The Exposed pinhole camera’s last dance.

Yep, I’m going to gut it.

Exposed Pinhole Camera

I know, I know, it looks so sweet and innocent here, but it’s time for me to put the knife to it. Don’t worry, though – I’m sure I’ll use the pinhole again in another camera. Think of it like it’s an organ donor! Because of the sacrifice of this camera, another may live.

I’m going to tear it apart for a few reasons: 1. I’m just not all that impressed with the pics I’ve gotten out of it. The new Bollywood camera is more distorty (although still not where I want it to be), and is less bulky, so for right now I’m going to stick with that for my 4×5 pinhole needs. 2. I got some wicked light leaks on some of the pics I’ve taken with it – I suspect that’s because of the back cover I used, but it could also be from some other weirdness, so I need to work that out. And 3. I’m lazy. I have an idea to build a new camera that I can use my Lensbaby lenses in, and repurposing the body of this camera will save me time.

But I’ve come here not to dissect the Exposed pinhole camera, but rather to celebrate it! I finally did my uber E6 film developing bonanza, and got the rest of the Colorado vacation 4×5 slides developed. They were almost all light leaky, some in hilariously bad and new ways, like in this picture:

Things went horribly, horribly wrong

Wow. How about that red band of doom? Here’s another good one:

Arches, with light leaks

Some light leaks were of the more traditional variety:

More at Arches

(No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get a decent color pinhole shot of this to save my life.)

And some light leaks took on the size and shape of a destructive maelstrom of light and air, about to rain down chaos upon the residents of the valley:

Lightnado over Grand Valley

Of course, not all of the FAIL was due to light leaks. As always, there’s plenty of FAIL to spread around. Here’s a brilliant picture, shot on a mountain above 10,000 feet, possibly in the rain.

Rocky Mountain wind

That’s where my previously brilliant plan of eschewing tripods in favor of just propping up the camera with a nearby rock failed me.

Oh, and here’s another piece of art:

So, that's what happens...

Not only is it blurry (I don’t need no stinkin’ tripod! Oh… wait…), but that dark streak along the left edge is due to me not properly filling the tank with the required amount of E6 developer, realizing that halfway through the first developing step, and then hastily pouring some more in. So that are wound up kind of developed. Sort of. Maybe.

Oh, and should I mention the odd magenta hue the photos have? I think I should. I was shooting these pictures on Kodak Ektachrome 100 Plus (EPP) film that expired in October 2006. The film was very cheap (4×5 slide film is normally crazy expensive), and I’m pretty okay with weird color casts, so I’m not all, “KHAAAAAAANN!!” about the magenta-ness, but it is present. I adjusted some of the above photos’ colors, but you can really see the difference here:


The pic on the top is the scan without any correction, and the picture on the bottom is how it looked adjusting for reality. So, yeah, a lot of magenta. Not too crazy about the magenta. Fortunately, though, I have just one sheet of the EPP left, and then I can move on to better things. I currently have a small stockpile of 4×5 film to play with: two mostly full boxes of Kodak EDUPE (expired 3-2004), and a full box (50 sheets) each of Fuji Velvia 100 (expired 6-2007) and Kodak E100G (expired 3-2006). I’ve had nothing but good experience with the E100G, both developed as a slide and cross-processed, and I hesitantly like the Velvia (I developed a few 120 rolls of it, and it seems to be a little tricky to get the exposure right, but the colors are great). The EDUPE stuff is weird, worthy of its own post, so I’ll go into that some other time.

But back to this batch of film – despite the light leaks, the mysterious red streaks, the developing funkiness, and the shaky-cam pictures, I did manage (through the magic of cropping and color adjusting) to get a few pics that I did really like.


Fence with flare


And I don’t know what the hell happened with this picture, but I like it anyway:


Coming up – more goodness with E6 developing!

A new pinhole camera

About a week ago, I made another new foamcore 4×5 pinhole camera:

The new Bollywood Pinhole camera

I’m calling it the Bollywood pinhole camera, due to the paint and the bling. I wanted to bling it out more, but was afraid that I would have problems with bling flying off whenever I removed rubberbands holding the film holder in place.

Actually, I barely need to use rubberbands, since the film holder fits so snug.

Back of the Bollywood pinhole camera

I haven’t been using a back cover for it, either, although I might fashion one. Some of the pictures look as if they’re a little light leaky.

I made this camera to replace the Exposed Pinhole camera, which, although functional, wasn’t as pinhole-y as I liked. The focal length was too long, so all of the pictures just turned out looking kind of normal. I intended on making the Bollywood pinhole really wide angle, but screwed up my measurements and wound up with a focal length of about 46mm. So, better than the Exposed pinhole, but not really amazingly distorted.

Mr. Pinhole said I should use a pinhole of .286mm, but that’s smaller than any of the drill bits we have, so I just winged it. Whatever pinhole I’m using is smaller than .34mm (that’s our smallest drill bit), but I didn’t feel like scanning it in and trying to measure it. I’m lazy. I just kind of assumed it was around .28mm, which would make the fStop f164, but after seeing the results of the pics I took, it may be even smaller. So, I think I underexposed everything a bit, which is a nice change from overexposing everything, which is what I typically do.

Of course I went and shot a bunch of pics with this camera before I tried developing any of them, including about 10 or 12 at Franklin Park Conservatory using slide film. Hey, it’s only 4×5 color reversal sheet film! No big deal! [sobs]. At least with the slide film, I’ll be able to tell for certain about the light leaks and underexposure.

Hey!  It's me!

So, after shooting a bucket full of 4×5 film with the brand new camera, I developed some of it yesterday. My first round of developing was using the Arista print developer for the photo paper and the ortho lith film. Here’s a 20 second exposure with the ortho lith film in the Bollywood:

Dodge Dart

I may suck at developing, but I rock at making pinholes. Look how sharp the details are! Maybe some of that is due to the choice of film, but damn! Shiny!

After I got done with the print developer, I mixed up some HC110b from syrup and developed the regular black and white film. I didn’t have much of it. I had a roll of old Ilford Pan F that I exposed in the Pindiana camera. The negatives were wonderfully contrasty, but unfortunately, I didn’t really like anything on the roll. Except for this picture, which turned out okay.

Drive by pinholing

I tried developing an old roll of instamatic Kodacolor II that expired in 1976 in the HC110b with the thought that maybe I could recover some images in the black and white developer, but no go. The negatives came out basically opaque. This was from the same lot of 126 film I was bitching about earlier that I tried developing in the color chems, and nothing came out. I think I still have a few unshot rolls from the lot. I may just try cracking the 126 plastic cases open in daylight (so I can, hopefully, be careful and not shatter them all to hell), extract the film, pitch it, and then use the case and backing paper to respool 35mm onto it. I like the wacky square images of 126 film, and I hate to have 47 million instamatic cameras not being used for anything.

Besides those two rolls, the only other film I developed was some Tmax 100 I shot in the Bollywood pinhole. This was a 4 second exposure:

More van!

Still a bit dark, isn’t it? And it looks like a little light leak-y along the one side. Not too bad, though. Here’s a windmill:


I cropped this one, but if you go to the large size of it, you can see there’s a line of developer bubbles along the top edge. I did tank developing for this batch, and it seemed to go a lot better than the tray developing, but when I use my small tank (with the cracked lid), I need to remember to switch out lids. Or just use the swirly kind of agitation rather than doing inversions. I think I lose too much developer and add too much air (creating the bubbles) when I do inversions.

Two other things I developed yesterday – one is a sheet of ortho lith film I shot using an anamorphic pinhole camera. I used a tube that had held pumpkin spice cookies as my camera, with the pinhole in the lid.

1st go at an anamorphic pinhole shot

Crappy photo, but neat effect. I just need to aim it at something else. This was a 25 second exposure.

The other thing is a piece of 5×7 photo paper I used in my DeCecco Pasta tin pinhole camera. Focal length is 64mm, pinhole is .3429mm, fStop is f190, exposure was 2 minutes, which actually turned out to be about perfect.

Pasta tin pinhole

Yesterday’s paper developing went a lot better than it had previously. Not only did I process it in a tank instead of a tray, but I also tried warming up the developer a little bit. I still have a sheet of 8×10 I need to develop, though – will have to get out the trays for that, unfortunately.

I’m planning on starting to do my shitload of E6 developing sometime this week. I still have all of the 4×5 pinhole shots I took on vacation last fall, the batch of 4x5s I took at the conservatory on Friday, and about 5 or 6 random rolls of 120 I need to develop. I’m going to use my big ass sheet film tank for the 4×5.

Film Tank

Using this is a pain in the butt, because it requires 1500ml of fluid, which is a lot more developer than I normally mix up at once. Also, I can’t do inversions with it, so I wind up just swirling everything around and making a colossal mess. It’s pretty nervewracking.

So, hey, here’s a funny thing. Since I was going to write about doing the E6 developing, I went and got the instruction sheet from the last time I did it to look over it. And in doing so, I realized that I had done the developing completely wrong the last time I developed slide film. Whoops! Also, one more bit of proof that I’m the Worst Developer in the World. Apparently, you’re supposed to wash the film between the first developer and the color developer, and also between the color developer and the Blix. Yeah. I didn’t do that. At all. In the end, I’m not sure how much that mattered. I mean, I did get results last time.

Jefferson Memorial at night

Still, though, the whole rinsing thing might increase how long the chems will be useable. And I still never tried the thing I wanted to with the E6 developing, namely, replacing the first developer with black and white developer to see what happens. I may try that this time, after I develop all of the E6 stuff that I care about. The instructions (which I clearly didn’t read thoroughly enough last time) state that when you reuse the E6 chems, you need to add time to the first developer to compensate for that weakening, but that the color developer and the Blix don’t weaken with reuse. So, if I can just replace the first developer with, say, HC110b, I should be able to reuse my slide chems like woah.

Also want to try developing E2 film with cold E6 chems to see if that works. I don’t think I ever tried cross processing C41 film into E6 chems, either. Hopefully, since I’ll be mixing up such a big batch of chems this time and using the big sheet film tank and the taller Patterson tank, I can get through the developing faster.

Developing more film, la!

Here’s a miscellany of developing updates.

The 116 film actually worked! Holy crap! Granted, you could barely see anything on the negatives, and the film scanned in with some crazy color shifts and was fogged, but it’s all good.

Scenes from the Nightmare Carousel

I shot some Kodak black and white Portra that’s meant to be developed in C-41 chems, and actually wound up liking it quite a bit more than I had anticipated.

Grainy Lincoln

Developed the roll of expired E100G slide film that I shot in the Savoy in color chems, and fell in complete love with this picture:

Fuzzy ducklings

One of the things I developed but haven’t uploaded anything to Flickr was a roll of redscale 35mm that I shot in a pinhole camera. The scans of the negatives really seem grainy (not in a good way) and dusty, and I’m just meh about them. Redscale. Whatever. I think that’s a technique that I’m glad I tried once, but probably won’t go back to it (unless by accident).

After I got my color processing done, I busted out the Adox ATM 49 developer to try that for the first time. I bought it since I got a few rolls of Adox CHS Art 25 film from Freestyle. I only shot one roll, but it turns out the developer conveniently comes separated into two batches of chems, and can be used for processing other black and white film, too.

I had two big FAILs regarding the black and white rolls. The first came with a roll of Efke infrared 127 film. I had tried to rig a good infrared filter to use for that, but I think I just succeeded in making an absolutely opaque piece of glass instead. The entire roll turned out blank except for the frame numbers. I wasn’t too bummed by that, since I was guessing that it probably wouldn’t work.

The other FAIL involves a roll of Fomapan R100 film. That’s black and white reversal film, which I had never played with before. It sounded cool, so I ordered it from Freestyle and shot it in DC. However, after I got back, I realized that you’re supposed to send it in to have it processed, since it takes some magical processing chems I don’t have access to. Well, screw. I decided against sending it in and paying money to have it processed and thought I’d just have a go at developing it in regular black and white chems. I knew I wouldn’t get slides, but I thought I’d get something.

The film came out really dense and grainy, which was disappointing. I didn’t expect the negatives to have the dark orange hue that they did. Actually, when I saw how the negatives came out, I wondered if I would have been better off waiting to develop that roll in E6 chems. I’m not sure if I have any more of this or if I just bought the one roll, but if I do, I think that’s what I’ll try.

Everything else came out decent, though. Here’s a couple of shots using the Adox 25. These were shot using the Canon AE-1 and a yellow filter.


From behind

I also followed through on my 116 pinhole camera attempt. I converted the Kodak Autographic 2A into a pinhole camera and shot a roll of old, funky Ilford Pan F in it. The pinhole worked great, but the camera had some serious light leakage.


No worries, though. Now I’m thinking about just removing the front part of the camera and attaching it to a box that I can use 4×5 sheet film holders in. I just need to get up the motivation to build said box and the nerve to tear apart a beautiful, but light leaky, old camera. It’s scary!

The black and white roll of film I was happiest about happened to be the roll of Orwo NP22 film I shot in the Yashica C. It turned out fantastic! I think the film expired in the early 80s, and I had no idea how it had been stored (I got it off ebay), but it wound up having a really neat crackling effect to it.

Phoenix Recycling

And, of course, the Yashica is just always awesome.


So, now I’m trying to decide if I want to mix up a batch of E-6 chems and give that a go. I think I may try it in a few days. I’ve got 5 rolls of slide film shot, but I figured I may as well try developing some other stuff in it, because why the hell not? Specifically, I thought I’d try a roll of C-41 (backwards crossprocessing!) and maybe shoot some 4×5 black and white sheet film to see what happens to black in white film in E-6. I also have some old rolls of film – Kodacolor, some E-2 film, probably some Triple Print crap. I figured I can try some really long, room temperature processing of that stuff to see if anything comes out. I was planning on trying developing the E-2 stuff using Moominsean’s method, but I’ve got multiple rolls of E-2 film, so if doing it in E-6 doesn’t work, I’ll try his way next time. I was going to do some of the older Kodacolor and Triple Print stuff in the C-41 chems, but it slipped my mind. So now I’ll try cross processing them. I just figure if I take the attitude that it’s probably not going to work anyway, if I do manage to get an image, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

I’ve got a bunch of new film recently, too.


I’m most excited about the roll of 70mm Konica. I’m going to use that to respool rolls of 116 film. Yay! Picked up a lot of old (circa 1990s) C-41 film. Most of it (and the Ektachrome) is 220, though, so I’ll have to cut it down. I keep meaning to load a roll of 220 into the Yashica and see if I can reset the fram numbers in the middle of the roll. That would save me a lot of time.

I’m awash in 120/220 color film right now, actually, which means that I think I’m going to start using up my stash of Portra 160 NC (i.e., the most boring film known to man) as black and white film. The one time I developed it in black and white chems I thought it came out great.

The garage next door

Now that I think about it, what I need to do before I mix up the E-6 chems is to shoot some Portra NC so I can cross process it. Maybe it does something really outstanding as a slide. I kind of doubt it, but there’s always a shot.

Dingo ate my film!

Bela says, "Screw this crappy picture with this crappy camera.  I'm outtie."

Last night, whilst perusing the eBay (as I am wont to do), I found an auction up for about 8 or so old, exposed rolls of film from Australia. Travis and I both thought that developing old Australian film sounded like it had the potential for awesomeness, so I bid on it. I think my max bid was Aus. $20 (which I think was about US $14), and international shipping was about the same amount. The auction was up at 6:00 am or so, and when I went to bed, I was the highest bidder.

I woke up to find out that the auction was cancelled about 2 hours before it would have been up. I was still the high bidder at that point. Travis’ theory was that the guy canceled the auction because he didn’t want to ship to the US. So, I looked at the reason why it was canceled, and the reason given was that the items had been stolen. 8 rolls of old-ass film. Stolen. Two hours before the auction would be over.

Remarkably, none of the seller’s other 50 or so auctions that are currently still up on eBay right now were affected by the outbreak of Australian thievery. So, I say this to eBay vendors – if you don’t want to ship internationally, then don’t do it. If you’re not 100% positive that you’re willing to sell items online, then don’t make them available. And, if you’re going to back out of an auction for whatever reason, at least make your bullshit excuse something believable. Things in the realm of believability: “Dog (or dingo) ate the film.” “Film accidentally fell into trash.” “Film ruined by enthusiastic small child.” “Film, specifically, stolen?” Not so much.

In other news, my color chems are toast. I have a few theories on what killed them. One is that maybe something in one of the older films I tried to develop funked up the chems, but my primary theory is that I simply got the Blix and the Developer mixed up, put the wrong caps on the bottles, and contaminated the developer by pouring it in after the Blix. Oh well. Still got quite a few more rolls of film developed that the kits recommends, so I’m not bitter. It’s going to be black and white developing for me for a while, though, until I place another Freestyle order.

When I do place that order, one of the things I’m going to get is an E-6 processing kit. I haven’t really seen much in the way of C-41 pics developed in E-6 chems, although I read a comment on Flickr that said that they come out much more subdued and low-contrast compared to how the E-6 on C-41 comes out. Still want to try it, though. I printed out the directions for the E-6 kit and was looking at them today, and notice that the E-6 processing involves a “First Developer,” “Color Developer,” and Blix. And the instructions also note that the First Developer is weak, and is the chem whose time is going to have to be adjusted with reuse. So, my immediate thought was, “Hmm. Wonder what happens if you replace the First Developer with regular black and white developer?” Don’t know what happens, but I want to find out.

Since my color chems are shot, I’m going to be doing black and white developing for the immediate future. I happen to have a huge stockpile of color film, though, so I’m going to try developing color negs in black and white chems. Maybe I can use up some of that damn Portra. Actually, yesterday I cut a length of Portra 220 and taped it to some 116 backing paper and loaded it into my Agfa Shur Shot (because you can’t, you won’t, and you don’t stop). Panorama, baby!

I want to try out that camera tomorrow, and also try out my new camera, the Rolleicord II.

Rolleicord II

Just got this today, and it seems to be working okay, although it’s quite confusing. The film advance locking mechanism intimidates me, and you have to cock the shutter, like a gun, before you take a picture. I’ve taken two pics today, but just inside the house, and mainly more to see if it was advancing the film okay.

It’s loaded with some of the Magic Ilford Pan F, from the antique store haul back in August. It’s become a little bit of a tradition with me to try out a new camera with a roll of this film. Why? Because I had 26 rolls of it, and the film is of dubious quality. Sometimes I get results like this:

Depth of Field

And sometimes I get results like the photo at the top of this post. That’s from a roll of Ilford Pan F that I had loaded into an old Brownie box camera. It’s actually a No. 2 Cartridge Hawk-Eye Model C, but just picture any generic Brownie box camera from circa 1918, and that’s pretty much it. I loaded this camera with film this summer, managed to take 4 pictures, and then couldn’t cope with it any more and set it aside. I can’t remember exactly why I was so adverse to this camera, but apparently my ill will seeped into the film, because the four pics I took all came out like ass. And not good ass. Sad, sorry ass. Here’s the best of the lot:


I gave this camera to Travis last week, and he finished up the roll. His pictures came out far better. The backing paper imprints were nowhere near as dark. He took his photos on a very foggy morning, whereas I think I took mine in the late afternoon of a hot summer day, so maybe that had something to do with it? Crazy film.