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Whole Roll Project: Chris Zissiadis Holga 120N Neopan400

The urbanlight Whole Roll Project asks photographers to share an entire roll of film they have shot – ‘warts and all’. All photographers are invited to take part.

I will start the series off with a Fuji Neopan 400 roll I shot on my (holgamods) Holga120N.

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Fuji Neopan 400 in Holga 120N: Frame 1 top left, through to frame 12 bottom right.
(click to view inverted image)

Camera: Holga 120N Film: Medium Format Fuji Neopan 400

Processing: Developed in Rodinal 1+50, 11 minutes, agitate with spindle for first 60 seconds, then 3 gentle inversions of tank at 2, 3, 5, 7, 10 minutes.

Scanning: Epson Perfection 4490

Summary: A reasonably successful roll overall. As the Holga doesn’t give us much control over exposure there are a few exposure problems but nothing that couldn’t be corrected, or wasn’t expected.

I had some problems getting this roll onto the developing spool, (a bit embarrassing considering how much Neopan 400 I’ve developed). This resulted in a few scratches running horizontally across the film.

Development was going well, until I realised that I forgot to fix the film. I rinse film using the Ilford method to conserve water. I was part way through the second rinse when I realised I’d forgotten to fix the roll. That’s not the end of the world, but it was either here or during spooling the roll that there was damage done to the film emulsion that you can see at the bottom of frame 9 and 10.

Scanning was via Silverfast Ai, on my EPSON Perfection 4490,

Post scan edits were done in Photoshop CS6. Normally all i do in PS are level adjustments (altering black and white points), dust spotting and scratch removal using the healing brush.

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Frame 1: Chapter House Lane

Shot was taken on a reasonably bright winter’s day. Exposure overall was good where it mattered, and the combination of 400 Speed film, plus scanning this frame as a positive allowed me to change the black point to somewhere that gave me some shadow detail but kept the focus on the centre of the frame.

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Frame 2: National Gallery of Victoria: Federation Court

Federation Court is a walled atrium at the National Gallery of Victoria. This was a very bright day but I was concerned that even with 400 speed film the negative wouldn’t have enough information to be useful. However it worked out quite well. People on left and top right of frame are nice. Person centre left was pointing when I tried to take the shot, but I mistimed it, in the rush to get the shot off I’ve left too much empty space in the bottom of frame. The directionless light is nice.

The light leak you can see towards the top right of this shot is the typical light leak for my Holga and not an uncommon form of light leak for these cameras.

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Frame 3: City Square tram stop, Swanston Street

Shooting into the sun, facing North around 1pm on a winter day. The biggest variable with shooting into the sun with a plastic lens camera is lens flare. As this shot was overexposed the shadow detail is good. Composition is ok, with the position of people, buildings and shadows quite good, and no lens flare issues, but not an overwhelming shot overall.

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Frame 4: City Square tram stop, Swanston Street

Here you can see some of the effects of lens flare. The large flare on the left occurred as I have angled the camera more towards the sun than in Frame 3, this generally gives you the sort of effect you see on the right of the frame (i like that) but I’m not a fan of the large white flash across the film on the left of frame. Timing of this shot was a bit off anyway, so no big loss.

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Frame 5: City Square tram stop, Swanston Street

Still facing North now almost directly facing sun, yet this frame didn’t get the streaking lens flare you see in Frame 4 but did get the more interesting lens flare effects across the bottom of the frame. Unfortunately timing wasn’t perfect as the two figures in frame are overlapping, but a reasonably good composition otherwise with the striped footpath, pole extending at top of frame, but not enough happening on left side and no reflections of interest from the tram windows on right.

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Frame 6: City Square tram stop, Swanston Street

Opportunistic shot of man in crazy bike. Light disappeared as I took this. Timing was off, meh.

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Frame 7: City Square tram stop, Swanston Street

Softer light here as the sun had moved across a little and is diffused by trees. Reasonably happy with this. Background is interesting, some overlapping in people in frame but still plenty of stuff to see, good light falling away towards right of frame.

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Frame 8: Self portrait – Bourke Street, Melbourne

Failed self portrait. Of course the Holga viewfinder doesn’t quite show you what you are in fact shooting, this is most evident when shooting things up close. I tried to adjust for the parallax error but didn’t quite get it right, composition otherwise was quite good, a shame.

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Frame 9: Commonwealth Bank, 385 Bourke Street, Melbourne

The commonwealth Bank building on the corner of Elizabeth and Bourke Street Melbourne is a common shooting location for me. The wall gets good sun, contains slabs of yellow – very effective on B&W film :/ and due to the angle of the footpath you get nicely spaced pedestrians and can see faces even if there’s a crowd. I took one of my most popular shots there, also using the Holga.

You can see the damage to the emulsion in the bottom edge of this photo. This may have happened when I had trouble loading the film onto the developer spool, or it may have been a result of rinsing the film too vigorously before I had run it through the fixer.

Timing failed me on this shot, position of person is ok, shadows are nice, exposure nice, but position of hands and feet is bad, so photo is bad.

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Frame 10: Commonwealth Bank, 385 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Better composition here, even if I am shooting somebody’s back (something I try and avoid) but the all black clothing, contrasting hair and body position worked. This shows one of the benefits of shooting street on an inclined road, you get “height” in the photo as the subject can end up level with the camera, this means you can keep the camera vertical and avoid strange bendy lines due to lens barrelling and yet keep your subject central.

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Frame 11: Commonwealth Bank, 385 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Same place again, reasonably happy with this, person perhaps blends in with shadows a bit too much, but shadows and stride are nice. (another advantage of shooting people walking down an incline)

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Frame 12: Elizabeth Street Melbourne, from Flinders Street

Shooting into the sun. I’m not quite sure what happened here, there’s evidence of a double exposure on the right of frame, but I don’t recall doing this deliberately, I may have shot a frame in the dark subway under the station and then shot this over that. My framing also suggests I shot this ‘from the hip’ (how LOMO of me).

This could be cropped to a 6×45 shot with some success, will give that a go one day and decide whether it’s worthy. There are some nice elements, video screen, shadows, silhouettes, blur.

So there it is, an entire roll shot with the Holga 120N. Let me know what you think, or if you’d like more information on any of what you see here. I’ll follow this up soon with a somewhat more disastrous roll, all in the spirit of learning.

Remember I’m looking for other photographers to submit to this project  – It’s a cathartic experience.

One thought on “Whole Roll Project: Chris Zissiadis Holga 120N Neopan400”

  1. Nice. I particularly like frames 1, 2 and 3. It’s interesting to hear about the thoughts behind some of the images (as well as your own assessment of how well they worked out – or not!).

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