So, the results of my first ever roll of Fuji Neopan 400 on 35mm. As it happens I actually have another 19 rolls of this stuff in the fridge. I bought myself ten rolls from a seller on eBay who subsequently shipped to me twice in error….them’s the breaks!! Its well-documented discontinuation has made that stroke of good fortune, just a little bit sweeter!!
I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve been travelling to Wellington quite a bit and that’s helped me rekindle my enthusiasm for photography once again. As an aside to that, I’ve given considerable thought to what I enjoy and what I ultimately want to post on here. The bottom line is I need to do what feels right to me (film) and not necessarily what would be most popular in terms of views (over processed digital black and whites).
We are where we are……
The technical stuff, please skip if you aren’t interested in silver halides, emulsions and the magic of film…..
As I’d effectively rated this film at ISO 200 by shooting a stop over I developed it as follows:
Developer - ID11 @ 1:1 20’ - 9 minutes
Stop - Distilled Water - 2 minutes
Fix - Ilford Rapid Fix - 7 minutes
Water Rinse - 1 min refresh, 2 min refresh, 2min refresh
Distilled Water Rinse - 5 minutes
Wetting Agent - 1 minute
Also, as I use a JOBO CPP2 to process my film the settings were 20’ and most critically programme F which is I believe the slowest motorised rotation available.
Working out which way to go with a roll of film you’ve never shot before is always nerve wracking. As ever I referred to the Massive Dev App and Google for enlightenment!!
I then adapted my overall process slightly to incorporate a couple of elements I’ve used recently when developing Ilford HP5 Plus and Rollei RPX 400.
I’m happy with both the neg’s and the scanning. I can see that it’s Fuji Neopan 400 so, as a starting point I’ve got to be pleased with roll number 1 of 20.
Note to self: Whilst it makes economic sense to store exposed film for development in larger batches, having to scan the resulting 25 rolls of film is a daunting task. I’ve done the entire lot over 2-3 sessions and on the Imacon 848, I can tell you that is pretty arduous indeed. More on this and my solution in future posts.
Further Note: All the images here are compressed PNG files, most are around 150kb or less in size.
The Whitebaiters of Lake Ferry
I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of Lake Ferry. In fact, if you’d have asked me about it I may have confidently proclaimed it to be a Lord of the Rings location. It sounds like it right?
The Wairarapa region is probably the only place in the North Island I had’t explored. With that in mind I made it my business to get out there a couple of times whilst in and around Wellington. Lake Ferry wasn’t somewhere I was specifically headed to, I just happened to take a detour there while en-route to Cape Palliser. (Somewhere you’ll see in a future post)
Seeing the activity out on the Spit I decided to take a closer look at what was going on. That’s how I came to stumble upon The Whitebaiters of Lake Ferry. If you’re not sure what Whitebait is and believe me I wasn’t when we first arrived in NZ, it’s actually small, almost translucent baby fish!! In actual fact the activity of catching Whitebait is almost iconically Kiwi. People go mad for these things, catching them can become an obsession. Personally, I don’t mind a Whitebait fritter or two, with a bit of salt and pepper, they’re not bad. On the other hand, some people, love the stuff.
The Spit is a naturally occurring geological feature. It separates Lake Onoke from the Sea and as Lake Onoke is fed by Lake Wairarapa further up river there are times when the Spit needs to be breached to release water from the lakes and prevent flooding of farmland. From what I can establish the opening is not necessarily naturally occurring and what you see in the image below was actually man made just the day before I shot this image.
In the last few months the Leica MP has become my “go-to” camera, something it should always have been!! In turn, I’ve paired this with another Leica, either my M7 or M6 and it’s been working well for me. I’ve had a B&W film in one and colour in the other. Once again, this is something I should have done ages ago.
Now, I’m not buying any more cameras!!! Although, I did buy one a couple of months ago….that’s another story and (another future post). So, I’ll reiterate, I’m not buying any more cameras, unless…I sell something first. If I still feel the same enthusiasm for my twin Leica pairing I may sell some cameras to fund a second Leica MP. Two identical bodies, familiarity with one’s tools, one loaded with B&W, One with colour. Could indeed be the ideal solution for me moving forward. Interestingly, while I’ve been shooting this way my ratio of B&W to Colour is about 3:1 in favour of B&W. So, get ready for loads more B&W film posts!!!
The view across the break in the Spit. It’s hard to imagine this was only the width of a car wide the day before.
When I upgraded this site and made the switch to Squarespace I also made a deliberate change from Blog to Journal. Essentially they are the same but Journal now seems more appropriate because I’ve actually begun a process of recording information from my trips in a Journal. The advantages of this are I need to rely less on my memory for recall of events and technical notes which I’m now making more of an effort to record.
I feel like I’m already reaping the rewards of this more disciplined and organised approach. I’ve certainly been able to increase my learnings in relation to the individual film stocks I’ve shot recently. Another self imposed discipline is to take more time around exposure. When analysing previous film images and looking at their shortcomings the most prolific failing was exposure. On everything I’ve shot recently I’ve retained my highlights and achieved good shadow details. I’m not saying things are perfect but I’m definitely on the right track.
On reflection, I wish I’d had the foresight to make this a more complete post. At the time I was taking these photographs I was thinking I’d just use one or two of these shots in a wider post about the area. I’m definitely missing a couple of portraits which I would have gotten easily if I’d hung around until they were finished. I’m also missing a few detail shots that would have made for a more rounded post in my opinion. Still, I keep reminding myself I’m rusty as hell and should just be grateful to have any images to look back on.
I’m not certain I truly captured just how perilous this endeavour truly is. I really wanted to speak to this guy but I stopped myself for fear of distracting him. This was prudent as one of the other Whitebaiters would later advise me of a fatality. As he said, one slip and you’re a couple of hundred meters out in a matter of seconds….
Below is a crop from a 35mm frame. I’d say it’s my favourite of this small set. There was truly a poetic element to the scene and this image comes closest to capturing that. I’ve included a larger version of this image, click to see more detail of the film scan.
I still find this the most rewarding process, to capture an image, develop the film and then digitally process it is thoroughly rewarding. Also, as you’ll see in future posts I’ve actually begun the process of digitally printing images again. Something many of us simply forget or neglect to do these days.
I discovered this short piece of footage from 1949 and it seems like the opening up of the Lake Ferry Spit/Bar has been going on for some considerable time.
and…….just to emphasise, there’s plenty of scope for the S**t to hit the fan on this stretch of coast!!!
Coming up next - I’m going to be taking a look at the New Wotancraft Ryker (Small) and the Python, their Leica Holster.
All the best,