After developing two rolls of film and feeling like I am limited in subject matter for film and feeling like a lot of my shots are uninteresting, I have been coaxed back into doing more film. Effective tomorrow, I will be carrying both cameras.
In the process of trying to figure out WTF happened to make some of my portraits turn out almost white I sought out the advice of people in one of my Flickr groups, “I shoot film”. The very knowledgeable people there pointed out that it wasn’t just some of my portraits, it was most of my shots turning out that way. One of the key things that was discussed is the possibility that I am developing my film too long. I considered the possibility at first, but I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea or not. I keep thinking about exposure 7 from roll 1 (EXP_7). When thinking about it, that exposure SHOULDN’T have been developed as well as it was, since it was overly dark and I was using the “black magic” that is matrix mode. In addition to my developing technique it was also suggested that the film might not be the best choice (glad I just bought 5 more rolls). It was also suggested that the developer could be of a higher caliber, that one I will grant, since well, I am using Adorama store-brand BW Developer, and a developer time that is only roughly based on documentation (I assume it is close to being LC-29, since it has the same time for other films and the same dilution instructions). One of the more knowledgeable of the group suggested I try knocking my time down by 10% (which shaves about 35 seconds off of the time). I am likely to agree with him, as even if the advice throws things off kilter, just like in digital photography, it is always easier to add light after the fact than to correct for an overexposure (or overdevelopment).
The meter on the camera was also called into question, but I quickly defended the camera by testing it against the D90 set to ISO 400 (theoretically the metering equations are the same between cameras). I also verified that there were no stuck aperture blades on the lens.
With this new information I am going to give more time to film and see what I can do, and I guess I will likely end up developing again either this weekend or next week. I guess this whole thing is a science and I am just going to have to figure out the hard way how things work. Although, the knowledgeable guy (Dave I think his name is), has given me weekend reading homework, I will be starting to read “The Negative” by Ansel Adams. It is the 2nd book in the series, but I guess Dave assumes I know how to operate a camera (I have enough of them, so I hope I do). It says something about a book when it is still in print 11 years after the author’s death and is still being sold 26 years after his death. I am beginning to understand the meaning of the phrase “time arts” (the academic name for “photography”).