On my journey home from an excellent photographic adventure in Snowdonia, February earlier this year (blog post ‘February 2020 Snowdonia Trip‘) with my friends Matt and Ian we planned to stop off at Talacre Lighthouse, Point of Ayr on the North coast of Wales. We set off walking along the beach and the long grasses coming up through the sand looked amazing. The movement in the grasses and clouds caught my eye, I wanted the lighthouse to be a feature but also to capture the whole scene I was witnessing in front of me. I thought if I could aim for a long exposure with the dappled light coming through it should highlight some of the clouds and grasses but hopefully the sea could look pretty amazing. Plus, the sun was lighting up Talacre lighthouse perfectly, when not behind the clouds.
I had just captured a couple of shots (more details here) on my Hasselblad 500c including a 2 minute exposure with some original Fuji Acros and at 2 minutes Fuji acros delivers no reciprocity, Acros is so lovely on long exposures! Now what I really wanted was a large format capture of this scene with my 1950’s MPP Micro Technical, to pull this off would be great but the only problem is I only had some Fomapan 100 Classic loaded in the 4×5 MPP holder which has terrible reciprocity rate for long exposures.
I wanted to use a 6 stop filter to increase the exposure, so with a 2 second exposure, F45 I was was calculating a 2 minute exposure give or take depending on how the light changes during the capture but 2 minutes on Fomapan 100 will leave me stood there for 33 minutes due to the reciprocity film failure. So I changed my aperture from F45 to F16 which would equate to half a second exposure meaning a 30 second exposure with a 6 stop filter on but upto approximately 6 minutes (5 minutes, 47 seconds) with the reciprocity failure. I shoot Fomapan quite often, in fact it is the first film I run through any new camera I try out and I’ve done a fair few long exposures with it now so through a little experience I went for an 8 minute exposure. Note: I had the Lee Filters 6 Stopper on and a 0.3 soft grad for the sky.
I always enjoy taking a ‘behind the scenes’ shot under the darkcloth.
I home develop (in my kitchen) and I used Rodinal diluted at 25-1 at 20 degrees C for 4 minutes, rotating constantly for the first minute, then for 10 seconds every minute. Then Ilfostop for 1 minute, followed by Ilfofix, then a final wash at 21 degrees with Hypo clear dropped in towards the end of the 10 minutes. Then hang in the bathroom to dry, notice the drip still clinging on in the bottom corner. (Ive rotated this image so it’s easier to view)
Well it worked, I love it and in fact it’s become one of my favourites. The details captured are out of this world and unless you see a 100% version or even just a high resolution version of this it’s hard to understand or maybe appreciate. Lets put it this way, if you look at a pin sharp 35mm DSLR photo at 100 percent and are happy, this is image is 15 times bigger! Yes I think it’s bloody fantastic and it’s just another one of the many reasons why I love film photography so much. Film photography involves me, I have to work stuff out, I have to really really try to get it right, I’m using a beautiful old camera 70 odd years old, I delicately load the film, film photography keeps me on my toes! I no longer just rattle off a load of shots until I get it right like I used to do when I was learning, it’s my preference to shoot film but it pays off immensely when you pull that negative out once developed. I have to imagine everything right there at that precise moment sat in the sand moving those bellows in and out and work out just how do I want this image to come out and this changes constantly per film. Then there is the excitement of developing and darkroom printing!
This composition lends itself to a variety of crops away from the original 5×4 ratio and I like it in square and 3×2 ratio, I also tried it as a panoramic too which I love which can all be viewed by clicking the images below. This image and the different crops are for sale in my print & canvas shop which can be viewed HERE.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the image or even if you enjoyed reading the blog post.
Thanks for reading, stay safe everyone. Graham