Christmas in the Basque Country – Part 1

I always plan on posting more and then life somehow gets in the way. This time the problem was that I’ve been having way too much fun with the courses I’m taking on coursera and with my newest photographic projects, 4×5 + toy cameras + pinholes. That’s not a bad problem to have, I’d say! I finished a couple of courses already and I’m planning to take more once I finish this current batch! The next one that is on top of the list is actually a course on 3D printing, because I have a rather simple and useful project in mind: I need a lens board for my Speed Graphic for a lens that doesn’t have a flange to mount it.

I’ve been having lots of fun with my Speed Graphic and carried it up the mountain and into the woods a few times already together with my Leica Hektor 150mm f/2.5 projection lens. I bought the lens already modified for the Speed Graphic. The seller had sawed off the mount for the projector to reduce vignetting and mounted it on a 3D printed board that is the right size for my Pacemaker Speed Graphic. It’s a bit of a tight fit and not as smooth as mounting a regular metal lens board, but it works just fine in practice as long as I’m careful that it’s properly mounted. The other day I was extremely lucky and scored a Leica Prado 500 projector with 2 lenses. One of the lenses isn’t really useful for me beyond use on the projector, but the second lens is another one of these cool Hektor lenses, a Leica Hektor 200mm f/2.5! The 150mm I already have barely covers 4×5, which means I get some funky Holga corners in the pictures. I really like the feel it gives the pictures though, so I don’t mind the coverage issue. However, it also means that there is absolutely no room for movements at all which is a real shame with such a shallow depth of field. The 200mm Hektor should cover 4×5 properly though and I hope there is at least a little bit of room for movements. So, the plan is to 3D print a lens board for this lens and maybe make a slightly better board for the 150mm Hektor as well so that it’s a little less tricky to attach to the camera.

By the way I’ve been thinking about getting a projector since I started on my slide film project a couple of years ago. That’s how they were meant to be viewed and I like it when I can have a fully analog workflow. However, projectors that can do medium format are quite hard to locate and usually really expensive. The Prado was one that I had been eyeing for a while which is also how I ended up thinking about using projection lenses on a 4×5 camera in the first place. Like it is the case with enlargers the medium format parts for projectors are usually hard to find, but I’m hoping that the one I got might have the right condenser already since it comes with a medium format lens. 3D printing will probably solve the issue with all other spare parts I might need, but I obviously can’t print a condenser! Even if it doesn’t come with the right condenser, I’m sure the right one will pop up eventually and I’ve been meaning to shoot more 35mm slide film anyway. And since the 200mm Hektor lens was already worth more than I paid for the entire projector I’m very happy with my purchase.

So, after barely a couple of months with my Speed Graphic I already have 3 lenses for it and it’s really having a great impact on my photography. When I finally decided to go for it I wasn’t really sure how it would fit into what I do. Right away I had the idea for a great new project and it fits so nicely with my other toy camera, pinhole and alternative process related experiments. I’m still figuring out the details, but even my first few sheets of 4×5 have already been enough to convince me that I’m on the right track. I’ve been really unhappy with my workflow for a long time because shooting street in this town is such a grind most of the time. I really needed something with more predictable results to balance things out. Now that I can at least know that my 4×5 results aren’t going to disappoint me I have been feeling more like going out to shoot street too. Double win!

Speaking of results: After a bit more research I’m also one step further with my DIY Graflarger back – turning my Speed Graphic into a 4×5 enlarger so that I can have a completely analog workflow with that format too. One part I’m going to have to build is a light box of the right size to attach to a film holder. The only part missing for the light box was something to diffuse the light and I’ve actually found a place that can cut the right type of plexiglass to the size I need! I can imagine that this project will also end up having some 3D printed parts, another lens board for the enlarger lens, but also negative holders since I would also like to use it to enlarge 6×9 negatives. My Durst M670 only goes up to 6×7 and my DIY Graflarger solution could definitely be a way of printing 120 film formats that are larger than that.

3D printing of course has gazillions of other potential uses in film photography, especially when you’re interested in pinhole cameras or cameras for unusual formats. I’m already dreaming of a 3D printed 6×17 camera that uses a large format lens! And did I mention that building a regular light box with a diffuser isn’t any different from building a UV box for alternative printing? This whole adventure is really the right kind of mix of geekery and experiment to keep me happy for a long time.

Enough talk though, I think it’s about time for some pictures! As always the pictures I’m going to share with you today have absolutely nothing to do with my ramblings. However, one advantage of being more than a year behind on posting pictures is that I can use the opportunity to post some Christmas pictures! Can you believe it, Christmas pictures for Christmas? It’s almost like in my good old digital days when I would post pictures on the same day as they were taken. The pictures I’m sharing today were actually shot a year ago though and they are the first pictures I share taken with my wonderful Voigtländer Nokton 35mm f/1.2 lens. That lens absolutely rocks and at least shares a rather narrow depth of field wide open with my 4×5 adventures with the projection lenses. Ah, there we go, I managed to connect my ramblings to the pictures after all!

But before I forget: Merry Christmas my dear friends! Get yourself some eggnog and enjoy!

All pictures taken with: Leica M6, Voigtländer Nokton 35mm f/1.2. Rolleicord V, Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 75mm f/3.5.

M6 / HP5+ @800. And in case you’re wondering everything apart from the colour rolls was developed in HC-110, which is actually my only developer these days! Good versatile stuff and even quite useful for stand-development.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

San Sebastian was the European Capital of Culture in 2016 which meant that they splurged on all sorts of fancy events over the year. By the time it was Christmas they had probably run out of money, but this didn’t mean that they didn’t try to do fancy things anyway. Apparently some ingenious engineering students had come up with a way to have some fancy outdoor Christmas lighting the cheap way. The mayor said something about a minimal budget on the day when it was presented. I was there with my camera to see whether there was anything worth photographing.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Crowded!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

I’m always surprised that local teenagers seem to be overly happy to dress up in the most ridiculous way to support their local traditions. If anyone had expected me to dress up like that I’d have said “Not even in your wildest dreams!”

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Traumatised for life I expect.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

The people who came up with the lighting setup!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Perfect opportunity to shoot some Kodak Vision 3 800T.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

And there they are, the fancy lights.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Shoe lights too!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Totally acceptable to miss focus a tad at f/1.2.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

The children obviously loved it.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

A gazillion selfies were taken.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Fancy light ball.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

I was experimenting with remjet removal on the Kodak Vision 3 film and it didn’t always go according to plan. I think I’ll buy proper remjet removal bath next time instead of using washing soda. For some reason I like the effect in this one though.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Father Christmas about to be attacked by a shark.

HP5+ @800.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Bergger 400.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

More fancy lights.

FP4+.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Rollei Retro 400s.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

A bar at the train station. Is it me or are they universally depressing all over the world?

Bergger 400.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

They put up Christmas decorations at the square in front of regional government building too. They were a tad disturbing.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Take a close look at the girl next to the dog. She has a dog head in her hands …!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

I do love my Nokton 35mm f/1.2. It was still new to me at that point.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

FP4+.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Another local tradition at Christmas is the fiesta de Santo Tomas when the whole town is transformed into one big famer’s market and the farmers from the surrounding region bring their products and livestock into the city. Surrounding this event there is of course lots of dressing up, drink and events connected to local traditions. One of them is the women’s wood chopping competition. Yep, you read that right, wood chopping is apparently a sport around here.

Rollei Retro 400s.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

These were the finals, so there were trophies to be given out!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

All the kids were dressed up and waiting for the competition to start.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

All three competitors in action with their axes. There was wood flying off in all directions and these women were wielding big sharp axes, so I kept my distance.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Technical discussions.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

We have a winner on the right!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Running around in circles with a shark balloon, is there anything better?

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Even the dogs were dressed up.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Modern life, eh?

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Don’t shoot the baby.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Grandma took away the gun for her own picture.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

The children always have lots of fun at these events.

Rolleicord / Delta 400 @800.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Private conversation among twins.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Cute!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Climbing around with a skirt is difficult business.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Jumping, not a problem.

M6 / Rollei Retro 400s.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Playing with the baby.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Last one!

Next time: Christmas Eve, Reyes Magos and the Cabalgata!