This weekend was my 47th birthday! Getting to this time and place has been hard for me. I’m always reflective on my birthday, and in particular here in New Zealand when it aligns with the middle of Winter. Those close to me know of my struggles with mental health and some days/ weeks can be extremely challenging for me. Thankfully my Family, friends, art and process along with Mother Nature- guide me when I’m down.
On a lighter note, birthdays are pretty easy gift wise for me these days. I accept vinyl records (yes I have another analogue addiction), black and white film, and photobooks. My amazing wife gifted me Portraits by the one and only Duane Michals and we ate a sugar fuelled birthday breakfast followed by lunch at Barefoot Cafe – a gluten free plant based eatery here in Christchurch.
Sunday I headed off for a wee solo adventure to Craigieburn Forest and a peak that means so much to me- just off Lyndon Saddle (approx 1300m). With me I had a new addition to my camera collection, a beautiful Rolleicord VB TLR from about 1965, and with it recently serviced by John at Fototech I was confident of its ability. Inside this gorgeous box of cogs and springs, I had a unique film stock too- Lomochrome Purple by Lomo- and a first for me.
It was very cold out in the mountains and I had the camera in my jacket against my skin for the whole round trip to ensure things did not stop working. I’m not sure if it helped, but I’m sure I read film does not like very cold conditions. The day was fantastic and I was super excited to see how the images turned out. I’ve now got a full colour development kit ready to go and for the past few weeks i’ve been processing various colour films and developing a process that works for me. When it came to developing the LomoChrome Purple stock I was a bit stuck as this film can be rated and shot at ISO 100 – 400. On the day I opted for ISO 400 but what were the development times? I googled extensivley and found nothing. I then stumbled upon this site – Darkroom Solutions- where you can add the values and work out dev times and the details worked like a charm, and here are the results.
Fascinating right? Everyday environments that are green turn to purple. Not all greens act the same, but I guess this adds even more to the process? I’m stoked with the results and how my colour dev is coming along too. I wonder what roll two of Lomochrome Purple will yield? The Rolleicord VB was so nice to use, and yes I had a bit of a learning curve with most operations the complete opposite to the Yashica635, but overall it was easy to tame. I do love TLR’s!
Update. I shot the second roll of Lomochrome in the Porthills Christchurch on the Rolleicord, and when I loaded it, it seemed to slip and not wind on. I opened camera and lost half the roll as it had actually wound on! This Lomochrome film loads very loose, and the thickness is greater than say Portra. The result is a feeling that the film fails to be fed through the camera, but for reference, ignore this feeling, as it is winding on just fine! Anyway, I only had a handful of images from the second roll, so i’ve added to this collection and see how the dry, yellow grass turns a vibrant pinky/ purple? Mind blown!
Update Two. Scanning a series of images today I noticed that the sharpen image setting had been ticked on my V550 scanning software (the Epson one). This in turn yields ugly digital grain and shitty shadow tones with noise and explains the results. Every roll is a lesson!