Getting the Whole Picture

Getting the whole picture is hard, especially when it stretches across 1 & 1/2 rolls of medium format film.

When I purchased a Diana F+ from Lomography during my first conscious breaths in the world of analog film, I discovered a hidden feature of that indiscriminate winding knob – the one that doesn’t tell you when to stop. You have to look through a little red-tinted window at the film’s backing paper to see when the next frame is lined up.

But what if you don’t? What if you just wind a little bit then shoot again? Well, the frames will overlap which in daylight shooting might get somewhat busy. But at night with a flash it becomes a perfect way to capture a running story of the night. That is if you’re not scared of making some mistakes and throwing every bit of caution to the wind.

Cagey Watts on the Radio

Fast forward a few years to the purchase of an Agfa Isolette iii. This is a folder camera that shoots medium format film just like the Diana but with much more focal precision and higher quality optics. You can get some beautiful shots with this camera.

I eventually decided to throw a flash on it and try out the whole endless story technique. The sync speed on this baby is 500 which beats all of my other cameras. Also, this model features a safety-guard that keeps you from taking multiple shots on the same frame by accident which is released once you wind the film forward about a quarter to half turn. This is just about perfect for this technique, so it’s even a better choice than the Diana. However, familiarize yourself with “cheating” the safety-guard just in case it doesn’t release with the amount of turning you decide works for you.

Agfa Folder w/Flash

My guinea pig was WRIR’s annual Monster Mashquerade party at The Camel. A Halloween extravaganza/fund-raising event for the local indie radio station which features a bunch of uber-creative costumes and an eclectic mix of bands.

My M.O. after getting this type of film developed has always been to find the best places to cut the negative so I can post the photos online. I usually end up with 5-6 collage-like photos per roll. But this time I tried something different. I wanted to keep the whole stream of photos intact. I brought them into Photoshop, stitched the scans back together to recreate the long negative and then panned the mammoth thing from left-to-right.

The final result was capped off with music from PT Burnem who performed that night and is featured in the film:

It was a fun night as you can see and a great time to push some creative boundaries.

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