Week 5: Castle in the Water [Disco Foxtrot]

It took longer than I anticipated, but my darkroom upgrade is nearly complete and I can start printing again.

I replaced my compact enlarger because of its limitations with medium format: small print size, enforced cropping, and needing to cut negatives into strips of three.

I picked up a couple of enlargers for cheap on eBay and combined the working parts of both into this Omega D5-XL with a Super Chromega Dichroic II head and a 220 V Chromegatrol power supply/timer. I’ve blacked out a 6×9 negative holder with gaffer tape until I find a real 6×6 holder. It also has diffusion boxes for medium and large format and is capable up to 4×5. I need to work a bit on alignment and light sealing, but it’s a huge improvement.

This thing is a beast and incredibly solid. I had to lower my working table to fit it under the ceiling, shown here next to a Leica V35 (which isn’t that small) for comparison. There’s a 105 mm lens mounted, which is a little longer than the standard 80 mm for 6×6, but there’s so much room to go up that the longer focal length doesn’t seem to be an issue.


Bless this mess. That’s the Omega D5-XL on the left and the Leica V35 on the right.

On to the reason for putting all this together:

This week’s subject is Burg Pfalzgrafenstein. It is a castle in the middle of the Rhine built in 1326-1327 by King Ludwig the Bavarian. It collected tolls from passing ships until 1867, making them stop by pulling up a huge chain in the river. “The Pfalz” was never conquered or destroyed.

Schloss Pfalzgrafenstein contact

Ignore the first three frames. (I’m still developing time testing; I need to increase by at least 25%.) There was some nice textured fog on the Rhine earlier in the morning, but unfortunately it was overcast at the castle so I got pretty flat skies.

I started off trying to get a river barge next to the castle to give it some scale and make it more dynamic, but the barges were so big that I couldn’t separate them properly. (I could have backed up some more, but then I’d be looking down into the Rolleiflex chimney while standing in the middle of the highway…)

I can see what I was trying to do with the boat tie-off in the foreground in frames 9 and 10, but for some reason I didn’t put the foreground in the obvious right place. I have no idea why I wasn’t paying attention to that.

So, I’ve gone with your basic “here’s a castle in the water”. I think a combination of a lower sun and better weather would have been better, but I like the reflection on the water. The print looks great in terms of detail for its size, but I really need to nail down my developing time and printing exposure to maximize the contrast silver halide is capable of.

Thanks for looking.

14 thoughts on “Week 5: Castle in the Water [Disco Foxtrot]

  1. Great angle of taking the castle! Looks like a ship itself. Let the Rhine rise one more meter and the castle will break the waves 🙂 Also like the declining horizon. The enlarger really looks huge. I got a Durst 605 and try to find a 6×6 mask, too. Thanks for showing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very nice! I’m still not done setting up my darkroom. I’ve already put everything into place but the enlarger isn’t working yet. The fuse in the transformer was blown and I hope that once the new fuses are here I finally have a working Durst M605.

    BTW, I may have a few Bay I filters lying around here that I don’t need anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

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