Tag Archives: black and white

ilex seminat

admittedly i might have a few too many lenses.  i don’t have curio cabinets full of them, or 4 shelves piled high but i am always a sucker for a cheap lens that might be interesting.    the merriam-webster online dictionary defines interesting as holding the attention.  its usually the cheap unwanted lenses that hold my attention.  i bought a speed graphic camera as my entry to large format photography back in around 1988 from an old camera store called e. p. levines.  i bought it back when it was still on lincoln street in boston

before it moved to 23 drydock in south boston.

back then it was kind of an unloved camera, every photographer back in the day had and used and sold one, and i was picking it up.  i was more than happy because not only could i use shuttered lenses ( it came with a tominon 127 in a polaroid press shutter ) it had a curtain shutter so i could use the camera with enlarger lenses, and cheap unwanted barrel lenses.  i still use the tominion and while over the years folks who know lens design and much more than i do about optics have told me that the lens does not cover a 4×5 sheet of film, i have used it for decades and never had dark corners or problems.  maybe i lucked out?  i’m not sure, but i do know that because there have been so many unloved polaroid mp-3 copy cameras flooding the online auction site over the years and people don’t believe the lens can work well with a 4×5 camera, the lens is an unloved lens as well.

so over the years i have bought and used barrel and enlarger lenses with this speed graphic.  if you are wondering what a speed graphic is or what i am talking about, its one of those old fold-up  newspaper cameras press photographers used back in the day.  they look like this

and the curtain / focal plane shutter makes them a great camera for playing around with.  you can fashion a lens out of pretty much anything, from a 5 and dime magnifying glass (cheap magnifying glasses) to a 18th century brass barrel lens that cost as much as a used car (brass lenses on google shopping ) …  i tend to shy away from things that cost very much money, but over the years i have bought these unloved lenses and years later they are loved which brings me to the ilex seminat.

i bought this lens more than a decade ago, before the soft lens gold rush had really started.  people really weren’t buying old brass lenses because no one really  cared much about how they might give a nice soft image if shot wide open, without much effort.  people hadn’t been bitten by the wet plate photography bug yet, so no one really needed a super fast large format lens so their portrait subject didn’t fall asleep during the exposure.  i’ve photographed portraits with slow lenses, and paper negatives and counted to 45 or 50 or longer than that.  while my subject was able to sit still and hold a pose, without a victorian head clamp, i am not sure how easy it would be to do on a regular basis, and if the subject was a kid, forget about it.  a guy on ebay.  he starts all his auctions at .77¢ and has a flair for selling great stuff.  anyways, the lens cost, i don’t know $40 or 50$, shipped to me from sunny california and it arrived a few days later.  ( sorry i don’t have a photograph of my particular lens but it looks kind of like this but mine is in an old ilex general shutter.  it was described as being elusive or mysterious, the seller described it to a T—elusive.

i usually don’t stop the lens down, i don’t see much of a point in stopping down a lens unless it is some sort of documentary project where some sort of context and extreme detail is required.  in that respect i live my photographic life by the HABS/HAER code. you might have heard of HABS, back in december 2015 a position opened up in washington DC to be one of the few photographers who work on HABS Documentation jobs full time.  the photography is straight ahead photographic documentation, no soft lenses, everything exposed at f22, descriptive views, architectural history/descriptions, and the images aresometimes used together with measured drawings ( tape measure measuring a structure and doing detailed renderings, elevations &c ) and a technical research paper about the building, its historial significance, the builder, style &c ….  while with the seminat i could stop down to f22 i don’t really use it for HABS work, i have modern coated lenses that do that job well, the seminat is for other”stuff”.   i like to put the shutter on TIME so i can just do a long exposure and not deal with short exposures.  i don’t have a lenscap so i use the focal plane shutter in the speed graphic.  it takes a little while to learn how to focus with this lens to get the most out of it.  while making portraits with it works great, and it does give a nice diffuse image i like photographing outdoors or through a window and letting the f3.5 and lens design do their things.

ilex seminat wide open

 

 

garage floor and tree

 

retina

multi hour retina image
reversed tinted with photoshop

 

leaves and branches and sky

seminat as a close up lens on a 5×7 camera.

seminat on a 5×7 camera.

over the years i have done research on the ilex seminat, there really isn’t much written about it at all.  i’ve read old photography magazines+ads on google books, sometimes they are there and available to look at (usually they talk about the cinema lens ilex sold with the same name)  but very little if anything is written on this seminat.  sometimes just buying a cheap lens on a whim works out.  it might take a little playing with to figure out what the lens is good for and what it can do, and usually, if you don’t want it, you can put it up for sale for about what you paid for it, and get your $$ back, unless of course you bought things ahead of the curve and in that case you will be getting the loved price for your formerly unloved lens.

Posted in Misc. Also tagged , , , , |

cyclone negative cyanotype

a couple of days ago i was making some more cyanotypes i loaded up some contact frames with waxed negatives to see if i could get a better print than i did with my old coated paper some of those prints just didnt’ work out ..  and at the same time i found an old hand coated paper negative made with the cyclone #3 a while ago, that was just sitting on the tabletop.  i had cleaned up quite a bit a week or 2 ago:  i swept the floor;  i organized;  i put things away;  i stacked things;  i found things i hadn’t seen in a while.  the paper negative was a rediscovery, even though it wasn’t really lost.  it seems like it was coated on xerox paper, it is thin and durable.  not sure what emulsion is on it, maybe foma?  maybe my home-brew, not sure.  it has a nice contrast and look and i stuck it in the contact frame.  the waxed negatives took a ton of time before to expose, so i was banking on a day or 2 in the sun for all 3 of the cyanotypes.  it was a lot more diffuclt in late october because the sun is low, and it moves across the sky differently than before, so i had to really follow the sun around with the print frames. i did OK i suppose, but i was more in open shade than i was in the sun, and that is OK too.  the print is made from the same classic formula i coated the others with.  and after 2 days in the sun i washed it in water and added a little hydrogen peroxide to finish the development, and eventually i painted some areas of the print with dilute washing soda to give a yellowish hue to some areas. anyhow, its the kitchen table and window and chairs. not sure if i am going to add my own colors or leave it, the blue tones of cyanotypes are starting to grow on me.

 

classic, and blue

window table and chairs
classic cyanotype H2O2 to develop out faster as i always do, and a little washing soda to bleach and ad color

http://jnanian.imagekind.com/store/Images.aspx/e7b40dbc-7aba-4bf2-ae7f-355201cb53c4/RecentUploads

Posted in alternative process photography, images on hand coated paper, using vintage equipment Also tagged , , , , , , |

more recent cyanotypes

i haven’t been using a camera much these days.  i have film to be processed (probably 10 rolls ?)  some taken a while ago, some taken since the spring.  i haven’t gotten around to processing it.  not to mention i have some liquid emulsion ( foma and AG+) to use up and i eagerly anticipate making some of my own chlorobromide emulsion again with some nice hard bloom gelatin.  instead of camera negatives i’ve been waxing paper negatives made from rubbings ( like the last entry ) or things made as a photogram, ( always a favorite ) or better yet, paper xerox negatives that i wax and have fun with …

a few years ago i got a bad case of food poisoning while traveling in france and when i got home i had some film to process, and a few memory cards with images on them.  i was kind  of messed up from being sick when i got home  ( until i wasn’t ) and while i found one of the memory cards’ images, i am still kind of looking for the other.  i took some of these images specifically for converting to paper negatives and into cyanotypes.  i had done this with rubbings and digital images before, and it seemed like a great way to make digital images into hybrid black and white negatives.  so i desaturated some negatives, and inverted them in PS and put them 4-to a 8 1/2 x11 sheet of xerox paper …  heated up an old pan and waxed the paper  … in addition, to a big sheet of cyanotype paper, i had a handful of envelopes i coated a handful of months ago, and they were eager to be printed on.

 

i made some photograms using kitchen-stuff and crayoned and watercolored the images.  i don’t know what size envelopes are, but they are the perfect paper for making cyanotypes.  nice and long and narrow, like a panoramic negative !

 

anyhow her eare some of the images i made …

 

hand painted and black/white photogram

hand painted and black/white photogram

black and white + color photogram

black and white + color photogram

black and white + hand painted photogram

black and white + hand painted photogram

black and white+ painted photogram

black and white+ painted photogram

Posted in alternative process photography, technique and style Also tagged , , |

recent cyanotypes

just made a handful of cyanotypes lately using paper coated and left in a light safe in a humid basement for the last 7 or 8 months.  the paper was not the best but it worked (sort of) made some photograms ( some i watercolored ) i made a contact print with a waxed rubbing and tinted it in photoshop and i also converted some digital images into black and white negatives on xerox paper and waxed and printed them.

i have some more negatives to print and cyanotype paper to use up before i mix new.

 

rubbing waxed negative

rubbing waxed negative

4 screwdrivers

photogram, watercolors

3 nails

photogram, watercolors

semicircle of stuff

photogram, watercolors

truck

waxed paper negative

vezelay

waxed paper negative

metal wire brush

photogram, watercolors

 

 

 

 

as usual most of my work is on imagekind ( jnanian.imagekind.com )  feel free to browse.  through the end of september

i will be donating a portion of every purchase ( 70% ) to relief efforts in louisana.

 

 

Posted in alternative process photography, images on hand coated paper, technique and style Also tagged , , , , , , , |

photo illustration sort of, PS colored photo reconstruction

a while back i made some paper negative from hand made emulsion the negatives were more like a collage of things, images, textures, brush strokes. i decided to scan big and crop small and the image i retrieved from the paper was a sweet photograph of trees and a fencepost, but it always seemed to be missing something whenever i looked at it.  i put it aside for a good 6 months and looked at it a little bit more once i had distance from it

 

railing and trees

railing and trees

 

the other day i spent a handful of hours working on it.

i enlarged the canvas, i added colors ( which was i originally had hoped to do )

anyways, i worked and worked added, and subtracted and came up with this

 

 

cyclone

reworked image

it took hours, and it really still isn’t completely done, but it was fun making something that never really existed.

Posted in alternative process photography, images on hand coated paper, liquid emulsion Also tagged , , , |

double coating paper

i dug into a 1 kg jar of foma emulsion the other day.  i know i can make my own but i have this still on hand so i might as well just use it until i run out.  coating paper and glass and metal with it will be great practice for when i don’t want to waste stuff i spend time making on my own.  so i took a few of the large sheets of xerox paper i had already coated.  i took 1 of them and with the lights on i exposed it in developer to show how poorly i coat.  it wasn’t that poor, it just wasn’t very good,  no it was pretty bad … it was  a lot of grey, only 1 area of black.  i’ve been coating things for years and this is the first time i did this …  that’s ok.  im a noob, even after 30 years.  i used a coating rod the last time, and a brush, but still things weren’t as good as i had hoped.  with denise ross’s book in hand, or at least in my mind
( if you haven’t gotten her blurb book and you like coating things, and making things, it is worth every penny you pay for it:  http://www.blurb.com/b/6465389-the-light-farm  ..)  i never thought about paper grain ( now i do )  i never thought about wet coating ( now i do ).

i took the remaining 2 sheets of paper and cut them into 4×5 pieces and soaked them in cold water.  this isn’t really what denise did in the book but that’s ok.  it is easy to tell which side is emulsion and which isn’t ( the emulsion side is slippery ).  i took my squeegee and removed the water from the prints 1 at a time and with warm emulsion i re-coated each piece of paper.  i looked at each piece in the safelight and they looked coated ( i guess they always do )  but coating 4×5 pieces was always easy for me, so my fingers are crossed that the 2nd emulsion layer took.  i’ve coated cyanotypes 2x, and other stuff 2x but never wet.  i’m hoping denise’s invention and my twisting it for my own needs took.

i also took some sheets of regular paper and coated that stuff too.  1 sheet folds and cuts into 18 4x5s.  i’m still trying to figure out what it is.  i did a little research and it seems to be “virgin” butcher paper.  uline sells it cut into the same size sheets or on a big roll.  alex art supply also sells something similar to it.  in both cases it isn’t the same weight (thickness) but it seems similar enough that when i runout at least i will have something to buy.  smooth finish paper i like best for coating.  nyways, i cut 1 sheet up soaked and squeegeed it and coated 14 pieces.  they are hanging on the line.

 

 

Posted in images on hand coated paper, liquid emulsion, technique and style Also tagged , , , |

hand coating xerox paper

i’ve been experimenting a little with hand coating a variety of different papers.  i have a stack of paper i was given 20 years ago that is slowly being  eaten away and i know i will need to find another something to coat.  i brought the paper to my print shop and local art stores ( locally we have a jerry’s artarama, dick blick and the risd store ).  no one could really tell me what it was but someone told me it seemed like butcher paper.  i looked around for a source and found a few places, i could get it on a big roll or separate 1/2 sheets.  uline has both sheets and rolls, alex art supply too.  its “virgin paper” so it doesn’t have the wax coating on it.  my local restaurant supply stores also have it too, in a big roll.  none of it was the same feel ( i got samples ) as the paper i have been using, but at least now i have a few leads.

a while back i bought a reem of 14×17 xerox paper that was acid free ( i am told it is ALL acid free ) .  i originally was using it to do rubbings which were waxed to print as silver prints or iron ones (cyanotypes) and it worked great, so i figured i would see how it held up with stuff coated on it.  i have a bunch of cyanotype emulsion coated on it, but haven’t exposed it yet, and i am wondering if i should bother.  i also coated 1 sheet with foma liquid emulsion and exposed it and just finished processing the negatives.  i love how smooth paper looks with emulsions on it.  most of the negatives look good but it came with a price.

the paper is VERY thin.  if azo or single weight printers think single weight paper is thin, they have never used xerox paper or thin japanese paper ( i’ll be using some of that next ).  a couple of pieces tore a little bit.  it wasn’t, too bad, maybe it was maybe because i am clumsy with rubber examination gloves on ( i hate using them ),  but it is something i worry about a little bit.  thin paper is weak when it is wet.

i also have a bunch of things i coated lately that i will be exposing and printing on.  i have some photo grade gelatin purchased from artcraft ( THEY ARE GREAT ! ) for my self made emulsion projects as i plug along.

so, this long ramble to say:  if you use xerox paper, be careful, its nice but it might be more trouble than it is worth.

Posted in images on hand coated paper, liquid emulsion Also tagged , |

wait 9 month or a year and see what happens …

i admit it, sometimes i don’t want to process film.  i get tired of standing there and agitating, or shuffling sheets in a tray in the dark.  i started doing stand development because i didn’t want to deal, my version of stand development only lasts for maybe 1/2 hour if i remember to come back in time, sometimesit lasts even more.  i use the same develop my every day film in, sumatra coffee, washing soda,vitamin c and some dektol.  i shake the bubbles off and leave.  sometimes i put of processing film for a few weeks or sometimes i am not very good and put it off for a few months, 9 or 10 months this time.

 

the film sat in a ziplock bag for all this time.  i would process sheets, i would develop paper negatives, i would make contact prints,  even make emulsions and developers from scratch, coat things, and develop them, but i wouldn’t process the rolls of film.  i’d think about it sometimes

painted cyanotype with watercolors

film reels cyanotype with watercolors

finally i processed the film, at least, some of it. i had about 15 or 20 rolls to get through, and i made it through 9 of them.  i loaded the film into the metal reels.  it took a while since i was out of practice.  some reels roll easier than others, and for the first time in a long while i had a few areas touch and not develop.  that’s ok.  after the film was hung and dried and sleeved i began scanning them.  i will eventually print them but i figured scanning is as good a way as any to see what i have, so i scanned, and scanned and scanned. i remember most of the photographs, sort of. but not really.  it was a nice feeling to have distance.  there wasn’t any sort of importance or need or “i have to see this or that”  they were just negatives.

i remember seeing a show on garry winogrand years ago and how he exposed the film and left it for a year or more before he processed it.  ( i think there were 10 thousand rolls of film to process after he died. )  and i can see why he did what he did.  the distance adds to the editing process.  there isn’t a ” this exposure is going to be SO GOOD !” and process the film 20 seconds after it was unloaded. the film is just there and ready when you are, if it is good, its good, if it is bad, you probably don’t remember even making the photograph, so it is OK.

these photographs are from a handful of long walks i took.  sometimes they were made walking home from my mechanic;s place abotu 5 miles away.  i took 3 differnt routes home.  some were taken on the way or way back from picking up beer making supplies.  it was a road i used to travel often with a camera but no so much anymore.  time sat still and the places were virtually the same.

anyways … it’s ok to leave film for a while before you process it,

it mght even be a good thing.

 

colored black and whtite photo

colored black and whtite photo

shadow and textured wall

shadow and textured wall

retina print

retina print

run down fieldstone buildingjakes antiques

Posted in Misc., photographs, technique and style Also tagged , |

first emulsion made by me since 1986/1987

its been about 30 years since i dabbled in the dark arts of making a photographic emulsion using silver. i make cyanotype-stuff all the time but that is child’s play by comparison. with cyanotypes you use 2 chemicals and coat a piece of paper with them with silver emulsion, it is a little more involved, not by much though.  as a cheese eating college student i went to the salvation army / good will ( it was a long time ago i can’t remember which ) and i bought some pots and pans and glass ball jars then i mailed away for silver nitrate and some potassium bromide and probably potassium iodide.  not sure where, but someone pointed me in the right direction …  and followed a recipe that was in the back of an olde photography handbook i got at a book store. the book was from around 1904 and it had old ads, recipes and other fun stuff it was an “annual” ..  anyways, i mixed up an emulsion or 2 but they never really worked very well. while i took chemistry classes in high school and wasn’t afraid to do new things, i just didn’t know what i was doing enough to get anything worthwhile so i abandoned that and started using bottled  mulsion, mainly liquid light by rockland colloid. it worked and i continued to use it for decades off and on— even a few weeks ago i used some and wrote about it here …  there is  a website called the light farm ( http://www/thelightfarm.com ) and for years now i have gone there are read and marvelled at the great stuff there.   i read with the intent of making emulsion again but seeing i had armloads of film and bottled emulsions handy i kept making emulsion at an arms distance, something that i would eventually fall back into but not yet …  now that i have almost run out of materials ( film ) i don’t feel guilty making emulsion. anywyas, the person who runs the light farm, denise ross, is a great mixologist and explainer of emulsions, and she has written a book on how anyone can do it, recipies, techniques, you name it, its in there. http://www.blurb.com/books/6465389-the-light-farm  i got my copy maybe a month ago, and i have been poking around, reading, learning .. and going to the website and reading, poking around and learning.  so today, i decided to step up.  what i did was morphed 2 recipes together and made my own. i like the idea of using sea water ( live near the ocean ) so i made my own ( using baline salt ) and ideas from a light farm contributer named chris patten:  http://thelightfarm.com/Map/DryPlate/Patton/DryPlatePart.htm

 

… and while i like the idea of an emulsion that is slow and sweet, i decided to add some potassium bromide to it, just cause .. well im not sure why i did it, i just did and used a few ideas from a light farm contributor kevin klein:  http://www.thelightfarm.com/Map/DryPlate/Recipes2/DryPlatePart3.htm

i mixed 60cc of warm water with 10 g of knox gelatin  (i didn’t have photography grade emulsion so i used what i had handy) i also added 10 g of the potassium bromide and 2 g of salt. i mixed and mixed and used a water bath and a hot plate ( used a ball jar to put the stuff in ) and when it was mixed i left it in the water to stay liquid and not set.  then covered from head to toe with an apron and EYE PROTECTION GOGGLES i mixed 10g of silver nitrate into another 60cc of warmish water. eye protection you might ask, why ? well, a splash of silver nitrate in your eyes will BLIND YOU , so if you do this PLEASE BE SMART AND WEAR PROTECTION ! silver nitrate will also stain your skin black, and clothes too, so BE CAREFUL, NOT FOOLISH.  once the silver nitrate mixture was dissolved, i turned on the red light, took the gelatin mixture out of the big pot and slowly added the silver nitrate to it. too fast is bad, and too slow is bad. i probably mixed it in too fast because it is supposed to be mixed in a few cc/ min, so it takes about 5-10 mins, i didnt’ just dump it in there, but i didn’t do it extremely slow either. poured a little in, mixed like mad, poured a little more in mixed like mad .. until i had none left.

the ball jar is now yellowish white with emulsion but it isnt’ done yet.  its in one of those canisters with a rubber seal sitting on my concrete floor until it sets up. when that happens i will pull it out of the ball jar it is in, i’ll can cut it up in pices … it will go in cheese cloth and i will rinse it 3-4 times in cold tap water. then i’ll heat it up again into a blob and put it someplace cool and dark until i cut a piece off of it, warm it up, put it on paper or glass and hopefully make a photograph with it !  we live in a new golden age of photography. digital cameras have made it great for people to make wonderful photographs, and silver based/ chemical based photography is back to the way it was 150 years ago. you can’t get the chemicals at the local pharmacy but they are a mouse click away, and unlike my first attempts in making photo emulsion 30 years ago … the internet has made it very easy to find people who can help you do it right …

well, its still sitting there getting cold. when its ready to use i’ll post something maybe something fun, maybe an utter failure ! its up to the fate sisters now ..

Posted in alternative process photography, liquid emulsion Also tagged |

new paper negatives from rockland AG+ emulsion

i’ve been coating thing with rockland emulsion off and on since i was told about it in 1986.  i had never made the investment in a tube of ag+.  i’ve always been on the poorer side of the street when it comes down to buying “stuff”  so i used the regular old non multigrade emulsion and then most recently someone gave me a tube of their extremely expired VC emulsion.  i am fond of making glass negatives and as you probably have read if you poked around this blog i like making ( or trying to make ! ) ferrotypes and glass positives, the ones made with silver gelatin emulsion, not collodion.  the emulsion that comes with the rockland tintype parlor is the ag+.  it was never enough for me in that tiny tube they provide, so i called bob, the guy at rockland and asked him if i could use the other emulsions ( regular, or vc or ? ) to make the tintypes and he said

“sure!  just coat it thicker because it doesn’t have as much silver as the ag+ ”

so that is what i did for a few years, coated things 2x.

now i am out of the other emulsions ( they sort of crapped out on me and turned useless seeing they were so old ) so i cracked open a bottle of the ag+ i bought on a whim IDK 4 or 5 years ago.  i chopped some out of the tube and double boilered it to melt it and i painted some on some butcher paper with a brush like i always do.  i have a puddle pusher but to be honest i never liked using it, so i never did.  the test negative i made came out terrible.  well, it wasn’t THAT bad, but it wasn’t as good as i had hoped.  i looked at the expiration date on the bottle and it wasn’t too out of date so i coated some more with the same bottle.  this time i used the puddle pusher. and boy am i glad i did !

most of the things i coat tend to have brush marks, sometimes it is good and i like that painterly feel, its something extra, a bonus but after i used the puddle pusher i think i might continue to use it and use it often !  the emulsion spread smooth and evenly, no marks, no problems.  i stuck a cut piece of 4×5  ( its actually 4 pieces of a little bigger than 35mm ) into my trusty old pentax K1000 and made an exposure out the window.  mundane scene, shadow, concrete steps, brick walk, plants.  it had contrast and texture and mid-day f16 iso 1 brightness, so i could figure out what the iso was of this now expired emulsion.

1 second hand held  then into the soup.

i have my caffneol in a big tupperware tub and i have a small one to scoop it out for trays, like a ladle …  seeing i don’t use much besides dektol and caffenol i sometimes have a bit of residual caked on coffee in the small tub.  usually it just dissolves with the caffenol i drain out of the big tub,  ..  i didn’t use the big tub this time.  i poured a little dektol into the container and added about 2x that amount of water.  the coffee dissolved nicely as i stired it a little bit.  the negative went in and i agitated it by flipping it, than by swirling the container and rocking it back and forth.  the image slowly appeared as expected in about 30-45 seconds ..  i developed to completion until i hit the 2 minute mark then into a water rinse then hardened fixer then i washed and hunt it to dry.  i didn’t make a contact print of the small paper negative but i scanned and inverted it.  no photoshop but sizing and inverting.  i have to say i was happy with what i saw.

 

stoop

stoop

i have a handful more papers all coated and ready to expose.

 

Posted in liquid emulsion Also tagged , |

new caffenol, new liquid emulsion

over the last 10 years i have grabbed the caffenol c bull by the horns and wrestled it to the ground.  soon after i was given the “teaspoon” recipe i added a tiny bit of print developer and modified the developer so i could use it as my main go-to film developer.  eventually i changed how i processed film again, by splitting my development like a divided developer / alkaline bath  and began using the print developer i had always been using for film ( first ansco 130, now dektol ) and the caffenol c ( with a splash of print developer in it ) one after the other.  i began doing this first for prints, to jump start the developer so it wouldn’t take as long for the caffenol c to work.  from my experiments i learned it took 2 or 3x the normal developing time ( 1 min rc, 2 mins fiber ) for prints in caffneol, and i really am impatient and don’t want to wait 3 mins ( or 6mins ) for prints.  i shuffled the prints between print developer and coffee, until it was done .. and i figured, why not try this with film, so i began doing that.

i tend to not make developer often.  the sumatran caffenol lasts for hundreds of films and hundreds of prints.  i have a tub with 6L of developer in it, and usually take 1L out and put a new L in.  last night i got rid of my 6L and made 5 fresh with old instant coffee i had lying around.  we drank some of this instant on camping trips and when we had a power outage this summer, it didnt’ taste very good, so it makes more sense to me to make developer out of it 🙂   i free-poured the coffee, and carbonate and vit c as i always did, and i made 12 cups (around 1L) of sumatran coffee and added it in.

i’ve decided to use the developer 1-shot for now on.

i’m also almost done with all my film, only a few boxes left, and a few bottles left of liquid emulsion.  1’ve purchased denise ross’s book ( she runs the light farm ) on emulsoin making, and price some silver nitrate for when the magic day comes.  while i made emulsion as a wet behind the ear college student, i figure a good instruction book  from someone who knows what she is doing isn’t a bad place to start.  as i plug through these last boxes of film, and bottles of emulsion i’ll be thinking of my new adventure, making my own emulsion for use in-camera and under-enlarger.  i’ve mised some tintype reversal developer ( i hope this home brew recipe works ! ) so i am running on all cylinders again after a year or 2 of back-peddling.

 

i’ll post more often as i finish all these things, and start making my own.

Posted in liquid emulsion Also tagged , |

paper negative fun with an empire state 1A

I’ve been on the lookout for a back for a camera i bartered for years ago.  the camera is a century 8 grande portrait outfit

 

century 8 portrait camera

 

(photograph courtesy of historic camera.com  a great website if you like looking at “old stuff” or want to see what you have )

http://www.historiccamera.com/cgi-bin/librarium/pm.cgi?action=display&login=century_8

anyways when i received the camera it came on an ornate semi centenial stand ( without the film holder rack ) and the camera came with an 8×10 back.  i eventually made a 11×14 back for the camera out of foam core and waxed paper, and a paper negative holder as well.  it worked like a dream.  i just had to load each sheet separately, no big deal unless i wanted to take more then one photograph.

eventually i purchased a 7×11 film back and holders which i mounted on what was the mount for the 8×10 back.  and that worked beautifully too, but like the 8×10 is about 1/2 the 11×14 negative, the 7×11 REALLY is half the size.  11×14 is such a giant negative i have wanted to get back to shooting that format for a long long time.

recently i found an inexpensive back and a couple of film holders.  if you have ever priced anything large format, you know inexpensive is a relative term.  about a year ago i found a back, broken and in pieces that someone wanted to sell to me for a more money than i had to spend.  i don’t have very much money so i passed and figured eventually i would find something a little more for someone with a shoestring budget.  well, it happened a few weeks ago.  i got a back and holders, and it came with a camera and a 8x1o back as well.  couldn’t have been happier seeing it cost less than the amount for something broken !

the camera arrived in the belly of a greyhound bus.  just don’t ship greyhound on holiday weeks where there is a lot of bus travel, people and their luggage get first priority.  i brought the giant box home and unpacked it.  about a day later i had the camera cleaned up.  after 10 years in a box in someone’s basement it got kind of dusty, and dirty.  i reglued parts of the film holders back together too.  it didn’t have a ground glass ( focusing screen ) so i went to the local home goods store and had a piece of plexi glass cut down to 11×14, and i sanded it and sanded it, and sanded it until it was scuffed up enough to work as a cheap piece of ground glass.  i figure if i sometimes use waxed paper scuffed plexiglass would work fine.  it cost me less than 12$ and about 5 mins of time and saved me probably 4-5 times that.  i clipped the corners and inserted the ground plexiglass.

first i made a retina image.  i  wanted to see if the film holders leaked or the bellows were a mess.

the image came out really nice, so i desaturated it, and added my own color since i like doing that sort of thing

 

2 hour exposure, expired photo paper

2 hour exposure, expired photo paper

the other day i decided to load up the other 11×14 film holder up with paper, and a a 8×10 too.

i made a few kitchen window photographs

 

 

onion and limes and dirty window

onion and limes and dirty window

15-20 seconds

scrubby and window light

 

with an assistant later in the day we made some portaits.

legs

legs

 

counting to 20

counting to 20

 

looking forward to taking the empire on the road, and using the back in-studio

Posted in Misc., using vintage equipment Also tagged , , |

quick and dirty processing for expired or ” no idea what kind of film it is ” film

as you might have read, if you have found this blog / journal i don’t typically use fresh film, chemistry or paper.  i am fond ofthe expired variety.  for the past maybe 15 years my “personal” photography adventure has all been done with out of date, bought cheap, given to me for the price of shipping film.  yes, i have bought new, for work done for others, but for myself it has all been the materials some people suggest is  ready for the trash heap.

there really is no cure all for the problems that might be considered “the downfall” of expired film.  sometimes the people ahead of you in the long line of owners stored it in their 150ºF car for weeks and just remembered before giving it to you or selling it on eBay suggesting it was found in their neighbor’s house and they were asked to sell it … or it could have been lying around a warm house with drastic seasonal temperature changes, or it could have just been sitting on a shelf in a cool not too humid basement.  so you have to be prepared for loss of speed, maybe fog, or the worst case scenario, the film not working at all … most of the film i use that is expired i know where it has been, so its provenance is not so mysterious.  when i get it, it gets put in a place that doesn’t have too much temperature variation, and not too much humidity.  when i expose it, i typically over expose a few stops ( i do this with “fresh film” too so it isn’t that much of a stretch for me

but for some who love to shoot box speed or “push” process, this can be an issue ). the trick in processing isn’t really a trick at all.  it is to use a print developer like dektol, or ansco 130, or whatever else you might have on hand.  sometimes they are called “universal developers” …  whatever you want to call them, they work well.  some restrain the fog that might have appeared on the film from poor storage too. the “old trick” for using print developers for film again isn’t really a trick at all.  for dektol it is the dilution becomes the time. so 1:5 is for 5 mins, 1:7 for 7 mins 1:3 is 3 mins.  ansco130 i used to regularly use 1:6 for 8.5 mins.  i liked dense and contrasty film and i am sure it would have worked fine at 6 mins like its cousin “gaf universal” used to suggest on its can.  i have read stories, and talked to old pros from days gone by and they regularly put their sheets of film or rolls of film in strong dektol ( 1:2 or 1:2 ) and just let it sit there, no agitation for 1 or 2 mins.  i have never done that so i can’t really recommend it, but i have done 1:6 both with dektol and ansco and it works great.   if you are a coffee developer user another couple of things i have done uses coffee (as you might have guessed).   you mix a strong batch of caffenolC ( i use the teaspoon recipe ) and add a splash of your favorite print developer into it.  i used ansco130 for years, now i do this with dektol.  and you stand develop your film for about 27-30 mins.  before you sink your film in the developer, you water bath it so you get the emulsion swollen and ready to absorb the developer.  and you bank the tank &c to get rid of the air bubbles.  then you just pour the developer in the tank.  i agitate for a few seconds and bang the tank again to get rid of the bubbles and then just walk away for about 1/2 hour.  if you want yo can agitate a little bit in between halfway through or the end, don’t do it much …  your film is pretty much going to look OK.  i also do the split develop routine now too.  1:8 for about 8 mins it would have been …  i process the film for 4 mins with a normal agitate scheme (water bath first, then 1 min continuous, then 10sec / min) then i pour out the print developer and continually agitate the film tank, now full of strong caffenolC with a splash of print developer in there.  you don’t need much print developer 20cc 15cc whatever you want.

again, your film will come out looking nice.  maybe a little dense maybe not too dense … either way you will be able to print with an enlarger, or contact print or scan if you like to do that.

if you like examples …

poke around this blog, or my image kind area and most of the black and white images there, made within the last 15 years

were done using the methods i have described.

 

have fun!

Posted in film development technique, technique and style Also tagged , |

last group of cups and plates

i had a mini project with cups and saucers and bowls and plates.  all taken with a large camera on sheet film, processed in coffee and print developer ..  scanned and colors added by me ..  all sort of green and red, some better than others, all just fun  and playing around.

 

the bottom cups and handles were not taken at the same time, and just sort of fit together and noticed after the fact …

green and red cups and plates

hand colored

Posted in alternative process photography, film development technique, using vintage equipment Also tagged , |

recent work

i haven’t posted here in a few months for a variety of reasons.  but i am here again with a handful of photographs … as seen in a few other of my blog posts, i have been having fun making trichromes.

they are FULL color photographs made using separation filters ( RBG ) and panchromatic black and white film.  about 30 years ago my uncle ( a professional photographer in western massachusetts ) told me about making trichromes  but i didn’t have access to a color darkroom, so i never made any.  NOW, since i am able to compile the images using photoshop i am making them often.  i even have a polaroid 500 portrait camera and i have started to make portraits and stereo tri chromes.

here are a few images ..  they don’t have any hidden meaning, they are just fun. oh, in case you wanted to know the vital statistics …  they were all taken with expired black and white film which was hand processed in a combination of coffee based developer ( sumatranol ) and ansco 130.

 

if you cross your eyes the image is 3D

 

if you cross your eyes the 3D image appears

 

 

 

Posted in Misc. Also tagged , , , , , , |