Jim Edwards

X-​Ray Film Portraiture with Modified Rembrandt Lighting

This is an exam­ple of a por­trait made using x-​ray film and a mod­i­fied “Rembrandt” light­ing setup. I used a film for­merly man­u­fac­tured and mar­keted by Kodak, now sold under the name Carestream Half-​Speed-​Blue (CHSB). Like most x-​ray film, CSHB has lim­ited spec­tral sen­si­tiv­ity and is coated with emul­sion on both sides. Care must be taken to avoid scratches when han­dling, as the emul­sion is very soft, espe­cially when wet; twice the emul­sion equals twice the oppor­tu­nity to scratch.

The key light is placed at a 45° angle in front of and above the sub­ject, with a reflec­tor 45° oppo­site and below. Grids ensure nar­row out­put and sharp falloff. A small back­ground light sep­a­rates the sub­ject from the back­ground.

For more on x-​ray film for pho­tog­ra­phy, see the OKIE-​X project page.

Camera
Wista 45DX field cam­era (cher­ry­wood)
Lens
Unknown maker Petzval with inter­nal iris, rack & pin­ion focus, ca. 1870
Focal length
250mm
Aperture
ƒ/4.0
Shutter
Packard No. 6 pneu­matic shut­ter with flash sync for Paul C. Buff CyberSync Cyber Commander
Exposure
~125 sec­ond @ EI 25
Film
Carestream Half-​Speed-​Blue 8″×10″, trimmed to fit 4″×5″ — semi-​stand devel­op­ment with day­light tank in Pyrocat-HD (1:1:200) for ~60 min­utes — 2 min­utes in TF-​4 archival fix
Key Light
Paul C. Buff Einstein E640 with 22″ sil­ver beauty dish & 30° grid & Matthews C-​stand with tur­tle base & grip arm
Fill
Impact 42″ 5-​in-​1 col­lapsi­ble cir­cu­lar reflec­tor (sil­ver side), Avenger reflec­tor holder with mini grip head, & Manfrotto stack­able air-​cushioned light stand
Background light
Paul C. Buff Einstein E640 with 7″ reflec­tor, LiteMod™ Unit Mainframe, 15° grid, & Matthews back light stand
Background
Manfrotto back­ground sup­port with Interfit Italian Collection back­ground (grey)
Safety equip­ment
All stands weighted with Matthews Senior Boa Bags
Digitization & post-​production
Epson per­fec­tion V850 scan­ner with VueScan scan­ning soft­ware & Adobe Lightroom

— Chris J. Zähller

About Chris J. Zähller

International Man of Mystery. Cocktail Nerd. Occasionally designs websites. Sometimes snaps a picture or two.

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