There was torrential rain forecast for this morning, there was meant to be a break in the weather around 11, and last until nearer 4. This would give me a window of opportunity to get some atmospheric images, showing the landscape under a different weather condition than previous excursions.
Unfortunately, this break in the weather never materialised. I had held off leaving the house as I loaded film, organised my backpack and made a few short videos around my equipment. This impacted on the length of time I would have on the hills.
I was well equipped for the rain however, with a full set of waterproofs, with a good quality Paramo jacket and a set of waterproof hiking trousers. The Scapa boots were waterproof, although the material I found to be less effective than the Merrell Leather boots. They lacked the rigidity of the Merrells too. Although I had a hood, I found this hampered my peripheral vision, and reduced the ease of observation of the surrounding landscape. This did mean that I had to sacrifice a bit of ease of viewing under the heavy rain, but when eased I could put the hood down.
The first image was taken under the cover of the trees, with the aim of capturing the high contrast between the bright bark on the birch trees and the darker pines, with the unifying factor of the lichen. I had opted for the 180mm lens to keep the image sharp, at a stopped down aperture. This would allow me to keep the image pin sharp to add to the texture in the lichen on the bark, which I would look to accentuate with the texture of the paper.
Unfortunately the negative has some areas of low contrast, which appear as dark spots. I need to look into this to work out what the issue is. The negatives on the day did get quite wet from transferred water on the darkslide light traps, although this particular negative did not suffer from this issue, the likelihood is that when decanting the film spots of water from other negatives may have landed on this one.
The image could do with some further editing, as I had made a few quick adjustments to see if I would use it, but due to the marks I decided it wouldn't be used at this point, to take it further I would be looking to add some contrast into the path, as currently it is lost within the undergrowth. The image, in comparison to the scene from the video, lacks the interest that made me take the photograph. Perhaps I could look at trying some colour negatives to add the rich tones that were evident, with the rust like marks on the birch trunks against the silver bark and the vibrant greens of the moss, into the body of work. This does limit the opportunities I would have for producing darkroom prints, and perhaps push me back towards digital workflow.
This image has almost a misty appearance, mimicking some of the looks of the photos taken on the Saturday morning, however it is the rain causing this.
The negative works well in terms of composition and contrast/tone within the frame, unfortunately the marks are down to the film base, as two of the negatives became stuck together in the decanting box. This is a real issue with photographing in such conditions, as the light trap will transfer water onto the negative when it is closed. This will then add a tacky element to the surface, which if left in the darkslide, runs the risk of being difficult to remove. If decanted it runs the risk of sticking to other negatives, worsened if more of them are wet.
The only way passed this, would be to decant the negatives in a warm room whilst in the dark tent, and then find a way of keeping them separate, leaving them in the tent for a few hours to dry, before boxing them up.
I moved to pinhole images for the rest of the shoot, for a key reason that the lens surface was becoming increasingly difficulty to keep clean of water droplets, and I became concerned that water would get between the seals of the elements, and cause damage. I did find that this had happened, but having left the lenses overnight beside the fire, this seemed to remove any condensation, but I will need to be wary of this for the future.
Unfortunately due to the negatives being stuck together these two images have some large areas of concern. The first image looks to have been developed with a further negative on top, I don't think this is the case, so the other option would be that it has lifted some of the film base from another when peeled apart.
This negative below has multiple finger prints on it, which I don't mind to be honest, I think there is an interesting dialogue around fingerprints being part of the artwork, which could add a human element into the landscape, I would normally be looking to explore this within the printing process, rather than development process, as the former gives more opportunity for control and experimentation.