52 Create – Pinhole Camera

52 Create, my weekly creative outlet for 2011…  As this past weekend was World Pinhole Photography Day, I decided to make a little pinhole camera just for the occasion.  Last year I made the Pin-Cube, but this year I decided I’d like to test out some of my new Ilford Direct Positive Paper, so I went with the “Granny Cam”.  Far simpler than last year, I simply took a tin of sweets, drilled a big hole in it, then took a throw-away pie plate and cut a square out of it, drilled a pinhole in it, and taped it to the can.  The photographic paper is taped to the inside curve of the can, giving a curved focal plane, and hopefully some interesting distortions.  The camera was f231, with a pinhole of .016 (drilled with a micro drill).  I also spray painted the inside of the tin with flat black paint to minimize reflections.

So why the Granny Cam?  Well the sweets were a type my Granny always had around the house when I was a kid.  My brother brought this particular tin back for me on one of his vacations, so proud he had found “Granny’s candy”, I didn’t have the heart to tell him I never thought much of the candy myself…

No pictures yet as I’ve been busy with commissions, but one will be used for this week’s photo of the week.

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Photo of the Week

This week’s photo is of course the Louvre in Paris.  I went to a flickr meet up, hoping for some exciting photographic discussions.  After about 20 minutes, I was thoroughly bored and decided I’d much rather spend my night taking pictures so I left with my xpan and gorilla pod and a roll of fp4 (not my first choice for night but it was in my bag and I was low of film).  Took a bunch of shots through the left bank as well as a few around the Louvre. This was my favourite. I think it’ll look great blown up.  As I said, taken with my xpan, 45mm lens and fp4. It was a multi-second exposure but I don’t know what, had the camera set to auto…

Failure and Redemption – DIY film processing trials and tribulations

I very much enjoy processing my own BW flim, especially when it is my ultimate favourite, Fuji Neopan.  Although when I first started I was developing 1-2 rolls/week, however lately I’ve dropped to closer to 1 roll/month.  This gets dangerous as you get out of practice and start making little mistakes.  I’ve been very fortunate to have never had a major screw-up, all my rolls have always worked out, even the first one.  This has always worried me as I was sure this streak could not last.

Then about a month ago I went to a friends wedding.  I was NOT told that they needed a photographer, and so for fun I thought I would try something new (and this is where it all started to go wrong). I bought some Ilford Delta 3200, put it in my Bessa R, and headed off to the wedding.  Got there and it seemed like everyone had a camera and was snapping away.  I took a few shots, not really sure if the meter was reading accurately in the very dark restaurant.  I got home and decided to process the film.  I really didn’t have enough time to do it properly, and so I rushed.  Took me 3 tries to get it on the reels, didn’t quite seal the door correctly, etc. etc.  When I checked the film, most of the shots were underexposed and the light leakage from the door had wrecked about half the film.  I wasn’t too choked until the bride called me up in a panic because all of the other pictures people had taken were terrible, and no one had got a good one of her and her husband, THE WHOLE NIGHT! After much work scanning and in photoshop, I managed to save one photo, it was the shot of them cutting the cake.  I didn’t think it was all that great as it had tons of grain, but they were thrilled.

Fast forward a month and I am developing a roll of 120 Neopan 400. Things were going smoothly but I couldn’t help but notice the developer was awfully dark. Then each time the chemicals came out of the tank, the colours seemed off.  When I pulled the film out at the end of the developing, I was staring at a completely blank film. My developer had expired.

Two in a row was a bit much for me to handle, and I had a roll from a recent trip to Norway which I absolutely could not screw up!  Bought some new developer (Ilford Microphen DD-X), and set to work.  Was I ever relieved when it worked out perfectly, well except that I used enough chemicals for 120 when it was a roll of 35mm, but I am definitely back on the horse….  The lesson to be learned here is take your time, and take A LOT MORE PICTURES!!!!!