Thursday, September 17, 2009

Shooting in Infrared *UPDATE 9/18*

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go ahead and shoot a roll of the Efke IR 820, but it was not without its frustrations. The first roll that I put in the Holga broke after the tape fixing the film to the paper backing was somehow stuck on itself, causing the paper backing to rip in half, making advancing the film impossible. I probably could have saved it by taping it back together while shielded in a changing bag, but of course I had no idea what had happened.

Scratch one roll of film.

The next one loaded in fine. The sun came out and I drove to Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, CA. I knew based on previous experience and advice from others that it's always advisable to err on the side of too much exposure with this film. I used the cable release and exposed from between 15-30 seconds in full sun.

After processing for 7 minutes in T-MAX dev at 68°F, I was elated to see there was indeed an image. Sadly, even with such long exposure times, the negs turned out extremely thin. I spent the better part of two hours in the darkroom yesterday trying to get a decent print out of the roll, but no real success. It's way too frustrating to try and get good prints off bad negatives.

Here's the contact sheet and a sample image that I scanned. (click the picture to view larger image)

Now, you may detect an air of madness, but I like to think of it as tenacity. I ordered 3 more rolls of this film today, as well as a Hoya brand R72 IR filter (the one I have now is a much cheaper Opteka brand).

I'm going to try this again, but I'm still naming my first ulcer Efke.

The original post is below

Yesterday my package from Freestyle Photo arrived. I'd ordered some RC paper and a bunch of their Arista EDU branded film (which I love, btw). But also, and more importantly, two rolls of Efke IR 820 film. There's a Flickr gallery here.

Now, this is my second time at the rodeo with this film. The first was a year ago in Costa Rica. I'd packed along a couple rolls along with my trusty Holga and my cable release and my IR filter, took pictures in Monteverde and Fortuna, only to get home, develop the film, and.....

Nothing. Not a damn frame or even a ghost of an image. The numbers along the film edge showed up just fine, but everything else was crystal clear as though no exposure took place. Now, I know that IR film is supposedly touchy, but you would think that a light-leak or a fogged frame or something would have shown up upon developing.

I was so disappointed. I'd seen such beautiful and surreal images from people using this film in their Holgas, and here I'd just wasted $20 of film with nothing to show for it. (It's 10 bucks a roll, which for an art student is a fairly expensive mistake.)

So, before I get carried away, here's my setup: I was using a small tabletop tripod, the holga cable release, an Opteka R72 Infrared Filter, and of course, the Efke IR 820 film.

I had no light meter or anything to figure out exposure times, if I recall correctly I was trying to bracket shots from between 4 and 15 seconds. This may have been far to short, because I'm pretty sure the skies were overcast the entire time even though it was mid day. Another thing, it might be the filter. I don't think it is, though. The Opteka R72 filter should just filter out every wavelength below 720 nm, and the film is sensitive to light up to 820 nm (which is way into infrared territory). Plus, I've used this filter on my digital camera, and it works fine.

In short, I don't know what the deal was last year when I tried this film, but I'll have another go at it as soon as the sun comes out. I've been wanting to do some infrared work over at Mountain View Cemetery, and I'd better do it soon while there's still leaves on trees!

Happy snapping!

No comments: