Tag Archives: sumatra

making color where there is only black and white

i’ve been toying with tri chromes, or tri chrome-esque photographs for a few years now.  i first learned about trichromes after reading and seeing the photographs made by the russian photographer before world war 1. (http://mentalfloss.com/article/29615/100-year-old-color-photos-pre-revolution-russia )

i knew this process existed, even before i saw those beautiful russian photos when i visited an uncle and he told me you can take 3 black and white negatives, one with a red filter, one with a blue and one with a green and print them on color paper together and make color photographs.  i never did this until a few years ago, and i was hooked.

 

i’ve even thought about buying an big old rickety camera that takes 3 exposures at once, but i’ve settled on an old polaroid camera called a portrait land 600 that takes 6 exposures at once on a sheet of 4×5 film.  its a passport camera and was given to me by my friend whitey, a collector of fun-stuff, and great photographer to boot !   well, this entry isn’t about making trichromes using black and white film, or black and white separation negatives in-camera but something i have been trying to figure out for a couple of years:  how to take a regular black and white photo and turn it into a  color one.  i figured it wasn’t one of those things that was super hard, after all ted turner colorized all those classic movies, but it was something that i couldnt’ figure out until today.

i frequent dpug ( digital photo user group ) and have posted the question there but i always got complicated answers.  i made the mistake of doing the 10 day free trial for afinity photo ( i didn’t get it, long story short, no customer support ! ) and didn’t get it, BUT i did manage to see interesting videos on how to do stuff, and one was a technicolor photo effect.  affinity doesn’t work completely like photoshop, and i have been using PS since the 90s, so i was looking for hints …  it was extremely complicated making layers and nesting cmy adjustment layers.  the guy made it look really easy though.

 

today i watched youtube photoshop tutorials for doing similar things.  one guy just gets rid of the blue layer and adds a green one it was kind of fun.  another guy showed how to make SIMPLE separatoin negatives. so i took what i needed from affinity ( what levels to put the cmy levels ) and the simple separation files and this is what i did … sorry i don’t have charts or graphs &c but it is pretty simple, and i have done it with b/w files and it was fun to turn them into color photos …

 

you open your image file and get your channel / layers dialog box, and click color channels.  there is a little arrow and click it

and use the ” channel splitter ” it will give you 3 identical files labled red green blue  and for each one go to mode and change

them each from grey scale to rgb.  go to hue / saturation  for each file and click “colorize”

for red put the top slider at 180 (cyan ) for blue put the slider to 60 ( yellow ) and for green put it to 300 ( magenta ).

now select the whole image edit>copy  and file new and go into the channel palette and drop each file

into the individual color channels r -g-b and at then … there you go, you have a color photograph

or, sort of a color photograph

 

trichrome technique

centerville mill

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emulsive

i thought i posted a link to this but i guess it got away from me.

i was interviewed by emulsive.org a little while ago about film and emulsion and what i am up to. in case you don’t know about emulsive org what i am up to here is the link what’s emulsive.org ?  feel free to go there, its a pretty interesting site

well worth the click !

I am John Nanian and this is why I shoot film

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film processed in dektol and coffee

my last entry i mentioned i had finished exposing about 36 sheets of film.  it was more than that ..  4 bag-mags filled with a variety of tmx ( 100 ) tmy (400 ) and some mystery film that was bad enough that it never exposed.  maybe 10 sheets were as clear as unexposed film when it came out of the developer.  they were some of the first sheets i processed to test the developers.  i increased the times and added a little more dektol to my mix.  originally it was about 1:8 but i added so it was more like 1:6.

i hadn’t ever processed film in dektol before, only heard about it, and i have to say i was happy with the results.  i have to fine tune my dilutions and times but for the most part everything looked good.

i exposed in a variety of different lighting conditions, room light, weak window light, bright light and i exposed my film well.  sometimes developers need a little encouragement.  i go against convention.

here are 2 from my  39 sheets.

1:6 / 7+ 7mins.

dektol and sumatranol test

1:6, 7+7 mins

dektol test

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around 36 exposures

the last few days i have been using a graflex slr ( series D )  ..  just moments ago i exposed my last 12 exposure  ” bag mag ” full of what might be foma 2oo and tmx 100.  i loaded the film a month or so ago in anticipation of using it up fast.  i researched the notch codes seeing i didn’t recognize them, there are a lot of films that used that code and my best guess is that i loaded was fomapan200.  i found this very strange because i have have only bought fomapan200 film once in my life and the film box is unopened.  …  i am certain there are elves living nearby and they seem very interested in large format photography!  they have borrowed my light meters and cameras, film holders, glass plate holders, even film and dry plates in the past … usually the stuff is lost for about a year and they put things back with film i have never purchased.  so, i’m guessing this 30 sheets of fomapan200 was an exchange for the 30 sheets of tmy ( old 400 ) that went missing about a year ago.  it sounds almost like a modern brothers grimm story ( the shoemaker and the elves ), but that’s a post for a later date.

===

i loaded it in the bag mags ( 4 of them ) and made some controlled exposures to test my new film developer line which is DEKTOL 1:7 ( 4 mins )  then SUMATRA CAFFENOL C ( 5 mins ) then wash and fix normally.  if you read my posts here from time to time you will notice this seems familiar.  i usually do the same thing using ansco 130  ….  while it is sort of a new adventure, i am quite certain it will be just fine and i probably won’t even notice the difference.   i’ll post a few scans after i process the film.

 

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3 paper negatives inverted

again with my paper negative tests

my dektol tests

my dektol + sumatra coffee developer split development tests

 

today i loaded film holders up and exposed the negatives in a more controlled environment.  i used a graflex series D camera so i cold focus and have a better idea of the exposure than a box camera …

well — sort of.

i also took a light meter reading, something i haven’t done in probably 2 years.  i wanted to know the unknowns and make exposures to see what was going on.   the first exposures was the middle one the images were all taken through a window — i pointed the meter out and set to iso 6.  i read about 6 seconds @ f4.  so i focused and stopped down a teeny bit and counted to 8 seconds  the 2nd exposure ( far left ) stopped down a quarter turn and about 20-22 seconds.  the 3rd exposure was a double exposure.  the first one stopped down more than 1/4 turn 20 seconds and then  wide open about 4 seconds.

not sure exactly what my fstops were because the lenshood blocks the numbers, i just know it wasn’ t f3.8 and it  wasn’t f 32 …

the prints were processed a the same exact time.  when the image appeared to come up i switched from dektol to caffenol then back in the dektol for a little boost in contrast i scanned them and inverted them and just barely adjusted the levels. my guess is the exposures and development were pretty much on target and the paper

hasn’t lost much contrast or gained much fog in 15 years since it is old and expired KODAK paper … i wish it didn’t all have kodak professional paper watermarking the back of the paper, or i would contact print the negatives into positive prints, the exposures look good for that too.

graflex paper negatives

dektol sumatranol split

 

even though this looks like 1 image, if you click on it you will see all 3

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paper negatives

some people hate paper negatives.

they have trouble with them because they don’t realize how they need to be exposed and treat them like film.  they develop them like regular prints, and think that a “beefy” paper negative will print great like a “beefy negative”. photo paper is not film, it isn’t sensitive to the same light as film and its sensitivity changed.

what does this mean ?

in a simple way of putting it is  film is panchromatic, so it is sensitive to red, green blue light.  think of it as being  sensitive to all light …and unless you are using color film, light is light.  photo paper is sensitive to blue light, and sometimes to green light.  different times of the day, different light conditions (shade, open shade, bright sunlight, cloudy day &c) different amounts of blue light are around, so even though it might seem “bright” it might not be …  this might not make much sense.  but you can do a little experiment.  if you have a “hot light”  the old fashioned ones that use tungsten bulbs make an exposure with that bulb as your light source, and then use a different light source, maybe a CF bulb that has mostly red in it …  and make the same exposure with your paper…  you might notice one negative “better” than the other.  its also the reason at least with multi contrast papers why you can use filters to adjust the contrast of the image … anyways, photo paper might be fast in one light condition and slow in another, AND different manufacturers use different light sensitive emulsions on their paper so they will have different “speeds” too.  you might see speeds listed on the box of paper, they are not the same as film speeds, but only relative to the paper.   as a point of reference, regular photo paper typically has a iso ( asa ) relative to film about 6, sometimes as high as 25 if you plan on shooting paper negatives, its best to do exposure tests .    bracket exposures, like you would for film, and take notes if that is your sort of thing.  years ago there were oodles of papers on the market, and i did paper exposures for maybe 15 different ones these days there aren’t as many so it might be a little easier.

developer  …

you should develop your paper negatives the same way you develop your prints ” to completion”  …  don’t pull the print out of the developer when “it looks right”  because you won’t get a good print, just like you won’t get a good negative.  contrast comes out first then the mid tones afterwards.  a beefy negative or a thin one … i guess it all depends on what the negative will be used for.  will you make a contact print with it ?  will you scan and invert it ?  will you make a sun print with it? if you plan on contact printing your paper negatives thin ones sometimes work best, too dense it is hard for the light to pass through and you will get a thin positive print.  if you plan on scanning and inverting, a dense negative might suite your needs ..  i guess it depends on how good your photoshop skills are.

sun prints are a bit different.  it takes a long time for the sun’s light to pass through the photo paper.  i have waxed the negative with paraffin and made it somewhat translucent and light passed through a bit easier.  i can’t help you there, you have to experiment to see what works best for your situation.

 

 

why do i like paper negatives ?

photo paper is cheap compared to film, and it is instant compared to film.  i find exposing paper negatives whether they are negatives i coated by hand with liquid or home made emulsion or in a box to be more fun … there is a sense of the unknown sometimes … with film, you pretty much know what you are going to get  … also, i would rather make a long exposure than an instant one …  while instantaneous fraction of a second exposures have their place portraits of fidgety kids, maybe pet photography, large groups where everyone seems to be moving, sports, science / nature photography there is a thing about long exposures that almost makes a scene or person come to life  …  but that is another entry for another time.

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dektol paper negatives

i am a little rusty at making paper negatives with anything but ansco 130 with the 130 i used to leave a tray out till it turned black and was still active  and use it as a 2nd bath along with a tray of fresh developer.  since  dektol doesn’t have glycin in it it doesn’t have the same long lifespan as ansco130 so when it turns black i spike it with a capful of stock solution.  i haven’t nailed the right exposures with the paper, or the right split yet but it is fun putzing around trying to start over again using a new developer with past experiences i learned from another.  sometimes they can be just transfered (i did this with 1 developer it should and does do the same thing with another) and sometimes it is just totally different … (i did this with 1 developer, and my contrast with the new developer is too much) luckily i have shelves full of paper and a few packets of dektol so i don’t think i won’t learn the the technique with the new developer.

 

yesterday i burned a few paper negatives and processed them in fresh dektol maybe 1:1.5

i split processed the paper in a tray of sumatranol –

harsh outside light soft inside light

split D + sumC

 

cyclone

toning down the dektol, used caffenol c as a 2nd bath

 

cyclone + 10-15 year old polymax rc

split dektol and caffenol

 

 

 

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More tintypes

i loaded up a graflex series d plate holder yesterday
and filled it with 6 coated plates.  i exposed them heavily
hoping my dead emulsion would like extra light
and it did.  f3.8 @ an average of 3-4 minutes each exposure
noon-time-light ( heavy blue ) snow reflecting the light as well …

they were developed in my home brew reversal .. part coffee, part ansco130, part sodium carbonate, part magic
and i processed them this morning.  unfortunately i forgot the hardener in my old fashioned hypo, so some of the emulsion frilled and lifted
but i’ll re-use the plates.  the images were light, and some were coppery, and they are drying as i type this   …

i’ll warm up and pour some fresh emulsion in the next few days and see what happens next.  my developer works well ( tested it with regular paper )
it might just be my emulsion is old and not worth the bottle it is solidified in.

more to follow  …

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using a cyclone

from time to time i get asked what kind of camera i have or use or like or like to use or …

my current favorite is a cyclone #3.  it is what is called a magazine camera, or a falling plate camera.
if you google “cyclone camera” you will probably find an advertisement for it over on flickr.  i don’ t know the guy
so i’d rather not hot link to his site.  it was a box camera that had 2 speeds, as they all seemed to have, I ( instantaneous) and T ( time )
the I speed was maybe 1/50th S  F maybe 13?   i don’t know they were pretty simple and are still a lot of fun!
basically the way they work is there are sleeves that sheets of glass with emulsion used to go in, they are called septums.
my #3 has 8 septums, i think it is missing 4 of them but they don’t appear without a camera, and i really don’t need ANOTHER camera.
you can put a piece of black cardboard in the septum and then either film or paper if you coat your own glass plates like me, you can load them without the cardboard
and WITH glass plates.  the slide in vertically one after another, then the blank and then the back which has a big bedspring to apply pressure to the septums.
you make your exposures and jiggle the knob and each exposed septum FALLS to the floor.  thats where the name comes from.
i used to buy smaller formats  of this style of camera.  they came in all sorts of different sizes, landscape shapes portrait shapes, ( long and skinny ) and
sometimes had elaborate shutter controls and apertures.  the #3 is pretty simple … i aperture and 1 shutter speed and T …i also have a #5 that i recently started to use
it has 3 apertures, and the exposed plates can be retrieved from the bottom of the camera  …  it is smaller too, sort of dainty if you can call a wooden box camera dainty.

anyways i started using the #3 a year or 2 ago and really enjoy how it works.  the lens has a sweet spot, i think, at around infinity ( joke )
its big and clunky and seems to work fine, except once in a while the septums get jammed and i have to wack the camera …  and people sometimes stare.
funny thing is, no one asks me anything when im using the camera.

i tend to coat paper myself using bottled emulsion.  i use liquid light a lot, and coat paper 2 coats.  the last batch i did was in the spring, and i just started to use it.
they turned out OK, sort of.  i also am using 10year old polymax fb paper.  its probably way older than 10 years old seeing it was all given to me about 13 years ago by a friend in portsmouth nh.  it was thelast single weight paper made by kodak, and it seems to hold up well.  even if it didn’t i would use it seeing it is kind of foggy, and less contrast is always good when shooting paper negatives.

 

burning bush behind

 

i also went into providence …

tower

i went again today, but the paper is still drying on the line ..

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hand color, sun print .. half the dream

sometimes i run on inertia,
i just am on autopilot and don’t really stop and think
if i am doing something right or wrong &c.

the colors were added by me using a mouse.

 

glass plate sun print hand colored

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recent LUMEN prints from glass plates ( The Dream )

sometimes i put a piece of glass or something out in the sun, on a sheet of photo paper

i did this yesterday with some glass plates i exposed and treated last week ….

====

The Dream

 

while i lay still at night
on my back with my eyes closed
i dreamed …
i rode through the air on my horse
through the trees and the darkness to the light
there were faces there to greet me
people talked
and pointed
there was a sailor in a cap
watching as the people turned to leaves and blew away
i eventually woke
and wondered where i was.

( click on image to see the whole thing, the thumb nail is clipped )

 

lumen contact print from glass negative

sometimes i look at clouds,
other times i look at prints

Posted in alternative process photography, images on glass and metal, images on hand coated paper, liquid emulsion, photographs, technique and style Also tagged , , , , , , , , |

coating plates … how to

i haven’t’ coated plates with hand made emulsion yet, that will happen soon enough …

but i have been coating plates on and off since the mid 1980s …

there are a few different ways to do this, some are easier than others

the first steps are all the same.

you have to wash the plate to make it chemically clean.  you can see if your glass sheet if clean by running water on it
if the water doesn’t “hang”  you are probably OK …  i wash my plates with a scrub brush ( plastic ) and washing soda.  i have a wood drying rack that i put them on so they drip dry.  i also just have them lean against the wall of the darkroom sink.

once they are dry you can coat them with a sub / or binding agent.  glass doesn’t really have anything for the emulsion to anchor to so an intermediary layer of something works.  depending on what sort of emulsion you are using you use a different binding agent …
i only use silver gelatin emulsions now, so my subbing layer would be  …  clear unflavored gelatin.  you can get hard bloom photography grade gelatin, its the same stuff used in the emulsion  …  or you can use cheap store bought knox gelatin.  i have only used knox  …  and it really never let me down.

i add a packet to warm water and let it dissolve.  then i pour it on the plate and put it someplace flat to set-up.  some folks put hardener in their sub layer, i have never done that.

anther binding agent could be clear poly urethane.  i have never used it  ( min wax ) but some do and they have had successes …  others suggest that it might yellow over time.  i’ve never used that so i really can’t comment.

i do know what DOESN’T work …

albumen doesn’t work
collodion ( either photographer’s collodion or pharmacy “flexible” ) doesn’t work
rubber cement doesn’t work either

as i write this, i realize i only used the albumen and collodion when they were not fully dry.
i have never tried to use them when they were dry, and knowing that there are collodion+gelatin emulsions that exist
i haven’t heard of a albumen gelatin emulsion though …

so i guess the jury’s out still on albumen and collodion …

once there is a sub layer there are a few different ways to coat the plate.
FIRST  …  you have to warm your emulsion and turn it into liquid.  i used to heat up a whole bottle and pour it off
but since then i have learned to squeeze out some emulsion into a warming container and have a small amount liquify.  heating and jelling
emulsion ( from what i understand ) can lead to a fogged emulsion.  once you have it in liquid form  …

one way is by total submersion into a tray of emulsion.  i haven’t done this, but from what i understand you can put some sort of covering on the back of the plate ( tape or something similar )  and dunk the plate in the emulsion, pour off the excess from a corner and put the plate someplace flat to even-out and set up.

another way is using a paint brush.  i like using japanese brushes to coat paper but they tend to leave brush strokes.  brush strokes on glass plates can be nice if enlarged on or shot through a camera, depending on the look you want …  i also like using cheap foam brushes.

this next way i was never able to do until this year, i always had trouble down the line and it never worked, but i have been reformed.

folks who write on http://www.thelightfarm.com and http://www.apug.org and mark osterman at the george eastman house have opened my eyes to another, easy and practical way to coat plates.  you need to have a warmish plate so i use a heating pad if my darkroom ambient temperature is coldish  …  and you need a cold level surface.  i use a pizza stone that cold from the freezer.
i have a small glass bottle i pour from, and another container to pour off / drain into.  i hold the plate level, and pour a large puddle of warm liquid emulsion onto it … and i tilt the plate to get all 4 corners ( like one would do if coating a wet plate ) …  and i use my finger to make sure
the whole plate is covered before draining it off into the second container.  after the plate is drained, i put it on the cold pizza stone to set the gelatin.  if the plate needs a second coat i pour on a second coat.  i usually coat maybe 4-10 plates at once, so by the time i am done with the last one, the first one can get its second layer.

i leave the plates flat and level to dry and after a day or so they are ready to expose.

when i process plates i use a coffee based developer and a strong developer.  i pretty much only use ansco 130, and use a 1:2 dilution to kickstart the development, and i put it in the coffee developer to finish.  i don’t rush it, and i agitate the tray  or with a gloved hand agitate the plate by rock it in the developer.  i don’t  use a stop bath but a water bath ( cold ) …  and while i never use hardener for any other process because it tends to be difficult to wash the emulsion and paper free of chemistry, i have a hardener fixer bath.

cold temperatures, an alkaline developer and a hardener in the fixer keep or help keep the emulsion from lifting off the plate.  in years gone by i would get perfect images on the emulsion, but they would lift off the plate, and wash off.  since i started using a cold stone, cold chemistry, alkaline developers and hardener i haven’t had this happen yet…

maybe  …  just a little bit, but not anywhere as badly as it could be.

5×7 and 8×10 glass plates on the horizon !

Posted in alternative process photography, film development technique, images on glass and metal, liquid emulsion, photographs, technique and style Also tagged , , , , , , , , , |

1910-2012

main street old earnshaw drugs

hand colored black and white

odeum theater
hand colored black and whtie

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the caffenol cookbook

six, almost seven years ago i was given a recipe for caffenol c film developer by a friend whitey.  i met whitey over on apug.org, one of the 3 or so photo places i hang around.  whitey is an artist and teacher and a friend of a friend who i went to college with.  he is the person who started me down a path that at first wasn’t sure where it was going to lead me, and now i couldn’t see myself doing anything else.  he emailed me the recipe for caffenol c  and the recipe went like this:

Caffenol C

8 oz. water
4 slightly rounded tsp. instant coffee
2 tsp. washing soda (buy it at Shaws as well)
1000 mg Vitamin C (1/4 tsp powder)

like a good science student, i got a spoon and the right ingredients and a beaker to mix them in, and i processed a roll of film.  after the first development i got tired of mixing 8oz at a time and started to make 1L at a time and just eyeballing the measurements.  i processed my film in an old leaky unicolor processor and it worked well, until it didn’t.  for whatever reason a few rolls came out completely blank with nothing on them, and i swore off the coffee developer.  i went back to ansco 130 for my films, and sprint film developer too.  i eventually got bored and began to use the coffee again, and this time i added a little bit of ansco 130 in it to see what would happen.  it turned out to be the best film developer i could imagine.  time went by and i started to wonder what would happen if i used coffee beans instead of instant coffee.  i hunted down some green beans a local roaster had and wasn’t using.  i did a test roast and process and he was as happy to sell me the beans as i was to use them.  there is another post in this blog that details my coffee roasting and processing …

over the years i have run into people who were also coffee enthusiasts.  some invited me to flickr.com where i met up with other like minded, people.  it is a diverse crowd over there, experimenters, scientists and people who really enjoy having fun with a camera and film.  i also met up with a someone who asked me if i would be interested in joining into a group and making a book all about caffenol.  knowing my style isn’t for everyone … i like imperfection, i like not measuring, i like adding a little bit of print developer into my strange brew, i wasn’t sure if i should join in or not.   well, it has been a long time in the making and it is finally done.

the caffenol cookbook and bible is here:  http://www.caffenol-cookbook.com/

 

HUGE thanks to bo for putting this together, it is an honor to be associated with such a great and diverse group of coffee fanatics.

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Agfa Shur Shot

i was given an agfa shur shot camera years ago and didn’t use it much.  it is a box camera from the 1930s, a basic camera.

it isn’t the most well made camera, kind of made of cardboard and wood and it seems like it is going to break every time you change the film
because you have to pull out the wind knob but it seems to work OK just the same.

the other day i walked a few miles from my mechanic’s place, almost home, it was about 3 miles in all.  i took random photographs on discontinued kodak 120 ( plus x ) film.  sometimes i pressed the shutter and it fired at maybe 1/50th of a second, other times i put it on “time” and counted to maybe four or five.  when i got home and found the time ( maybe a week or two later ) i processed all the film in my usual film developer.  i use about 2L of perkolated sumatra coffee, and a few healthy pours of washing soda and vitamin C.  i also added some black, used and diminished ansco 130 paper developer dilute 1:10.  i wound the film on the metal reels, put it all in stainless steel tanks,
and poured in the developer to do its magic.  i left the room for about 1/2 hour and played a few games of solitaire ( canfield is my favorite )
and eventually i lost, and went to wash and fix the film.  it hung to dry from a string on the ceiling, and the next day when i found the time, i scanned the negatives, inverted them and began wondering what to do with these random frames from my walk.

 

 

sub station

sub station in color

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