Last year I joined a group of talented film photographer to produce a group project ‘zine organised by my good friend and fellow film photographer Dan Novak. The goal of the project was to shoot using a lens rated at 135mm on a 35mm camera. I ended up working with my Nikkor 135/2.8 (the review of that lens comes out in a few weeks). And while 2020 has been a bit of a gong show, Dan decided to launch a follow-up project this time using Twin Lens Reflex cameras. After the success of the first project, a tonne of people jumped on board, myself included. For this project, Dan upped the ante, with some strict rules, which is why I’m only blogging about the project now! Each participant was to shoot three rolls, not publish them anywhere else (we eventually got that knocked back to only after publishing, but more on that later), then subject four images (one from each roll plus a bonus) along with a contact sheet. A contact sheet? Not having access to a darkroom (as these were shot at the height and decline of the first wave of the plague), I had to scramble on how to make one using the equipment I have at home. I did figure it out using my scanner and a bit of trickery and some brushes in Photoshop. But what to shoot and where?

The TLR Challenge - Roll 01
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 400 @ ASA-200 – Kodak D-76 (1+1) 9:00 @ 20C
The TLR Challenge - Roll 01
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 400 @ ASA-200 – Kodak D-76 (1+1) 9:00 @ 20C
The TLR Challenge - Roll 01
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 400 @ ASA-200 – Kodak D-76 (1+1) 9:00 @ 20C
The TLR Challenge - Roll 01
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 400 @ ASA-200 – Kodak D-76 (1+1) 9:00 @ 20C

Picking a camera would be the easy part, I only have one TLR in my toolkit my trusty Rolleiflex 2.8F a jewel in my collection and a solid workhorse camera. For the film, chose to be consistent and shoot one film stock and develop in one developer. Having three rolls of Fomapan 400 sitting around that would have been using for a ‘zine project on the old city of Montreal for a trip that got cancelled in May (stupid time of plague), I picked those rolls so they’ll at least end up in a ‘zine! Next location, location, locations. The first roll I ended up using right in my own hometown of Milton, Ontario. Rather than head into the historic downtown, I chose to shoot through the woods around my home. I had, early on in the year, discovered a series of amazing trails that make you forget you’re in a sub-division. The second roll I went about an hour north to Mono Cliff’s Provincial Park for an appropriately distanced walk with James and Bill. And the final roll I went out to Cambridge, Ontario to the historic downtown of Galt, Ontario. Like most of my outings with Fomapan 400, I shot the roll at ASA-200 and processed them in Kodak D-76 1+1.

The TLR Challenge - Roll 02
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 400 @ ASA-200 – Kodak D-76 (1+1) 9:00 @ 20C
The TLR Challenge - Roll 02
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 400 @ ASA-200 – Kodak D-76 (1+1) 9:00 @ 20C
The TLR Challenge - Roll 02
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 400 @ ASA-200 – Kodak D-76 (1+1) 9:00 @ 20C
The TLR Challenge - Roll 02
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 400 @ ASA-200 – Kodak D-76 (1+1) 9:00 @ 20C

When it came to sharing, there were some strict rules, which is why you’re only seeing these images now! I like sharing my work, especially when I like my results, so not sharing them was a difficult task mentally, but I just sequestered the images in their own little folder and waited. Thankfully once the ‘zine got published (and should be available soon to wider release) and I had ordered and paid for my copies I figured I could post these images online and talk about them in my own medium. I did leave out two noticeable frames, to see those you’ll have to buy a copy of the ‘zine. Which I highly recommend as it’s filled with a tonne of work from a tonne of amazing film photographers from across not just North America but from around the world. I did order a couple of copies, and one will certainly be up for grabs in a prize pack for next year’s CCR 100th Episode extravaganza!

The TLR Challenge - Roll 03
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 400 @ ASA-200 – Kodak D-76 (1+1) 9:00 @ 20C
The TLR Challenge - Roll 03
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 400 @ ASA-200 – Kodak D-76 (1+1) 9:00 @ 20C
The TLR Challenge - Roll 03
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 400 @ ASA-200 – Kodak D-76 (1+1) 9:00 @ 20C
The TLR Challenge - Roll 03
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 400 @ ASA-200 – Kodak D-76 (1+1) 9:00 @ 20C

That about wraps up this post, I’d like to thank Dan for another excellent group project, and it certainly has inspired me to get off my duff and get something similar together for next year and the Toronto Film Shooter’s meetup group. With fewer moving parts and not so much overhead and such. But anyway, if you’re a member of any sort of film photography group on Facebook, keep an eye out for any future project’s from Dan, and I’ll even keep my own nose out of it if you want to get in on the action! You can see all my photos (minus the published two) over on Flickr. Until next time, stay square.

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