Monday, December 29, 2008

Good work if you can get it: Rosa's Photo Corner on Houston Press

Friend, music editor, and all-around nice guy Chris Gray gave me a "job". While it only pays in gratitude, at least it's good incentive to develop quicker. Here is the third installment of Rosa's Photo Corner.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Controlling chemical temperature in your photolab/kitchen sink

I'm working on a little experiment. It's been a few days of wet, warm, dreary weather (for Christmas). It's been in the 70s with 100% humidity since the 23rd. Cooler weather will prevail later tonight, but my chemicals have been stewing on the kitchen counter and are clocking in tonight at 76 degrees fahrenheit.

Instead of playing with my frozen plastic cubes, I'm conducting this one-time experiment for all of us home developers living in balmy climes: How long will it take to reduce 32 oz. of liquid from 76 degrees down to 68 degrees (the temperature of my tap water at the moment) in the fridge (39 degrees)? Drum roll please...

After 36 minutes I re-checked my tap water and found it had gone up to just under 70 degrees at the same point at which my chemicals are reading just a hair over 70 degrees. Close enough! I'm going to start cooking!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

ADOX film and developer

I picked up some Adox CHS 100 speed film ($3.99) and Adox ATM 49 developer ($5.99) from Freestyle. It was advertised as having the same old school formulation they've had since the 50s. So of course Weegee, Jr. here had to get some. [Shoot! I just went over there and noticed that Freestyle is out of stock until mid-January].

The developer itself was easy to mix. You dissolve the crystals from one paper packet into 900 ml of water which turns it pink, then you dissolve the crystals from the other paper packet which turns it yellow, then you fill the beaker to 1000 ml. Because I'm a complete dumbass at maff I was convinced that a 1:2 ratio meant that I'd have a total volume of 2 liters. And even if I were correct that I'd end up with 2000 millimeters of liquid, how the hell I was gonna squeeze all that into a 1,850 ml container makes me question how I've gotten this far in life without having blown myself up. So from the get-go I fugged up. Look elsewhere for accuracy in using this product, but for Rosa purposes my first test roll I developed in a soup diluted 1:.85. Then I cooked my film for an amount of time arrived at using the traditional time-honored technique of guessing. In this case that would be a well rounded 10 minutes. Since I couldn't find a suggestion of how to agitate, I just agitated for 10 seconds every minute.

For consistency I took all these pictures on an Olympus Trip AF 50 - a camera so dumbed down that you can't even find what f-stop the damn thing sports on the Olympus' site. Let's take a guess that it shoots at a touristy F7 or F11, shall we? [Note: Found it! It's actually F5.6 per Freestyle's paper catalog.]


Adox prides itself on grays. I'll vouch for that. No highs or lows here, the volume is lowered just enough to eliminate any humming or distortion. Nice.

By the way, this is part of the Imperial Sugar Land complex that will be torn down mostly to make way for some kind of bullshit entertainment mall hybrid thing.

I shot this one straight into the setting winter sun:

That's pretty dense. Especially given that I didn't use a red filter. If you shoot alot of wide open sky, give it a shot. I think I read somewhere that Salgao or however you spell his name uses it. Makes sense.

Here are some nighttime shots.
The kids.

The best dressed bar back in Houston. Or at least at Nostuoh.

Big Star recycles.

So basically, you're safe using Adox 100 with a puny flash if you shoot at speed, and shoot people so that at most two thirds of their standing bodies are in frame. Standing far enough away to get the whole body in frame and you're subject may as well have a cloak over their heads. Too dark.


I don't know if I want to try pushing this film to 200 ISO. I really like that the faces are bright without blowing out and that there is good detail in black leather. Since that's alot of what I shoot, that means Adox 100 is a keeper.

Now before you think this is cheap developer remember that using a dilute solution means that it goes down the drain after each use. And I do so with much trepidation. This developer is highly toxic. And unlike Fixer, I can't take it to my local school dark room to dispose of. Gulp! I'm gonna test another roll with D76 and see if I can't get similar results.