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Ordinal M.
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How strange. I must have been developing those 600-odd rolls wrong, as I've never been in a darkroom when doing so.

It's one thing to say "no you don't need a darkroom to develop film" to a non-film-photographer—they may well have only ever seen the printing process in films (which is in a darkroom, and makes better cinema). You shouldn't expect to have to say it to a photography blog.

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Muslim Americans returning to the U.S. are reporting CBP officers have demanded access to social media information. All foreign visitors may face the same social media demands under a new proposed CBP policy. 

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Chinese New Gear*. I took the Dynax 9 out with a Minolta 50mm/f1.4 lens to shoot dragons with**, as well as a random assortment of film. In the end I shot a roll of Ektachrome 64 (which I shall cross process) and one of Rollei Retro 80S.

The Dynax 9 is a late model steel-framed pro SLR with auto everything. It eats film and spits it out with great speed. It also records exposure and focal length data; the second shot is from me copying it over to my phone. (No digital export here.)

Note the old-school depth-of-field markings on the lens.

* this is not actually new gear, it is just a pun

** actually the Dynax 9 is such a brick you could probably use it to bludgeon real dragons
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29/01/2017
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I went to the B&W darkroom today with the intention of doing some normal prints of protest stuff from half frame shots—enlarging the half frame to 8x10", which it should be able to deal with, I was using a good lens—but I thought I'd play with a few diptychs first. Four hours later I was still doing them, playing with using high and low contrast. Luckily I bought a big box of paper just before Christmas.

It's just loads of fun. I'm not sure how artistically amazing they are but I enjoyed it so pooh. Sometimes darkroom printing can feel like a bit of a chore, rather than anything creative.
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I wrote some stuff about my Olympus Pen FV.

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Olympus Pen F kit in a shoe. Poor quality image, sorry, but it was the best I could find.
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Given that I got some money unexpectedly, I have obviously wasted it on cameras. Specifically an Olympus Pen FV, as seen advertised here by a cool and moody W. Eugene Smith (well, the Pen system anyway).

Note that it says "famed photographers like W. Eugene Smith". There's no particular evidence I can see that he used one, and plenty to suggest that he didn't care much about gear, was consistently skint, and would definitely have taken the money to pose for an advert.

It's definitely compact though. There's another ad which shows the camera and a few lenses packed into a shoe. No meter, but I can judge exposure for negative film pretty well nowadays.
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I've been playing with Silver Efex Pro recently. (It's free now so why not?) I like the film emulation modes in terms of colour response and contrast, but the "grain" it adds is appalling. It's just pixel-level digital noise. This is not what film grain looks like.

Why add grain at all, you may ask? I like to avoid flat areas; grain is a good tool for that. But I want it to be like the grain on film like HP5+ or Tri-X, which varies according to the image; these films resolve fine detail really sharply, but when things are not detailed, they get bored and start adding their own random bits.

The best solution is to just shoot film of course, and I do a lot of the time, but sometimes I have digital with me and I'm hardly going to not shoot because of that.

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This is an interesting article in terms of people it highlights, and also has a theme that's important to think about when thinking about any art, including in the photographic medium.

What frustrates me is that this even needs to be said—yet it does, clearly, judging by the dimwits in the comments. "Perspective influences art" is such a massively obvious statement that in any serious art criticism scene it would be redundant. White men, as a group, are massively over-represented in most fields, at least in the West; this is not arguable either. (You can go much further than this of course; there are also a lot of other divisions that determine the sort of white men who get exposure.) This means that the perspectives of what we see tend to reflect a particular group. This is really uncontroversial.

But we still get floods of dimwits whining whenever anyone mentions these things, in anything from photography to literature to computer games. I'm not naive about their existence, I know about them and am used to them, but just shut up will you, bloody hell.
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