You know, I just can't walk past a mirror without taking a self portrait.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

 Brandt's Cormorant Breeding Season ... La Jolla Cove.

Currently (2024.05.01) the cliffs at La Jolla Cove are filled with nests. It is breeding season for the Brandt's Cormorant. The cliffs are active with nests, hatchlings, and adults. The throat pouch of the birds turns bright blue during this period, normally black matching the birds feathers. Both adults not only care for and feed the hatchlings, they are also constantly primping them.

Here are eight images from the other morning.

 Just a small area of the cliffs, white with bird dung. 

As noted the Throat pouch turns bright blue. 

A male performs a ritual to attract his female and warn off other males. 

An adult sitting on the eggs. I noticed the bird moved around occasionally, so I patiently waited until I could get a shot with an egg visible.

Below are 3 shots of adults with hatchings, ranging from newly hatched to almost mature.

All shots were with Sony a7iv and Sony 100-400 GM OSS lens.

As always, all images are ©PeterPolitanoff and may not be reproduced without explicit permission.
You are more than welcome to share this link.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Oops ___ Underexposed by 2.5 stops , "I'll fix it in post"


    Test shots of a new film body, turned into... How do I fix this?? 

I inadvertently shot a roll of film +2.5. Yes underexposed by 2.5 stops. How? Well just received my second Leica R 9 from Japan. Quickly set up the camera, however failed to notice that there was an exposure compensation. I was essentially testing the shutter speeds, felt Long Beach Harbor and Port would give me good opportunities. When I processed the film I thought my Xtol was was to old. Until I noticed the exp comp of +2.5. Well as an exercise I scanned the negs anyway. Here are several resulting images after a fair amount of work in Lightroom. A note, tried using AI but the grain and lack of detail were well beyond its scope. Leica R9 w/ Leica 80-200 lens and CatLabs 320 film. Shot in Long Beach, on the sand and in the harbor. As the saying goes "I'll fix it in post"

As you can seeing,  the images are not a total loss. The Lighthouse in particular has a wonderful Pointillist quality. While the ships at sea seem enveloped in a fog.

As always all images are ©Peter Politanoff and may not be reproduced without explicit consent.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Leica iiif and Rollei RPX 25 on a stormy day.

 It was Dec. 29, the surf forecast was 8'-12' at Huntington Beach. High surf with poor visibility. One would think that choosing my Leica iiif and loading it with a low sensitivity film was a bad choice. However since I was shooting digital as well, to catch the action, I chose Rollei RPX 25 to capture the 'vibe'.

I can count on my Sony a7iv for crisp clean action shots, but I was also looking for more. Chose the Leica iiif over my M3 or M6 for the image quality my 1951 Elmar 5cm f/3.5 lens would give me. In view of the fact that it was early morning, I anticipated shooting the lens wide open. This was also the first time shooting Rollei RPX 25 stock.

For the record. I processed the film in Rodinal 1:25 for 6.5 minutes. 

Here are the images from Huntington Beach on Dec. 29, 2023.

As I arrived, very high tide, poor visibility.

The pier gets lots in the fog.

Surfer waiting to paddle out.

High tide backing me up further under the pier.

The feeling I was looking for!

Large crowd out to see the waves and high surf.

The next day, Dec. 30, also had a promising forecast. I opted this time to shoot at the Manhattan Beach Pier (my old stomping ground). Forecast also called for 8'-12', but visibility was much clearer. Consequently the image quality is slightly different.

Waves pound the pier, which was closed. Unlike like Huntington which is very large and tall. The waves will break over the pier creating a potentially dangerous condition.

Another photographer on the beach, north side of the pier. The skies were starting to clear and the sun breaking through. Volleyball practice getting ready to start on the south side.

As I mentioned, these are all images shot with Rollei RPX 25 on my Leica iiif. The results... better than I expected.

As always: all images are copyrighted ©PeterPolitanoff and may not be reproduced without expressed consent.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Fomapan 200 - I didn't like the first roll I shot!

Fomapan 200 initially was not a favorite film stock of mine. I use Fomapan 100 on a regular basis, thought I would give 200 a try. My initial shots were boring, lifeless, lacking contrast. Since I still had a roll left I thought I would play with it. 

Although rated at 200, I decided to shoot at iso 400. There were no specific developing times for 400,  so I interpolated. Loaded the roll into my Hasselblad 203 FE and headed down to Los Angeles Harbor & Cabrillo Beach. 

Here are the resulting 5 images. Specifics are listed below.

Although the results are interesting, seemingly sort of hit and miss, I'm not sure how often I might shoot this film stock.

Hasselblad 203 fe. Zeiss T* 2.8/150 lens. Fomapan 200 shot @ iso 400. Developed in Kodak Xtol ... interpolated the devoting time + 25%. Sepia Toning. Cabrillo Beach and LA Harbor.

As always... all images are Copyrighted '©Peter Politanoff', and may not be reproduced without specific consent. You are more then welcome however to share the link.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

First Day Of Summer  - El Porto Beach

Well, It was the first 'official' day of summer. Stopped at El Porto Beach on my way back from Marina del Rey. Leica R9 w/ Leica 35-70 f/4 zoom lens, and only 2 rolls of film in my bag,  CatLabs 320, and Rollei Retro 400S. In reality both film stocks are actually rebranded Agfa Aviphot 200 . 

Trying to shoot out the CatLabs 320, when I noticed a family of 6 making their way to waters edge. I watched as they struggled unfolding the beach chairs, finding the ideal spot on the beach, and finally settling in. There were only 5 frames left on the Catlabs 320. Managed to shoot 2 useable images. Then switched to the Rollei Retro 400S to capture the final shot.

I shot the Catlabs 320 at ISO 200.. this is actually my preferred setting for the Aviphot 200 film stock. While I shot the Rollei Retro 400S at the designated 400 ISO. In processing I developed the CatLabs roll w/ Xytol at a 1:1 dilution, and the Rollei with Rodinal (which has always been my goto developer) at a 1:25. I have to admit the reason for 2 different film stocks was simply my last rolls of both CatLabs 320 and Rollei Retro 400.

Here are the resulting 3 images... #1 & #2 Catlabs, #3 Rollei.

As they arrived, they struggled, group effort, to unfold and attempt to assemble the beach chairs,

The mother points to the preferred spot on the beach.

All set up and enjoying the view, while the eldest daughter reads in the shade.

As you can see the the image quality, although different developers & developing time, is very similar. Midtones I feel are better when the film is shot at ISO 200. Both are very usable approaches to using what is the same film stock... Agfa Aviphot 200.

Hopefully my next post will be a comparison with Fomapan 200.

As always .... all photos are copyright Peter Politanoff.. ©PeterPolitanoff, and cannot be reproduced w/o explicit written permission.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

 CatLabs 320 B&W film stock ..... My assessment!

First, I should preface my assessment, by stating that I always minimally adjust my scans as well as my digital files in Lightroom. I shoot both digital and analog, currently shooting with a Leica R9. That is my disclaimer … now onto to the topic.


CatLabs 320 is a budget price film. Which has its place, great for beginners or for those of us who cannot put the camera down. It is available in both 35mm and 120mm rolls. Although I purchased both, I have just been testing the 35mm. CatLabs as stated on the packaging is made in the EU. So that piqued my interest. A little online searching yielded interesting results. Yes, it is a rebranded film stock. Seems quite a number of popular 35mm films are not made by the company selling. CatLabs 320 (along with Rollei Superpan 200) is rebranded Aviphot Pan 200.


What is Aviphot Pan 200. An aerial photography film manufactured by Agfa. This is not necessarily a bad thing. All B&W films have a fair amount of latitude. So, designating a different ISO whether higher or lower, specifying different developers and different developing times will yield a variety of results. Rebranded films are rather common since there are only a few actual film manufacturers, Kodak, Ilford, Agfa, Fomapan, and ORWO. Catlabs X Film 80 is actually ORWO UN54 repackaged.


Now returning to CatLabs320, I had purchased a ten pack 35mm film. After shooting 4 or 5 rolls I realized it was actually a little too contrasty for my everyday use. Yes, I had nice deep blacks, but whites were sometimes blown out, seems to be that look that is popular on IG. However, I was lacking detail. Even with a fair amount of LR work, what I was getting from Ilford Delta 100, and Fomapan 100, wasn’t there. Again, not necessarily a bad thing if this is what you are going for. See below.

 Here are 2 examples of CatLabs320, shot at ISO320


After some thought, I wasn’t quite to give up yet… Thought I would try shooting at ISO 200, of course this would require different dilutions and a longer developing time. I found the results much more pleasing, greater detail. Perhaps only a medium contrast, but that can be addressed in LR.

Here are some examples of Ilford Delta 100, Fomapan 100, and CatLabs320 @ 200.

Ilford Delta 100

Fomapan 100

The following were shot on CatLabs320 at an ISO setting of 200

As you can see there is greater latitude with the lower film speed.

As always all images are  copyrighted and are sole property of Peter Politanoff. They cannot be reproduced without explicit permission.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

 Setting The Traps

Traveled down to Oceanside yesterday. Looking for blue skies and warm weather. Unfortunately, it was a brisk and foggy morning. Stopping by the harbor, I saw a fisherman working on several stacks of traps, some old and beaten up, and some new traps. I thought they were lobster, turns out they are for prawns.
Francis was the man adjusting the new traps. 
Asked him if the new traps were replacements for the old. 
He said  "No …. The old ones were great since they have been baited so many times, the prawns can smell them.”
Where in the ocean you set them?  “We have two areas, each a mile in length stretch between two buoy markers. We set about 500 traps at a time. Work one area one day, the other area the next …. We catch and re-bait the traps at the same time.” 

Old and battered, but still very useful.

Making minor modifications to about 80-100 traps.

Working with a smile.

The boat in the harbor, waiting for Coast Guard clearance.

Francis, thank you for taking the time and giving me permission to take the photos.

All images are copyrighted @Politanoff/RedStarImage, and cannot be reproduced without expressed permission.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

 NextGen Boxing  - Vlad Panin defeats Reggie Harris Jr

Vlad Panin improved to 15-1 as he defeated Reggie Harris Jr 7-2, by KO when the referee stopped the fight.

Here are some images from that contest.

All images are copyrighted @Politanoff?RedStarImage, and cannot be reproduced without expressed permission.

Many thanks to Steve Bash, Bash Boxing, Nextgen Boxing & The Commerce Casino.