I Remember Why I Dream In Black And White

Posts tagged “Kirk

A few more scans…Kirk & Me 2003 Cross Process

2003 Kirk Cross Process by Tim Baker

2003 Kirk Cross Process by Tim Baker


(yes I know but Doctor Who copied me, this shot was made in 2003 and online WELL before the David Tennant shot :-P)

Here are some of my recent scans – in 2003 I reckon this was my first photo studio session with Flash, or one of them…I kind of snook in (with permission, although the teacher wasn’t too keen) to the studio after waiting WEEKS to ‘introduced’ like some odd genteel dating game. As soon as me and the studio were ‘introduced’ I ran off intp a torrid love affair and got married at Gretna Green, or something.

I think for my first session with Flash I did really well…although I think the first actual studio session was a black and white one I did with Kirk, or John…I suspect so, I remember inflicting the Tungsten Lamp of Death on them, very hot! Obviously you can’t use tungsten lamps with colour film because of colour casts (although I suspect I did some lamp work with this because of the cross process) and I can see the softbox in Kirk’s eyes!

Here it is then…cross processed Kodak EL-2 (Elite Chrome! OMG!) even with a few shots of yours truly:

Kirk and Tim, 2003

I seemed to be obsessed with eyes at this point…

The real challenge with cross process is colour…whether to leave the green ‘cast’ in – partly that gives cross-process it’s character but green skin tones aren’t really that nice to look at – and the fact that all the colours go crazy, so when you get an accurate skin tone, the others colours go completely haywire. Interesting however ‘normal’ you try to make a cross process shot, it always looks a little odd, especially in the shadows. I like that creeping oddness 😉 And the highlights blow, the contrast and grain ups, and colours tend to get luminescent if you turn up the saturation in a way that normal process doesn’t.

It’s for these reasons I spit on the ‘cross process’ presets on digital cameras…or Photoshop Infrared or Cross Process curves. They look OK, but nothing like the real thing (also see Hipstamatic etc.) – partly because both processes have elements of *randomness* – based around old expired and possibly faded slide film vs exhausted C41 chemistry, or halation and different frequencies of light zinging around the place and colliding with the grains or film, fogging and loose developing times (HIE at 1:1 D76 is between 7-11 minutes, take your pick!). It’s hard to get truly random from a computer – impossible in fact.


More medium format scans

Steve Medium Format, copyright Tim Baker

Steve Medium Format, copyright Tim Baker

These are tricky since I was trying to do a high key bounce on the background but not enough light bounced back, so these are dark and backlit. Scanner is really good about bringing some of that ‘lost’ detail back though, with help from the magic that is Lightroom.

Really looking forward to Lightroom 4 because of one feature – you can do white balancing via gradients/brushes which means fixing mixed lighting should be a lot easier!

Kirk medium format, Tim Baker

This has a more restrained palette – partly because I can’t get the skin tones right in these shots of Kirk, seems to either be too orange, too purple or too blue. Tempted to use colour targets when I start doing studio shots again – which will be very soon!

Both taken with a Bronica SQ (probably an A or AI).


Film 10 – Konica Infrared

Pergola infrared - 2003

Only a few shots on this one, but at least one real winner which is the one of the Pergola at Vale of Health, part of Hampstead Heath above. Was there taking some shots with Kirk which is how I can date it to 2003.

These were shot with Konica 750nm (750nm being the wavelength that the film is receptive to) infrared film – which strictly wasn’t compatible with the filter I had – that let in a much higher wavelength I think….but these shots proved it worked just the same, maybe not as dramatically as if I’d hada filter that went down to 750nm, but looks pretty ‘infrared’ to me:

Hampstead? Infrared

Pergola infrared - 2003

It also has a demonstration shot of the effect of infrared, which I might’ve taken for my City and Guilds Level 2 I was doing at the time…I did include some Infrared in my B&W book but not these, obviously. If you don’t know how infrared film works, you have to use a specially made IR purple/dark red filter to expose the red & infrared frequencies with it otherwise the film just works as normal.

I used a cheap Lee 87 Gel filter I modded onto a piece of perspex cos IR glass filters are really expensive. All I did was cut two pieces of thin perspex into the same sized squares – I got the thin sort you could actually cut with scissors – then I sandwiched the gel in between them and stuck it together with tape – you don’t really need to worry about it being perfectly optical because a) IR is fairly random and foggy anyway and b) it’s really close to the lens so any imperfections probably won’t be seen. There’s a DIY tip for you wanting cheap filters 😉

Firstly without filter:

Infrared - without filter

And with the filter:

With infrared Lee 87 filter

I’m not sure if all of these shots are using the filter – unless you have a lot of not-backlit greenery or sky it’s not always obvious. I suspect in the Pergola shots I didn’t, although they still have a slightly unearthly quality all the same. But judging on the lack of odd skin tones in this (skin tones in infrared make you look like an alien grey, translucent with strange eyes) shot of Kirk I’m sceptical I did use the IR filter for these shots:

Kirk at the Pergola, 2003