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Thread: Shooting LF Infrared again in 2017

  1. #1

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    Shooting LF Infrared again in 2017

    I first started shooting 4x5 B&W IR images in the late 1970s. Mostly architectural images which were enlarged to (I think) 30x40 inches, frames, and Hung on office walls. Very profitable side business since no one else in my area was shooting IR commercially. Kept doing this for about 10 years. Kept detailed notes on exposure and refocusing the lens for IR. Had a full set of 87, 88, and 89 (hope those numbers are correct).

    So earlier this year wanted to start shooting B&W IR again. I still have my 4x5 Sinar with its set of lenses, but also have a Pentax 67 system that I really only use in the winter, preferring to shoot LF and ULF from spring thru fall. So decided to use the Pentax 6x7 with 120 IR film. First off I couldn't fine my detailed notes for shooting IR. IR films have changed over the years so not sure how helpful my notes would have been. Then over the years have misplaced my set of Gel IR filters. Probably in one of my 4 moves since the 1980s. Was talking with my son and he noted that I still have a FX Nikon D700 which I haven't used in years. Also never got rid of my MF Nikkors. All of my AF Zoom Nikkors produce hot spots in the center of the image making them essentially unusable. After a lot of research sent the D700 body to LIFEPIXEL for their Super Color IR (590nm) conversion. First time I took out the camera I was amazed at the results. Plans for final prints was initially to scan my negatives, make digital negatives, and contact print Platinum/Palladium. Now I can go directly from my digital image file to the digital negative. What I wasn't ready for was that now I had the potential for creating B&W images with blue skies. Attached file is the first shot I made with the camera.

    So I now still shoot B&W LF and ULF film and make Platinum/Palladium prints (usually from digital negatives), but for shooting IR (less than 5% of my final images) for me going digital just made a lot of sense. Will still be shooting LF and ULF film for more than 95% of my work, so am by no means giving up the experience. I must say I am in awe of those of you out there that shoot LF IR film. Back in the1980s, as I remember, shooting IR B&W film had its unique set of variables. My first ever roll of shooting IR film was with a roll of 35mm Kodak B&W film that I loaded inside the camera standing in bright sunlight... you can easily guess what happened.

    Comments welcome
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 087IR.jpg  

  2. #2
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting LF Infrared again in 2017

    I respect your choice. Enjoy. B&W infrared has been challenged since Kodak discontinued their marvelous fast, relatively deep IR film which, by the way, was so fast we could shoot it hand-held (with the usual caveats.) Those days are gone!

    Regardless, hundreds of photographers make film near-IR images, and MF and LF has fidelity that cannot be bettered. You only have to move slower, and IMHO that is a virtue

    Oh, when Kodak announced the end of it in 2007 (or so) I bought 500 sheets, and although it is still in the deep-freeze I suspect it is ruined. Next Summer I'll find out for sure. I've put together a positively IR proof 4x5.
    .

  3. #3
    John Olsen
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    Re: Shooting LF Infrared again in 2017

    Quote Originally Posted by Jac@stafford.net View Post
    Oh, when Kodak announced the end of it in 2007 (or so) I bought 500 sheets, and although it is still in the deep-freeze I suspect it is ruined. Next Summer I'll find out for sure. I've put together a positively IR proof 4x5.
    .
    I shot some Kodak HSI last year of similar age, supposedly always in a freezer before I obtained it. It had a half-stop fog from age but printed nicely. I did note some air bubble problems in developing two sheets, so I recommend a vigorous 2-minute prewet.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  4. #4
    Andrej Gregov
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    Re: Shooting LF Infrared again in 2017

    The Kodak IR film was before my time so I can't comment on any comparisons to what's available today. However, I have just started spinning up on Rollei IR--mostly for architectural shooting. I've been shooting with Rollei IR 400 for the past six months, primarily 35mm at the moment. The bloom effect is not something that interests me in particular, rather the qualities that IR film produces on architectural forms. I still have a lot to learn but my first impression is that it lightens or darkens structures, increasing overall contrast. When looking under a grain magnifier, the grains look almost pebble like. It is a more grainy film but I really like how the grains look on silver prints. I've been using the Lith process for printing to help make structures more graphic and think it's a great film for the process. I've had the best luck printing on Foma 532 and Moersch Easy Lith (1:1:15). Attached is one example print illustrating the bloom effect possible (note, this was shot on a pretty cloudy day though near the end of the day, hence more availability of IR light).

    Shooting details: shooting with a Leica M7 with B+W 39mm IR Dark Red 092 Filter. All my shooting was handheld. I rated the film at 200asa, developed in Xtol (full strength) for 6:30m @21C on a Jobo. I find the film goes to black or highlights very easily. A Zone 3 density is difficult to hit as is a zone 7. If you like lots of midtones, this is not the film for you. I find shots made without any IR filtration quite dark and without much tonality (including shot with normal red filters (like a 25). The film base is thin. Not an issue with 35mm or 120 but 4x5 sheet film feels flimsy. I have tried development in Pyrocat HD (1:1:100) figuring better control over highlights and some improvement in grain size. I struck out pretty spectacularly. My last Pyrocat test rated the film at 100asa and I still couldn't hit a solid zone 3 or zone 7. I've given up with Pyrocat for the time being.

    I still have lots more to learn but I do recommend the film for those wanting to give IR a try. Here's a resource I got some good info about the film. The post offers development times for some additional developers (Rodinal, etc).

    http://www.martinzimelka.com/pages/R...rared_400.html

    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting LF Infrared again in 2017

    Good, agregov. If you eventually do large format film let us know. I am sure you will find it gratifying.
    .

  6. #6
    Cor's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting LF Infrared again in 2017

    Still have a few boxes of 4*5 MACO's (EFKE made) IR film in the freezer, slowly go through them..they are still ok. This film "sees" less deep into IR than the late Kodak, although the results are actually quite nice. Biggest draw back (sometimes, when it is windy) is together with the deep red filter #70 I use: is it speed 1-2 ASA..

    Best,

    Cor

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