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.

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!!!!!