April 13, 2014

Protocol 7: Bootcamp. Film.

Up to a 75 minute stand for these - but they’ve got the characteristic halo, so I’m happy.

Bleach bypass done in post… this time. Going to try doing it in hardware sometime soon.

4:30am  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZvsIqr1Cu18Pn
  
Filed under: larp Protocol 7 film 
April 7, 2014

Protocol 7 airsoft larp - Bootcamp event. Tuddenham.

4:30am  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZvsIqr1CL4MX2
  
Filed under: larp Protocol 7 airsoft 
April 6, 2014

Trying out a new look.

Bottom shot: My usual approach to postprocessing, applied to a contrasty shot, and tweaked for the situation (notably, yellow channel desaturated slightly, because the wall was a bit overpowering otherwise.

Top shot: Dynamic range compressed to get the highlight detail back (HDR type effect, but from a single RAW) and then something like a bleach bypass effect applied (midtone contrast boosted, general desaturation applied, vignette applied).

I’m really taken with it, at least for this subject, setting, etc. (Protocol 7, in the ruins of a blockhouse at Tuddenham. It’s a near-future zombie/apoc-lite airsoft larp).

April 4, 2014

Every time I swear I’m done with B&W film, and the tedium of dealing with dust… I see the grain, and fall back in love with it.

Two films from DT3: HP5+ exposed and developed at ISO 1600. Zoom ‘em in, because crunchy.

Easier to get decent shots with the 105, but when the 40 works, it really works. Don’t really think I need any more lenses for the Nikons (I have a manual 50/1.4 too. Tested, works fine… just don’t know that I ever care to go that shallow, manual focus…)

April 3, 2014

Dark Tempus 3, shooting film, testing out a new workflow:

Technical glee (and detail) follows.

So… the film comes from my local supermarket - they still sell it, and it’s actually cheaper than anything I’ve found online. Fuji C200.

Exposed on a Nikon F100 (hundred quid on ebay, loving it so far). Was having trouble nailing focus for casual people shots with the FM3a, and I wanted autofocus. 105/2 DC.

Processed in the Tetenal kit, but stand developed at room temperature. 5 minute pre-soak in tapwater, 75 minute stand in developer (agitation first 30 seconds only), rinse then 5 minute soak to stop, 45 minute stand in the blix (agitation about every 10 minutes), 15 minute rinse in running tapwater, 3 minutes in stab, some agitation. Room was probably about 17 degrees.

Scanned on a Reflecta RPS 7200. 3600 DPI, multi-exposure, auto dust removal, auto colour cast, feed the film in one end, and let it scan for about 90 minutes, job done.

Postprocessing - just applied one rule to everything (fine tune colour cast, slight curves tweak) crop borders (forgot to turn on automatic), adjust the exposure on three shots (white facepaint seems to have fooled the sensor).

24 shot film, and only one shot I had to reject on technical grounds (hair across the face, auto dust removal couldn’t cope, would have rescanned it if I cared), so we can call that a win for the process, I think. 

It’s also repeatable, and low-faff. The stand development and batch scanning make such a difference, and lower the effort to the point where I can be bothered to do it for character shots like these.

YMMV and all, but I like the pictures, too. Check the highlight detail on those tree/sky backgrounds - and despite sunlight, basically nothing was blown out in any picture, in either direction - massive dynamic range to work with, come postprocessing.

Considering going for punchier blacks, in light of some feedback, but I’m not sure yet.

April 2, 2014

Dark Tempus, event 3. Post-apocalyptic, with a side of zombies.

April 1, 2014

Dark Tempus, third event. Portrait shoot, conducted IC on the first night.

I packed very light for the event - tripod, softbox, two strobes, one body, two lenses, triggers. Set up basically everything (tripod makes a decent lighting stand for a softbox) in a corner of the bar, with a cloth someone had just left hanging there, and shot some really cramped portraits in between zombie attacks.

Post-apoc larp is a bit of a thing right now. Now it has some poster children…

March 27, 2014

Fall of Vusoria 3. Film.

B&W is HP5+ pushed to 1600, because grain. Worked just as specified.

Colour is Superia 400 stand developed, because I heard it worked, and don’t much enjoy either getting chemicals to temperature, or the extra exposure that agitation brings.

It works. You probably get a funny colour cast, but who cares if you’re scanning it? (60 minutes stand in dev, 40 minutes in blix, agitation every 10, pre-soak, rinse between every stage).

Most annoying? The colour film doesn’t feed properly in my scanner. Can’t just do a whole roll in one go. Might have to change brand.

March 26, 2014

Rollerderby: Faces.

Taken from a set shot at The Bout Race in Cambridge last weekend.

I got three kinds of shot, approximately:

* Atmospheric shots, showing details, panoramas, and funky composition. Showcasing the event, if you will.

* Action shots, which are technically hard, and have a low hitrate - and are what I always feel like it ought to be about.

* People shots. And boy do you get interesting people at rollerderby.

These are the third kind. Guess I ought to follow up with a set of each of the others. Probably will.

March 25, 2014

Fall of Vusoria 3.

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Filed under: larp Fall of Vusoria 
March 19, 2014

Film grain and new ink.

Not sure quite why, but I love the way tattoos look on grainy black and white film. One I shot at Mythlore remains a favorite of mine, and when I saw a friend showing off this recent addition, I couldn’t resist asking if she’d join the collection.

Not someone I’d ever have expected to get a tattoo, to be honest, but… yeah, it’s very her. Might be getting coloured, apparently - but for this… it works so well as it is.

I should shoot more of these. I have plenty of friends with tattoos… time to do some legwork.

(This is ISO 400 film, push-processed to 1600 to enhance the grain. Because why do things by halves?)

March 18, 2014

Portrait shoot, around York Street. Used to live incredibly close to here.

Interesting exercise in photographing a slightly awkward and self-conscious subject (larp characters are easier - people are already not being themselves, and are usually distracted).

Starting to wonder about acquiring an autofocus body for film portrait work. Not that I can’t focus manually, but I’m finding it’s spoiling the spontaneity a bit. Maybe I should stick with it, though…

Still processing the photos from Fall of Vusoria, by the way - just had these hanging around from a couple of weeks ago.

March 17, 2014

Fall of Vusoria. Game 3. Pre-game portraits.

Lighting: Gridded softbox 4 o’clock high, in pretty close, as key. Shoot-thru umbrella 7 o’clock low, for fill. Shot inside a white tent, so light was bouncing all over, for secondary fill.

Always a pain to try and fit portraits in just before the game starts, but it  feels worthwhile afterwards. Usually my only chance to play with studio-type setups, and it’s good to be able to guarantee people at least one decent picture of their character/kit.

March 13, 2014

Found film.

Looking over a camera that’s been sitting unused for around 17 years, I discovered it had a mostly exposed film in it. Seemed a shame not to at least try and get something out of it.

The camera is a Cosmic Symbol, which is actually an original Lomography make, and notable for having distinctly better optics than most of that ilk. Still a fully manual compact.

Film was Kodacolour 200, exposed - at best guess - in 1997, and simply left in a drawer, still loaded into the camera, since then.

Developed in the Tetanol C41 kit, standard times for 86 farenheit development. The film came out with a pretty heavy cast to the entire base, and visible but distinctly thin images on about half of the exposed frames. (Borders were just as thin, so it’s pretty clear that it’s either fogged with age and temperature, or a development issue. Googling suggests the latter).

Scanned in multi-exposure mode on a Reflecta RPS 7200 (and the infra red dust and scratch detection got a massive workout), and worked over in Lightroom. The purple cast at the top and bottom of each frame is presumably down to either exposure to air, or light leakage (the monochrome frame was all heavily purple, and will have been the exposed frame left ‘out’ for years).

Lightroom manipulation was limited to a least-worst light balance, curves to pick black and white points, and give the darks some punch, light sharpening, clarity, vibrance, moderate colour noise reduction, and cropping where the automatic frame detection failed. It’s not a ‘true’ reflection of what was on the film, but we’re firmly into ‘barely recovered an image’ territory here.

Anyway, I hear this sort of thing is popular some places. I can kinda see why - massive trip into the unknown, plus nostalgia, and a little alchemy.

March 12, 2014

Today’s excitement is a new film scanner - takes an entire uncut roll of film at a time, and does it all as a (kinda slow) batch.

Hoping that will help a bit with my workflow; nowt wrong with the previous scanner, but doing each frame individually raised the tuit threshold a bit high.

Finishing up a film around Cambridge. HP5+ shot at iso 400, and developed in Ilfotec HC. Scanned on a Reflecta RPS 7200 at 3600 DPI, multi-exposure, and finished in Lightroom.

I really need a red filter for my 40mm lens - it’s running with plain UV right now, and it shows.

For those of you who miss larp photography, I’m shooting Fall of Vusoria this weekend, so expect some soon.

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