The tracks are in place. The famous ball signal still stands. But it has been months, years perhaps, since the last revenue train visited the old Boston & Maine line through Whitefield, New Hampshire; longer still for the former Maine Central, which has become overgrown.
These lines remain on the periphery of the American general network; but for how much longer?
On April 25, 2020, Kris Sabbatino and I visited Whitefield on a trip exploring Coos County. I made these photos on Fuji Acros 100 black & white negative film.
Saturday we processed the film in Agfa Rodinal Special (not to be confused with ordinary Rodinal) for 3 minutes 45 seconds, then following regular processing and washing, we toned the negatives in selenium solution for 9 minutes and rewashed following archival procedure.
Last night I scanned the film using an Epson V600 flatbed scanner.
I had the Leica IIIa fitted with a vintage Nikkor f3.5 35mm screw-mount lens and loaded with Kodak Tri-X.
And yes, I had a digital camera with me. Two, really. And I also made some colour views. I’ll tend to cover my bases when at a special location.
Honer Travers and I traveled down from Dublin on the Enterprise, having changed at Portadown to an NIR (Northern Ireland Railways) 4000-series CAF built railcar. Arriving at Lisburn, I paused to make these two black & photos of our train.
In Dublin, I processed the film using Agfa-mix Rodinal Special (not to be confused for bog-standard Agfa-mix Rodinal) mixed with water 1 to 31 at 68F for 3 minutes.
I like to play with developer to see what I can get with different combinations of chemistry. Agfa Rodinal Special with short development time allows for fine grain and a metallic tonality. While not as rich as Kodak HC110 (dilution B), the grain appears finer with Rodinal Special.
In October, I had had just three days in Vienna and the only time I saw the sun was on the plane as we breached the clouds on the flight back to Dublin.
My first morning dawned dark, windy and wet. I’d used most of my last roll of black & white film in the Czech Republic and was largely getting by with digital photography. Perhaps on a later date I’ll present some of those results.
While taking a spin on the number 2 tram in Josefstadt, I spotted a traditional camera shop with rows of old Leicas in the window.
Times have changed; finding film isn’t as simple as it was once. I called into the shop and they had just one suitable roll of film for sale; Ilford FP4. It came with an apology regarding supply.
Loading my Canon EOS-3, I set out making rainy-day photos.
The real trick is in my exposure and processing. FP4 is notionally rated at IS0 125. But I ignored the camera meter, and ritually overexposed by about half a stop.
Processing was more unusual. I returned to my older process using Agfa Rodinal Special (not to be mistake for the similar sounding Agfa Rodinal). This is a highly active a fine-grained developer that produces a rich black.
The recommended working dilution is 1 part developer to 15 parts water. But this tends to over-process the highlights, which is not what I wanted for a dull day. Instead I mixed it 1 to 30, and cut the time to about 3 minutes 15 seconds. Process temperature was 68F.
However BEFORE my main development, I soaked the film in a water bath with a trace of HC110 and a tiny bit of my main developer. This helps activate the process while letting the film swell before the shock of the primary developer.
After fixing, washing, hypo-clear, and more washing, I then toned the negatives in a selenium solution. This allows met to put an edge on the highlights that I’ve deliberately under-processed.
The end results are some very thin appearing negatives but with great amounts detail in shadows and highlights, which provides rich dark tones without excessive contrast. For me this arrangement suited the dark wet Vienna day.
I wonder if this image sample will translate for presentation in the digital world?