Kawarthas… in Ortho. Part 2

So I finally get all the 4×5 film developed from my August trip to the Kawarthas – then I discover that some spots from drying were messing up my attempts to scan them for proofing. Unfortunately, it took some weeks to find the time to re-wash the offending negatives and get back to the scanner.
In all, the decision to take the old Busch Pressman on vacation (instead of something easier) was a good one. Given that a 4×5 camera loaded with super slow (ei 12 rated) film demands a landscape with still morning air, I found myself setting the alarm for the pre-dawn hour, and sneaking off down the back roads with the wife’s minivan in search of the best locations, and the best light. I’d be back in time to make coffee before the rest of the crew were awake.
My eight-year old son joined me one morning, and happily snapped away with his compact digital while I fussed with the 4×5.


The Kawarthas are certainly prone to moody weather in the late summer, and that suited me fine. The Rollei Ortho 25 film worked wonderfully at holding sky detail while not letting the pine forests turn to dark mush. Depending on the light, my notes show exposures ran from 30 seconds on up to about 1/8th in bright light. I made good use of the yellow and polarizer filters. Yes, you can polarize black and white, for much of the same reasons you polarize colour – so why don’t we do it more often. I tried each filter on a pond that caught my eye, and sure enough, the polarizer brought more drama to the party.
The attached gallery images are not from prints (I haven’t got that far yet), but are from Epson V700 scans. But I scanned each neg twice, emphasizing shadow detail, and sky detail. I then merged the pairs using Photoshop’s HDR type utility. A few negatives seem to have benefitted from this process, and it will be interesting to see if I can do as well or better when the negs get to the enlarger.
As I said before, the decision to use a 4×5 camera for this year’s trip changed everything. Because of the very fact the camera is big, slow, and predisposed for careful landscape photography, it energized me to make the time, and take the time, to do it justice. Big film is expensive, but not only that, knowing you are only going to be taking a few exposures (I think I shot 24 sheets, the whole trip), you want to make them count.
And, of course, unlike digital images that are all too easily filed away and forgotten on the hard drive. The 4×5 negs need more care and feeding before they are satisfied. Good job I have a few boxes of 16×20 paper just looking for a trip under the enlarger.

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~ by windsorphotooutfitters on November 3, 2011.

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