onsdag 7. mars 2018

A few prints and some history from way back

There's not too many very well known people born and bred in this tiny little corner of the world to tell the truth. A few for sure, but they seem to be a bit far between I have to admit. 
But if we travel a bit back in time, around a thousand years plus, this area have seen a couple of celebrities... some of them for the wrong reasons looking at things with contemporary eyes, but well known they were nonetheless. 

This guy, for instance, known around this part of the world to once have been answering to the name "Gange Rolv", but to the rest of Europe he's probably better known by the name of "Rollo". The scholars are yet not 100% sure if Gange Rolv and Rollo actually was the same person, but it seems they are getting very close to that conclusion these days. Good old Snorre we know from over in Iceland were absolutely sure they were the same guy, and there's a lot of other written sources suggesting the same.
Anyway, Gange Rolv was born some time in the later part of the 800's on this tiny island called Giske just off the town of Ålesund a very long time before this place became a town or a city at all. 
He was the son of Ragnvald Jarl (Earl Ragnvald) who was the earl of the greater part of the north-western Norway, or my home district as we know it today as Møre og Romsdal. 
Gange Rolv was a big man and got the prefix added to his name because it was said to be impossible for him to use a horse. "Gange" means "walking" in norwegian, so "Walking Rolv" would be his name translated to english. They bred small horses back in the days, I assume.

Gange Rolv was a viking, and he was obviously quite successful in his profession. He was a viking, but did not always travel far away to rob, steal and do the things the vikings usually did. He did a lot of raids towards other viking earls in Norway as well, and the Norwegian king at the time (Harald Hårfagre, or Harald Fairhair in english) eventually had to chase him away and out of the country to stop him robbing his opposing earls.
According to Snorre he then went off together with his sworn men to do viking raids over in the outer and inner Hebrides and all around the Irish Sea area before he went over to France. I also think I've read somewhere that he stayed for a while in Orkney, and probably also on Shetland. It was a natural route for him to travel anyway as all those what we call the western isles were very well known to the vikings around the time of these happenings.
Eventually when finally hitting the french coastline he actually conquered Normandie and became the first Duke of Normandie in the year 911. Our man came to an agreement with the french king Karl for himself and his men to settle down in the area of the Seine delta if they at the same time could manage to keep the area safe and clean of other vikings who were prone to try get to Paris for obvious reasons. So they did, and nothing much more have been written about Rollos time of reign down there. 
However we do know that he was baptized around 912 but that he still was said to have died a pagan, probably some time between 928 and 932. 
His descendants still ruled the area as the dukes of Normandie a long time after his death, and one of them even became the king of England (William the Conqueror, his great grandsons great grandsons son) in 1066. 

The statue showing up in these snaps and prints are placed in the middle of the biggest park of my home town, and is a copy of what is an original marble statue standing outside the Cathedral of Rouen in France. Our statue is however made out of bronze, and was unveiled back in 1911. It was a gift from the city of Rouen to Ålesund town. It has really taken on a very nice patina over the years, and I like it even more as the years goes by. 

The prints were done in a bit of hurry, but they still looks a lot better than these phone snaps of them I have to say. I don't know what it is, but the way my phone decides to render the tones of a nice B&W print is a mystery to me. I tried to adjust a bit on the first one up there, but the left side of the print went a bit warm while the other side still looks a tad on the cold side. Well, it is what it is. 

onsdag 28. februar 2018

Light Lith rusty tones

Just wanted to give you a quick look at the red tones I got on the Fotokemika Emaks paper in Lith developer before I decided to drop it into the selenium toner bath the other day. The iPhone snap of this print is probably a bit off when it comes to rendering the actual tones and color of the print, but it's all I got I'm afraid, and it does not look too far off on my monitor anyway. 
This one is from a box of grade 3 paper, but it's still noticeably softer than one of my smaller boxes of grade 3 of the same paper. It's probably due to age, but that's just a guess. Still they all are pretty much useless for anything else, so I'll stick with these for my lith developer just for now I think. 
It's old and since long discontinued paper we're talking about, so I'll probably not going to see it again when the few sheets I got has been wasted for good. 

The (more or less) true lith tones of the Emaks paper. Quite warm, as you probably can see. I might throw this one into some selenium toner as well some day, just for good measure. 

The weather is fantastic today as well just as it were yesterday, but freezing cold of course. Damn wind coming in from the north-east, from the siberian area you know. Still not too far below the freezing point, but with this wind and all this sea and moisture around us here on the island it's getting really cold. 
Anyway, I'm off for a short walk and I'll bring a camera today as well. And then the ferry will be here with the mail in just an hour or so, hopefully with a small packet containing a couple of enlarger bulbs. I'm crossing them cold fingers!

tirsdag 27. februar 2018

Tele glass in the house!

I just picked this "new" lens out of the insides of a cardboard box placed inside my mail box out here on the tiny island. It's got a focal length of 180 mm and is by far the lengthiest one I got for any of my 35 mm cameras. It will fit all my Nikons as it's one of them old and trusty AI-S lenses. This particular one used to live over in California in it's earlier life, owned by a skilled film photographer and darkroom printer. It will now have to keep up with far lower temperatures in the years to come. It's the Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 ED lens I'm talking about, and my first impression of it is really good I must say. 
I am not a tele-type of snapper at all, and I'm sure this lens will not be used by me every day. I popped it onto the front of my Nikkormat anyway just to give it a go and try to start some sort of relationship with the thing. As I'm totally unfamiliar with long focal lengths like this one it will take some time to get used to it for sure. 

A tiny test print done a while ago on something that looks like Ilford Classic FB paper. 5"x5" or so, nothing big at all. I'll probably come back to this neg some day. The snap itself was done with the 6x6 Rolleiflex on a rather dark and drench day just over the top of the hill behind me, just past that lovely lighthouse up there.

Anyway it looks like a sturdy and chunky piece of kit, and typically it seems to be very well built with the right sorts of materials used in the right places. It's rather heavy and will throw any camera totally out of balance of course. Just like any other lengthy lens will do. 
Fully open it reaches f/2.8 meaning it's a rather fast one, which might come in handy some day for all we know.

Another wrongly exposed neg done one day I was playing around with a handheld filter in front of the Rolleiflex lens. It worked well enough for the skies and such though, so I thought I'd just as well give it a go inside the darkroom. And sure enough I ended up wasting the paper as well as the film bit. And when it all looks pretty hopeless you can always dunk the print into a tray of selenium toner as well just to really mess stuff up. This paper really suck up toner, obviously. 5"x5" print done on Emaks 883 paper of unknown grade from Fotokemika. 

I just spooled a small amount of quite old FP4 film into a film canister which I then threw inside the Nikkormat. I might just as well take a walk around the neighborhood just to check if there's still some life left in that film, and at the same time find out what this heavy piece of glass can be used for. 
I went for a short walk yesterday as well, and sort of thought of a theme I'd like to explore a bit further. This might be the right lens for that job, or maybe I need something a bit shorter. I'll give it a go and let you know, of course. 

Nothing much to talk about regarding this print other than mentioning the fact that it was thrown into some bleach yesterday (after the first couple of issues I had with way too strong mix...). Totally pointless since you can't see what it looked like before of course, but I can inform you that it looked even a bit worse than it does now. The tones in there lies a bit, as my phone seems to have added quite a bit of warmth to it. 5"x7" on Ilford Classic FB paper, ever so lightly toned with Selenium after a very quick overall bleach in Farmers Reducer.

PS! I'm back now, and learned that the 180 mm lens will not be of much use in this tiny little project anyway.

mandag 26. februar 2018

What is a day worth if you don't learn something anyway?

Been home for a few days now, and it has been very good thank you very much!
It's good to be back on the island just doing nothing much except some relaxing stuff and a few bits inside the darkroom. 
The rather well planned darkroom sessions did however suddenly get a bit disrupted as the damn bulb inside my enlarger went south as I was lining up for a second or third go at a few negs I've got around this place. No big issue though, as I also had a few other plans on my list of stuff to get through. Still it was rather annoying, of course. New bulbs should be on their way as we speak, so I hope to carry on some time quite soon. And by the way, I'm really happy to say that this post contains prints only. No film scans, for once. 

OK, these are all just snaps of the actual prints taken with my mobile phone as there's no other way to get this done here on the island. Lack of space and such, you know. Anyway here's more or less what it looks like, a lith print done on old and not very useful Emaks paper. Just have to add that this is after the final treatment (see below). Oh, and yes... the neg was an old one, I know. 

So, today has been the day of doing things I've never done before. 
That said, I also did a few things I've never done before inside the darkroom as well if we take a few steps back and look at stuff I did a few days ago before that bulb broke. 
I did Lith, for the first time as it happen. Not a big deal you might say, but actually it was not that simple either. Didn't do a lot of prints, but maybe 7-8 more or less failures on some 5"x7" paper. The good thing I learned from these couple of short evenings in the dark might well be summed up in just a couple of bullet points:
- Patience is a vertue, and very much needed. Loads of it actually, but probably depending on a few variables anyway.
- My totally useless (for anything else) and quite old batch of Emaks paper suddenly is worth it's weight in gold, or something similar. It has just the look I was after (or at least so it seems, as I still got a very long way to go until I'm hopefully getting a little bit more familiar with the process...) as it seems to contain the right tones and stuff like that. 
But back to the stuff I learned today instead. 
You see I got some farmers reducer in the form of dry chemicals laying inside the darkroom, and decided to give it a try to see how it sort of worked. Well... it works very well as it happens. Way too well to be more precise. Note to self: be a bit more careful when adding Potassium Ferricyanide into the mixture, as it will more or less ruin your prints if you stumble at this point. 
Then, after you've just totally messed up your first print, you may want to double or so the amount of water just for good measure. Still you only need to wash your prints a few seconds into this stuff to get the effect you were probably after. Sometimes maybe more, other times less of course. 

Another lith, this time from a bit more recent neg. This had the same treatment done as the one above. Same paper as well.

I also mixed myself a couple of liters of Selenium toner as I got no idea where my last batch went. The thought was to use it to quite lightly tone a few prints I've got laying around this place, and they came out on the rather nice side I must say. No big change on the prints, just as I sort of like them. 
The strange thing happened when I decided to also throw two of them quite new lith prints into the same toner. Even though I've just told you the fact that my Emaks paper had just the look I was after that is not the whole truth to it. They were quite red a few of them prints, and I was looking for a colder tone to be honest. I did get the colder tone on one or two of them and it seems it depends a bit on the grade of over exposure you throw onto the paper. More exposure, more reddish results. So I had a couple of quite nice (by my standards anyway) lith prints, but they had a (to me) too strong red tone to them. So I decided to just throw them into the bath of Selenium toner just to see how ugly they could get when the Selenium had added it's own sort of red or violet(ish) tones to them. I would have really liked to see the expression on my own face when nothing like that happened at all, and the prints suddenly turned more or less straight into how I wanted them to look in the beginning. The red tones sort of washed away just to reveal the colder tones and the charcoal grey underneath. 

And finally a different version of the print above. This one did not get the Selenium treatment as I sort of liked the way it came out of the developer. Strange thing is that this was the only one looking like this. The other ones came out quite brown/earth red. The pixelated snap lies a bit, but that's just the way it is with them things anyway.

That's it for today, I think. I will let these prints dry and settle in a bit and take a better look at them tomorrow morning. When I get my new enlarger bulb some time tomorrow or Wednesday I will go inside the dark place again to see if I'm able to make a rather large lith print. I need to find out, because I need to make prints to hang on a wall later this summer as you might know. It's going to be a wall full of masterpieces, as you probably understand already... 

lørdag 17. februar 2018

A few thoughts from over here

From the westerly side of that rather big Atlantic Ocean I give you a few words as we finally hit the shores of Trinidad & Tobago a few days ago. We didn't literary hit the shore mind, as big ships are not allowed to do that. At least we are finally here, preparing ourselves for the next job coming up.
It's a rather warm climate over here in the caribbean area, but I guess you've heard about that already from somebody else but me.

The Ona lighthouse, my nearby neighbour out there on the island. I never get tired of looking at that thing, actually. Or so it seems, anyway.

Two more days at work for now, and then you'll have me on the plane to get home to shuffle some of all that recent fallen snow from one end of the garden over to the other. You know the deal, I guess... good thing I still got some power in these arms and legs as there always seems to be something that needs to be carried, lifted, shuffled, repaired and what have we.

One of my friends posted a question a couple of days ago about something like "how many of you out there have experienced a memory card breakdown and lost pictures because of it" sort of thing. I threw in my reply, without having to even mention the word "film" once throughout my "article" this morning, and the comment section of that particular post has been totally dead ever since. It's painful, I know, to have someone telling you that loosing a couple of hundred or thousand snaps from a broken memory card is actually the smallest of problem you're facing being a dedicated pixel collector. None of your pictures will exist to see the light of day as your grand-grand children grows up given the world continuing on the same path as today anyway. At least not unless all your descendants will be growing up being super humans of some sort. One lazy, or unlucky for that sake bloke somewhere down the line is enough, and it will all be lost for all eternity. It's going to be a lot of work and hassle to take care of all them hard drives in the years to come, believe me! 
Me...? Oh, I just file them negs inside ring binders and more or less forget them. They will be there for anyone being able to shine a light through them to make real pictures at some point, should they feel like. Unless the house burns down, of course. Or some other disaster strikes... But them hard drives, no way they will survive anything. Not even themselves and/or their own language, as in not too many years from now there will be no machine still in production able to read them things anyway.

The Watch Crow of Glasgow (or wherever...)

Nuff said for today, I guess. I'm off for a short stroll on deck in at least 25 deg. heat or something like that, before throwing myself into bed. It takes time to get used to walking outside in the dark realizing the temperature is still higher than on the brightest summer mid-day back home.
Really looking forward to go home and pick up my wee project again. There will be a few days of work coming up when I get there, but I'll try to keep you sort of informed as I'm moving along. At least there's some sort of plan starting to manifest itself... which is good, I hope.

tirsdag 6. februar 2018

Thoughts from the sea

It's a rather dull place, the center of The Atlantic Ocean. Nothing to see at all. Not only for a day or two, but for two full weeks in a row. There was one ship passing us about five days ago according to rumors from the bridge, but nobody could actually see it as it passed something like 12 nautical miles north of us. And then it was in the middle of the pinch black night as well, of course. 
Oh, and one of the officers on the bridge spotted a couple of whales playing around the surface a few days ago, but that's it!
I've been downstairs in the engine room most of the time anyway, so I don't actually care too much about what they see or don't see up there. 
Got to say I'm looking forward to come over to the other side of the sea now. One week to go, and we'll be there, they keep on telling us. That's only if the navigators has a clue about where we are, I guess. Wouldn't hold my breath...

This was not a dull place, speaking from the heart. I'm not sure exactly where it was, but at least I know it was in the London area last summer. Busy as heck, it was. Trains and things, you know. And plentiful of people as well. I sort of like some of the lines in this one, but I seem to remember it looked better through the viewfinder of that old rangefinder than the final result turned out to be. That has happened to me before as well... just saying.

I'm really looking forward to get back home this time. Got a bunch of rolls inside the darkroom waiting to get sloshed around in some sort of developer, and hopefully I will have one or two rolls from this trip to go along with them as well. 
I might even get some time for printing, and to open up my rather fresh box of Lith developer to see if I can get something good out of a few old papers I got lingering around the place. 
Has anyone reading this thing ever tried the Emaks paper K883 in Lith? I got some of that sort, so I'm hoping the lith process will do something nice on it. 
Actually, it has to be good as I have already booked this wall to hang a few prints for one month inside the library in my hometown, and I got a plan for the first time in quite a while. It just have to work, as you might understand.

fredag 2. februar 2018

Curious Engineers, and a few dancers...

We're on a ship just now, as you've heard lots of times already. On board a ship you'll have staff and officers on the bridge, and a few in the engine department. They seem to have different brains, the two species. At least their brains seem to work very different to each other. 
I've been walking around with an old camera the last few days when time has allowed me to, and the reaction from the guys upstairs is very different to the things happening down there where all the action is. 
Upstairs it's like they couldn't care less, while downstairs you can't put that thing down until the boys throw themselves over whatever camera you carry, and start wondering how everything works, what the mechanics inside might look like, and stuff like that... you know. Engineers...

Something I did a while ago, as you might remember. I got loads of film back home in the need for a bath in some old Rodinal or whatever. Just give me a few weeks and I'll be back on  track. I promise! This was done on one of them rangefinders, if memory serves me right. With the 35mm attached, I suppose. Nice combo, by the way.

So there's been a few minutes of good talks around subjects like that down there lately, as the new motorman is young enough to never have either seen or at least not used a film camera. As you might remember I just got this old Nikkormat FT, and he's been lurking around that thing for a few days now. Shot a few frames and just had a good time, as you obviously do when sailing the blue and deep seas we sail at the moment.
Then I mentioned we might be able to actually take a few snaps and have them developed on board the next trip. They were all very interested and started wondering how that could be arranged, so I started playing with the thought about letting them build their own pinhole cameras just for the heck of it. Should not take too much time or effort to get that done, I would think. They are engineers, after all. Might even come up with some great and cool stuff for all we know. 
I'll try to bring some paper and a box of developer and fix on board, and let the guys produce some paper negs. from their own-made pinhole cameras. That would be fun, I suppose. 
They had no clue what a pinhole camera was, or did... so I used some time to explain the basics and now they seem to be even more intrigued by the whole thing. Lets hope it stays like that, at least until next trip on board. You never know, of course...

Another one of them dark light snaps done this evening. Something clearly happened here, but I'm not sure what it was. Probably someones flash threw some light around the room while my shutter was open. No too difficult as I was playing with times around the 1 second mark if I'm not very much wrong. 

Oh, and yes, we are making our way down south and another bit west. Passed the island of Madeira earlier today, and will probably make our turn a bit further towards west some time tomorrow afternoon. 
You'll soon understand the brains on them folks upstairs works a bit different to ours when you go up and have a quick look at their map from time to time... Sitting there in that chair watching the exact same thing over and over again for a full 12 hrs. watch will of course do something weird to your things below your top cover. And for 12 hrs. your next waypoint only comes a few millimeters closer. Nah... can't be made for all of us, that job!!
Anyway, the temperatures are really starting to rise now. I guess we're getting a bit closer to the 20 mark, so everything's fine over here.