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Photographic Equipment Used in Creating Images

I use a Century Graphic camera with a Carl Zeiss 80mm f2.8 lens. It's a reliable bellows press camera which was produced in the USA from 1949-1970. For more information on this camera please see Century Graphic..

Why do I choose to use this dated equipment?

There are a plethora of modern medium format cameras available and for years I was uncertain which one would serve me best, each having its different features. (By comparision, in 35mm photography I've always felt I needed nothing more than my Nikon FE.)

I worked with a 4x5 studio camera in the 1980s and am familiar with bellows cameras. When I saw a 4x5 Crown Graphic on sale in New York City's A Photographer's Place in 1993 I snapped it up and soon purchased a couple of Century Graphics (a medium format version of the 4x5 Crown Graphic). They are very inexpensive compared to modern medium format cameras and this was a deciding factor in my choice.

Century Graphics may not be as easy or fast to work with as their modern SLR counterparts and the lens available may not compare favourably with modern lens. Nevertheless, I enjoy the photographic process and a bellows camera brings me closer to the essence of photography. Photography still stirs something deep in me. However, I also appreciate convenience and intend switching to a modern medium format SLR camera in the future.

All black and white images are shot on Agfapan 25 film (APX 25) 120 roll film in 6x7 format and developed in Rodinal 1:50. (Agfa have discontinued producing APX 25 but it still remains on sale in Sydney, Australia).

Printing process

All black and white images are personally hand printed using the professional darkroom facilities and guidance of one of Australia's leading fine art photography galleries. The enlarger used is a Leitz IIC with a Leitz Wetzlar V-Elmar 1:4.5/100 lens.

All images are printed on fibre based paper (Agfa's Multi Contrast Classic, glossy), developed in Agfa Neutol Plus and archivally processed.

For those interested in the technicalities of the darkroom printing process involved, I use a split filter grade method of printing. I prefer using this method of printing over the more conventional route of "time for the whites, contrast filters for the blacks" as I find the split printed test strips enable a precise judment on exposure to be made for both the highlights and the shadows. I find this degree of exposure control exquisite, at least for my subject matter of pendulum patterns.

Compared to the conventional route of printing, split printing delivers prints of about equal and sometimes superior tonal separation, albeit it takes longer. It's my current first choice of printing method for pendulum patterns.

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