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The South Downs Way

I recently posted about my first experiments with Rollei Ortho 25, an orthochromatic film which provided quite stunning resolution in my mostly indoor test shots and I was wondering what it might be like for my more usual landscape subjects. At the time I was mainly thinking of a winter woodland, but this weekend I went out on the more open hills of the South Downs on a grey morning, with brief patches of sun, and finished off the second roll.

Now the visibility wasn’t particularly great, maybe a couple of miles, so I ended up using my longest lens on the Bronica to compress what depth there was. But I actually think the lack of a blue sky helps with the ortho, since a blue sky would only have recorded as white anyway. The much flatter light meant a good exposure across sky and landscape, maintaining some detail in the low clouds. The other difference was that the various shades of red in the winter landscape from young growth on leafless trees and dead vegetation in the grassy pastures recorded as very dark tones on the ortho film, compared to a panchromatic film.

Tower Hill

Overall I’m pleased with the limited results from the weekend. The downside was the slow speed meant I had trouble with the wind shaking the camera on a couple of shots where I was more exposed. I’m definitely going to get some more of this and hopefully as the weather improves in the spring I can get some more dramatic lighting into shots like these. And I’d still like to see what the forest has to offer.

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