I have to back up here just a little bit. When I got those first rolls of standard B&W negatives developed, I once again faced a bit of a problem. That being that I do not have a darkroom or any of the equipment I would need to make prints from them. So, once again it was time to do a little thinking and research. One thing I could do was to take my negatives to a place that develops film and makes prints, and let them print them to paper for me. If I did that, I might as well have just let them do the negative development as well. I should interject here that if you let a commercial company develop your IR negatives, BE SURE that you tell them that you have IR Film. Most of the automated equipment that they use has internal IR LEDs that recognize and count frames while the film is being developed. If they simply put your IR Film into the automated machine, your undeveloped film strip will be fogged by the light of the IR LEDs. So, if they do not specifically say that they will develop your roll manually, don’t let them develop your film. If they don’t know what you are talking about, run away, don’t walk.
If you do decide to have your film developed, you may consider having them also scan the negatives to digital files, and burn a CD disk for you. So you are now set, you have developed negatives, some paper prints, and a CD with digital JPG files. If you have a decent printer on your PC, you just may want to eliminate the cost of the paper prints, and print from the CD yourself. Remember, you have no idea what you are going to get back, you had no way to review the shots you took on the film, like you do with digital. So, you may be paying for prints that are award winners, but then again, some of them may be images that you would trash. It becomes obvious that your best bet would be to get negatives and digital scanned files on CD. That way you can treat the digital files just as you would any other image file that you deal with in the digital camera world. Plus you have the negatives for long term backup.
I happened to have a flat bed scanner that I vaguely seemed to remember had the ability to scan “pictures and negatives”. So I dug out the instruction book and the long ago stored away negative holders and proceeded to try scanning the negatives that I developed. Well, it didn’t take long to realize that my scanner was capable of scanning 35mm negatives and slides, but was not set up to handle the larger 120 medium format film negatives. Oh it would scan them OK, but it also insisted on cropping the result to a 35mm size. No way around it. Well I was by this time too deep into Holga’s siren call and crappy picture grip to turn back at this point, so I started looking for a replacement scanner that was capable of 120 medium format negatives as well as prints and 35mm negatives. Having priced the commercial development and scan to CD, it became clear that a sparkling new scanner would pay for itself rather quickly. I found an Epson 4490 flat bed scanner for a good price, and it has been doing an excellent job of turning my analog negatives into digital files I can work with in Photoshop.
Whew! That was really a long drawn out description of just coming out and saying that I develop my own B&W film, both standard and IR. I also scan my negatives to obtain digital files that I handle just like any of the files that I get from my digital cameras. I just wanted to wade thru all of that to help you decide what your options are and what kind of decisions you might make in your own film shooting. Also, I want to tell you that it’s not hard to do, you are capable of doing all the steps yourself, and save a bunch of money in the process.
Let’s talk about actually shooting the IR Film with the Holga camera. I mentioned that freestylephoto recommended using a Hoya R72 IR Pass filter with the efke IR Film that I ordered. The Holgas are really primitive plastic cameras, and the thought process in their design did not take into account that someone might one day want to use a filter in front of the plastic “Optical Lens”. Fortunately if you have any sense of adventure in you at all you will find a way. My Hoya R72 was 58mm to fit my Sony 717 lens threads. So, I ordered a cheap metal “step ring” that converts from 46mm threads to 58mm threads. I had found from some internet searches and forum discussions that the Holga lens is very close to 46mm inside diameter. The plastic is also soft, so it’s no mean trick to just screw the step ring onto the Holga lens, cutting your own threads into the soft plastic as you go. Pretty neat! Now any of my 58mm based accessories for my Sony can be mounted on the Holga, including for this discussion the Hoya R72.
Looking at some of the charts and recommendations on the freestylephoto site for the efke film, and considering the fixed 1/100 shutter speed and F13 aperture of the Holga, it was apparent that exposures might need to be a bit long. So, the Holga, having a ¼ 20 tripod mount insert, I got out my cheap tripod. I also dug out the adapter and shutter cable release (also available from freestylephoto), pushed the little switch on the Holga to “B” for Bulb, and prepared to experiment with exposures on that expensive film. Long story short, in good daylight I found that a 1 to 2 second exposure with the cable release and on the tripod seemed go give me an acceptable image. In bright sunlight, I’d probably go for 1 second. On a muted overcast day, 2 seconds and a bit longer may be best. So, on two different days, and under overcast and somewhat clear conditions, I shot the 2 rolls of IR film I bought. I developed the negatives and scanned them on the Epson scanner. Photoshop helped me clean them up a bit, but the examples I am posting here are not significantly altered from what I got from the negatives off the scanner.
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-=- Jerry -=-