I took a motorcycle ride out to the local foothills to see if the poppies were in bloom, but due to the amount of rain and cooler than normal temperatures they haven't started blooming. On the way home I stopped by the local market to see what flowers they had on sale. The sales clerk showed me their just-delivered Rose Lilies, which I have never seen before. Luckily they were short enough to fit in my saddlebag and made the 3 minute ride home undamaged.
While I was setting up my studio, I decided to do a quick test to see how the image would look against a dark backdrop. Yes, this was photo was taken with an iPhone 6, LED flashlight and edited using Google's SnapSeed app.
Based on the results, shooting the flower against a black backdrop with studio lights (Einstein 640 and Alien Bee 1600) and assorted light modifiers seemed like a good option. To validate my exposure settings I used a Sekonic L-358 Light meter and a Polaroid back for my Mamiya 645 Pro loaded with Fujifilm's FP-100C Instant Film.
Note how much instant film is wasted when using 6x4.5 camera.
I loaded one film back with Arista EDU Ultra 100 and the other with re-rolled Fujifim Provia 100F slide film. As an aside, I was out shooting a month earlier and after shooting my 4th exposure of the Provia the film crank advanced to the end of the roll. When I got home I re-rolled the film and loaded it into the film back with a Post-It noting to shoot 4 images with the lens covered, which should put me on the 5th frame.
After exposing both rolls of 120mm film I moved the Flowers to our Master Bedroom and setup my Speed Graphic. After a few test shots of FP-100C to verify exposure, I shot 4 sheets of Provia 100F. Unlike Negative film and exposing for the shadows, with Slide Film, you really have to maintain a narrow exposure range similar to digital.
The following day I processed the 120mm slide film using a Unicolor E-6 Press Kit and when I unraveled the 120mm strip to dry, this is what I saw. Apparently when I re-rolled the film I must've done it backwards because the film was double exposed.
After reheating the E-6 chemicals back to 105F I developed the Provia sheet film using the SP-445 tank, but I noticed a slight magenta color cast when hanging them up to dry. Color shifts are caused by possible contamination of the Color Developer. So I'll dump this batch of chemicals and make a fresh batch before I shoot slide film, again.
Note: Stearman Press recently revised their SP-445 film holders by cutting out some of the plastic minimizing developing issues.
Dissatisfied with the 4x5 film results, I ended up using the digital images I shot of the Rose Lilies for my store; however. not being one to give up I'm still planning to photograph more flowers.
To Be Continued...