Monday, January 27, 2014

Exposure & Flash Test on Harman Positive Paper

Norman 40/40 power packs
I managed to get some used Norman 40/40 flash units at a great price from eBay. Seems a few photo-studios run by Sears went out of business and all their equipment ended up on the market at the same time.

You might still be able to get a Norman 40/40 and some flash heads at very reasonable prices. I think the 40/40 used to sell for well over $1000 when new. You can find them for around $75 on eBay.

Les Misérables - Schneider-K 210mm f/5.6

I decided to try some Harman direct positive paper which is about as light sensitive as collodion plates. Ilford rates the paper at ISO 3 which comes pretty close. I figure it's cheaper and less hassle, and since it comes in 5x7 sheets I can shoot on my Deardorff, which has an appropriate spring back. It will also allow me to take my time developing, no hurry to get it done before the collodion dries.

This is POSITIVE paper, this means no negative. Just stick the paper into a film holder and expose in a camera. Ilford also sells this paper in a kit with a pinhole camera. This paper is truly well suited for pinhole cameras.

My daughter was watching Les Misérables, I asked if she would get some white powder on her face and look the part of a French woman of the streets from that era and she agreed. After some rouge, lipstick and eye-shadow, oh, and white powder, we were ready for the close-up. These were all shot on a Deardorff 8x10 with a 5x7 back. I used a Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar 210mm f/5.6 lens.

I couldn't resist shooting my Brother
LH4000 4KWs
I setup two 40/40 power-packs, each one with a 4000Ws strobe head. You know that means four thousand watts per seconds right?

Wow, the kicker didn't light up much. I had the key-light just slightly off center with nothing illuminating the background - just the bleed from the kicker. I was more concerned with getting an image than finessing the lighting. I had shot two photos that were all black and couldn't figure out the problem. I was relieved to find that the flash sync on the shutter was set to "M." Everything worked fine after setting the sync to "X."  It's all about the small details.

I used iShoot Studio radio wireless flash triggers. One transmitter and two receivers. Got them on eBay for cheap. These allow you to sync as many flash strobe as you want. You just need one receiver for each flash unit.

Vintage looking?

My brother stopped by and I took the opportunity to shoot him as well. I shot him much the same way, straight up - except I turned the kicker on the background and that helped bring the back up a little (lovely blurred bookshelf) 

Next photo shoot I'll tweak the lighting and get a little more creative. I did experiment with some grids, a 5" reflector and a 22" soft dish, with and without grid. I'll plug in all four power packs and use more strobes next time.

I like the Harman direct positive paper, except for the fact that it tends to curl when drying. What a pain in the ass. You can find a million ways to fix the curl on the internet - seems that none of them really work.

You can develop the paper with any conventional paper developer - this is nice. I used Ilford Rapid Fixer. Nothing is cooler than seeing the image appear before your eyes, reminds me of high school photography class, except I never took high school photography. Maybe you did?

Check my eBay listings, you might find something you need: