quinta-feira, 26 de março de 2015

Pinhole Photography

I was invited to organize and hold a workshop on Pinhole Photography and I have been preparing myself on this. I first transformed a tin box with about 10 cm diameter in a pinhole camera. That was very easy, the only difficulty is to make the appropriate hole that is said to be optimized for 0,446 mm. I searched in my needle box for a needle or pin with a convenient diameter and found 0,5 mm.
But the metal of the round tin box is thick what will restrict very much the image circle. So I made a larger hole, 4mm diameter, and glued over this hole and inside the box a thin film of acetate with aluminium tape and then perforated this film and aluminium adhesive together with the 0,5 mm pin at the middle of the 4 mm hole.

First version of my pinhole camera
After this was done, I tested the camera with VC Ilford Paper MG IV developed in a home brewed Parodinal developer in dilution 1:5. Not bad...

Pinhole photo inverted with Photoscape
After this succeeded test of the RTB (Round Tin Box) I decided to upgrade the camera with the possibility of using 52 mm filters in order to control better the contrast. I prepared a ring of a PVC tube with 50 mm diameter in order to fit the cylindrical surface of the box and glued it with epoxy around the larger hole. Finally, again with epoxy, I glued a 43-52 step-up adapter to the PVC. And this was the result. An additional vantage is to use a 52 mm cap as shutter.

Upgrading my pinhole camera
New test with low contrast, green filter:

To be continued...

domingo, 22 de fevereiro de 2015

Surge marks

Always learning something new. I have been getting these terrible surge marks on my B&W pictures. Regardless of how and how much I agitate or with pre-soak and without it, the demons appeared in the pictures. So, I tried to get help at Flickr, asking wheather there is a working recipe to avoid these marks.

Among the answers, I tried to follow the advice of one of them, coming from Larry D., a long acquaintance at Flickr. He insisted with me to refix the negatives and see. I did it and the surge marks were gone. The lower pic has the marks on the top side and the upper one is the result of refixing/washing.

Well, I learned that rapid fixer is not that rapid, it needs about 5 minutes to clear completely, at least with the film I have been using, Polypan F, and so, the fixing time should be 10 minutes using the rule of doubling the clear time.

My thanks to Larry D.!

quarta-feira, 18 de fevereiro de 2015

Winter pause

I know it is possible to take good pictures in Winter. Nevertheless my routine is somehow broken by the weather unpredictable changes. Most of the time it has been cloudy and pictures need sun and contrast. Sometimes it rains and it is also cloudy of course. When the sun shines the sky is completely clear, no clouds at all, like today. I like photos with some clouds, an empty sky is boring. But with such good weather yesterday and today I had to go out and take some pictures. Yesterday I choosed an Olympus Pen EE-2 and took color pictures, using a Fuji Superia 100 ISO exposed at 50 ISO. The film was developed in the 2-bath C-41 process of Dignan.

This Olympus Pen EE-2 is not that sharp, but is OK.

Today, I choosed another camera, a Konica Big Mini. I read somewhere that it has excellent lens. Using this time the rest of my Polypan F 50 ISO, exposed at 100 ISO and developed in a Caffenol developer with Vit. C and Phenidone, I took some pictures without clouds.

The empty sky doesn't look so naked because I cut it from the scene.

I like the photos made with the Konica Big Mini. It is incredible how good this P&S cameras can be. Next time I will be using a Pentax P&S, also very good and with zoom. The 3.rd Konica picture above was cutted to the center, This is similar to the so called digital zoom of the digital cameras.

domingo, 7 de dezembro de 2014

Does grain increase with scan?

Since I am doing C-41, and after many experiments, I adopted Dignan's 2-bath developer as the most practical and cheap method to get acceptable negatives. I had to fight 2 main enemies, the surge marks and grain. The surge marks were defeated by adopting the right agitation of the tank. This consists in inclining the tank and turning it very slowly some 5 times per minute during the second bath. The first bath is not important, just stir to ensure that the CD4 soaks the film, a pre-soak in water may help.

Below you may find 3 photos free from surge marks but still with huge grains.

To fight the grain, which is increased by scanning ,  I decided to follow Dignan's original recipe, using Potassium Carbonate in the second bath instead of just Sodium Carbonate and 1g/liter of Potassium Bromide. The Potassium Bromide will affect very much the developing time that must be increased. Because a small difference in Potassium Bromide weight will cause a big difference in developing time, I extend the 2.nd bath to 30 minutes and also because the 2-bath developer cann't overdevelop. The result can be appreciated in the next 3 photos where I used the same 2.nd bath with addition of 1g/liter of Potassium Bromide.

segunda-feira, 1 de dezembro de 2014

Caffenol Black LF (low fog)

Because Caffenol is a one shot developer, I use minimal amounts of stuff in order to make it cheap enough. I have been changing the coffee brand and the original recipe that uses only coffee and soda may produce more or less fog, depending on film and coffee brand. So, I started using Sodium Chloride (table salt) as anti-foggant. First only 2g/liter and then 4g/liter. Because salt is a restrainer, the developing time had to be increased from 70 to 90 minutes at 20ºC.

The formula, for a 500ml batch is now as follows:

150 ml water
10g Soluble, not decaf. robusta coffee
3 g Sodium Carbonate (or 300ml of a 1% solution)
2 g Sodium Chloride (or 20ml of a 10% solution)
Water to make 500 ml

Develop for 90 minutes at 20ºC

Here some photos I made recently using Agfaphoto APX 100 (may be like Ilford FP4), exposed in a Cosina plastic body with a Vivitar 50mm/1.7 lens. The iris of this lens are broken, it is always full openned and I used speeds from 1/500 to 1/2000s according to light conditions.

domingo, 16 de novembro de 2014

Point and Shoot cameras

It is unbelievable how good a point and shoot film camera is! Some days ago I decided to take one, a Canon Prima Super 135N, 38-135mm, f:3.5-8.9, for a trip to the village of Nazaré. I didn't know it was a camera with date printing, I didn't set it to the actual date. But this means that the camera is more than 20 years old, the date is from 1992.

Sometimes I ask myself if it makes sense to go with a heavy apparatus that takes photos of almost the same quality of a light, full automatic and with built in flash unit that costs about 1 euro at ebay. The only disadvantage is the need of CR2 batteries that are consumed in short time and, if you don't use the camera so often, they will discharge and when you need the camera you have no battery...

OK, we cann't have only advantages...