Hello!

Shoe Tree

So, we’re back. Actually, we got back home to Ohio last week, but there’s been a confluence of drama since then (some family stuff, some health-related stuff, and a good heap of drama with our camper – here’s a tip for you: don’t buy a Rockwood. Worst. Camper. Ever.). Anyway, it turns out I did pack a boatload of film that we didn’t wind up shooting, but not by much. I think we shot all but one or two rolls of the 20+ 620 film I had respooled, and quite a bit of the 127 film.

Surf

What I barely shot was any 35mm film. Even though I had a boatload of fun, weird 35mm films to use, even though I love my 35mm Nikon FM2N outfitted with the Lensbaby, I had to force myself to use it. I don’t know. The more photography stuff I do, the less I see the point of 35mm. I just like working with the larger format negatives so much more.

So, the cameras I did wind up using! The Polaroid 230:
Great Basin

The Yashicamat:
Sol Duc Falls

The Speed Graphic (Zarl!), of course.
Newport

The Savoy, although I haven’t uploaded any vacation photos from it yet, and, to a lesser extent, the Ward’s 26 127 camera, the Bollywood pinhole 4×5 camera, and Watson, the 5×7 camera.

All we’ve managed to develop so far is the black and white film. I accidentally fogged a chunk of our 4×5 black and white negatives (sad trombone), which kind of sucks, but things like that inevitably happen when you’re loading and unloading film on the fly. The majority of the film we’ve shot is process C-41, which we haven’t even started to develop yet.

After looking over the black and white negatives, though, I know one thing – if I had this vacation to do over again, I’d take less pictures of waterfalls.

Madison Falls

I can’t help it. I don’t exactly live in waterfall country, so whenever I see one I instinctively take photos of it, which is fine, but seriously? I could have stepped back a bit from the waterfalls. Less waterfalls. More other things. I guess I took so many waterfall pictures that any pictures of other subjects, like this one:

Spinning wheel

…automatically stand out to me.

We were gone for a month, and it was easy to get in the habit of drive, drive, drive, get to a “Destination,” and stop and take pictures, automatically. The interesting pictures, the ones I’m drawn to now, are the ones we took not of a big major scenic Event, but of smaller things, like the awesomeness we ran across in Forks, Washington:

Twilight Sucks

Or being so bored while doing about 18,000 loads of laundry that I brought the pinhole camera inside the laundromat and amused myself for a while:

Ghost of the Laundromat

We still have a boatload of film to develop from the trip, so we’ll keep slogging through the developing and the scanning. I’m looking forward to making prints already!

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Getting ready (and accidental Found Monday!)

So. Much. Film.

So, I’m still working on getting our cameras and film ready to take on vacation. Almost everything is done – I’ve got the rollfilm and 35mm film sorted and respooled. Almost all of the sheet film holders are loaded. I remembered to grab an armful of Fuji Polaroid film boxes. I’ve got a few sewing related things I need to get done – the elastic on our big dark bag snapped, so I need to repair that before we go, and I’m trying to convert a big Trader Joe’s insulated shopping bag into a suitable camera bag for our 5×7 camera, Watson.

Yeah, I decided to take Watson instead of hauling around the big-ass 8×10 pinhole camera. The problem with the pinhole camera (besides the fact that it’s gigantor) is that I think I want to eventually replace the pinhole on it. The one that came installed on the camera just isn’t sharp enough for my liking, so I’d like to try to improve on that. Until I do so, I don’t want to waste my precious stash of 8×10 slide film on mediocre pictures.

Watson, however, is a bonafide large format camera with a real lens and everything! Travis and I took a few cameras out the other day to do some final testing before we left, so I grabbed Watson to see how he performed in the field. He weighs about the same, or maybe even a little less than my 4×5 Speed Graphic, and folds up nicely.

Watson 5x7 camera, folded up

The downside to taking Watson is that the only film I can shoot with him on the road is my Fuji X-ray film. I have some old, old Kodak Aerocolor film that expired in 1985 that’s on a roll, but that’s a pain to work with, and I’d be too flustered while traveling to deal with it (also, it’s C-22 or something, so I’d have to develop it in cold chems – not that big of a deal with roll film, but a pain in the ass if I’m trying to do large format film). The Fuji X-ray film, on the other hand, is black and white, but fortunately has a double-sided emulsion, which means I can’t screw up how I load the film holders. That’s nice, because the film doesn’t have any notches letting you know which way to load it.

Anyway, I wanted to try out the Fuji X-ray film one more time before committing to take Watson. We hauled him up to the cemetery and took a few shots.

Cooper C. Jackson

Okay, not the most interesting photo ever, but still, I was pleased with how sharp the image was. I also tried taking a picture using a yellow filter over the lens. The X-ray film apparently can’t be used with a red filter (it reads reds as black, I think), and I wanted to see if the yellow filter would help bring out the sky and clouds. The resulting picture showed maybe a little darkening of the sky, but nothing really awesome, and was also not as in focus as the above photo. I think that might have something to do with the fact that we had to manually hold the filter over the lens, since I don’t have a proper filter mount for the lens on Watson. I’m probably not going to mess around with filters with this camera for the most part.

So, Watson is a go, but that means I have to cut down a bunch of my Fuji X-ray film to 5×7, since I only have it in 5×12 size. So! Tedious! Hopefully it’ll be worth it, though. Since I’ll be using Watson, I also have to remember to bring a dark cloth to use when I’m trying to focus the camera. I’d love to go full-out Ansel Adams and build a camera platform on top of the truck and take pictures that way. I won’t be a truly hard-core camera nerd until I do that.

I also wanted to test out my gel filters before we left, too. I made some improvements on my Bollywood Pinhole camera to keep it from being lightleaky, and also making it tripod-friendly. So, I was able to mount it on a little tripod and take a few pictures with the gel filters taped to the inside of the camera. Here’s one shot using a turquoise gel filter:

Harry R. Deem

The final thing we wanted to try out was shooting with 4×5 Kodak High Speed Infrared film. I’ve shot a few pictures with it before, like this one:

HIE test shot

…but I wanted to try rating it at different speeds. That photo was shot rating the film at 200 using a red 25 filter, and it looks decent, but I wanted to see it shot rated at 100 to see if there was much difference. I also wanted to see if it worked in the Bollywood pinhole camera using the red gel filter, and in Travis’ 4×5 Graflex SLR. We don’t have a filter mount for the Graflex, either, unfortunately, so we shot film in that with me holding the red 25 filter over the lens.

All of this would have been well and good, if we were shooting unexposed sheets of film. However, unbeknownst to us, what we were actually shooting were sheets of film that had already been exposed. I bought a lot of the Kodak High Speed Infrared film off of ebay a while ago, and got a few sealed boxes of film, and a few opened boxes. The film we used came from one of the opened boxes, and apparently the person I bought the film from had stuffed a few sheets of exposed but undeveloped film back in the film box and forgot about them. So, instead of our carefully thought out infrared test shots taken in the cemetery, we got this:

Carhenge

And this:

Mount Rushmore

So! That was a surprise! A bit of a bummer about our test shots not coming out, but kind of awesome found photos regardless. Strangely, both of these places, Carhenge and Mount Rushmore, are places that Travis and I went on our honeymoon, and even more strangely, I actually shot an infrared picture of Mount Rushmore then. Not on 4×5 film, though. Still – weird!

I didn’t feel like wasting any more of our infrared sheet film on test shots, though, so I think we’re just going to wing it on our trip. I may try taking a few pictures using the red gel filter and the pinhole camera, but I think I’ll probably just stick to using the infrared sheet film in the Speed Graphic, where I can get a proper filter in place (the shot we took with Travis’ Graflex SLR with me holding the filter over the lens barely came out – I suspect extra light leaked in around the edges).

I’m looking forward to playing with the silly gel filters on vacation. I had the thought to bring my Coronet 127 stereo camera along, and shoot pictures with a different colored gel filter inside each lens.

Dr. Funkenstein

That might turn out neat. Or obnoxious! Who knows! I respooled some rolls of color infrared film, too, taking the risk that I was ruining them in the process, so I can shoot color infrared with sprocket holes and cameras other than the 35mm. I hope I didn’t ruin them. That would really suck. Oh well. Too late now!

Whirl

I also ignored the fact that to date I haven’t been too awfully thrilled with the results I’ve gotten when I’ve tried shooting redscale film, and respooled a bunch of redscale film on a whim. I also bought a few rolls of the Rollei Nightbird film, which is pre-flipped redscale film. Actually, I bought a bunch of different rolls of the new Rollei films. I’ve only ever used a roll of their CR200 120 slide film, but I thought that roll came out really well, so I bought some more of their Digibase films to do weird stuff with. The Nightbird film has a variable ISO of 580 to 800, I think, so I might try shooting that with some of the gel filters. Because I really, really want to know what happens if you shoot redscale film with a green filter. Will it all turn out brown? I want to know!!

Oh, and as a point of interest for anyone else who shoots 127 format film, Freestyle Photo is selling the Rollei Nightbird (redscale) and Crossbird (E6 film meant for cross processing, so you can develop it either E6 or C41) in 127 format, so, yay, now there is some fresh, in-date 127 color film available to purchase again. Hooray!

Well, it’s time for me to get my butt back to cutting down more of the Fuji X-ray film. I feel like I’ll never see the sunlight again.

Epiphanies!

Film chaos!

I’m getting ready to go on vacation in a few weeks, so I’m doing the annual “Drag out all the film and cameras and decide what the hell we want to take.” It takes a while, primarily because we’re shooting 620 and 127 and 4×5 film in addition to regular 120 and 35mm, so there’s a lot of respooling and such that needs to happen. I’ve got 20 rolls of 620 film respooled so far. So far! I’m also working on breaking down rolls of 220 into 120 and 620 rolls. It seems like I always find 220 film cheaper than 120, so I buy it instead, but it does require more work to use in almost all of my cameras. The one camera I have that takes 220 film? The Bronica? Yeah, I’m not taking that. It’s too big and heavy.

So, I’m working on getting the film sorted, and I’ve got the line-up of cameras that we’re thinking about taking. There’s about 10. Or maybe 12. Film cameras, anyway, we’ll also have our digital cameras and the phone cameras too. Can you say “overkill”? Because apparently I can’t.

I’m taking an 8×10 wooden pinhole camera, this one here, because we’re going out west, Way Out West, way farther than I’ve ever been before (America: It is large), and I’ll be damned if I have a camera that shoots 8×10 film and not take it with me this trip. Even if it’s big and heavy. And weighs about a bazillion pounds.

So I’ll have that pinhole camera, but I was also considering taking the 4×5 Bollywood pinhole camera, too. I was all, “Eh,” but then decided I should take some pictures with it just to be sure that I was okay leaving it at home.

I don't even know what is going on here

Nope. It’s coming with. I love that stupid camera. At least I can store it inside the big-ass 8×10 camera.

Then I had the thought that, hey, since I’ll be taking the 4×5 pinhole camera anyway, I can try shooting some of the 4×5 Kodak High Speed Infrared film I have stashed away. Large format infrared pinhole! Woot! That’s something I have tried before, but with Efke’s IR 820 film. I was using an IR 720 filter, one of the ones that is so dark that it’s basically opaque to the human eye. Anyway, a 15 minute exposure time wasn’t long enough to produce an image, and I didn’t want to waste all my large format infrared film trying, so I gave it up. But, the Kodak HIE only requires a lighter red 25 filter, and most people seem to rate it at around ASA 125-200 with the filter, so I might be okay with my regular exposure time? I’ll probably extend it by a few seconds, just to be sure. Anyway, I’ve got enough of the HIE that I can take a few test shots before I go and see what it’s doing.

But, what do I do about a filter? I ordered a couple more step rings today so that if I need to, I can always glue a step ring to the pinhole camera and screw on my regular 52mm red 25 filter. However, I remembered that a few months ago, I ordered a set of film gels (kind of like these) that I thought might come in handy for camera stuff. The gel red looks close enough to the red 25 filter, so I figured I can cut some squares of it to tape over the pinhole when I need them.

Good enough. But then, it suddenly occurred to me that I can be using these gels in my other cameras, too.

Gels

Here’s the thing – I’ve got a lot of weirdo 35mm film. However, 35mm is my least favorite format to shoot. I’ll be taking my Nikon FM2N that is outfitted with the Lensbaby lens so I can shoot weird, Lensbaby photos using stuff like color infrared film. And I can always respool 35mm onto 127 and 120 backing paper and run that through my other cameras to get sprocket hole pictures. However, if I want to shoot respooled infrared, I was stuck using my TLR cameras, since I can get filters on those lenses. I can’t get filters on the front of my Savoy, though.

The problem with shooting respooled 35mm film in a TLR is that the sprocket holes will be on the sides of the photo, instead of on the top and the bottom. I prefer to shoot respooled 35mm film in side scrolling cameras, like the Savoy. And now, I realize, I have a way to use filters in those cameras and can shoot the weird, funky infrared respooled 35mm films, too.

Hooray!

All I’ve got to do is tape a small piece of the gel filter on the inside of the camera, and I’m all set to go!

My only qualm is if the plastic cameras will be infrared proof enough to not fog the film, and frankly, there’s no way for me to know that until I try it out. I know people shoot infrared with Holgas, and I think my Savoy, at least, would block light better than one of those. I’ll just have to see what happens. My plan is to just tape small pieces of gel to the camera as needed, and then remove them when I switch rolls. Then I thought that I could work on taping all the pieces of gel back to each other like a big mosaic, and maybe make a crazy flash cover out all the different color pieces! I am insane!

Since I was messing with the filters, anyway, I had the random thought to try shooting my Nikon D40 digital camera with my super-dark IR 720 filter over it.

DSC_08831

I didn’t really expect anything, because I always had the vague notion that in order to shoot digital infrared photography, you had to disable some sort of infrared filter inside your camera. I don’t know. It never really interested me enough to find out anything about it. But, when I saw how the photos were coming out, I saw there was some potential.

Threw the picture into Photoshop, and converted it to black and white using Black and White>Lighten.

DSC_08832

How about that? It’s almost there. Some magic with the levels…

Messing with levels, yo!

…reveals the finished picture:

DSC_08833

Not too bad, considering it was shot with a digital camera. Here’s another one.

Before:

DSC_08861

After:

DSC_08862

Interestingly, the shutter speed didn’t seem to affect much. The first photo of the Dodge Dart had a one second exposure time, and the photo of the van was hand held and only had a 1/30 second exposure time. Weird. I was especially pleased with how dark the sky looked, considering that the sky was a hazy near-white when I took the photos.

I’ll probably shoot more using infrared film, but it’s nice to know that if we don’t happen to have any infrared film loaded up, that I can approximate the infrared effect with my digital camera. Here’s hoping that it doesn’t poop out on me and break during this vacation like it did last year.

Adventures in 75mm

3x4 Speed Graphic

Last summer, we picked up a couple of Speed Graphic bodies that needed lenses. One was a 4×5 Speed Graphic, so it wasn’t any big deal to pop a lens into that and make it a usable camera, but the other was a 3×4 Speed Graphic, and it was missing both lens and lensboard.

3×4 isn’t a real common film size anymore. Most people who want big negatives either deal with 120 film now, or jump up to 4×5 sheet film. However, there were a lot of nice cameras made to use 3×4 film in the first half of the last century, and it seems a shame to let those cameras go to waste. So, we purchased some 3×4 film – you can still buy it fresh from Freestyle – and started using our 3×4 cameras. Up until a few months ago, all of the Graflex SLRs we had used 3×4 film (now we have two that use 4×5), so we shot with 3×4 quite a bit.

But because 3×4 has fallen out of popularity, it can be difficult to find parts for 3×4 cameras, such as the lensboard, which we needed before we could use the Speed Graphic. I finally tracked one down from Midwest Photo. It fit the camera just fine, but unfortunately had a huge hole drilled out for the lens. I’ve got a healthy amount of misc. large format lenses stockpiled, but only one that I could fit on this lensboard.

Steinheil Munchen 75mm lens

But, it fit, so hooray! At least, hooray until I actually looked through the ground glass and tried to focus on something. Anything. And then I realized, well, crap. The lens I had put on this camera was a 75mm lens.

See, here’s the thing. Lenses are confusing. At least, they confuse me. And I’ve had this problem before – when I purchased my first Speed Graphic 4×5 camera, it was outfitted with a (different) 75mm lens. This meant that if I was focused at infinity and shot a picture, I’d get crazy heavy vignetting in the corners, like this, but worse:

Garage and van

As a comparison, the Yashicas I have that shoot 120 film are outfitted with an 80mm lens. An 80 mm lens covers an area slightly larger than a 2.25″ square when focused at infinity. So, to cover the entire film plane when focused at infinity for a sheet of 4×5 film, I need to use a bigger lens, like the 135mm lens I now have on that Speed Graphic. And to cover an entire film plane for a sheet of 3×4 film, I probably really need to use a lens around 127mm.

That being said, a smaller lens like the 75mm can be useful for macro photography. That’s what I discovered when shooting my first photos with the Speed Graphic 4×5 camera.

Ortho Domo!!

I shot that picture with Domo about an inch or so away from the camera lens.

But anyway, back to the 3×4 Speed Graphic I was working with yesterday. I had the 75mm lens installed in it, and it did look really nice, so I figured what the hell, and decided to take some test photos using orthographic film, so I could see how the camera worked. I wanted to use orthographic film instead of regular black and white film because orthographic film can be developed in paper developer in trays under a safelight, and I didn’t want to deal with getting all of my other film processing chems and equipment out. I have a bunch of Kodak Electron Image film in 3×4 size. It was originally sold for scientific purposes, but works just fine in regular cameras as long as you account for how slow it is (I’ve been rating it at ISO 12).

I loaded the film under a red safelight. However, I may have had the film just a wee bit too close to the safelight, because I got some weird fogging and such on the film. I’m going to try loading some more film in the dark and testing it again to see if I get the same effect or not. Of course, there are so many different variables at play, including the fact that my chems were probably hot since my house is hot, but I’d like to narrow it down just to make sure that the camera isn’t light leaky.

For some reason – I think because I had the camera on a tripod, and was more than a few inches away from what I was shooting – I had a really difficult time focusing. I’d get it close, but it still looked weird on the ground glass. And even though I was shooting in sunlight, because of the slow film, I had to have the aperture wide open on the lens, which decreases the depth of field. And also because of the slow film, I had to use slower shutter speeds. The shutter the lens is mounted on isn’t a bad one, but like a lot of old shutters, the slow speeds can be iffy. So, I depended on the curtain shutter inside the Speed Graphic, which, happily, is a workhorse. Here are some of the pictures shot with this camera/lens combo:

Hello!

Tiny Tiger

I made some contact prints later with the negatives. You can see I still got vignetting in the corners.

Berry

Speaking of contact prints, I made the prints using some old (1970s, I think?) FSC contact paper. It was included in the big lot of photo paper I bought off ebay a few months back, and I hadn’t tried it out until yesterday. The paper is 8×10, so I just cut it down to use on my small contact printer. The results are awesome. In photos that were actually sharp and not dreamy-blurry like the 3×4 Speed Graphic pics, I got sharp lines, bright whites, deep blacks, and a rich brown tone:

The Medalist, again

That picture was shot with a 4×5 Speed Graphic I was testing out yesterday, too. It’s one I picked up at an auction a few weeks ago. It worked better than expected, but I want to try shooting some color film through it and testing out the roll film back before it goes on Etsy.

But anyway, back to the 3×4 Speed Graphic. The first photo I shot with it was of an old Kodak Timer. When I was developing the negative, I was bummed because the negative looked all fogged and low contrasty. However, I made the contact print anyway, and I think it turned out to be my favorite photo that I shot yesterday.

Time

So, yeah, I may have fogged the film somewhat, and put the wrong size lens on the camera, but I kind of don’t care at all, because that is awesome.

Before I tested it out, I was thinking that I’d just wind up selling the 3×4 Speed Graphic – like I said, if we’re shooting 3×4 film, we’re probably using a Graflex SLR. But now, I don’t know. The 3×4 Speed Graphic with the wrong lens may have suddenly morphed into my own personal Pretentious Art Camera. It may be a keeper.

Things I’ve done lately!

Mess o' film

1. Inventoried all of our large format film. We have an embarrassingly large amount of it. However, now I am inspired to go shoot a bunch of large format photos! Also, I seriously need an 8×10 camera. I’ve been stockpiling 8×10 film whenever I can find it cheap in advance of the day when I get an 8×10 camera. I also now have a good 8×10 film holder (those are expensive!). All I need now is a camera! I’d love to get some type of crazy Ansel Adam-esque view camera, but I’m not sure how likely that is to happen. At least there’s always pinholes! I tried to construct one out of some boxes a few nights ago, but it wasn’t sturdy enough. I’ll have to build one out of wood. Mmm, power tools and sawdust…

Savoy on Indiatone

2. I’ve been making some contact prints. I own two contact printers, one that can produce prints up to 4×5, and another that does prints up to 5×7. I always think I should get rid of one, but I wind up using both, so they’re staying. It’s gotten hot outside, and I don’t have central air. In the summertime, the bathroom where I do my darkroom stuff can make me claustrophobic if I’m in it with a bunch of stuff for a long time (the enlarger, it is huge), so it’s nice to just use a contact printer and some small trays to make prints.

The photo above is a contact print from one of the shots I took using Watson, the 5×7 camera. It was shot using the Fuji X-ray film. Since I can only scan in about 1/3 of a 5×7 negative, I’ve got to make contact prints to see what the photos actually look like. What’s nice about using the X-ray film is that I can develop it in paper developer, so if I develop a batch of the X-ray film in trays, I can just leave the chems out in trays for a few hours until the negatives dry, and then make my contact prints without having to set up my darkroom stuff again.

I used some old Ansco Indiatone Kashmir White paper that expired in 1952 to make the print. It was the first time I had tried out that paper, and I really love it. It has a pebbled matte finish, and a gorgeous brown tone to it. Lush! Fortunately, I have a big box of it left.

Poisonberry Photogram

3. I also experimented some with making photograms. Photograms are made by placing an object directly onto photo paper and exposing it to light. Lumen prints are technically photograms, but are exposed with sunlight and aren’t put into developer. This photogram was made by placing some nightshade (I think) plants onto the contact printer, and then placing a sheet of Kodak Medalist paper on top of that and exposing for about 5 seconds or so.

Contact print on Studio Proof Paper

4. I’ve also been trying out some contact prints on the Kodak Studio Proof paper I have. This is the type of paper professional photographers would use to make proof prints of photos to show people. You sandwich a negative on top of the paper, expose it to sunlight, and the paper makes an image without putting it into developer. Photographers would then give these to their customers, but since the paper wasn’t fixed at all, within a few weeks, the images would fade. Sneaky, but a way to insure that people would order prints instead of just keeping the proofs.

I didn’t have any idea how long it would take for the image to develop on the paper, so the first print I did, I left in the sun for about an hour. When I took it back inside, I saw that the image had been out there for so long that part of it has solarized and made the photo look extra apocalypse-y.

I made some more prints, varying the times on them. Here’s the difference between exposing an image for 5 minutes versus 10 minutes.

5 minutes, 10 minutes

The five minute exposure is on top. The ten minute exposure is on the bottom, and you can see where it is starting to get all solarize-y. These prints were scanned in before I fixed them, and after fixing and drying, the color has changed somewhat. They’re more of a reddish brown tone instead of a bright pinky red, and the areas that solarized have mainly just turned really dark, which is kind of a bummer. Still, a useful paper, especially when I want to make quicky proofs of large format negatives without having to mix up a bunch of chems.

I was up to some more Photographic! Fun! Times! yesterday, but I’ll go ahead and do a new post for that, since this one doesn’t need to be epically long.

More adventures with RA-4

Pride

It took me a while to drag myself away from playing Dragon Age II, but I finally shoved the enlarger back into the bathroom and mixed up some fresh RA-4 chems to make color prints. This time I was going to be using a fresh pack of paper, some Fujifilm Crystal Archive Lustre paper that I got from Freestyle a few months back.

The past few times I’ve tried to make color prints have been frustrating, due to using old paper and getting odd color tints in the base. I figured this would be a test – if I couldn’t manage to get a decent print using brand new paper and fresh chems, then I must be a lost cause.

I picked the negative above for my first test. There was a white background and bright colors so that I could easily tell how accurate my guesses on the enlarger filtration were. I did some test strips until I got bored with doing that – 3 test strips per image seem to be about my limit before I finally say, “Screw it, I’m just going to go ahead and make a print,” even if I still need to adjust my filters. 4 prints later I had the print above.

It’s not bad. I could probably tweak it a little more to get a clearer white, but I was actually pretty happy with the colors I go. My main issue was the slight cyan cast and the weird cyan splotchy bits in the upper right corner.

My next print had the cyan splotchiness in the corner, too.

Krispy Kreme

I couldn’t figure out what could be causing this. Maybe a defect in the paper? I started drying out my tank more thoroughly between prints, and as an afterthought checked my rotator base for the tank. It was a little bit off level, so I adjusted it so that the tank sat perfectly level when it rotated.

Waterfall

That actually seemed to do the trick, amazingly. After I leveled out the base, I got a lot less noticeable cyan weirdness on my prints. Hooray!

Anyway, I’ve been experimenting making prints with all sorts of negatives. The Krispy Kreme picture is from a cross processed negative. The waterfall pic is from a newly shot roll of way expired color negative film. Then I remembered there was something I had wanted to try, and dug out that reclaimed Polaroid negative I had salvaged from the goop of a Fuji FP-100C peel-apart photo. The negative looks like this:

My first Peel-Apart negative!

And one of the enlargements of that negative turned out like this:

David's Van

Weird! And awesome!

I made several enlargements of the leaf photo shot with the Graflex SLR:

Leaves

Including one with the texture fabric over it. Not too keen on how this turned out, but it was interesting to see how the texture worked on a color photo.

Leaves with filter

It continues to amaze me how good these prints look “in real life,” you know, as opposed to scanned in on a computer screen. The detail and sharpness in the leaf print is pretty impressive. That was shot using 3×4 film, so I was working with a pretty huge negative. The detail is kind of phenomenal.

Travis went through some of our old photos from about 10 years ago, and picked out a 35mm negative that we had developed at Walmart or CVS or some place like that. We decided to try enlarging that to see how close we came to the actual photo we got developed back then.

Toby and trees

We came pretty close. Ours is a little more yellow and not quite as blue, but the aspen trunks are white and Toby is red, so that’s all I really cared about.

It was pretty refreshing to be working with paper that actually reacted the way it should. I made a bunch more prints that I haven’t scanned in yet, and some are even successful enough that I’m probably going to put them up in the shop. I know! Bold move! I just need to make sure I can ship prints safely without them getting all bent up. I’ll probably have to cut up chunks of cardboard for protection. I can haz box cutter?

One of the things I tried today that came out absolutely stunning was when I enlarged a black and white negative onto color paper. So, stay tuned for when I get pics uploaded of that goodness (or, just check out the shop tomorrow, because when I pulled the print out of the tank, I was all, “Oh hey! This may actually be art!” Surprise!).

Now that I kind of know what I’m doing with the color printing, I’m having a great time with it. I actually like it better than black and white printing, at least for right now. The whole process is so fast, and the amount of variables is huge, in a good way. For example, I exposed two prints exactly the same, same negative, same filtration, same time, etc, and they came out different. Why? I guess because the temps of my chems wasn’t stable, and I had to develop my prints for slightly different times. But that kind of stuff doesn’t bug me, I just accept it and welcome it as Darkroom Magic. I really like the process of making a print, and then tweaking it slightly – bumping up a filter by 5, or slightly shortening the development time, stuff like that, and then assessing the different results.

Tomorrow I’m going to try two different, older papers. One is just regular RA-4 paper, but 11×14. The other is 8×10 Fujichrome paper, which is supposed to be used for making prints from slides. It uses different chems and a different process than RA-4. That process is called R-3, and looks really similar to how slide film is developed – there’s a first developer, and then the paper is exposed to light, and then there is a color developer and blix step after that. My theory is that if slide film can be cross processed in color negative chemicals, then maybe positive paper can be cross processed in color paper chems. Maybe? Surely someone has tried this, but I couldn’t really find any info about it, so I’m just going to give it a go myself. If nothing else, I would think the Fujichrome paper could potentially be processed by developing in black and white paper first, then exposing to light, and then finished up by doing an RA-4 process. If the cross processing in RA-4 chems doesn’t work, I’ll have to try that.

Tiny lith!

Flowers

I’m just going to take a wild guess here and assume that I’m not the only person who has been extremely distracted this past week. I’ve been glued to the news, and even though I felt like doing something photograph-y, I didn’t want to commit to being locked inside the darkroom for hours. The solution? Velite!

I’ve talked about my obsessive love for Kodak Velite before (for example, here), but to recap – it’s paper that can be used in regular room lighting. Weird! Yet awesome, because you don’t have to be cooped up in a darkroom.

I hadn’t tried lithing Velite yet, but Velox, which is a close relative of Velite, lithed, so I figured Velite probably would, too. Travis and I set up the little tin Kodak contact printer in the kitchen, and got our trays of chems ready.

Crates

We would make a contact print with the Velite and develop it in regular print developer, and then extrapolated the exposure time for the lith print (we wound up normally doubling or tripling the regular exposure for the lith).

Nickels Bakery

It worked pretty well, and it was nice to have the direct comparisons of how the prints looked lithed and unlithed. It was also nice to be working with lith prints in regular room lighting, since it was a lot easier to see the prints develop and decide when to throw them into the stop bath.

Ansco Cadet

So, anyway, Velite! Lith! Yay!

Velite prints

Since the Velite is so slow, I think the possibility of finding any Velite that has been fogged due to light exposure is pretty much slim to none. So, I encourage you to seek out and experiment with this paper, because it is so fun! Tiny (the only Velite I’ve come across is 2.25″ x 3.25″), but fun. In fact, here’s an auction on ebay that looks like it comes with some Velite, along with some other vintage photo paper, too. I don’t have any connection to the seller or anything, but thought maybe some of you out there (hello?) might be interested. Actually, I was going to go ahead and buy this for myself, but I think I’m doing pretty good on photo paper right now, because this just came in the mail for me today:

Stack o' paper

Also, this:

Brovira-rific

And this:

Argenta!

Yes. It’s an embarrassingly huge amount of photo paper. I have shame! But, I’m also excited! Especially about the paper in that last photo. All that stuff in the blue packages is some obscure photo paper called Argenta. Apparently, it’s photo paper with a colored based instead of white, and some of the paper also has a metallic colored base. So, that could potentially be awesome. It could potentially be a huge FAIL, too, but we’ll see. I figure I can try doing regular prints, lith prints, and lumen prints out of them. Surely, one of those work, right? We’ll see!