This past weekend I took a hike on Teddy Roosevelt Island. For those not in the know, Roosevelt Island is an island in the Potomac River across from Georgetown in Washington DC. The island is accessed from the Virginia side of the river. I have driven past TR for the past 35 years but never stopped to visit because I was always on my way to something “more pressing” and/or I was on the wrong side of the expressway passing it at the time I thought about stopping (The parking lot is only accessible from the northbound side of the expressway). Well, on Saturday, I had no place I HAD to be at any specific time, I had the Rolleiflex with a bunch of film, and no better excuse to not stop. So I pulled in and parked and took a walk around the circumference of the island.
I loaded up the camera with some Maco 820c Aura infrared film. I’ve had this film sitting in my fridge for eight, nine years, (it outdated in 2007) so I wanted to try a couple rolls and see if it was still any good. I was concerned because other Infrared films I’ve used have NOT aged well. The infrared sensitizing dyes apparently are the bits that degenerate quickly and help build base fog (a bad thing). Obviously, this has not been a problem with the Maco IR.
One downside to the Maco is that it is a VERY slow emulsion. Using the Hoya R72 filter, consensus judgment is that it is best to set your meter to ISO 1 and use those readings, or if your meter won’t go that low, use the Sunny 16 rule and base your exposure on 1 second at f16 and go from there.
In this image, I was winging it on the exposure – my meter doesn’t have ISO 1 as an option. I was in some pretty deep shade, so I figured I would have a very long exposure, just guessing from overall lighting conditions and knowing that the film has very poor reciprocity failure – an indicated 1 second exposure needs two seconds, an indicated two needs four, a four second exposure needs eight, an eight second exposure needs 24 seconds, 15 seconds needs 60, and 30 seconds needs 180. I guesstimated this would require between 30 and 60 seconds, accounting for the reciprocity. Well, I overestimated by a good 50-75%. But as you can see that wasn’t that horrible a thing – I got a very useable image.
This is the view from the north end of the island, with Key Bridge and Georgetown University in the background. I took a gamble on this photo because there were two kayakers in the river and I would normally have expected them to turn into indistinct blurs with a two second exposure like I gave this scene. But I took a chance as they were in a spot in the river where they could effectively “hover” – and they did. So it worked.
What is it with me and safety cones? I keep finding them everywhere and photographing them. This time, in infrared.