Lockdown Macro with 8×10

Taking up the opportunity of lockdown to do some photography, in a house full of film cameras (and, happily, quite a lot of B&W chemistry), has taken me back to appreciate the technical mastery of the 8×10 greats like Ansel Adams and Edward Weston.  I’ve so far managed 2 compositions over the last few weeks, with two exposures for each.

Both have been successful in their different ways, I feel.  The second of the two of these is one I especially enjoy, made yesterday.

I used two different lenses for these, and took two different approaches.

With the apple, the first subject, I went full-Weston and chose a tiny aperture and a long exposure time.  For so small a subject (by 8×10 standards) I used my (usually) super-wide Nikkor-SW 150.  The difficulty with this is the maximum open aperture of f/8, which makes macro work very difficult since the ground glass is so dark.  For the slightly larger flower, and the setup for it that I chose, my Nikkor-W 300 was the obvious choice.  Here I made wide-open exposures, and introduced some rear tilt forwards to slightly alter the focus plane some more.  For this second image I worked with and without a Lee 23A light red filter, and selected the exposure with the filter because of the more even tone of the flower petals (otherwise too dark in the corners: the Clematis flower is very magenta pink).
Lockdown Apple (after Edward Weston)


29th March 2020 3:15pm

Chamonix 810V
Nikkor-SW 150 f/8
ilford FP4+ 8×10
430mm bellows extension
33 minutes @ f/64

Stearman SP810 tray, Pyrocat HD 2:2:100, 16’, 21ºC
Acetic acid stop, TF-4 Fix, Hypoclear, wash, Ilfotol rinse

“It has been suggested that I am a cannibal to eat my models after a masterpiece.  But I rather like the idea that they become a part of me, enrich my blood as well as my vision.”  Edward Weston

Lockdown Clematis

22nd April 2020 11:45am

Chamonix 810V
Nikkor-W 300 f/5.6
Ilford FP4+ 8×10
500mm bellows extension
Small amount of rear tilt forwards
Lee 23A light red filter
11 seconds @ f/5.6

Stearman SP810 tray, Pyrocat HD 2:2:100, 12’, 21ºC
Acetic acid stop, TF-4 Fix, Hypoclear, wash, Ilfotol rinse

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