More adventures of the Bollywood Pinhole camera

Cactus and palm

Finally got around to posting the slide pics I shot with the Bollywood pinhole. As expected, I underexposed most of these – not as much as I had anticipated, but enough to warrant some color correction in Photoshop.

Pointy bits

I get more distortion with it than with the Exposed pinhole camera, but still nothing really weird, not unless I’m right up against what I’m shooting.

One headlight

I mean, this is kind of neat, but this?

There's trouble at the mill!

Is kind of generic. Although I do like, for once, the purpley tones of the EPP film, and the slight softness of focus.

I should have made this camera with a shorter focal length. The problem with the sort focal lengths is that the camera will be more unstable, even when using a tripod. I may have to make the next one out of wood – that may help.

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.

Getting better

More adventures in photographic paper!

Today I packed up a bag with a bunch of cameras and trekked across the tundra next door to me to take some pictures. I had 3 pinhole cameras that I had made out of tins, the Pindiana camera, and some other misc. cameras. Took pics with the photo paper and using the ortho lith film, and then headed back to see what I could do with them.

For a change, and to see if it was possible, I set up a darkroom in the bathroom and poured my chems into trays. Yes, trays! Not tanks! I am rocking it, tray style. I can’t get a 100% light tight seal in my bathroom, but I figured, what the heck, why not try it? And since I shot a piece of 8×10 paper, I had to tray develop it, since I don’t have a tank big enough.

My tin photo paper negatives came out okay. Everything I developed today seemed like it was really low contrast. I made some heinous developing mistakes, namely, letting the photo paper float on top of the developer instead of being submersed in it. But it was dark, and I couldn’t see (I don’t have a good location for the safelight in the bathroom, so it was sitting on the floor next to the toilet. That’s how classy I am). Anyway, here’s some of the pinhole pictures. I adjusted the levels in Photoshop to compensate for the low contrastiness.

This is from a pasta tin, and I moved the camera after I opened up the pinhole. Whoops.

David's van, with developing weirdness!

Do you like the big developer blob at the bottom? Really, that’s an embarrassingly bad picture. I’d like to just learn from it and move on with my life.

The picture from the short and stout teddy bear cookie tin turned out slightly better:

David's shack

I like the distortion on this one, I just need to develop it better.

I used one of the pinhole clusters that Travis drilled out for me the other day for the 8×10 Japanese biscuit tin camera. It was 5 tiny pinholes really close together. I wanted a zone plate-ish look, but the end result just looks sloppy to me, not wonderfully soft.

So, I tried something new.

So, I’ll just replace the pinhole cluster with a .5mm pinhole instead. No worries.

I also took a few pictures with the ortho lith film. One was taken with the Exposed pinhole camera, and the other with my new Ibsor camera. The Ibsor pic didn’t come out. I think it was a developing fail. And maybe too long of an exposure. I don’t know. Let’s not talk about it anymore. The shot with the Exposed camera, a 45 second exposure on an overcast, but bright snowy day, actually came out quite well.

David's garage

Well, the part of the film that made it into the developer came out really well, anyway. I cropped the blank part of the film out. I developed the ortho film in the paper developer, and it seemed to go just fine.

After I developed the pinhole pics, I turned to trying to make contact prints again. Following wheehamx‘s advice, I got a 15 watt frosted bulb and stuck it in a clip light, clipped it to my shower curtain, and shone it at the ceiling. Then I was able to do a test strip in 2 second increments, and what do you know? I actually got shades of gray this time! Woot!

Pinhole flowers

That’s a pretty accurate representation of what the contact print looked like, in terms of contrast. It’s just doesn’t have the punch that I want. The black isn’t black enough.

Infrared print

It could be a couple of different things. I’m sure my temps are too low on my developer by a few degrees, so that could be it. Or, it’s possible enough light was getting in through cracks in bathroom door to fog the paper.

Either way, my plan for the next round of paper developing is to go back to doing it in a tank. Also, I’m going to throw in a little more of the paper developer concentrate, as apparently that can alter your contrast.

I know one thing, though – I’m getting really sick of taking pictures of snow.

In which I find a use for junk

My dining room table is covered with camera junk, so I tried organizing it today. Now I have 4 medium sized bins with organized camera junk in them. So, I’ll have to find a spot for the bins to live. It’s a never ending battle. And the dining room table is still covered in camera junk!

Anyway, finally got up the nerve to detach the face of the Autographic 2A from the bellows. I had to tell myself that the main body of the camera was trashed, and that I was giving new life to the parts that still functioned correctly. It was still a little nerve wracking, though. I looked for a simple way to remove the face from the bellows, but if there was one, I couldn’t find it. I finally just wound up cutting the front of the bellows around the back of the face with an Exacto knife. Not exactly elegant, but it worked.

I was happy with the pinhole I made when I tried out the 2A earlier this week, but I wasn’t happy with how it looked. I basically made my pinhole in the center of an aluminum circle, and used electrical tape to tape it to the front of the shutter mechanism, therefore covering up everything that made it look awesome to begin with. I tried to figure out a better, more attractive solution today, and came across a box of broken watch parts Travis had picked up at an antique store a while ago. There’s all sorts of tiny gears and springs in there, and, more importantly, watch faces of a bunch of different sizes. What I did was cut my aluminum circle down and then taped it firmly to the back of a watch face (electrical tape, again, that stuff is my crack), making sure I centered up the pinhole with the center hole of the face. Then I superglued that to the ring the lens screwed into in front of the shutter.

Time to make a pinhole camera!

The shutter is about 1/4 inch behind the watch face, so it still operates smoothly. I had a bit of a light leak, but I think I managed to fix that by wrapping some cord in electrical tape and shoving that in the cracks. It looked light tight to me after I did that, but I guess I won’t know until I do a test run.

I still need to make the basic box, of course. I was originally thinking about constructing it out of black foamcore, and then wrapping the entire box with chunks of 120 backing paper. Decoupage would have been involved. I like this idea because I have a ton of backing papers saved up (I can never bring myself to throw them away unless they get torn) and I think it would look cool, but also because the backing papers would hopefully make it even more light tight. However, I think I may save that idea for another pinhole camera. I don’t really want to take anything away from the old 2A face, so I may make the outside of it out of birch plywood of something like that. Something simple. I’ll have to see what scraps I have in the garage. The inside will probably still be made out of the black foamcore, though.

I think I’m going to go make it about 2 1/2-3″ deep. I’d rather have aswide of an angle as possible, but I’m still afraid of getting a bunch of vignetting in the pictures. 3″ should work.

Randomly, here’s another picture from the Mad Developing Spree. This was taken with the Savoy and shows off the weird distortion of this camera. I heart it.

Bent World

C-41 funfest!

Well, I spent about 8 hours over 2 days developing 21 rolls of film. A pretty good haul, I think. My developer is exhausted – I tried developing a sample of something today and it just pooped out on me. Kind of weird considering I had just used it yesterday, but whatever. I was using a Unicolor powder C-41 kit from Freestyle that I had divided into thirds. I’m pretty happy with a 21 roll yield from 666 ml of developer.

I only have a few more rolls of stuff to scan in, since that’s all I’ve done yesterday and today. More than half was 35mm. That was kind of weird, since normally I work with larger format films, but it did allow me to cut down some of the processing time.

Didn’t really have any big developing fails. Some of the 120 film from the second day looks a little weird along the top edge (I think that’s when my developer started going rogue). Almost ruined a bunch of Lomo X-pro 35mm film from a pinhole camera, but I wound up only screwing up a few frames. My biggest catastrophe was my poor judgment in choosing to use the only roll of Kodacolor 116 film I had in a night shoot with a dubious camera. That kind of sucks. I haven’t even tried scanning it in yet, but it looks like there’s maybe one frame where I’ll be able to see something besides darkness. Oh well. That’s what I get for not wanting to walk around all day in DC with a 116 box camera.

But, that was the worst thing I came across, so it’s all good. I’ve onlyuploaded a little bit to Flickr so far. Here are some of the highlights.

I made 5 35mm matchbox pinhole cameras before we went to DC. I didn’t wind up using them all, and some like this one, I didn’t wind up using about 2/3 of the roll of film. It was a roll of 36 exposures, and I was shooting small square frames, so I guess the film got bound up momentarily, and I figured the roll was over. So that kind of sucks that I wasted so much film, since the exposures I got were pretty nifty.


Again at Arlington

Thinking of Jefferson

The above film was some Lomo brand X-pro 100 speed 35mm. I got it off Adorama on a whim. It was okay. The color shift wasn’t as crazy as I had expected.

I had one lonely roll of Kodak 400VC film (probably expired), so I brought that to DC, too, to try out. After I saw the results of it, I fell in love. If only I had a million rolls of this hanging out in my fridge instead of stupid Porta 160NC. 😛


Red flower

Here’s a double exposure. It’s pretty trippy.

Double exposure

The other roll of film that I’ve got some pics up from is a roll of the Portra 160NC that I cut down and respooled onto 127 backing paper. I shot it using a really rough Hawkeye Flashfun that I picked up in Medina 1. Because it was only $1 and had a roll of film inside, and 2. Because it was pink. Now, I don’t know if it’s something to do with the way I respooled the film, or just the way this junky camera works, but it would lose tension periodically through the roll and the film would kind of unwind. Who knows the heck why? Anyway, it was serendipitous, because I got some diptychs like these:

Bela Flying Diptych

Bridge Diptych

Good stuff. Also got this freaky tree pic:


Got a bunch more to put online, including one I just scanned in from the Savoy that be one of my favorite pictures ever. I love that little camera!

Hey, all those dozens of rolls of shot film I have? I should do something with those!

Been a while. Honestly, haven’t been doing much with the photography stuff recently, due to other distractions (the evil combination of wanting to exercise and cooking). However, Travis and I are thinking that we’re going to take our big fall vacation in Colorado, so I need to get my photographic act together. The last time we were out west was 2000, so just in case it’s another 9 years before we make it back out there, I want to take as many pics as possible.

But first, you know, I should really develop some of the twelve tons of film I’ve had hanging around from our DC trip. Oops. So, my plan was to get a bunch of food cooked in advance, clean the kitchen, and then start my uber developing marathon tomorrow. Unfortunately, I think I may be dead tired tomorrow due to all of the cooking today (FAIL!), so I may actually not start developing until Wednesday. I don’t know. It’s going to happen this week, though. My plan is to start with the color chemicals, and keep going until either I run out of film or my chemistry exhausts, then go to black and white, and finally, after I’ve gotten back in the swing of things, attempt E-6 processing for the first time.

I’m also trying to figure out what I want to do as far as having a 4×5 pinhole camera to use on vacation. Before I went to DC, I made a tiny flotilla of 35mm matchbox pinhole cameras, and those turned out to be really fun to use. Of course, I have no idea if any of the pics turned out, because I haven’t developed them yet (FAIL X 2!), but they were fun to use. Anyway, I’m trying to figure out something where I can have use some of my tons of 4×5 sheet film. Ideally, it would be not only easy to use, but be small enough to fit into my dark bag, and have compartments for unexposed and exposed film. So, I’ve been mulling that over. My original plan was to try and make something out of the boxes Fuji peel-apart film comes in. Then Travis suggested just using the Hannakube, but I would have to be able to identify which compartment holds what film both in the dark and after the lid is put back on. Also, I haven’t tried sticking the Hannakube in the dark bag yet, so I’m not sure how well I would be able to get the lid off and on in that.

So, yeah, I’m not sure what the solution to that is yet. Freestyle has a pretty big variety of pinhole cameras available, but it kind of seems like a cheat to just go ahead and buy one. I was looking at this one, and thinking that I could modify it to make it a wider angle camera, but also add on my film compartments to it as well. I know it’s basically just a $73 wooden box, so I’m a little hesitant to spend the money.

I can always make more matchbox pinhole cameras for 35mm film, but I would also like to have an option to use 120 film in a pinhole. My Uniflex pinhole camera was nothing but FAIL, but I like the idea of modifying an existing 120 camera – mainly so I don’t have to mess with making a film advance. Also, if I could figure out how to use the existing shutter, that would be rockin’ like Dokken. Anyway, I may have stumbled onto an easy fix quite by accident.

I have two old, old Kodak Brownies (circa 1910’s) – the kind with the bellows. One shoots 120 film and actually works quite well, the other shoots 116 and is pretty junky. The shutter mechanism and the bellows are still in good shape, though, on the 116. I was messing with it yesterday and realized the two lenses just plain unscrew.

Lenseless Brownie

Oh, George Eastman, how fricking clever are you?! So, in theory, all one has to do to convert one of these cameras into a pinhole would just be to unscrew the lenses and tape a pinhole over it. I could still use the same shutter mechanism, and wouldn’t have to permanently damage the camera at all. And since the bellows is movable, I could actually have a telephoto or a wide angle pinhole camera.

Autographic profile

Travis did raise the possibility that a wide angle picture (with the front of the camera barely extended) would include the bottom track in the photo, but the only way to know that is to experiment with it and find out the farthest I could retract the bellows and still get a decent picture.

Anyway, I didn’t feel like messing with the 120 camera, since it actually works as is, so I took the lenses off the 116. I’ll probably respool some color 120 film onto 116 backing paper and try it out tomorrow. If it works, I’ll just have to pick up another bellows camera at an antique store to convert into a permanent pinhole camera. I mean, I guess I could always buy one of these or these, but I would think another bellows camera would be cheaper. And have a lot more style, for that matter.

Freestyle also sells the Daylab Polaroid pinhole camera for $100. I’ve got a stupid Polaroid Swinger or something like that from the 70s that I’m thinking about converting instead. I think I’ll just saw off the whole front of the camera, and tape cardboard with a pinhole to it for the front. That should work, I would think. As long as the film goes through the spreader bars, I should be good.

Speaking of Polaroid, Travis and I went poking around one of the antique malls downtown for the first time in a while today. And it’s a good thing we did, because look what awesomeness we scored for $7:

Antique store finds!

The Polaroid is a slightly better model than the one I already have. It still has film in it (which I’m pretty sure is dried out, but still). I need to get the battery terminals cleaned off and get a new battery, but besides that it looks kosher. The main improvement over the 230 is that it has a built in timer on the back so you know when to peel apart your peel apart film. Nifty!

The film should be fun to play with. The Ektachrome expired in 1987, but I would think it would still work. Hopefully the colors shift weird on me. I’ll be sure to process that in regular E-6 chemistry instead of cross processing it. Not too sure if the High Speed Infrared will work, as it expired in 1977, but it’s worth a shot, especially since it’s not made any more.

I liked the big warning on top of the infrared film.


Translation: Don’t fuck this up!!

Also realized yesterday I had some of the Fuji 3000 speed peelapart film still hanging around in the 230. I was really disappointed in this film when I used it in DC. I couldn’t get it to look right at all. Everything was either way dark or way overexposed. I shot the few remaining pics today, and got one halfway decent one.

Datsun polaroid

Everything else sucked. The goops were fantastic, though.

Bela goop

Datsun goop

They were almost good enough to make me want to score more of this film. Almost.

Trial and error

Savoy, sabattier

I am now awash with color chems. I made my Freestyle order a while ago and got 3 different color chemical sets. There’s an E-6 kit, which I won’t be getting into until after I get back from DC (Travis and I are going to Washington DC next month – hooray!), the Arista C-41 liquid kit that I got last time, and a Unicolor C-41 powder kit. The Unicolor kit makes 2 liters of color chems, so I think I’m going to try mixing a third of that up – that should give me about 666 ml of chems, which is about perfect to develop two 35mm rolls of film at once. Oh, I also got some Flexicolor C-41 developer/replenisher off of ebay. Not too sure exactly how I’m going to use that, but since it’s the color developer that tends to go funky, not the Blix, I figured it was a good investment for just $3.50.

Anyway, barring any unforeseen calamity, I should be giving color developing a go tomorrow. Which is good, because I have a gigantic backlog of color film that needs to be developed (including some old Kodacolor II 127 and 126 film – process C-41, though!). We put a telephoto lens on our spare Canon AE-1 and have had film in that constantly. We keep it in the dining room to take pictures of the birds at the birdfeeders. We’re geeks. Since we were shooting so much with that camera and I wasn’t doing any color processing at the time, we got a roll developed at CVS to see how the lens was working.


AE-1 Crocii

Setting aside CVS’ shitty processing, the lens and camera seem to be working just fine. I was concerned that we needed to replace the battery since the one it has in it has been in there for years (this AE-1 used to be my dad’s), but it’s all good. The lens has a slight wonkiness to it that I like. Kind of tilt-shifty.

Been messing around with pinhole cameras.

Ominous spring

That was a picture from some TMax I taped to 126 backing paper and used in the 126 pinhole cam. I got series image overlap and can’t really understand why. Oh well.

The photo at the top of this post is from the Hannakube pinhole camera. It looks all funky because I tried to get the Sabattier effect by exposing it to light midway through the developing process. It probably could have gone better.

Since I’m getting ready to develop a bunch of color film, I popped one of the sheets of Kodak Edupe Ektachrome 4×5 film into the Hannakube and took a picture with it. I have no idea how it’s going to turn out, since I have no idea how to use the Edupe film actually as film. I did about a 1-2 second exposure. Anyway, I’ll try to develop that tomorrow (cross-processing) to see if I got anything on the film.

I finally tried out my film cutter today. I got this a few weeks ago off of ebay. It’s set up to trim 120 film down to 127 sized. Using it was not exactly graceful.

Oh, the humanity!

I was trimming a roll of Kodak Portra 160NC 220. I wound up with two rolls of 127 film, plus some extra that I just wound up exposing to light since I didn’t have another roll of 127 backing paper and spool accessible. Oh well. Now I know for future reference. Here’s how the cutter works:

Film trimming

It’s pretty simple. The trick is to not press down to hard on the top, lest you tear the film/paper. All in all, a worthwhile investment.


I'm ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille!

Focus. I needs it. I think my problem is that I have too much shit – I’m overwhelmed with the amount of cameras I have, to the point where I some I haven’t even tried out yet, plus now I’m getting back into making pinholes again – it’s too much. The result is that when I go out to take pictures, I have a buttload of cameras I’m taking with me, and I wind up just getting flustered and wanting to make sure I try out everything. Not good.

Anyway, yesterday I tried making a Polaroid pinhole camera using some Polaroid film boxes and got a massive FAIL instead. Wasted two shots of 600, which isn’t tragic, but with how expensive (and near-extinct) integral film is, I kind of don’t want to be wasting more of it than I have to. I think I’m going to wait to do further experimentation with Polaroid pinholes once I get the extra Fuji peel-apart film in. At least they’re still making that.

So, instead of having a play day with the Polaroid, I took a few shots with my new pinhole cameras and then screwed around with the Lensbaby some.

Forsythia buds

Waiting for sun


Later on at night, Travis and I went out to shoot some pictures. He wielded the Canon AE-1 with the telephoto lens, whereas I has the two 35mm pinholes, a Polaroid, the Yashica C, and the Brownie that I can get 4×5 film in. Oh, and there was the Nikon, too. And besides learning that I need to just focus on one camera at a time, I also learned that night photography with film is a new, scary animal. It wouldn’t be so bad, I guess, if I actually used some sort of exposure calculator. But I didn’t. I basically made a few second long exposures with the Yashica and Brownie, shot a few Polaroids that didn’t come out (the theme of the day for me), and popped open the shutter on the pinholes and just let them sit until either the wind blew them over or we were ready to leave. I have no idea what, if anything, came out (especially since I wasn’t using a tripod either).

After I ran out of film, I switched to the Nikon (it’s my safety).

This one is blurry, but I like it anyway.

Travis, all black and white-ified

Traffic cones at the Walmart

Tried taking a bunch of multi-exposure shots (sans tripod!) to HDRify, but this was the only one I was kind of happy with. I like the colors in it, at least.

Shooting night for day

Will try to develop some of the film over the next few days. If I get one decent night film shot out of the lot, I’ll be happy.

Oh, we also stopped inside Walmart (The Great Satan!) to check out developing prices and such. They still develop APS and 110, which is nice, and it would be even nicer if our APS camera still worked. We discovered yesterday that it doesn’t, which is kind of a bummer, since I’ve got 5 or 6 rolls of APS film. So I guess we’ll be on the lookout for a new APS camera next time we hit Goodwill. Anyway, if I read their info correctly, apparently to get a roll of film developed only (no prints) is $1.76 a roll. I don’t know if that’s just for 35mm or if they do 120 too – I know I’ve seen people on Flickr talk about getting their 120 film processed there. It’s not something I would want to do a lot (except for the APS and 110 – since I don’t have any way to develop those), but would be nice if there was something I absolutely wanted to get developed right away.

Of pinholes and Polaroids… and Polapins


It’s starting to warm up some, so I’m getting even more “Woo!” about photography lately. Bought a bunch of stuff off eBay, the main event being the Polaroid Macro 5 SLR.

Polaroid Macro 5 SLR

It was really quite a bargain – only $30 (plus $20 shipping) for a camera that cost about $700 a few years ago and 5 packs of film. This particular one (whom Travis and I now call ‘Robbie’) was a dental camera in a previous life. He’ll spend his retirement primarily taking macro nature picture for me (like the pussy willow at the top of the post). I’m going through the film that it came with first. It takes 990 or Spectra film, and the film is a bit outdated. I think it expired in 2007. It has a strong yellowish cast to it. I’m also bad about adjusting the darkness on the camera. So, none of the pics have come out stunning (the pussy willow is the best of the lot, and I photoshopped the yellow cast out), but it’s a fun toy.

I finally made my big-ass Freestyle order, too. I’m getting a ton of stuff – 2 different C-41 kits (the Unicolor powder kit and then the liquid) and the E-6 kit, some more Fuji peel-apart film for the Polaroid 230, random films I wanted to try out, a decent infrared filter (finally!), a bit of ortho sheet film… I can’t remember what else. Looking forward to getting the color chems, though, especially the E-6 stuff. I have an idea involving some 4×5 pinhole photographs using E6 slide film…

Also coming in the mail is a film slitter! I ran across an auction yesterday and got it immediately. I’m having it set up to cut 120 film down to 127 size. I had been stalking the few 127 auctions that are on eBay, but they’re going for more than I’d want to pay, and this way, I can just cut down some of my tons of 120/220 film and use that instead. Instant win!

I’ve gotten re-obsessed with pinhole photography, too. It must be that time of year. I tried making a pinhole camera using a cartridge of 126 film…

Triple Print 126 pinhole camera

…unfortunately, the actual film inside the cartridge was stupid Triple Print. I tried developing it in black and white chems and got a big old FAIL. No matter. I reloaded the cartridge with some of my mystery Kodak TMax and taped it up again. I’ll probably try shooting with it tomorrow.

I also made a pseudo-matchbox pinhole camera using a battery box from AAA batteries (since we’re apparently low on matchboxes).

Battery Box Pinhole Camera

I loaded that up with the mystery TMax and shot it. This film actually did develop properly.


Toby and yard

Not sure what’s up with the vignetting in the second photo. Weird.

While I was developing pictures, I developed another roll of found film from the Ansco Readyflash auction. This was a roll of Verichrome Pan and actually turned out really well (as opposed to the first two rolls I developed, which were sketchy).

Happy woman

I really love that picture. I want to get it enlarged. The other pics on the roll were just as fun.

Fork and spoon!

Guy with cane

Oh, on the same day, I also tried developing the old roll of Kodachrome I had hanging around from the Canada auction. That was a big old FAIL, too. I think the next time I try developing old color slide or negative film in black and white chems, I’ll use the Blix instead of my regular fixer to see if that happens to solve any of my problems.

While I had the developer mixed up, I got out some of the 4×5 sheet film I used in the Hannakube around New Year’s. I haven’t tried out my 4×5 developing tank yet since I didn’t have that amount of chems mixed up, but once my Freestyle order gets here, I’m going to dump all of my old premixed chems (except for my HC110b syrup – that stuff is awesome!) and start fresh. So I just developed the sheet film one at a time in the Paterson tank.

I’ve only used the Hannakube twice, but both times I’ve been ultra paranoid that I’m going to get horrendous light leaks. Happily, on the two pics I developed, that wasn’t the case. The only issue I’ve got with the 4×5 sheet film is that I don’t have a really good way to scan it in. I can scan it in as a picture, but that tends to come out nowhere near as sharp as what the negative shows. I can scan it in as a transparency, but my scanner crops it because it can only scan the ceneter of the scanner as a transparency (weird). I went with the transparency option, because even if it is cropped, it’s a lot better image. Here are the two Hannakube pics:

Snow on the tracks

Looking at the lake

You can see in the top picture (the one where I actually managed to hold the camera still) I got really nice sharpness. The other one, not so much. Oh well. It was really windy that day and the Hannakube only weighs a few ounces. I’m looking forward to trying this out with the 4×5 slide film I have. I’ve got a few packs of Ektachrome Dupe film, and I haven’t done anything with it yet. I know absolutely nothing about that film, so I figure I’ll just throw it in the Hannakube and open the shutter for a few seconds and see what happens.

Made another pinhole camera last night. I’m using some 100 speed color Fuji film in it that expired in 2003.

Monster cam

The camera part of it was Frankensteined together from a 126 film box. I put 2 pinholes in it instead of the usual one. The pinholes are each about .3 mm, which is probably a little large for this camera, but I’m in the mood to be spontaneous with my pinhole-making, so I haven’t been doing the math like I have in the past. This will be the first time I work with two pinholes at once. I’m not sure if I’ll get a fuzzy stereoscopic image or just one long double image. I’m also not sure what the light leakage situation is going to be. Since I used about 2 metric tons of electrical tape, it should be good, but you never know.

I have plans to fashion some Polaroid pinhole cams in the next few days. Catastrophe could ensue!