Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Some vacation photographs

I spent a few days in the Algarve where, along with digital photos, I also took some pictures on film. Once at home, the digital passed through the software Photoscape where they have been enhanced or, at least, adjusted to my taste. The films were developed in the 2-bath Dignan's developer, with which I am now more confident and will continue to use for a while. Because the bath A, CD-4 + Sodium Sulfite may be reused I decided to adopt following strategy: I prepared 1 liter of it and each time it is used, it will decrease some mililiters. But this is the amount needed to develop a film and no less and no more. When the volume of bath A is not enough to cover the film I lay it out and make a fresh one again. Bath B is always fresh prepared and used once. At the same time as bath B finishes the blix will be replaced too because it will be more and more diluted with the time, increasing the duration of the bath to a too long time. In this way I don't need to count the number of films developed, everything happens with a natural event, the finishing of bath A.

And now some photos of Tavira, Algarve, a wonderful place to visit for vacation.

Film pictures

Salt flats

The central garden of the village Tavira

A view of one fishing harbour of Tavira 

Fishing at the river in Tavira

Trees in Tavira

Salt flats again

Sight of the Tavira lagoon

I spent one evening at the annual Medieval Fair in Castro Marim. I took photos with my Sony DSC-W170, not usinng the built-in flash. Only the normal public lightning and medieval torches present at the fair.

Digital pictures

Castro Marim, one of its monuments at night

Fortification at Castro Marim by night from the castle

A view of the town Castro Marim by night from the castle

Medieval tournament at Castro Marim, inside the castle

Tents inside the castle of Castro Marim at the Medieval Fair

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I will be back soon, I hope!

Some days outside my home in the sunny Algarve, Portugal.

I took an analog camera with me, a Canon TLB, a SRL camera that still works very well, I love that camera. I will expose some two 36 exp. films to be developed at home, next week. Color film, Agfa Plus 100 ISO.

It is very hot to be outside now, lunch intermission until 17:00. Then I am going for a walk in the inner part of the village, Tavira, where I am. Yesterday I visited the salt flats and I could realize where the salt I use as fixer in Photography comes from, as an example. Marine salt of the same quality, I mean. It is amazing how much work must be done to produce the salt and, at the same time, how cheap the stuff is.

Until next week!

Monday, August 20, 2012

AGFA & Lomography

I had an Agfa Isola I which shutter was not working like it should and then I bougth an Agfa Isola at ebay. These two cameras use the same body but have different lens and shutters, the Agfa Isola has a better set of shutter-lens installed.

Unfortunatly the Agfa Isola bougth at ebay fell to the floor and broke the body. So I decide to change the set of shutter and lens to the Agfa Isola I. The mechanism that connects the release button to the shutter had to be changed with an openning on the extension tube. This oppening caused a light leak and all photos have more or less a kind of comet on the upper left corner. On the other hand it seems that the images are a little blurry, the lens is not at the right distance of the film surface.

I loaded the camera with a film of Lomography (in fact Fomapan?), 400 ASA, and shot the 12 photos below. Then I developed the film with Dignan's two bath developer at room temperature and Blix of ferric EDTA and Ammonium Thiosulfate. The film is OK, good colors (I find). But the images are out of focus, so I used them in the software Photoscape to make some 'watercolors'. This a suggestion for blurry pictures.

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 4

Photo 5

Photo 6

Photo 7

Photo 8

Photo 9

Photo 10

Photo 11

Photo 12

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Establishing the Parodinal-salt monobath

When I started with this Parodinal-salt monobath I have used large ammounts of Parodinal but I have been reducing this until the final value of 4 ml/Liter. If you use just 500 ml developer, then put 2 ml. Less than this gives very weak negatives, that neither can be scanned reflective or at transparency. The last experiment I performed was with 3ml/Liter. The result was not so bad, but already in the very limit of the process.

The monobath Parodinal-salt uses 300 g/Liter salt, so the 500 ml working solution is as follows:

2 ml Parodinal
150 g salt
water to make 500 ml

You may choose between development at room temperature, 24 hours or just 5 hours at 35ÂșC. Then wash the film very well in plenty of water for 30 minutes at least and dry the film.

The film developed in this monobath developer will have a sepia tone and you will see it as positive against a black surface. I have been shooting with an Agfa Synchro Box at sun with the smaller aperture, f:22 the speed is (I suppose) 1/30 or 1/60. With a 100 ISO film this is a normal exposure. But the film will be slightly underdeveloped with this recipe, because the positive effect is better and you may use a very common scanner to scan your negatives. Not with a very high quality but a cheap alternative for the poor photo hobbyist.

All eight pictures of the roll in a single reflective scan

And here some of the above pictures scanned at transparency.

Example I

Example II

Example III

Example IV
Note: The recipe must also work if, instead of Parodinal, you use the commercial Rodinal developer or similar. But I didn't try it yet.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A better Caffenol is born!

Until the present, pure Caffenol is more a curiosity than a possibility. Yes, coffee is a developer agent and needs, like most developer agents an alkali to work. Pure Caffenol has some disadvantages, people using it report stains and large grain sizes on films. So, coffee appears in many recipes linked to Vit. C and small ammounts of potassium bromide in order to make it better. But all the Caffenol variants are not considered fine grain developers. Reinhold, from Caffenol blog, is using now coffee and Vit. C plus sodium sulfite and Rodinal or paRodinal to get a fine grain developer. The results are impressive. One recipe (or two) already have been tested with a 400 ISO Kodak film exposed at 3200 ISO and developed with the new recipe. Fantastic, no grain at all! Congratulations, Reinhold and thanks for sharing this with the world. Also thanks for the mention in your post.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Monobath for black and white

On 4th of April and on 23rd of May, I wrote about the monobath I am using. Since the first attempt to the present, something changed. The first time I used sodium hydroxide to get a higher pH, the second time I came to the conclusion we don't need sodium hydroxide, I just added Parodinal in 1:100 proportion to a salt solution containing 300 g/L salt and developed at room temperature for 8 hours. The result was somehow better. But today I tried another Parodinal proportion (note, I am still using the same batch of Parodinal hence prepared), this time 1:250.

Why that? Examining the negatives of the last experiment, I came to the conclusion that they have too much silver for the positiv effect, although for transparency they are OK! So, if I use a weaker developer in order to underdevelop a little the film, this positive effect might be reinforced. Yes, I was right, if the film is slightly underdeveloped the positive effect is much better.

From these two photos, one was scanned reflexive and the other by transparency. Which of them is which?

Photo A

Photo B

If it is difficult (but as I said, not impossible) to say which is which, what we may conclude? That they are both of 'almost' the same quality and we may use this process instead of the other for the following advantages:

1. One almost stand development where time is not a problem.
2. Very cheap chemicals, parodinal is very cheap and here it is used in just a 1:250 proportion. 2ml for 500ml developer.
3. You may use a normal scanner to digitize your photos.
4. You may put the negative in a frame, it looks like a daguerreotype. Of course if you are using medium or large format.

So, cheers! 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

B&W photography with color C-41

In Portugal, where I live, the lovers of black and white photography must pay a higher price for the B&W films, what may be overcome using C-41 or E-6 films that will be "printed" as B&W. Some brands offer a chromogenic black and white film, like Ilford XP-2, that should be developed in C-41 process too, but the price is higher than B&W ones. Still you may find color C-41 for a better price, like this one.

But the beautiful in B&W is that the developing process is very simple, at normal temperature and all you need essencialy is developer and fixer. Many people is using color C-41 films cross-processed in B&W chemicals, but you need a very good scanner to scan at transparency because the negatives are very dense and they are not good scannable reflexive.

In my experiences with a new hair dye, that does not develop color films, I putted Parodinal in 1:100 proportion in a soup containing hair dye, sodium carbonate and sodium sulfite and with this I developed a color film, bleach bypassed. The result was a very good B&W image on a white background, suitable to be scanned reflexive, and almost opaque, so not suitable for transparency scan.

Inverted reflexive scan of the color C-41 film

Example of one picture

I only used a small piece of film for test, but I will try this again with a complete film exposed outside. I think we may have better quality adjusting times and scanner parameters. But this is what film manufacturers should offer, a film that you may develop and scan with a normal scanner, using normal chemicals and not specially prepared ones like I did. There is another possibility of getting a picture on film that may be scanned with a normal scanner, I will explain that in another post!

Reflexive scan

A good photo scanner is expensive and still slow. I already explained here how I transformed a normal scanner to scan negatives by transparency, but it is only for B&W film suitable.

The negatives on film are good for making prints with conventional optical enlargers, but not for the digital lab where you may choose, nowadays, between scanning and making macros of the negative. More confortable are the slide and negative copier adaptors for DSLR cameras, costing around 50 euro, for instance at ebay. A good negative scanner costs much more, but you may count with more than 200 euro. The cheaper scanners that I already know are very slow at a good resolution like 2400 dpi or higher. Photos for the internet, I only scan at 600 dpi; it would be very annoying if I would scan at more than this resolution. Since I have the scanner, I am using it, but I will try making macros again with a better camera, a DSLR that I bougth one of these past days and a slide copier adaptor.

Well, but what I want to say is that it doesn't make sense anymore to use transparency, if you don't use the negatives with an enlarger or slide viewer. It would be better if the negatives (or direct positives) were on an opaque surface (could be film or, why not, paper) and if they could be scannable in a normal scanner, like I obtained with aged hair dye, see piece of film bellow. For this, I developed with some 10 ml of hair dye and 5 g of sodium hydroxide in 500 ml solution and then fixed, bypassing bleach. The film could then be scanned in a normal scanner, all pictures in one single scan.

Pure hair dye developer with bleach bypass, reflexive scan

From the above piece, you can see the right most picture below.

Example of one of the pictures, using reflexive scanner
Yes, nothing compared with real C-41, but just to illustrate what I mean, it would be preferable, if we don't use anymore enlarger or slide viewers, that instead of tranparencies we had opaque pictures coming from the camera.

This is just a suggestion for film manufacturers, why not making a film that we could scan with a normal scanner? I am sure this would make films more popular than they are now.

In the next post, I will show another process, that I discovered almost by accident, for B&W pictures directly scannable with a normal scanner. And using cheap C-41 films instead of B&W expensive films.

Friday, August 3, 2012

New hair dye with CD-4

I told you in the previous post that I suspect that aged hair dye builds perhaps CD-4 and because of this it works as a color developer. I must correct my statement like this: the aged hair dye builds some kind of color developer but not necessarily CD-4. Because trying to get the same result as I got with old hair dye and it is not the same. I didn't achieve this clearly positive, but something in that direction only. I increased the amont of CD-4 to make the image more clear but the result was going to a more negative look than before.

More CD-4, reflexive scan
 The piece of film above was developed in a soup with hair dye, CD-4 and Sodium Carbonate. Because these are not good for direct scan, I decided to bleach the film and get normal C-41 developed film, from witch you can see some results below:

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Example 4

As you see, these pictures are acceptable as color pictures and all the process was done at room temperature, what is a good thing for us, amateurs.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hair dye is hard with color

I must, by now, give up trying to develop with a new oppened tube of professional hair dye containing developing agents.

I simply could not repeat the experiment I did with an old portion of hair dye, that gave a positive image in a C-41 film, witch could be scanned directly by reflexion.

I tried every possible combination hair dye and alkali, I used Sodium Hydroxide and Sodium Carbonate, change proportions and no result except the poor one that I described in the previous post.

Then I was thinking why is it so difficult to get it working. Maybe the natural aging process builds CD-4 from the hair dye components. And because CD-4 is not present, no color is developed or very little. So, I added some CD-4 to a hair dye soup in Sodium Carbonate. Yes, then I could reproduce the former experiment with the old hair dye.

To be sure that was the point, I will leave the rest of new hair dye in the same shelf for 1 month and then try again, without CD-4.

The film is still drying, latter on and will add some photos here. These photos are from inside, in a piece of film just for testing. But I am leaving home in a while and make some photos outside.

Hair dye plus CD-4, bleach bypass, direct positive image