After months of not doing much, photography-wise, Travis and I finally got back in the swing of things this week. We did several things! First, we spent a few hours doing basic black and white embiggenments. It took me a while to remember what the hell I was doing, and also, how to do it.
Travis (about 6 or 7 enlargements in, where our exposure times under the enlarger have been really long): What aperture are you using?
Me: … I have no idea?
Good times! Anyway, the goal of the session was to see if an unopened box of big-ass, 16×20 Kodak Polymax fiber-based paper was still any good. Judging by how the test strip came out… not so much. Looks fogged. So, it goes into the the Lith pile. I managed to find a picture online of someone using the same paper to make lith prints, so that’s good, anyway.
Since the Polymax was a bust, we moved on to making some prints using 8×10 Arista Classic paper from the mid-70s that I got last year in my Epic! Ebay! Paper Haul!. I was curious as to how some of those World War II/Paris Liberation negatives would print.
Hey! Pretty good!
Man, I love using Arista paper. That stuff is so reliable.
The next day we responded to the Photography Bat Signal of BABY SHEEP!! and headed out to a friend’s house to check them out.
Ack! So cute!
We also took along a newish (to us) camera, a Japanese Samoca 35 Super.
Nifty looking, isn’t it? It’s a rangefinder, and 35mm, neither of which are my favorite things, but the camera looks so damn cool, it’s worth using just to get style points. There was a mystery roll of Sakura Konipan SS film inside of it, which, when shot, gave us images like this:
Fortunately, we tested out the camera with some relatively more stable Kodak Plus-X, too. The camera is a little tricky to use – what you intuitively think is the focusing mechanism actually controls the aperture, and the rangefinder dot isn’t very bright, so it was kind of goofy to focus. Plus, the sheep kept moving around. However, we were able to get a few decent shots.
Yesterday, I finally got up the nerve to try playing with the Berg Color Toning System I got off ebay a while ago. The results were kind of meh.
I mean, I’m not too sure what I was expecting. I think I thought the areas that were black in the original print would kind of stay black-ish after it was toned (dyed, really – turns out the Berg system is actually a dye, not a toner).
So, I don’t know. It was kind of fun to mess with, but not OMG THIS IS AWESOME!!11!!. I suspect that my chems were kind of weak due to age, so I’d be willing to try this again with some fresh activator, but it’s nothing I’m going to go out of my way to do over and over again. Also, the instructions were kind of vague-ish, I thought. Not cool, Berg.
I did find out it was possible to tone (dye) a lumen print, though. I wasn’t sure if it would react weird to the activator or clearing solution, but it turned out all right.