I would have made a terrible scientist. Anyone who knows me can attest to that statement. I have a habit of wanting to try many things for the first time, at the same time. This usually ends with me pulling my hair out, and taking a more pragmatic approach. This test shoot was one of the rare occasions where everything worked out (must have been some crazy planetary alignment.) I digress. I had been eagerly awaiting a shipment from Bogen containing everything I needed to test out my new Custom Diana. Amongst the various and sundry items where my new Elinchrom BX400’s, Skyport Universal Kit, and Pump Cup with Baby Swivel Pin. The first order of business was to hook up the lights to make sure they worked, the second thing was the charge the Skyport Receiver. I then thought about what I was going to shoot. I’d been wanting to shoot the Rollei Infrared Film that had burning a hole in my camera bag. After a little cajoling I was able to sucker, I mean persuade Angelia to be my model for the shoot. Once my receiver was charged I set about positioning the lights. I wanted to use the bathroom in my apartment for the backdrop, since it is the only thing remotely interesting in my tiny abode. I had also been wanting to experiment with with mirrors since they are a interesting metaphor used repeatedly in art. I used the pump cup to mount one of the 400BX’s to the tile wall in the bathroom. I did this because the bathroom is super tiny and there is no room for a light stand. Plus I wanted to test the how well the pump cup would hold the light. As expected the pump held for the entire shoot. I mounted the light out of sight of the camera and bounced the light off the ceiling. Since I was shooting at f11 I metered the light for f16. I wanted to slightly overexpose the whites in the bathroom, to create a sort of ethereal air. I positioned the second light outside of the bathroom and pointed it directly at Angelia. I wanted some fall of with this light so I inserted a 30 degree grid into the reflector. I also wanted to ratio the lights so I metered this light for f8. After I was satisfied with the overall look I set about getting the camera ready. Up first was the Rollei Infrared Film. The nice thing about this film is that it can also be shot like normal black and white. I decided to shoot half the roll with the infrared filter, and half without to see the difference. The filter I used was the Kodak Wratten 4×4 89B Opaque Filter in a Lee Gel Snap Holder. The thing to keep in mind when shooting this film which is rated for ISO 400, is that with the 89b filter the ISO rating changes to between 12 and 25 depending on the scene (depending on how much in your scene emits infrared light). I metered for ISO 12, and thankfully my lights where able to provide enough output to still keep me at my original aperture setting of f11. Below are the results.
I love this film with the IR filter. Even though the light in the bathroom was set a stop over the main light, it still fails to washout the background. The main however lights the face beautifully due to humans being excellent emitters of infrared light. Notice how dark the eyes are.
The dreamlike quality of infrared is a perfect compliment for the Diana. In other images I had some really interesting lens flare, hopefully I will have time to post those soon. After I finished the Rollei I decided to load some Fuji Pro 400H color negative film. This ISO 400 film was great, since it gave me a lot more latitude with the lights. I wanted to create more mood so I placed a blue gel over the light in the bathroom.
The only thing I would do differently with this shot would be to power down the light in the bathroom by 1 or 2 stops. As it was I accidently over exposed the film by two stops, I had the lab pull process it -1 stop. Oops. Hey, it was 2 in the morning.
This is what I mean by how unpredictable the Diana can be. As you can see there is a substantial amount of vignetting in this shot. Much more so then the one previous. Overall this was a very successful test run. The camera, lights, and skyports performed beautifully. I was able to test a lot of things, and experiment quite a bit. In the end thats what it’s all about. Experiments, happy accidents, and eagerly waiting with loupe in hand for the lab tech to bring you your film!