highlights fall above or below this range you should develop your film (N-2, N-1, N, N+1, N+2) to return it to 'Zone VII'  

Work in Process

To assure to get the results I wanted, I bought all the required equipment and cleared out space in a closet to develop my film at home. After 3 rolls of film, I finally found a suitable base exposure for Avg street scene/no lights in shot. Bright street scene/lights in shot, needs work with my developing to bring the highlights down and prevent them from blowing out (I won't be able to hide all the street lights in my world)