A Koni-Omega Rapid and Fomapan 200 - The Good, The Bad....The Ugly (PART 1)
Updated: May 10, 2022
On a recent trip to the Western Isles for work I took with me a new (to me) Koni-Omega Rapid 6 x 7cm camera which I was still getting to grips with having only exposed a test roll through it. During the trip, which was extended almost on a daily basis, I found that by day 7 I was dangerously short of film only having taken 6 rolls with me.
Small Woodland near Loch Skipport, Koni Omega Rapid
but with Ilford FP4+ film stock
First and foremost big thanks to Analogue Wonderland who responded to my plea on a Thursday lunchtime to please please rush me 10 rolls of Fomapan 200 in 120 format as food for the camera was urgently required. Astonishingly on Friday morning I had a text from the Royal Mail telling me the film had arrived at the hotel ! Fantastic service all round (to the Western Isles in less than 24 hours !)
The camera and rolls and rolls of lovely* film.
*See title of post
By this point I has made many exposures through the camera and was fast growing to love it. It is quirky, unusual, slightly over engineered perhaps, bulky...... and thus suited me down to the ground. With new film in hand I set about making images of the Islands in my barely existent free time (so the weekends then)
I had a couple of ideas for images I wanted to make, the first being to examine the windswept grasses that adorn the Uists. Grass on and around the dunes and in coastal areas grows long and is clumped into many windswept shapes and contortions and despite seeing this many times before I had not really tried to photograph it in a meaningful or intentional way before and had set a goal of making a few images to form a set or the beginnings of a series. I also had a hankering to photograph a particular building I had passed at least twice daily on the previous two trips to the Islands but had never found the right conditions (and indeed had pestered all of my companions to be ready to stop if the right conditions were there.....but they were never quite right). I guess it had become somewhat of a standing "deployment joke" that I would be asking to stop there, but I for one had learned to keep my laughter largely internal.
It is at this point of writing that I realise that of the rolls I brought back I had the following "stats" :
2 rolls of FP4+ : 4-8 viable images and all negatives look good
2 Rolls of PanF+ : 5 or 6 viable images and all negatives look good
2 Rolls of Bergger Pancro 400 : 5 or 6 viable images but all negatives are suffering from X-ray damage (More on that later).
8 rolls of Fomapan 200 : 20+ images that I would normally scan and hope to get a good return of viable images.....but so far every single one has been blighted by "white marks" on the negatives.
I have processed a few of the Fomapan negatives and they are shown next, so a little bit of the bad coming mixed in with some good !
The Good ........mixed....... with some of the Bad
OK Diner, Oswestry, March 22 - Koni Omega Rapid and Fomapan 200
developed in Fomadan.
The first Fomapan 200 image I scanned as I was really keen to see this one. Whilst working on it I noticed the usual assortment of marks blemishes and dust which I am well used to seeing but also, particularly visible in the lighter areas, a multitude of "dashes" and dots. These are small but legion and I can rule out the scanning as they are just visible in the neg under a loupe. (See image below)
The annoying dashes ....but they were worth cloning as I really like the shot and wanted to make a finished image. It may be relevant that this roll of film was exposed after going through the X-ray machine on the way home......did I mention that before ? This image took hours to clean but was worth the effort for what I thought would be a one off, I-have-probably-mishandled-the-last-image-on-the-roll-during-development type thing. (Oh if only !)
For what it is worth the next image (above) ( or previous one shot on the roll I should say ). This is the RAW scan with the contrast boosted to show the black marks. And now my thinking was " What the hell have I done wrong here ? " This Image though was not worth pursuing at this stage.
Above - The Tower in the Dunes. The whole negative is covered with these dashes and throughout it there are these darker dashes that you can see, that all (when looked at from right to left) exhibit a straight line with a little kicked up "tail" on the left interspersed with random dashes and dots. Again, an image I wanted to show but (and believe me the screen shot above doesn't show the full extent) I would have to replace about 60% of the sky with cloned bits from the other 40% ....not a task entered into lightly (not with my bowels!).
Macleod Bros General Merchants, Koni Omega Rapid and Fomapan 200 in Fomadon.
I have to say I am really chuffed with this image and it conveys everything I hoped to convey and I got lucky with the conditions at last ! The title you see above is its finished title ....It had a working title of " The one with all the staples in the sky". (See below)
Above is a 100% crop of the sky in the image. These "staples" appear everywhere in the image and I am now at a loss as to what is going on....and believe me its not even started to get ugly yet.
So....... the plan to start a series "Photographing the wind" and showing the twisted contortions made by years of growth and almost constant shaping....... well I kicked it of with a digital image, knowing already that I had a dozen or so more on film!
"Photographing the Wind #3, Southerly at 35 knots, Isle of North Uist,
Western Isles, March 2022"
With great optimism I posted the image above as number 3 of a series "knowing" I only had to scan some of the film images to have maybe a set of 3, possibly more ....but ....
Definitely X-Ray Damage (getting slightly ugly now)
At the end of the trip to the Western Isles I left via commercial air transport, and of course all the security that that involves. Having a request for a hand search of the bag within which the film was housed in my carry-on baggage refused I reluctantly watched it disappear into what I believe is an x-ray scanner (as opposed to it being a CT scanner). At this stage I thought it would be ok. In the past I have had many many films go through x-ray machines as I rarely travelled with anything above ISO 400.
I shot a lot of the "photographing the wind" series with Bergger Pancro 400 and once they were developed hung them to dry and then did somewhat of a double take ......what the hell is that ?
This is of course X-Ray damage to both rolls of Pancro 400 and also now spotted on 3 rolls of the Fomapan 200 !
This has made the Pancro 400 images difficult to say the least but I am sure a couple will appear at some point. The Fomapan 200 images that exhibit this "wavey line" damage are recoverable as it is much fainter and less persistent on any given roll.........but every frame of Fomapan 200 has been covered in dots, dashes, staples and on one of them the Greek symbol "mu"
In Part 2
More finished images
More dots, dashes, staples and "u"s
Update on year's progress towards goals
Fomapan 200 gets ugly...really ugly
Thanks for reading!
If you have been affected by any of the issues highlighted in this blog ....please please tell me what it is !!!