Film Photography

Eastman Double-X 5222 in Rodinal

The conventional wisdom on the Internet is that Rodinal isn’t the best developer for Eastman Double-X 5222. But I’ve now used this combination and it’s fine.

Vee dub grille

When I loaded this roll into my Nikon N90s, Indiana’s governor had not yet shut everything down to slow the spread of the coronavirus. We were just starting to talk about isolation and social distancing. Many companies, including mine, were asking people who could work from home to do so. I can, so I did. I decided to take a midafternoon walk around the area just to stretch my legs. I live right by a strip mall so I walked over there. The Lowe’s parking lot was packed.

Old Chevy truck in front of Lowe's

I didn’t encounter a soul outside while I walked, however. A few storage barns were on display at Lowe’s; here’s the window of one of them. My past experience with Double-X 5222 has been of high contrast images. But those were in full sun. I’m sure the overcast day helped manage the contrast. But could the Rodinal also have helped show more grays in the film? I really like the tones in the shutters and flower box.

Window

The Thai restaurant was still open. The Mexican restaurant next door had a sign in the window saying they’d be doing carryout orders only, and asking everyone to stay safe and healthy. They were ahead of the curve.

Sidewalk chalkboard

This being a modern subdivision, retention ponds are everywhere. They provide opportunities to photograph reflections.

Lowe's

I shot this film at EI 250 and diluted my Rodinal to my usual 1+50. I normally shoot this film at EI 200, but the Massive Dev Chart had a 1+50 recipe for EI 250 and not EI 200. The Rodinal resulted in reasonable grain and okay smoothness in the details in most shots. The photo below is an exception — when you look at it at full scan resolution, the vinyl siding looks all mottled. But at blog size it’s fine.

Vinyl village reflection

Walking back toward home, I saw that one of my neighbors had his beater Jeep parked out front. It’s black with white fenders, and sports aluminum wheels. I wondered how the Double-X would render that, so I shot it. The wheels turned out to be more of a dull gray than their real-life low-sheen silver.

Jeep wheel

This whole subdivision used to be someone’s farm. I remember driving out this way 20 or more years ago and finding acre after acre of cornfields. The farmhouse survives, a lonely little petunia in this onion patch. (Can you tell I’m not much of a fan of these vinyl-village subdivisions? We will move from here one day and I hope never to live in one again.)

Steps to the old house

I came inside for the last few shots on the roll. Again I photographed the Belleek ring holder that’s on our kitchen windowsill. That’s my wedding ring.

Belleek ring holder

Finally, here’s the window in our back door with a stained-glass ornament my wife’s mother made. The outer petals of this flower are bright orange. I always think it’s interesting to know when a black-and-white photo is of a colorful subject, and what colors are in the subject.

The stained glass thing is orange and white in real life

It’s interesting to see how Rodinal handled the Eastman Double-X 5222. It worked, and for my normal blog purposes it was fine. But it wasn’t spectacular. I’ve used Old School Photo Lab to develop most of my black-and-white film and they use Clayton F76 developer, which is an analog to Kodak D76. These developers are known for finer grain and better shadow detail. The scans I got back from Old School please me somewhat more than these in terms of sharpness, detail, and tonality.

I shot this film because I’m shooting up my old film, and I had a roll of it left from a purchase several years ago. If I come upon some again and I wasn’t shooting something that mattered, I’d use Rodinal again to develop it. But ultimately, I want to find some films that pair excellently with Rodinal and make those my go-to black-and-white films.

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Windows at West Park

Church windows
Pentax ME, 35mm f/2 SMC Pentax-FA AL
Eastman Double-X 5222
2018

In the little church I attend on the Near Westside of Indianapolis, the sanctuary windows are all stained glass and feature the names of original members. Their descendants attended until the last of them died about a decade ago. Today, these names are historic curiosities to the current members.

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Film Photography

single frame: Church windows

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Cemetery

Cemetery trees
Pentax ME, 35mm f/2 SMC Pentax-FA AL
Eastman Double-X 5222
2018

I love how, in the winter, cemetery trees provide a counterpoint to the graves. Their littlest branches reach up into the sky as if just asking for a new day.

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Film Photography

single frame: Cemetery trees

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Looking out

Looking out
Pentax ME, 35mm f/2 SMC Pentax-FA AL
Eastman Double-X 5222
2018

Recently I mounted this autofocus Pentax lens on my Pentax ME to see what it was capable of. I’d been using it on my Pentax K10D DSLR — with great frustration, as the lens too frequently couldn’t lock focus. So I shot it in manual-focus mode most of the time. If I was going to do that, I reasoned, I might as well just shoot it on one of my manual-focus film bodies.

I spent some time in Crown Hill Cemetery with this combo. I’ve made a dozen or more photographs from this vantage point, the highest elevation in Indianapolis and the gravesite of Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley. I warmed this one up in Photoshop a little; it’s better for it.

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Film Photography

single frame: Looking out

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Statue

Statue at Crown Hill
Pentax ME, 35mm f/2 SMC Pentax-FA AL
Eastman Double-X 5222
2018

I was in a Double-X groove after finishing shooting my Canon EOS 630, so I got out another roll for my next project: shooting the autofocus 35/2 SMC Pentax FA-AL on my Pentax ME.

I’ll soon write a whole post about the experience. But I wasn’t bonding with that lens on my digital Pentax K10D and wanted to try it on my favorite K-mount body. I figured that if I didn’t bond with the lens there, I wasn’t going to bond with it anywhere.

I spent a good hour in Crown Hill Cemetery with this combo. This is one of the best photos from the roll.

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Film Photography

single frame: Statue at Crown Hill

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Footbridge

Bridge in the woods
Canon EOS 630, 50mm f/1.8 Canon EF II
Eastman Double-X 5222
2018

It was a cold, gray day when I visited Flowing Well Park in Carmel. I’d never been before; I was surprised to find a small trail in there that led across this footbridge.

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Film Photography

single frame: Bridge in the woods

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