Film Fun Folio #24: Balda Lisette and Efke 50R

Periodically, I'll be posting scans of some complete rolls of film on here, showing both the good and the bad, and giving some basic information as well a little write up of the shoot as well as the reasons why I selected each camera and film.  Enjoy the trip! 

Feature #22:
Camera: ca. 1938 Balda Lisette 645 with Meyer Trioplan 75mm f/2.9 lens.
Film: Efke 50R (Recently Expired)
Locale: Central Maryland and Washington DC.

Winter doldrums are never fun, and for me, they have tended to send any camera I own into a state of hibernation.  This year, however, with a new setting around me, I vowed to keep the shutters clicking as the days grew shorter, the temps got colder, and the palette grew increasingly more bland. 

Fortunately, I'd seen a lot of good black and white work online that became an inspiration for me to try to get the most from a medium that I too often downplayed.  It had been a while since I'd played with the creamy tones of Efke's 50R film so I loaded a roll in my pretty reliable little Lisette and shot through it over a period of weeks.  A few frames into the roll, I decided that I would do something offbeat and try and shoot the entire remainder of the roll wide open at f/2.9, trying to take full advantage of the Trioplan's fast lens and interesting bokeh. Doing this on a "guess focus" camera was quite risky, but I hoped for the best as I made my way through the roll. 

In addition, I decided to "tone" the results in an online photo editor, since I felt the originals were just a bit too bland.  I tried not to overdo it, and I think in that regard I did well, though the results are likely to be subjective.  

Washington, DC - One of my favorite classic signs in the Nation's Capitol for photos only comes out so-so in this image that is contrasty and uninspiring.

Washington, DC - This image taken at 1/5 of a second at f/8 works quite a bit better, framing what I'd hoped, and blurring the movement of people to the point of creating a forlorn scene.

Frederick, MD - As the snow began to fall for what would become a huge snowfall, I managed to focus properly on this sign around the corner from home. 

Frederick, MD - Managed again to get good focus on the foreground while obscuring the backdrop.  

Frederick, MD - After the deluge, the scene nearby looked like this.  I obviously had to capture it.

Frederick, MD - Prior to commuter rail service being restored, I snapped a photo of a lonely bench awaiting a train that would be a while in coming. 

Frederick, MD - Even at f/2.9. the Balda managed to yield a pretty clean image of a train leaving the station once service had been restored.

Frederick, MD - Taken just a little bit after the shot above. 

Washington, DC - Taken at a focal length fairly short of infinity, the image doesn't quite pull off the short depth of field I'd hoped due to a lack of a true focal point in the in-focus distance.

Washington, DC - Another shot with a shorter focal distance to mute the background also doesn't do enough to obscure the background and lacks a true focal point in the mid-foreground. 

Damascus, MD - It took a bit of post-processing to achieve the needed contrast in this image, and the results look OK, though the bokeh on the Trioplan isn't stellar. 

Frederick, MD - The lack of proper focus on the street sign leaves this with a less than desirable outcome.

Frederick, MD - As the roll wrapped up, I began to find more success in its results.  Here, the fountain is nicely focused, and leaves a nice obscuring of the backdrop.  The toning is used to nice effect here. 

Frederick, MD - Another successful one to me.  The light fade at the end of the roll works to great effect with the selenium toning, while the shallow depth of field succeeds.

Thoughts: Living at f/2.9 is a somewhat risky endeavor, but it was worth doing for so much of this roll only to see what worked well and what didn't.  The results were hardly surprising, with some disappointments in a few examples where I tried to do too much while encouraging where I found an appropriate point of focus that offset well from the background.  The Efke film gave me interesting results on this go, and I look forward to what I can do with my third and final roll of this emulsion.