Infrared Church, Colton NY

This is from my East Coast trip last Spring.

I have a few more rolls of my favorite film, Konica IR 750, which was discontinued in 2006, in my freezer. I shot this roll over nearly a year, choosing each subject carefully while trying to remember how to use the stuff.

©2014 Gary L. Quay

©2014 Gary L. Quay

I took a chance on development. I tried a new (to me) developer called Divided D-23. It’s a variation on Kodak’s D-23, and was the version that Ansel Adams used briefly. I used it on a less precious roll of film before trying it on this. The results were stunning. Some of the infrared look is missing, but I think the visual is quite nice.


Wahkeena Falls, May 2014. Developed in coffee.


I made an interesting experiment with this picture. I deliberately overexposed it to bring out the detail in the shadows, and, instead of my initial intention of reducing development to tame the highlights, I used a formula known as Caffenol CL, and stand developed the negative for 70 minutes.

This is a scan of the negative. I altered the curve a little to darken the deep shadows, but no other adjustments were necessary. In the darkroom, it should print fine on grade 2 paper.

Angel’s Rest Trail, Part 2

Adam Robins, a friend and fellow photographer, and I made it to the top of the Angel’s Rest trail today. I didn’t take as much gear, and I took more water. The trail was shrouded in mist, and a light rain fell at times. We heard thunder on occasion.

When we reached the top, there was very little to see, as we were inside a cloud. It was raining below us. Very odd. I took a few pictures with my Nikon F3, and we headed back down. Then, we celebrated our victory at McMennamins Edgefield.

It was a good day.

The Mad Achemist Speaks: Fall 2012 in 510 Pyro

Chanticleer Point, November 2012

Chanticleer Point, November 2012

I took this picture on Tuesday, November 14, 2012 from Chanticleer Point in the Columbia Gorge. For once, the clouds were cooperating. So many times here in NW oregon, we have either total overcast, or blank, cloudless skies. Finding the cusp between these two opposites can be a challenge fo people like me who work 6 or 7 days a week at our day jobs so that we can afford to shoot large format film.

I have been experimenting with the developer 510 Pyro. Formulated by Jay DeFehr, it uses Pyrogallolic Acid, Phenidone and TEA (not the Earl Grey kind) as its main ingredients. it seems to be more stable than PMK, and has less of the maddening streaking and mottling. I mixed the developer two weeks ago, and melted my 100 ml graduate (beaker) in the process. It didn’t occur to me that a viscus 150 degree liquid would turn my measuring device into the leaning tower of plastic. Go figure. So far, I like this developer. It doesn’t have as much general pyro stain as PMK, but it has more proportional stain.

A few notes on pyro for the uninitiated. Pyro , which is short for pyrogallolic acid, was formulated, I think, in the 1860’s and enjoyed wide use until more stable developers arrived on the scene around the turn of the century. It’s demise was slow, however, as demand for it from a small, but determined number of photographers persisted. By the 1970’s it was all but forgotten. Then along came Gordon Hutchins. He formulated PMK Pyro in the late 1970’s to work better with modern films, and to reduce pyro’s tendency for uneven development. His success repopularized pyro, and led to a succession of new formulae.

Pyro is what is known as a “staining developer.” It tans, or hardens, the emulsion during development. This has a number of effects. I will mention two. First, the hardening of the emulsion tends to restrain highlights, and compresses the tonal scale of the negative. This can be an advantage in night photography, or for high contrast images when a softer negative is desired, especially when printing on variable contrast papers. Second, the image stain masks film grain, and creates sharper images.

The lens I used for this image was my 8″ Cooke Series IV Anastigmat. Made somewhere in the late 1800’s, it is exquisitely sharp, and the optics are uncoated. I wanted to see how uncoated optics would render the scene. Modern, coated optics are much more contrasty, and have a different feel to the images they create. Now, here’s the kicker: I used a red filter. If I’m trying to see how a lower contrast lens will render a scene, why would a use a red filter? I think that even with a red filter, the gradations of tone are smoother with an uncoated lens. Or, at least, that’s what I wanted to prove to myself. I like the results.

Camera: Camera City View 5×7.
Lens: Cooke Series IV Anastigmat.
Film: 100 developed in 510 Pyro

Potsdam, New York

Raquette River, Potsdam NY, June 2012

Raquette River, Potsdam NY, June 2012

Traveling with large format cameras is a challenge these days. All the scanners, X-ray machines, and TSA employees scratching their heads, and asking, “What is this?” repeatedly while dismantling my carefully packed camera bag. I had to mail my film ahead of my arrival, and plead with the Post Office to not X-ray it. Careful planning pays off, though. None of my film was fogged, and I got plenty of good images. My main trouble was with dust on my negatives because I didn’t have access to an air compressor, or a dust-free room when I loaded my film.

Sometime in during the next 10 years, I will be retiring to Potsdam, NY (Gaia’s hometown). The landscape photographic possibilities of the area are limited when compared to Oregon. Although, the architecture and history of the area should be fascinating. I will also finally get a chance to photograph in the upper Northeast, and NYC.

This is another image from my East Coast trip back in June. A storm was brewing, the wind was picking up, and the light was fading. I had to keep the shutter speed above 1/125th even on the tripod.

Camera: Super Speed Graphic 4×5.
Lens: 135mm Wollensak Optar.
Film: Fuji Acros 100 Quickload developed in Kodak HC-110.