Workflow for Film Sports Photography

Discussion in 'Sports' started by karl_borowski, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. I'm old fashioned, or maybe I just love getting fast glass for what a fraction
    of what it should sell for now that everyone is dumping their film gear for
    DSLRs. I don't do sports for a living, but I am trying to do some PJ work just
    to sharpen my eye and build a portfolio for potentially booking school
    photography jobs in the future.

    My current dillemma is how can I do this as cheaply as possible? The newspaper
    I do gigs for wants digital files; they're too friggin' lazy to look at a stack
    of prints. I would like suggestions as to what I should go about doing to
    efficiently sort through the shots I take so that I only have to waste time
    scanning the good ones at high resolution. I think they're OK with low-res
    proofs for selection purposes.

    Can anyone recommend workflows that were common before digital capture caught
    on but after the color darkrooms had been replaced in favor of scanning at
    newspapers? I have access to a coolscan, but it's not efficiently designed in
    that it does high resolution slow scans or no scans at all. There's a preview
    option, but those are too low-resolution to be of use. I'm looking for a
    scanner that can make good scans for evaluative purposes in proofing, or
    perhaps another solution I'm overlooking.


  2. I guess that you shoot enough images to mean that either you process your own film or simply have process only service commercially. For all that they are decried as being inadequate as scanners for 35mm when compared with dedicated film scanners, I would look at the Epson 4990 or V700 flatbeds for your purposes - both will allow 4 strips of 6 to be scanned in holders, and you can even squeeze in a whole roll of 36 for contact proofs where sharpness is less critical. It won't take long to amortise the cost against the cost of having photoCD type scans done alongside processing at a lab, and you'll have better results. Read the hands on reviews here:
  3. Mark, thanks, I didn't know they made scanners like that. I am already processing and proofing commercially, using some old KIS units I bought back in 2005. I can get paper on ebay so cheap that it costs me something like $1 to proof a roll of 35mm 36exp., which is nothing compared to what I feel my time is worth to do the equivalent photoshopping of 36 digital camera files, or scanning 36 frames on a coolscan. I guess, for this application, cut film is the only solution, just as it is with the coolscan. Do you know of any scanners that can feed uncut strips of 35, as having to cut and sleeve film further complicates my workflow when doing reprints, as machinery works much quicker with uncut strips.
  4. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    The newspaper I do gigs for wants digital files; they're too friggin' lazy to look at a stack of prints.
    I have yet to deal with an editor, picture editor, or art director at a publication that was "lazy." I'd like to see some justification for that insult being slung. Where is the evidence on this?
    Everyone I've worked with seems to be there for incredibly long hours, puts a lot of effort into everything they do, and would be incredibly insulted about being called lazy. Given that they all have access to the internet, it might pay to think a little bit, since they can find this board if they search on your name. It doesn't seem very smart to attack the potential client.
    More than that, publications are built around a digital workflow, and if you can't fit into that, there isn't much point in trying to work with them. It's a bit like driving up to the back of the local Safeway with a couple chickens in cages in the truck. It's not looking at the business and doing what's required to do business.
    Based on some of your prior posts, it seems like you are more interested in the medium than in the photos, which is also not a key to success. It's far better to figure out how to meet the market needs and go from there rather than pick a medium and insult the clients when they do things different than how you want to do them.
  5. Sony makes scanners that will do a roll of 36 in a few minutes. It does a pre-scan in half a minute and you see all the thumbnails, check-off which ones you want scanned and color correct them and then it scans at 2 or 3 resolution options. I have a UY-S77 that I want to sell, or there's a newer model. There are other makes also. Better to ditch the film "now that everyone is dumping their film gear for DSLRs" happened years ago.

    I used the Sony for the year of transition I went through back 6 years ago. I was soooo happy to get rid of film. I held on to the Sony for the 'once a year' job, but now it's been unused for 2 years.

    BTW, I tried the high-end flatbeds and the Sony beat them on quality & speed. I've also got a Heildelberg if you want it too. For low rez, it would be OK. The specs and the final results are 2 different things.

  6. Honestly, I don't get paid enough to run my 5D into the ground. But a D70/10D class camera can be had for $400 used. It's a no brainer.

    Newspapers have to be efficient... if you shoot mainly for enjoyment and some exposure find a weekly newspaper to do your freelancing so the deadline pressure is not so great. One I know of use P+S cameras for night time football!!!!!!

    Of my four press association awards this year, one came from a M3 and 50mm Summilux that were manufactured in 1959.

    I've been thinking of making it really exciting and shooting medium format.

    Since my deadline is every Monday night I can get away with film to some extent. That and the fridge full of film waitng to be shot...
  7. Doug and Robbie, thanks for your responses, none of my cynicism is directed towards
    you. Understand I've invested heavily in film-based equipment. I have no money to put
    into a second platform that requires just as much, if not more expenditure.

    And, I am working for a weekly publication with pretty lax guidelines, all B&W, small
    pictures, so it's nothing critical. Their website has higher quality photos than the actual
    paper they put out does.

    All the photography I do is for enjoyment. I don't enjoy typing or using Photoshop,
    because college is about nothing but using computers all day long, typig papers on
    computers, using computers to analyze data, using computer programs to do homework,
    having to pay bills, register for classes with computers.

    I need a break from all that. You gentleman have my envy in that you lived in a time
    before all this was the case. It's been like this for me since before I was born, and
    photography is my chance to have a "breather" from all that, and return to something
    simpler. I hope that is reasonable enough in why my preference is for film.

    Doug, please email me, I'd be interested in tye type of scanner you say you have. I'm
    curious, is that what the press was using before DSLRs caught on, or were they using a
    different type? I'm curious as to how the hybrid workflow works/worked.
  8. I shoot for the professioanl awards, a rotating weekly gallery of my best work, the satisfaction, and to advance my ultimate goal of weddings and portrait success.

    Few newbie wedding photogs have done what I have done to forward my career. First, dedicate a year to second shooting and now going into my second year of news and sports coverage. Actually learn how to tell a story with pictures and to actually understand is an actual PJ.

    But, if your intention is to make some part of your income as a photographer, you need to come across as a responsible and reliable photographer. Really, you need to change your perception of reality.

    A good, professional working relationship built on years of on time good work builds trust that will take you far down the road in positive word of mouth, etc... etc... etc...

    So my advice would be ditch the scanner idea for now, and spend the same money or less on a DSLR. A scanner would be a silly waste of money in the long run.
  9. Go to an event, shoot 15-25 rolls, drop them off at the lab, pick them up scan strips of film on my Nikon CoolscanIV ED(which sits idle)at low res, email to the editors, let them pick, then rescan the winners, re-email. I learned to muiti-task, but this way takes days. I bit the bullet and when digital last year and wish I had done it 5 years ago. Now I shoot twice as much and chimp a lot but it has saved my marriage. Check the book on that coolscan, you should be able to scan at least a strip at a time. I lost a lot of business because everyone had digital cameras and was working for free and giving them away.
  10. Another thing that I find a bit puzzling: large quantities of pictures you suggest taking 15-25? That's over 500 shots assuming you mean 36 exp rolls. I doubt I would shoot more than 100-150 at a sporting event.

    I think that, even with digital, anything over say 300 just makes more work for you or your editor.
  11. Karl you are right, the more you shoot the more you edit and it means more work. Some of these guys I see on the field plant their finger in the button the instant the ball is snapped and rock on until the whistle blows. It's a sure bet they don't have to do their own editing. I might get 300 in a really good Div.1 football game, usually less. A basketball game, under 150 consistently. I always get what I need and everyone seems to like it.

    This will sound cheesy but if I'm short on time and want to shoot film, esp. b&w, I'll shoot Kodak C-41 b&w and take it to Wal-Mart. For $3 they will soup it, scan it and put it on a disc in less than an hour. Quality is suprisingly good and I've come up with some nice prints and some nice published work this way. Scanner prices are dropping but your time is worth something and this will save a lot of it. One other thing, if you are shooting Nikon and have glass that is AI or newer, it will work on mid-level and up digital bodies while maintaining most of the bodies capabilities. My D200 that I just paid about $1300 for will use every piece of Nikon glass I own. So will my F2's. You won't have to start from scratch and if you did, it would still be very cost effective. Something to think about.

    Rick H.
  12. Until I switched to Canon in December,the D200 (or sometimes D70) mounted with the 300mm f/2.8 AIS was my standard setup. Killer lens, that I got in bargain condition from KEH.

    Probably shoot 250 images for football and around half that for basketball. If I had a true speed demon like the D2H it would likely double in both cases.

    Yes it's more work, so I chimp and dump as much as I can the obvious klunkers while there is downtime happening during the game.
  13. By the way Robbie, in another post, one about parents becoming suspicious, I made some intemperate remarks about some of what you said. I still strongly disagree with what you said but I could have been a bit nicer, a little less rude to you. No offense was intended no matter how it looked and I apologize for the tone my response.

    Rick H.
  14. I'm glad that the rest of the posters to this thread have kept their comments civil. I still don't get why people get so hostile to my wanting to shoot film, when all the scanning is my own time and expense. If I want to be backwards, what harm does it do the 99.99% rest of the press body who shoot digitally? It's not as if I'm going to convert any of them back.

    I've seen a couple of posts saying to get photo CDs or take it to Walmart. While my C-41 process isn't perfect, I have the advantage of very cheap processing (~10c/foot at capacity), and no scratches, so I'd prefer processing myself.

    Does anyone have any information on the way people did their workflows with tight deadlines, portable processing or scanning, etc? Are their any shortcuts to evaluating negative film? I really like the flatbed scanner recommendation, but I almost always run into Newton's rings when I go that route. It is very difficult for some reason to get the film laying perfectly flat in the film adaptors of the flatbeds I've used. I *can* photoshop them out, but that never looks as good as getting it right in the first place. I don't really care about dust; I can take care of that easily with the clone tool.
  15. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Where are the un-civil comments?

    I'd be worried about calling editors lazy - that strikes me as uncivil and self-defeating. I've never found insulting the clients to be very effective. What is your take on that?
  16. Jeff Spirer , feb 07, 2007; 04:35 p.m.
    Where are the un-civil comments?
    I'd be worried about calling editors lazy - that strikes me as uncivil and self-defeating. I've never found insulting the clients to be very effective. What is your take on that?

    Check under your last post. . .

    Is an unpaid position at a college newspaper, part-time really a customer-client relationship? Maybe if they paid me, or reimbursed my time. I never said anything about newspaper staff on a whole. That would be a stereotype, and I'm not one to partake in that sort of thing.

    I really don't know why you're posting on this thread. If anyone is attempting to defeat my plans it is you. What possible harm could a film-based photojournalist do you, huh? Do we all carry the ebola virus? There's over 100 years of history to film-based photojournalism. Is one or two more years of that history going to make any difference?
  17. I'd like to say something else: the reason I never decided to go to photography school or try to build up a portfolio at a major studio in the area is because of my fear of the very large group of 40+, burned out PJ and studio photographers. Your lack of care for your craft is sickening sometimes. You'd never hear a cinematographer talk about how he'd duped the studio into paying him $10,000 more than he'd gotten on his last film. The only thing people "professional photographers" of this type seem to talk about is making more money, not improving their craft, or their artform, or the credibility of images they produce. This is why Hollywood still shoots film and studios do not, because the former cares about the quality of the image, whilst the latter cares about nothing but padding its pockets with more and more money, often at the expense of quality. Having spent countless thousands of hours in a darkroom, I can tell you it can be miserable, but the prints I get out of it make that arduous work feel good. A lot of the guys in this industry are cynical, burned-out, arrogant jerks, and I am deathly afraid of joining the club lest I succumb to this drain of enthusiasm that afflicts so many others who've been in this field for a long time.

    Take care.

  18. Karl don't take this personal...

    Pnet is better with true professionals like Jeff, Marc Williams, and others with far more talent than you or I... they take the time to teach and advise and you would do well to listen.

    If you want to shoot film, by all means go for it!

    But, if your deadline is 10PM and the game you are shooting ends at 9PM... what will you do?

    People look for reliable photographers to provide steady and consistent work. At some point, your attitude or your choice of image delivery will likely fail you.

    If you say you want to do this for fun... good for you.

    If you get paid, or have others depend on your work, then sports photojournalism isn't likely a wise choice.

    You need to be your own boss... Portraits, fine art, weddings...
  19. "But, if your deadline is 10PM and the game you are shooting ends at 9PM... what will you do?"

    They still make C-41 press kits you know. I've had closer deadlines than that, by a lot. Ever scanned wet film that you processed in a bathroom while nealing in wet astroturf with a laptop that hates water even more than you do? ;-)

    "People look for reliable photographers to provide steady and consistent work. At some point, your attitude or your choice of image delivery will likely fail you.

    If you say you want to do this for fun... good for you.

    If you get paid, or have others depend on your work, then sports photojournalism isn't likely a wise choice.""

    I'm not going to lie and say I've never missed a deadline, but then again, none of my deadlines have been paid. I've done all kinds of crazy things to make deadlines, and I think my choice of medium, with it's 100-year history of quality results, is not nearly as important as the quality of work I produce artistically.

    Jeff's been nothing but critical of every posting of mine to which he's responded. I wish he'd be patient with me, and remember that, when he was my age, he probably got a lot more help with the exact same questions.

    What kind of advice is it to tell someone that the $1500 they've put into analog cameras and film are all a waste and that an expenditure of two-three times that amount are necessary to "save you money".

    I had really really hoped this thread wouldn't degenerate into a film vs. digital debate. All I want to know is how to make more efficient use of my time in scanning film. I don't know, pretend that we're on a photography forum in 1989 and I'm asking this question. . .
  20. Karl, speaking as someone who does this every day and does it for a living I can tell you that if you choose to make a career working for any kind of publication you'll be doing it with a digital camera. No place that will pay you a living wage will let you shoot any other way. When time is available I can still shoot some feature items on film and I enjoy doing it but when I've got a deadline looming it's going to be a D2H or one of its cousins. It isn't a digital vs. film debate, that's just how it is out there. After you've been doing this for a while you'll discover some other realities. Anything worth doing is worth doing for money, as much as you can get. If you don't believe me wait until you get hired on somewhere and start juggling life's little curve balls along with the power bill, rent and a significant other who doens't quite share your passion. Almost every working pro I know loves what he's doing but it doesn't mean we are all purists of some sort.

    Rick H.
  21. One other thing, the $1500 you've dropped on film gear is certainly not a waste. For me it was an investment in some incredible gear at giveaway prices and I regret none of it. You still need to find a digital body to go into the mix and if you shoot Nikon you'll be able to do so. A D200 isn't all that expensive if the long run and I think if you work with it a while you'll discover what most of us here already know.

    Rick H.
  22. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    The only thing people "professional photographers" of this type seem to talk about is making more money, not improving their craft, or their artform, or the credibility of images they produce.
    This would appear to be yet another blanket condemnation, this time of professional photographers. If you have truly talked to them all and this was all you had heard, then you could make this statement.
    However, most of what I hear is different. There is what one is paid for, and everyone, regardless of what business they are in, wants to be paid more. There's nothing wrong with that, especially in a low-paying job like photography. On the other hand, many of the pros I know talk about how to improve their work, what isn't going right in what they are shooting, etc. Most pay far more attention to getting the right shot than using specific equipment. They just use what they have to use to do it and work on getting better shots.
    This is why Hollywood still shoots film and studios do not, because the former cares about the quality of the image,
    Interesting, I am in Hollywood every couple weeks. The big reason for film is that they haven't figured out cost-effective large scale digital movie projection yet. If you go to the studios (I was at Paramount last week) you will find this out quickly.
    A lot of the guys in this industry are cynical,burned-out, arrogant jerks
    How many have you met, really? You say you're young, it doesn't seem like you've had time to damn them all.
    What kind of advice is it to tell someone that the $1500 they've put into analog cameras and film are all a waste
    You are misunderstanding. If you want to do the job, you do what you have to do. You don't show up for a job as a gravedigger with a couple of spoons.
    If you truly want to do this, then you do what everyone does - you go into debt to make it happen. Very few people get out there and have $10K to drop - they borrow and rent and go into debt, but you believe in yourself enough to make it happen. I did this years ago, although it wasn't in photography, it was in music, and I spent years paying it back because I wasn't good enough. It was a big mistake at the time (the musicians got more chicks than the photographers) and it slowed me down, but I don't regret the investment. I bought what I had to buy in order to just get gigs, if I had been good enough it would have paid off. It's no different in photography.
    If you really want to understand what it takes to be successful in sports, it's worth reading this. I realize very few people become SI photographers, but it shows how it works. Even if your goal is simply to do school photography jobs as you suggest, you have to do what is competitive, like Robbie says. Robbie has a good eye and knows how to operate his equipment, but he also knows what it takes to succeed. Even if you don't care what I have to say, he is worth listening to.
  23. Interesting article Jeff, although that is not the type of work I am looking for. You seem to have the impression I am trying to make a living off of this sort of photography, and dance photography. Of the money I make in photography, most comes from weddings and film processing, and now possibly some of the college's fraternities. All the work I do I am my own boss. I don't work with clientele that tell me what to shoot, how much to shoot, and where to shoot. I volunteer for assignments to fill in time and have a little fun while building up a good portfolio.

    I am not planning to now, nor do I intend to in the future go into debt, with the exception of buying a car, or buying a house. College tuition and digital cameras are not on that list, and that will continue to remain the case. I'll buy things I can afford with money I've earned from photography financing my photography equipment.

    I am STILL not in need of a conversion, so if you aren't willing to tell me what I want to know (and I'm certain you all know exactly what information I am after) then I don't know why you continue to post.

    I'm not making up stories just to make myself feel good at 3 in the morning on an internet forum. There are a lot of photography burn outs. I have six names that pop into mind without more than a passing thought when it comes to "burnouts; photographers". Isn't being a burnout justification for my description? I'm not sayign that all photographers over 40 are burnouts. I know a lot that are passionate as ever. Hey Jeff, why does 73% of dramatic television continue to be shot on film? They "solved the projection problem" back in the '50s, yet continue to pour hundreds of thousands into rawstock with every episode. What the hell is NFL films thinking continuing to invest in a format that can't even be projected without being blown up to 35mm, Super 16? Don't they know that they have HD cameras now? It's an aesthetic and a quality that filmmakers look for when they're shooting movies, not "ease of projection". I couldn't give a flying fu ck what the soda-jerk goes through loading a film I've shot onto a platter. George Lucas predicted theatres would be 99% digital two years ago now. They're still less than 1%. Anyway, I'm continuing to wait for pertinant responses. Again, think 1989, and how those poor fools possibly did it, or even way back in 1996. Christ, this is like the Southpark episode where they discover a man frozen in ice for four years in 2000 and treat him like he's a prehistoric relic. This *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* was current less than five years ago, surely you haven't all forgotten the tools you used and tricks that you had to meet deadlines. (Again, these are volunteer submissions for a weekly paper).
  24. I already told you how to do it as cheaply as possible and it had the double advantage of being less time consuming. If you want to do it all yourself then buy the chemistry, soup the film, look at it with a loupe and scan the ones you like. That's how we did it back in the day. Did it in stadiums, bathrooms, hotel rooms and just occasionally in an honest to God darkroom. I was at one stadium this year that still has a darkroom in the press box according to the sign on the door.

    I do think you are on the right track by avoiding as much debt as possible. What are you planning to make a career in? Photography? A specific discipline or anything that will bring in some cash flow? Just curious as you seem to have much passion for it. Something to think about and I found this out the hard way. Don't get too far behind on the tech curve. You are expected to have certain skills in this market like any other and the further behind you are the harder it is to catch up. That was true before digital as well. Know everything you can about your craft and you'll get noticed.

    Rick H.
  25. Rick, that's a good question. At this point, I am trying to make a career in photography whilst simultaneously going to college fulltime for something totally unrelated (what I don't know, still undeclared). A lot of people knock interest in photochemical processes, and treat labwork as something that should be done by a clerk, but I think the art of printing is as great as the art of photography (especially now with Photoshop).

    I've only developed film in the field once, and that was B&W. What sort of chemicals were/are available for doing C-41 this way? What sort of scanner were you able to rig up on-site? The rig I used was completely unsatisfactory for continued use.


  26. Honestly, I think everyone is hear to help you. Nobody says you have to conform, just hack out your own path and blaze new trails....

    I shot an event today and had the treat of watching two AP photogs. They were non stop in action, shooting angles, flash, available light, and one employed a minature snoot!

    Both were kind and considerate and shared angles and space with all (about six photogs total) and were having a blast. I'd say both were mid thirties and were far from burnt out.

    Towards the end I saw a lady with a bunch of spent 120 rolls in a zip lock bag fumbling to load (I'm guessing) a Mamiy RF. I was envious.

    It wasn't easy work but way fun.
  27. There were all kinds of rigs for this stuff. Most of it was clumsy and heavy, a pain to move around. It got better as stuff like the Coolscans came out but they were still awfully limited compared to the most recent units. Same for the chemistry, you had to bring it all with you. Of course C-41 had to be kept up to temp but you could bring a portable water bath rig or just use a bathtub. Honestly when on the road it was just a pain. B&W was and is much easier but you still have to carry stuff around. I enjoy getting my hands wet but for gripngrins or pedestrian stuff digital takes less time. That way I can do the work I care more about when I am able to go to the darkroom.

    Rick H.
  28. I'm sure that this sort of procedure seems secondnature to you, but I am dumbfounded about doing C-41. Is it possible with the same equipment as B&W if I can find a source of hot water, or must one have a Jobo or other portable processing unit? I'm trying to get in shape, so carrying a lot of heavy equipment around gives me a chance to get in shape during photo assignments instead of spending time at the gym ;-)

    If someone could describe a basic scanned film photojournalism kit, that'd be great. I know I need a laptop, scanner, and a C-41 press kit, and access to a bathroom, but what other stuff should I bring with me instead of having to figure out the hard way what to bring?


  29. One more thing (there really needs to be an "edit" feature here): I'm not doing this crap to be a hot shot and play myself off like a hotshot PJ, this is only to be used in instances where I would need to have pictures submitted within an hour of the end of the event. Otherwise, I am perfectly happy processing film in the darkroom and scanning it the following day :)
  30. karl--I worked at papers back in the 80s. the kind of transmitting from the field, that went
    on then, was done with the fax type wire machine, scanning a print, that used a modem--
    to the early Leaf fax units that were self contained computers, scanners and modems built
    into a haliburton case. In both cases, portable darkrooms were used, generally in a hotel
    room. It took a long time (by today's standards) to get an image back. The Leafscans took
    about 20-30 min. to transmit, the color models that came later took even longer, about
    45 min.

    part of the problem with your query, is that what you describe is akin to being a news
    photographer reenactor circa 1985-1995. If you really wanted some advice, the folks to go
    to would be those who lambast as "burnouts". the 40 and over crowd--which would
    include me, with 20+ yrs in the NPPA to boot, even though I'm in gov't media now. My
    sports days are long over, I was never that good, but I was okay with general news.

    the actual portable darkrooms varied. I was lucky enough to string for a large daily, and I
    had a locker, company issued gear, access to individual film rooms, and they had two
    gang darkrooms--print & color---with processors etc, and leitz enlargers as well. to this
    day, it was the best darkroom I've ever been in. their portable kit, at first had a compact
    enlarger, then the leaf fax came along and they processed film only. the film was done
    with tanks, but then it was b/w at that time.

    I also worked at a couple of bi-weeklies that had some pretty different darkrooms. one
    used a tray line with rapid fix mixed 1:1 and used single weight, graded kodabromide to
    print with. they fixed for about 5 seconds and that was it. another one was pretty low-
    tech, and instead of using a darkroom, we actually printed onto a pre-screened dupont
    PMT material (85 line screen) and then the paper was flashed to bump the exposure,
    processed & pasted up to be shot for the press. I also worked with a publication that had a
    portable darkroom that broke down into several cases. It consisted of nikkor tanks for film
    processing, and a kodak ektamatic machine for paper processing, along with a couple of
    enlargers. This was all in the early 80s, and was pretty slick actually....

    later on, I knew an AP shooter who processed c41 out of his car, with an elaborate home
    brew setup. I always thought he was nuts, to be honest. but---well--some papers used
    wing lynch machines stripped down for portability. which again, is nuts by today's
    standards. a super sidekick would be better, since it tempers on the spot, and can be
    hooked up to a water tank (jerry can) and it also dries in the machine. but again--to what

    from what you describe --the rare instance you need to do this in the field?--digital is the
    answer. you don't win any points, really, for this. You can write me off as a burnout--I
    don't care--I'm not. I've managed to make a living in photography for about 20 yrs now,
    and I still shoot film, as well as digital. In fact, I work in probably the last area that will use
    film to it's dying days, and part of my job is maintaining a lab complete with automatic
    processors, qc with control strips etc. but for the shooting part of my job--the studio is
    4x5, the events and press coverage is all digital. we got our first nikon digital slr in 1996
    for that matter. like some of the posts above--it's something you need to accept, no
    matter what part of photography you enter as a professional. I wish I could turn the clock
    back, but that's a fantasy, you have to keep up, or you'll be left behind.

    so, well, there ya go. that's how they did it. if you can use a machine to process c41, and
    print RA4---you can do it by hand. It's only messier, incovenient, and exposes your body
    more to the chemicals. but then, you're young...not some 40 year old burn out pro
  31. For the third time, I am not saying over forty photographers are burnouts. Some of my best friends are 60+. I probalby have more friends double and triple my age than those in the same group. Be as cynical as you would like but that is not what I said.
  32. lb-


    I can't imagine anyone really cares what you meant anymore karl, your general attitude is so poor it's a wonder anyone is actually taking the time to answer you seriously.

    you're not really looking for answers anyway, just validation for your retro luddite act.

    maybe a discussion forum isn't the right venue for you? have you considered a blog? you wouldn't have to deal with all these pesky opposing points of view for which you seem to have no tolerance and you could avoid having to deal with all of us old cynical burnouts.

    just a thought.

    anyway...... I wish you the very best of luck in all of your photographic pursuits.

  33. karl--just so you think I'm not holding out any special secrets of the trade from 40 yr old
    burn out's another trick, or fact of life or reality-check.

    when I was shooting sports, I did so on a deadline for a morning paper. I shot tri-x mainly
    and used b/w papers. sometimes I had to use graded fiber papers, other times I had the
    luxury of using processing machines like the royalprint. I developed my film either in small
    deeptank lines, or by stainless steel nikor hand tanks. i generally used d76, or accufine,
    but I would also resort to using dektol mixed 1+3, and run my film for about a minute and
    a half or so at 75 degrees. this was a time saving, push processing move. the negs were
    generally pretty horrible.

    for the prep sports I shot--I often had to drive one or two counties away. The games
    would start at 7 pm, and my deadline would be at 10:00 pm. I needed to have about 4 or 5
    prints, with cutlines typed on the back (I used a selectric typewriter for this) and all the
    correct IDs of the players as well--delivered to the editors by the deadline. The paper went
    to the press for the first edition before 11:00--by that time, copies were run out to the
    city editors at their houses for proofs. There were 6 editions total printed by the middle of
    the night, that went out for statewide distribution. Basically--you couldn't miss a deadline
    by five minutes really.

    So I had about three hours tops to do all this--before digital, before scanners etc. A hard
    copy was the product.

    The reality was you didn't cover a whole game. The longest you could afford to stay was a
    quarter at best. You got in, shot as much as possible (initially when I was hired, they told
    me to not come back with less than 4 rolls) and then you got out & hustled back to the
    lab. I would have to write my captions as well--and they wouldn't run the pictures without
    a full ID, so I had to make sure I could visibly identify the players--which sometimes was
    a very anxiety producing task.

    If the event was a big one, like an acc tournament, or nascar etc--there were teams of
    shooters and couriers to run film back to wherever--the paper or a hotel room etc--to
    process it as game continued. That way, someone could stay right up to the end. I was
    also employed as a courier for film on more than one occasion, and spent my entire day or
    night, driving into arenas to pick up film, and driving back to the lab, over and over again.

    one way you could cut down your time to meet the deadline you describe--would be to
    adopt one of these methods. that's about all the hidden knowledge I have for you. good
    luck all the same.
  34. A story I get from a friend at a large Southeastern paper, back in the film days during SEC football games, a runner would drive from the office all the way to the front gate of the stadium. One of the photographers would collect all the film each quarter, take it to the gate and THROW it over the fence to the runner, then go back to the game. They did this four times per game and I still don't know how the guy managed to drive all the way to the gate in that kind of traffic. Then there was the time he missed the throw and the bag ended up stuck in a tree. You can't make this stuff up. Now I remember why I got into this business. It sure beats working for a living.

    Rick H.
  35. C-41 or even E-6 can be done on the road though not without aggravation. I don't remember ever using a press kit per se but we'd get there early, mix up chemistry and get everything set up and turned on. If I were doing this today I'd mix up chemistry and put it in jugs, take separate four-reel steel tanks for each step in the process and just dip and dunk. Expect to waste a lot of chemistry. You'll need a good timer, a Gra-Lab or something, two good thermometers, a graduate or two, some way to hang up the film to dry and a hair drier to dry the film while embedding trash in it. As an alternative you can look around for a small Jobo or other make processor. I saw one the other day for $100 and it even worked. Small and portable but maintenance is becoming an issue. That ought to be enough to fill up your car. But an hour deadline? I don't know.....

    Rick H.
  36. Great stories!

    Now I know why I work for a weekly!
  37. rich--yeah, I'd do it by hand in s.s. tanks, with s.s reels--because they temper better, and
    you can double load them as well as load them when wet. Plus since we're making such
    sweeping judgements about pro photographers...pros don't use plastic....well, some do,
    but since I'm a 40 yr old burnout, I reserve my right to be cynical, uh, critical, oh

    I would splurge and buy a senrac dryer though. what's the weight? I'd bolt it onto the case
    I'd haul all this crap around in. You can dry a roll of film in 5 minutes, what's not to like?
    the curl? ahh,... don't be such a wet blanket.

    skip the jobos--take too long to temper, fussy plastic contraptions. if you must--go with
    a super sidekick or a winglynch pro6. oh--too bad--they're still in production and cost
    about 4-9 grand. why, you could buy a digital camera for that!

    last tip--use a press camera and type 59. get a big strobe like a norman 400, or use
    flashbulbs. you could throw in some front tilts, get all artsy fartsy, and start a new trend
    in sports journalism. the sky's the limit....
  38. I'll continue to stand by the assertion that about half of the middle-aged photographers working professionally I've met (about 100 in the past 5 years since I began doing "serious" photography) have been totally burned out to the craft, like what they were doing was no more important than selling stuff on ebay. I'm sure you all have encountered the type. You can be 80 and still see the "magic" in photography, or 13 and already dead to it. People that use photography just to make a buck at the expense of any sort of craftsmanship or art (I've been shocked by how apathetic some of the studio "pros" I've met are to what they do, letting high-school drop outs without any experience go and shoot their important jobs without any training). As I've never met anyone on this forum in person (with the exception of Ron Mowrey), I can only say that of the one photographer I've met, there haven't been any burnouts here ;-)

    As for this continued hostility towards film, I'm honestly dumbfounded. I wouldn't give a new photographer that is "all digital" such a hard time. I'd be happy to give such a person insight on f-stops, shutter speed, exposure index, primes versus zooms, priority modes, flash synch, etc. if I ever ran into this somebody on the street. I wouldn't immediately demand that digital doesn't work for certain applications (or will the posters on this thread not admit that digital has any drawbacks in any situation ever?). To me photography is just photography. I've never taken a single picture with a digital camera though, and I'm not going to start now. Maybe in the next decade, but not in this one.

    I appreciate the advice on the scanners and the stories and anecdotes about developing film onsite, mired in sarcasm as they may have been. I'm not trying to play myself off like a high artist, but I try to find art in every event I cover, and learn something new every time.

    I actually happen to have a (reasonably) portable C-41 processor handy, although it'd have to be rigged up out of a car or hotel room. I'm looking more for really tight-deadline stuff, no time to setup or walk 30 minutes to the car. Is stainless steel reels and a Kindermann tank in a bathroom the way to do it? I think I would need a portable dryer, not a 150 lb. suitcase full of stuff too ;-) I am looking at maybe putting together a kit for such occasions, scanner, laptop, dryer of some sort, chemistry, thermometer, 2x 36 exp tank (or would 4 or 5 reel tanks be necessary?). What are some sorts of setups that people have rigged up working out of a press box bathroom or an improvised darkroom? Remember I'm working for a college rag not Time Magazine.

  39. karl--there's no hostility coming from me--I think that perception is misplaced, since I'm a film shooter myself. I'm also a realist though. so, don't take this the wrong way, but if you're setting up a 30 minute type deadline? you're not going to make it. there are no magic tricks really. I've already told you, as have a few others, how it used to be done. In my case, it would be to get in & get out. Staying for the whole game is not an option, in order to meet the deadline.

    you have some complex tasks to figure out though. since you don't plan on leaving early, or handing your film off to an accomplice to run back to a lab and process/scan while you continue shooting--well, then at the end of the game, you have however much film you've accumulated to process, edit & scan within this narrow window of time.

    It's also complicated by having to run C41 or any color process that will require accurate tempering. If you're on your own, and you stay put for the whole event--then you need to have your process up & ready to run before the game, and 2-3 hours or whatever, is a long time to hold 100 degrees in a makeshift kit. You won't have the luxury of tempering after the game. you also need an adequate amount of water, or a way to heat water if you're not hooked up to any running water. Then, you still have to edit, and then scan for your submissions. I just don't think you'll have enough time to get it done.

    This is where you need to be realistic, and instead of viewing it in terms of the material used, it might help to think of what it takes to complete the assignment in the eyes of your client. I would say that a good professional, does what they have to do, to get the job done on time. Even if this is a school paper, or you're stringing for free--to me, that doesn't matter. What matters is the responsibility of completing the job on time. I look at this from having had to hire & work with student interns or being a potential employer--this is my take, looking back at my experiences--I'm not interested in someone giving me the excuse you used above, that it's okay to miss a deadline, because they're not getting paid. It's only okay to miss a deadline when you don't take the job in the first place. I'm sorry, if this seems hostile, but that's just reality in terms of working as a photographer. It's pretty simple okay? So, please, cut the 40 yr old burnouts some slack when it comes to preaching about the craft. I think most of the responses you've gotten have been helpful in one way or the other, even if maybe they didn't come across that way.
  40. Hey folks, just finished my first job that I processed "on location", although I cheated a little and used the Material Science Dept's darkroom at the college. First time doing C-41 in spiral tanks. I'll post some pictures of the setup tomorrow, not that anyone will care. . .
  41. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Why not post some photos of the event as well?
  42. Jeff, I'm not sure if you're being facetious, because I have the best B&W in two threads on this forum already, the alternatvie basketaball picture thread and in the thread right above or below it, "What have you shot lately." I'll see if I can't find a link to the gallery where I have my best 12 from the take posted too.

  43. sfh


    You could get an old van, rig up a dark room in the back, and process your film at 80mph
    headed towards the newspaper office.

    But in my opinion, you will save money by going digital simply because once you're set up,
    there are almost no expenses except when you need to get a print made, which costs less

    And the only equipment you need aside from your camera is a USB cable.
  44. What if I'm "already set up" with a full-service C-41 darkroom, scanner, and C-41 costs of less than 3c a frame? I happen to be doing film for less than it would cost (factoring a VERY modest $15/hr. for my time) than with digital.roughly 10-15 percent, though I'm shooting maybe 150-250 shots per 40-minute game, not 1000s some of the digital types shoot. That represents overkill plain and simple.

    Owing to my suffering a high-speed car wreck back in November (55MPH into a concrete pillar), I will try to minimize the 80MPH thing for a while. Processing and scanning on location is better. Mostly it's just a matter of using one of the department's darkrooms, as I'm shooting mostly home games.
  45. Karl,

    I just discovered this thread. I too have a pair of Sony scanners -- The UY-S90 and UY-S77 -- which on occasion jam when I scan long strips. Since I file 5 frames per strip in pages, I scan in strips of 10 then cut in half for filing.

    By the way, last summer I was shooting my medium format Mamiya 645AFd at NASCAR events: In the paddock it was fun; and during the races it was a BLAST! I actually had other photographers walk up to me and look over my gear -- And two even thanked me for shooting film to keep it alive!

    Three years ago, I took my 4x5 Pacemaker Speed Graphic to Indy for the 500. In the garages & prerace, it too was a blast; though at the time it was before I had my 11 Graphmatic film changers.

    You did the right thing buying used photo processing gear: Now you need to learn how to replenish your chemistry to save even more money. With wet labs closing every day, their loss is your gain!

    Cheers! Dan
  46. Karl, in case I was a bit muddy, my suggestion was to get a Sony UY-S77, UY-S90, or Sony UY-S100 scanner.

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