Kevin Bjorke
Kevin Bjorke
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One roll TX400-120, Rodinal 1::50 13 mins.

On Friday afternoon I received my newest toy, a Rolleinar 3, a big $6 ebay purchase and much cleaner than my Rolleinar 2. How could I resist? So I sat Courtney down in the late Saturday light, scattered by tree branches and the wavy clear plastic above the back door deck.

By coincidence, last night after processing and hanging that roll I cracked-open a copy of the British mag Digtial Photography User, their current issue 76 labeled Black&White in type much larger than the journal title. While aimed at digital, their two featured black and white “master” interviews were both with shooters who continue to use film cameras: photojournalist Jack Picone and portraitist Steve Pyke. Pyke’s perhaps not as well known over here in the US but big enough in the UK to have been awarded the chivalrous award of MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) — Pyke’s photos of British musical figures for The Face, starting back in 1979, have reached iconic status. Discovering Pyke’s ongoing use of the Rollei at close range only further confirms my belief in the beauty of the method, despite its violation of portraiture norms (“don’t you know you should be using a tele lens?”).

Scanning these negs with Doug Fisher’s MF Holdermuch improved over the holder provided by Epson, faster and less fuss (and dust), though not without its own quirks. The little “T-Locks” sometimes slip, and my old TLR’s film advance isn’t the most even in the world, so negative spacing always needs to be tweaked by hand (and occasionally the negs are too close to fit a T-Lock between them — though so far just leaving one out and placing it on the end has done enough to ensure flatness). I wish the holder was just one or two mm wider so I could get the entire neg scanned. Can’t have everything?

Changing my standard 6x6 filing method from three strips of four to four strips of three helps too… funny that just this week my supply of 3×4 negative sleeves bottomed out, but an unused pack of 4×3 had been sitting unused at the bottom of the supply box for years.

Square format photos have presented a potential problem for the journal — are 807×807 images too big for web presentation?

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