More From The Nikkormat

From Last November, Elm Park, Kodak 400 BW CN film (now extinct).

From Last November, Elm Park, Kodak 400 BW CN film (now extinct).

A couple of rolls into the Nikkormat FT3, and I truly believe there is some kind of magic to the way it exposes. Yes, it is a tried and true 60/40 (60% weighted to the center of the frame)  classic Nikon metering system. But what I shot, at midday, was metered with such accuracy and precision. Much more so than I expected. It was indeed a very pleasant surprise.

Leaves in water, starting to ice over, before this year's historic winter.

Leaves in water, starting to ice over, before this year’s historic winter.

I shot this roll with Kodak BW400 CN, their truly gorgeous C-41 chromogenic black and white film, which is no longer made. Not sure how missed this film is, but for sharpness, fineness of grain, contrast, and tonal range, I really loved this stuff.


The humble beginnings of the 2014-2015 ice age.

As for the Nikkormat FT-3, it has a home, and a fondness in my collection, right up there with the very best of the manual focus Nikons. Even if the Nikon name is indeed in small print on the back.

Stand And Deliver – First Attempt At Rodinal Semi-Stand Developing

Rodinal has always been that “scary” developer to me. How do I use it? How do I dilute it? what does it do to film grain? Why, if it is Rodinal, is it referred to as cryptic brand names like “Adonal”, and “Compard R09 One Shot”? Well, I decided to order a bottle from Freestyle ( to find out. After about a week, the bottle arrived. Ironically, the copyright  battle in the US involving Adox (the original formula, I believe, was made by Agfa), has seemingly been resolved, and Freestyle now ships the formula in the US as, Rodinal! I have only worked with Kodak D-76 and HC110 developers, so this is a big step.

Anyways, to the chemistry. It is essentially a compound, 4-Aminophenol. It is one of the longest lasting film development formulas still in use today. It is very versatile, and known for super sharp negatives. For stand, or semi-stand development, it is best used for low to medium speed films. Unlike the Kodak developers I mentioned, it is not known as a fine grain developer. What it does provide is high edge sharpness.  I decided to use it with the beautiful Ilford Delta 100. I settled on semi-stand methodology. There are, of course, a million ways to do this, and ask a thousand film photographers, you might get 1000 workflows. But here is the approach I went with:

  •  1 min presoak in distilled water
  • 1:100 Rodinal to H2O (temperature in this methodology does not matter
  • 30 secs initial agitation
  • 30 minutes stand
  • 5 gentle agitations
  • 30 minutes stand
  • dump
  • stop, fix,  hypo clear, wash, all followed normally

The results? I love them. Great contrast, more shadow detail, smooth tones, less wonky anomalies, like white blobs of undissolved D-76 powder, or syrupy HC-110. Those are chemicals I will likely still always work with, but, this Rodinal stuff? Well, it’s really special. After years of fighting it, well, this film photographer is drinking the Kool-Aid.

On the way through the park to a Greek Festival, I saw this group practicing in the park. What sport, if any, they were practicing, I do not have a clue. Co-ed football, maybe. Taken with the Hasselblad and 80mm Zeiss-

Not practicing their film developing skills.

Not practicing their film developing skills.

A couple things that I noticed right away upon reviewing the dried negatives. The shadow detail is amazing. I am guessing, for example, that the towel in the shadows in the lower left of the frame, might be darker, or completely unseen, if the film had been developed in D-76, maybe not as much so with HC-110. The grain is there, but it is beautiful. Smooth, not blocky.  The image is almost too sharp, individual blades of grass clearly defined.  The contrast, beautiful, definitive and well-defined. It has its own “look”.

A myth shattered here- Rodinal CAN indeed be used with higher speed film, such as Kodak Tri-X, or Ilford HP5 Plus. Stand or semi stand is not recommended. There are several dilutions available on The Massive Dev Chart, and corresponding temperatures should be observed.

That's a UHaul truck way in the background- clear, and sharp.

That’s a UHaul truck way in the background- clear, and sharp.

Not only is semi-stand with Rodinal a lot of fun, it can yield some beautiful results. Off to the Greek Festival.

One Last StART (In Black And White, That Is…)

No shave, but a haircut.

No shave, but a haircut.

A few final B&W Film shots from StART On The Street. I promise! More of my favorites…


Getting ready to perform.


Banging on the bongos.


Interactive demonstrations from the folks at The Ecotarium.


I think they represented a special interest group.


Is that a Dixie Cup on my head?


Big strings.

I’ve been very busy trying to learn Lightroom 5 and Windows 8, while reconfiguring two PC’s. Rarely, I do post digital shots. About as often as I shoot digitally, which these days, is not often. Once I get Lightroom somewhat figured out, maybe I will get a few up.

A Fresh StART



Or, is it? I hope this images from last Sunday’s StART on the Street are not becoming redundant by now. But seriously, there were almost too many fun ones, like above, not to choose. As you can see from the joy in the faces of participants and volunteers, there was true joy, and a near perfect day. You know the camera, and the film.


Buying, selling, and volunteers.

Lots of buying and selling, up and down the street. Jewelry, art, and handmade items, all very popular.


Ready to spin.

I do think these guys were also here last year. I got action shots with the D300 and 70-200. But as portraiture was more what I wanted for film, really pleased with the results. I think the 135mm was the lens for the shot above.


Roller Derby in full force.

I think roller derby was absent in the spring, due to street incurred injuries. A much smaller “track” than in years past, maybe to minimize the potential of injury. But, still tons of fun.


Helmuting Up

I think the 105mm was the glass that was on for the above shot. Only because if it was the 135, it would have been much too tight and close up.


Artisans selling jewelry.

The 135 was definitely used here.


Believe it or not, his suit/hat is orange.

And here. This guy shows up in many of my digital shots as well. Love the bokeh, and the gradual background out of focus look, with the subjects in sharp focus.

StART’ing Back Up

Some more favorite shots from this past Sunday’s StART On The Street. Once again, the Nikon F3HP, and Kodak BW400CN, developed in  the C-41 process. Nikkor 35, 50, 105, and 135mm lenses.

There were indeed many street performers with musical instruments in the sidewalks, alongside the event. This gentleman, with his guitar, and harmonica. Case open for donations-


Strumming For Cash

I think this woman was like the Hula Hoop guru-


More Hoops

This was one of my favorite shots with the 35mm lens. As mentioned on an earlier blog entry, I think it is more of a normal focal length than 50mm. Not to say that is not also a great length- it is. But, there is something magical about a 35 when you get down to ground level. Here, some volunteers, making the rounds before things get started-


Getting ready for cleanup.

Of course, there is always time for chatting, and making new friends:

Hanging Out

Hanging Out

These folks had some great photos. Not sure which group/cause they were from:



Speaking of smiles, this was one of the more blinding ones from the day!


Metal Material And Arts

Finally, speaking of metal, how about a little fencing and swords? Higgins Armory was a pleasant site. This, in their last year. I think they are closing in December. Good thing this was such a perfect day. Those outfits do look rather warm.



Still searching for that favorite ‘money shot”, and still really hard-pressed to find it. I love them all so far.

A Fresh StART – StART On The Street, Fall, 2013

I brought a lot of gear Sunday to the Fall edition of StART on the Street, Worcester’s biannual street art festival. As I have mentioned previously, it truly is street photography heaven. Having just received my Nikon F3 back from a shutter braking adjustment, as well as a winder retorque, it seemed the perfect choice for the day’s film shooting. Another good reason? Fast, easy lens changeout and swapping out on the fly. No need to index lenses and do the “Nikon Shuffle”, like on the F Photomic FtN, or the F2S- true auto indexing. I brought a whole bag of Nikkor glass- the 28, 35, 50, 105, and 135mm. Of those, the 28 was the only lens I didn’t use. My film of choice, once again, Kodak BW400CN. The day really seemed to lend itself to being upclose and personal. I love street photography with a passion, and these festivals are an opportunity to indulge, without having subjects ask why you are photographing them. Here, they welcome it.

Back on Park Ave, in front of Elm Park, which is in the midst of an extensive makeover and renovation, some of the activity even extended back into the park itself, which is the first time I have seen it used that way. For example, the performer below was up on a platform, right in the park itself.

Voices carried loudly in Elm Park.

Voices carried loudly in Elm Park.

There was plenty of interactive opportunity for spectators walking the street, including Hula Hoops-

Trying a hula hoop out.

Trying a Hula Hoop out.

The toddlers had their own area to play in, giving them lots to do. The 105 f/2.3 truly is the greatest portrait lens Nikon has ever produced-


Blocks and boxes for the kids to play with.

There were lots and lots of artisans selling their work, and volunteers all up and down the street-

Time out for a nice cold soda.

Time out for a nice cold soda, and some laughs.

This gentleman was here last year, I am wondering if he remembered my F3, which he had admired. I really tried to photograph performers and onlookers in natural ways, but he seemed to almost pose. This taken with the 135mm f/2.8 Ai-

Hey, I remember you!

Hey, I remember you!

There was a whole busload of really hot vintage clothes. Retro seemed ideal for the event. The 35mm f/2.8 Ai, with its virtually distortion free optics, worked to perfection-

Haberdash Vintage

Haberdash Vintage

A different approach to fundraising. The letters below, as they stood in the park, each had a slot for donations. As they kept blowing down from the slight breeze, the idea was to fill them up with money, allowing this wonderful event to continue and evolve.

Fill those letters up with cash!

Fill those letters up with cash!

I also shot digitally, with the D300 and 70-200mm f/2.8. But, after going through the negatives here, the problem, like in digital, is, how do you select the best shots? No idea where to StART.

Art In The Park

Elm Park in Worcester, late summer, through the fall, features artwork from area artists. Some years are definitely better than others. The artists do try to craft works that “blend in” with the scenery. This year it is particularly challenging, as the park is being extensively revitalized and restored. So, there is a lot less space for work to be displayed. My son and I had a blast taking this year’s artwork in. I shot these frames with the Canonet, and a roll of FujiColor 200.

Near one of the bridges, this piece attracts a lot of interest.

Near one of the bridges, this piece attracts a lot of interest.


Playing with selective focus and depth of field.


This one is huge, dwarfing the footbridge in the background.


There is a lot of steel and bronze being used this year.


Much larger than it looks in photo.

The midday sun really made for some brutal lighting conditions. Harsh, bluish. The 200 speed may have not been the best choice in such conditions, but, not bad, all things considered. FujiColor really does have a greenish tinge to it.

Winterscape, Square

The square footprint of the SX-70 exposure can really challenge a photographer “schooled” on the rectangular 24x36mm image which is put onto, say, 35mm film. Like the medium format Hasselblad, this is pretty much a square image, at 3 1/8″ by 3 1/16″. It takes some getting used to, and forces the photographer to retrain the eye, and to rethink compositional assumptions.

So, one might say it is optimized for portraiture, or close up work. True. But it can also be great for landscapes. I decided to take the Alpha 1 down to the park, and capture a winterscape. The exposure wheel here could have been taken down into darken, but I decided to keep it flat, and see what happened. There is overexposure, but not crazy, blown highlights. This film is maybe a half to a full stop faster than the rated box speed of ISO125.  The yellowish tones of PX70 Color Protection I am attributing to the opacification layer not fully clearing. Maybe future editions will improve upon this. But still, considering the 20 degree temperatures when this was captured, pretty darned nice-

1 19 13 Elm Park Frozen Pond Polaroid SX70 Impossible Project PX70 Color Protection

Frozen Pond, Elm Park, Worcester, MA

My 1st Experience Shooting Ilford Film- Pan F Plus 50

Kodak has always been stocked up in my fridge. And Polaroid. And, on occasion, Fuji. But recently, I shot some Ilford Pan F Plus 50. Photographers online rave about its sharpness. As a true novice to the genre, I guess the 1st goof I made was not using a different developer. I used 1:1 D-76, although I read afterwards that it makes this emulsion look like “mud”. While I would not quite go that far, yes, the final results could have been sharper. Some other observations, though this film has textures unlike any I have ever used. It really shows up in the tree bark in some of these shots. The tonality is incredible.

A word of advice- if you are loading this film into a DX-coding “auto loading” SLR, such as the Nikon N-80 used here, make sure the proper ISO is coded upon loading, and after you turn the camera off, and back on. Mine was defaulting to ISo-25, where this is a box speed of ISO-50. Not sure if this was a quirk peculiar to the N-80, or the coding on the film canister. I experienced the same problem with a few rolls of the now defunct Kodak Plus-X, wanting to rate it at ISO-400. Some, but not all.

Finally, I used a Hoya yellow filter, which I thought was supposed to darken the skies. No such luck. Filters can be somewhat baffling to me, as can not blowing a sky out as 18% gray. May have to dig out Dad’s old Hoya filter guide. But yes, they continue to perplex.

I picked up a few rolls of HP5 Plus as well. I am sure there are not many differences from Tri-X, but should be fun to try out.

Here are some samples from the roll of Pan F-

This shows off the film's texture, and tonality.

This shows off the film's texture, and tonality.

Institute Park- Maybe My Favorite Shot From The Roll.

Institute Park- Maybe My Favorite Shot From The Roll.

Not Sure If This Was Metered At ISO-25, or ISO-50. Still Came Out Pretty Nice.

Not Sure If This Was Metered At ISO-25, or ISO-50. Still Came Out Pretty Nice.

The Most Controversial Nikon F – The F3

Nikon F3HP

Nikon F3HP

When Nikon introduced the F3 in 1980, it set the photographic world into debate, and strident discourse. The F, and the follow-up F2 were both fully mechanical bodies, with only a light meter dependent on battery power. This was the 1st F body to feature a quartz timed electronic shutter, a surprisingly accurate and reliable LED display, originally scheduled to last about 7 years (the one on mine has lasted 27 years). Other firsts include 80/20 center weighted metering (in the body- no more Photomic heads!), a semi-automatic aperture priority mode, 4-6 FPS with the MD-4 motor drive (6 with the mirror locked up), and a 1st for Nikon, an auto focus model, with proprietary AF lenses. Despised initially by purists, the model ended up in production for an amazing 21 year run. So popular, it was available at the same time as the F4. Slated for end of production a few times, Nikon couldn’t keep up with demand towards the end of its life cycle.

Sculpted by famed Italian industrial designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, it introduced a solid hand grip, and that red racing stripe that still shows up today on Nikon digital bodies. And had the longest run out of any Nikon F.

I shoot with the F3HP model. HP for High Eyepoint, it allows for viewing with eyeglasses on, up to an inch away. 100% viewfinder coverage, of course. A solid, elegant camera, which many photographers view as the very best manual focus professional 35mm body to date.

Mounted With The Nikkor 28-50 f/3.5 Macro

Mounted With The Nikkor 28-50 f/3.5 Macro

I took this shot with the above combination, using expired 100 speed film from The Film Photography Podcast –, in Elm Park in Worcester, MA-

10 15 11 Elm Park Worcester MA

10 15 11 Elm Park Worcester MA