one day at a time

up we go

© Verena Fischer 2013

Berlin, Germany | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

Berlin, Germany | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

Berlin, Germany | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

Berlin, Germany | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

Berlin, Germany | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

Berlin, Germany | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

Berlin, Germany | © Verena Fischer 2013

All pictures taken with: Olympus Pen E-PL3 and Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 ASPH.

Occasionally I feel the need to document my neighbourhood here in Berlin as well. As you can see it’s not too pretty actually. Of course it’s winter already, which always makes a difference, but one has to remember that Berlin is one of those places with especially long and cold winters. This look is a reality for a substantial part of the year. Too bleak for my liking! This winter I will spend at least January and February in San Sebastian hoping that the winter won’t go on much longer after that. Last time spring only came in April, so I’m hoping this winter will be a little shorter. Skipping at least a part of this dreadfully bleak season is already a start though, whatever happens.

Yesterday I had a breakthrough when developing film. I managed to push a roll of Ilford HP5+ to ISO 1600. I tried to push a couple of rolls to ISO 3200 once and somehow it really blew out the highlights. Considering that I was doing stand-development, this was actually an indication that I did something wrong. I researched stand development again and realised that I have been doing semi-stand so far. I usually agitate vigorously for half a minute and then invert once every 30 minutes. When developing film at box speed this actually works really well, but when pushing it was too much agitation. This time I did one minute of slow inversions – 6 in total – and then swirled carefully for 15 sec every half hour with 90 minutes development time in total (it was Rodinal 1:100 in a 500ml solution). I guess I will have to try pushing to 3200 down in the subway next. If I can manage to get decent results I can finally also start shooting in the subway with my Zorki.

As you can see, I’m still learning how to handle film. At ISO 400 I already feel rather confident, because I’ve shot and developed quite a few rolls of that. For box speed I have used D76, Rodinal and Ultrafin so far and I have the most experience (semi-)stand developing with Rodinal. Soon I will also try to develop in Caffenol, because I’ve seen so many nice results with it. However, when it comes to pushing or pulling I still have lots of room for improvement. At least I’ve now found one recipe that seems to work.

Something else I learned was that filtered water is not enough for the the wetting agent in Berlin. In San Sebastian it worked fine even unfiltered, but here I got some serious water stains which I only noticed after scanning. I will have to figure out how to rewash the cut negatives. Last time I tried it, it turned into a bit of a disaster, because I don’t really know how to hang them. For now I got myself 5L of distilled water for the next 9 rolls I have to process.

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3 responses

  1. I love film! Tired of digital.

    December 10, 2013 at 1:56 am

    • Ah, I’m not exactly tired of it, but I feel like I’ve reached a limit with digital. I can do just about anything I want to do digitally. To gain more skill the analog process seems much more meaningful though, because you need a lot of knowledge and experience to get where you want to be going. I want to reach a point where I can do just as much analog as I can do digitally and maybe more. After all, even ISO 3200 is not doable in decent quality with the digital cameras I own. Soaking or boiling film can be done with textures, but it will never be quite as random and organic. Most importantly I feel I’m only now starting to really understand light. Shooting without a light meter for a while and developing the film myself gives me so much insight! It’s such a great way to learn!

      December 10, 2013 at 2:13 am

      • yes, when my daughter wanted to learn photography i started her out on an old Leica rangefinder and then moved her to a nikon F2, so she would learn from the ground up. now, finally, she has earned a digital SLR but she is still intrigued by film. i no longer have access to a darkroom so i’m kind of stuck with digital. nice work!

        December 10, 2013 at 2:58 pm

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