Dandelion and Friend

Dandelion and Friend

Taraxacum officinale, or the common dandelion to us less proficient in Latin. Here with a visiting insect.
Hasselblad 203 FE
Carl Zeiss 80mm F/2.8 FE on E56 extension tube
Adox CMS 20 at 12 ASA.
Developed in Adotech II for 8.5 mins at 20˙C Stopped with Ilfostop and fixed with T-max fixer for 30 seconds.
Scanned with Epson V700
Silverfast SW.

In full Reverse.


Wild Anemone


So you want to get close-up and personal with your subject. However you haven’t the funds to purchase that macro lens. Well there is hope, and a much cheaper solution to get you closer. I’m talking about the humble reversing ring. Cheap and cheerful and it does a good job if used correctly. What is a reversing ring? Well as the name implies it enables you to mount a lens reversed onto your camera housing. You screw the ring onto the filter thread of your lens and there is a bayonet mount to attach the lens to the camera. You have to order the one that

1. Is the same size thread as your lens, and

2. Is the right type for your make of camera.

The Humble reversing ring 52mm
The Humble reversing ring 52mm



Lens mounted in reverse
Lens mounted in reverse

While on the subject of lenses. I use an old manual focus lens or an old autofocus lens that has an aperture ring If you haven’t got one all is not lost you can use a G type lens you just haven’t got an idea of what aperture you are using. I have found that a 28mm lens is a good place to start. Although I have used a 50mm without problems. It’s all to do with ratios and the like. Anyway as it’s the picture that is important I won’t go into that side of things so just trust me. The choice of lens will however affect your working distance to your chosen subject.

So how do you work the aperture of your lens? The aperture on your lens is spring loaded so that your aperture will in effect be f22 when mounted and when you look through your viewfinder or at your live view screen you will see a darker image than what you are used to. However by locating the aperture control lever on the lens you can open the aperture manually for composing and focusing your shot. This can be tricky to do, you can tape the lever open or Blu-Tac it. I prefer to hold it open and move the camera into focus. I then close the aperture to the desired value and adjust the manual settings on my camera to match the measured light and bracket my exposures. It’s a bit of a fiddle but you are rewarded for your efforts.

Aperture Adjustment lever
Aperture Adjustment lever


So to sum up the humble reversing ring is a cheap and cheerful introduction to the word of close up photography. You can get good results. The title shot and the orchid below are a couple taken with an old manual focus Sigma 28mm lens from the 80’s.

Have fun


Shooting Tulips.

On Saturday my wife and I purchased some tulips to add some colour to our living room. I noticed how the early morning light brought out the subtle textures and the delicacy of the flower. I was up early on Sunday as my wife had an early shift and had gone to work. The Teens were still in bed. And I was looking for things to do. I looked at the Tulips while I munched my cornflakes and got an image in my head of how I’d like to shoot them. The early morning light was soft and reflected from our terrace by the thick layer of snow still lying there .

As I knew how I wanted to shoot the Tulips it was just a case of getting the reality to match the vision. That’s where it usually goes wrong for me. However, ever the optimist I felt that things would be better this time. I knew the film I wanted to use and how I wanted to develop it.

I set my Hasselblad 203FE on a borrowed Benbo tripod  using a Hasselblad quick release plate. I then loaded the film I wanted to use, Rollei 80s. My table top set-up was very simple Just a plain background (Jig-saw Puzzle carrying case) and natural light from the window.

The lens I used was the Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm F2.8 , Using a different extension tube for each series of  shots .  I let the Hasselblad decide the metering and for want of a quick release I raised the mirror and then used the self-timer set at 2 seconds to take the exposure.

It’s easy with the 203 you just pull the pre-release once to raise the mirror and once again to set the self -timer in action.

Here’s a shot of the set-up. Nothing complicated here :0)

DSC_0945 (1)

Ok so I had a blast taking shots with my Hasselblad. When I was finished it was all about the film. There was never any question . Caffenol is  “soup of the day”

I use a slightly different recipe from the one I give on my Caffenol page using less Washing soda and 1 gram Potassium Bromide.(If you live in the UK you can buy it as I did here.)This prevents the film from fogging and helps if you are getting un-even development. Being lazy after all it was Sunday morning I chose to stand develop this film. Once in the tank pour in your prepared soup agitate for the first minute and then leave to stand for 49mins (Just enough time for bacon and eggs and a little light reading). Stop with ordinary plain water. Fix for 5 mins (I used Kodak T-Max) and rinse for 10 mins . I air dry my negatives for about 5 hours it varies with the temperature in our laundry room.

I scanned the negatives with my Epson V700 Scanner using a Betterscanning holder and anti newton glass to flatten the negatives. I use Silverfast SW for the scanning work I then import to Aperture and tweak in Silver Efex Pro 2(Very little tweaking was needed with these negatives. Here’s the result click on each for a larger version.




Here’s the Caffenol Recipe I used

Washing soda (Stabil) 16gr/l

Vitamin C (Santa maria) 10 gr/l

Potassium Bromide 1gr/l

Instant Coffee 40gr/l

Inversions for the 1st minute and then left to stand for 49mins

Start with your liter of water at 19degrees C and then Stir in each ingredient in turn stir until all is dissolved Let it stand (While you load your fil into the tank usually works for me)

That was my Sunday How was yours?