Doubbling up

An experiment in double exposure film photography.

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I wasn’t content to just expose a film (Going for the DdOoUuBbLlEe. Part 1), wait a couple of weeks to hand it over to someone else and then wait another few weeks until they’d double exposed and processed it before I would see any results. I needed to have some idea of what the results might look like.

Having never intentionally made any double exposures before, never mind film-swapping to achieve the end result, I wanted to know that my part of the swap was going to work. I had the tail-end of a bulk roll of Kentmere 100 film spooled in a cassette so I decided to expose it twice through my camera to see what would happen.

Following the process I had decided on for the film-swap roll, I marked the position of the film when first loading it, wound on two frames and then exposed the film with the meter set for ISO 250 to give 1 1/3 stops underexposure. After the first pass I rewound the film, reloaded it trying to align the marks from the first pass, wound on two frames and re-exposed it with the meter again set to give the same underexposure. The end result would be a slightly underexposed strip of film, about ten to twelve frames long and hopefully with the frames from the first and second passes in register.

On the second pass through the camera I had the advantage of knowing what I’d exposed on the first and so I was able to put a little creative thought into the composition – some worked out, others perhaps didn’t! As it happened I got only two things ‘wrong’: When reloading the film for the second pass I misaligned my mark by one sprocket hole and so the frames overlapped, and I forgot the order in which I’d exposed the last few frames of the first pass when re-exposing them leading to unexpected results. I tried to squeeze as many exposures as I could out of what should really have been a ten exposure length of film, took twelve and came away with eleven!

Once developed (5 minutes in Ilfosol 3 mixed 1+9 at 20ºC) the difficulty I had was in deciding where to make the divide between each overlapping exposure. Here’s what I did, the whole lot, warts and all:

 

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branching out into the sea

 

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a sailor’s dream

 

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shelters

 

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lamb and May

Author: Donald Tainsh

A lifelong explorer of photography

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