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Pics @ Etobicoke Creek

Posted 2012.09.23 23.20 in Hobbies, Photography

I went for a bit of a walk this morning, to have a look at where the local river (the Etobicoke Creek) emerges from a concrete diversion channel and reverts to its natural riverbed.

The diversion channel thingy was built in the 1950′s (if I remember right) as a solution to prevent downtown from flooding every year.

I’ve never really looked closely at it before, though it is not far from my house. The diversion channel thingy is really small and makes the river look like a wee little stream, but it must be deep and it does move fast.

Now I’m curious to go see the other end, where they squeeze the river down into that little concrete channel.

The film was expired Shoppers Drug Mart “EasyPix” brand (made by Fuji I believe), ISO 200. It came out with some interesting colour shifts, kind of an overall pink tone. I’ll have to try and remember to overexpose it by a stop next time to see if that helps.

Shot with my Lomography LC-A+ RL and developed at home in my kitchen sink with my tired old Press Kit colour chemistry – 14 months old and still going strong.

Black and White and 110 all over

Posted 2012.08.23 21.15 in Photography

So a few months back, the Lomography folks announced that they were reviving the 110 format film.

Also known as Pocket Instamatic film, 110 film comes in a little plastic cartridge. It uses a narrow strip of film 16mm wide, and you could get it in 12-shot and 24-shot sizes. The negative image was only about 17mm x 13mm, or a quarter of the size of a 35mm film negative.

I’ve got a handful of 110-format cameras in my collection, and until now I’d only been able to use them with out-dated (very expired) film. The results I’d been getting were quite poor.

Even when new the 110 format was not known for fantastic images – most of the cameras were cheaply made, with less-than-stellar lenses and inadequate exposure controls (or none at all). This resulted in grainy, fuzzy negatives that couldn’t be enlarged any more than small snapshots.

I think I’ve read that the last factory making 110 film closed up in 2009. Now, three years later, the Lomography people have brought it back. When they announced their new ‘Orca’ film, 110 format in black & white, I immediately ordered a couple rolls.

I’d never used B&W in 110 format, and was interested in trying it out. I also wanted to try out ‘fresh’ 110 film to see if I’d get noticably better results over the 10+ old stuff I’d been using so far. I loaded up my Pentax Auto 110 (an SLR system camera with interchangable lenses) and this past weekend I shot off a roll.

The results were pleasantly surprising. The camera is one of the best ever made for the 110 format, which helps of course. The film though came out very crisp with good contrast and a nice range of tones. Using a jeweler’s loupe, the film really looks fantastic.

The first six shots were taken in Eldorado Park, the seventh was shot from the car on the way home, and the last shot was taken at home, with a different camera. I moved the film from the Pentax into a Lomo Fisheye 110, to see how the Fisheye would work.

Film was processed at home in old T-Max 1:4 developer for 8 minutes. The scanned images are not as good as the film – my scanner seems to not be able to get a good read from 110 film. Perhaps because I’m trying to scan it from a 35mm carrier…

Loafer’s Lake Park

Posted 2012.08.20 8.33 in Photography

A couple weeks ago I took a walk around Loafer’s Lake, a small manmade lake in the north end of town. I was looking for some subject matter for photography, and water is one of my favorites. The Etobicoke Creek flows around the lake too, so it was twice as fun.

I’d taken two cameras, loaded with different kinds of film. I developed the first one right after the little excursion but was unhappy with the results. The camera was a Leica AF-C1 – a plastic autofocus, probably made by Minolta, but with the Leica branding. It was disappointing.

The other camera was the Lomography LC-A+ and it performed rather better, loaded with generic ISO-800 colour print film.

Caught on Film

Posted 2011.11.12 8.59 in Photography, Spiritual

The idea of catching ghosts on film has been around since about 35 seconds after the first camera was made. Well, maybe not quite that fast, but at least within the first week. The point is, ghost photos (and fake ghost photos) are as old as photography itself.

Nowadays there’s a huge glut of so-called “orb” pictures around, and some people take them very seriously. At one time I tried to keep an open mind about them too – I reasoned that maybe there was some sciencey reason that meant digital sensors were somehow sensitive to otherworldy energy. Or something like that.

I was forced to abandon that belief when faced with the fact that the large sensors in DSLR cameras do not catch “orbs” like the small point-and-shoot cameras do. And if it wasn’t some sciencey thing that made digital sensors catch them, then it had to be the other reason – tiny lens, tiny focal length, tiny sensor, and a flash in close proximity to the lens / sensor means any dust will be brightly illuminated and just inside the lens’s ability to focus as a big blurry blob.

So while I am open-minded and I’ve seen and experienced many things I cannot explain, the “orbs” captured by digital cameras are no longer in that “unexplained” category.

Now when I see these ghost-hunter type shows, and they capture orbs with their equipment, I always look closely to see what they are using. And I’ve never seen “orbs” captured on a large-sensor digital camera. And I’ve really never seen “orbs” captured on old-fashioned film.

Until now.

In the last week of October I had a half-roll of black & white film I wanted to use up, so I put it in a simple camera, and snapped a few shots around the house. Mainly I wanted to see how the film performed, and wasn’t worried about the subject matter so much as ensuring that the images turned out.

Out of about 8 or 10 frames, most were simple boring pictures. Then there was this one…

A glow seems to be emerging from the heat vent in the hall, and another glow seems to be streaking into or out of the front bedroom. I can say with certainty that I saw no such glows or illumination when I was taking the pictures that night.

There is also a bit of ‘fog’ towards the top of the frame. And down the right-hand side there are some faint after-images of the film’s sprocket holes.

I can’t say for sure that this photo is paranormal, it might be the result of a processing or film-handling mistake. However, I’ve processed dozens upon dozens of rolls of film just in the past 6 months alone, and I’ve never had something like this happen before.

Through the Cemetery

Posted 2011.11.09 23.08 in Hobbies, Photography

So last week the Lomography folks unveiled their new product – a new-fangled old-fashioned movie camera using actual film!

I confess I think they’ve done something very clever. 8mm, 16mm, Super-8, all those old movie films have something in common: it’s really hard to find somewhere to buy the film, and it’s nigh-impossible to find somewhere to develop it. There’s like maybe 4 places left on Earth that process Super-8 on a regular basis.

So what the LSI gang have done, is come up with a funky retro hand-cranked movie camera, that takes common normal 35mm film, that you can still buy lots of places, and can still get developed lots of places. (Except around where I live, apparently.)

Now the drawback is that a 36-frame can of 35mm film is not a lot of film when you’re talking about motion pictures. The LomoKino camera fits 4 movie frames in a single still-picture frame, i.e. instead of 24mm by 36mm, the movie frames are 24mm by 8.5mm. So your 36-shot roll of film gives you about 144 frames. The LomoKino can crank at about 5fps so this is…less than 30 seconds of footage for a whole film cannister.

Still, it’s pretty keen. The camera looks good and if you get bulk film off eBay and process & scan it yourself, it’s not that expensive to make your own retro movies.

Here’s my first – Through the Cemetery, shot on Kodak Tri-X with the LomoKino. Enjoy!

Found Film #7

Posted 2011.10.22 16.18 in Hobbies, Photography

Recently I picked up another new camera toy. Well new is a relative term – this time it was a 1935 Kodak Bantam. With the Anastigmat f/6.3 lens and the rigid viewfinder, this was the premium model. Whoever was the original purchaser, they went with the higher-end model, instead of the base unit with its slower f/12 lens and the collapsing finder.

The Kodak Bantam is an incredibly cute camera – you just don’t get a feel for its cuteness from the pictures. When it’s folded up, it’s tiny! Even when open, it’s miniscule.

And best of all, my Bantam came with a Special Surprise inside!

Yeah! A roll of exposed film!

Except – oh no! When I was removing the film from the camera, I committed a terrible mistake… the roll slipped out of my grip and tried to escape, while the backing paper was hung-up on something in the camera, and the whole roll started to unspool! I caught it but the last few inches of film were light-struck. Dangit!

Luckily, it turns out only the last one and a half frames were blasted. Here’s a look at the rest of them:

Technical stuff: The Bantam uses 828 roll film, which is the same width as 35mm but has no perforations. Without perfs, the negatives are 30% larger than a standard 35mm image, at 40mm x 28mm. As nifty as it sounds, Kodak stopped selling 828 cameras in the 50′s, and discontinued the film in the 80′s.

The roll in my Bantam was Kodak Verichrome Pan, with which I have dealt before. I used almost the same process as last time, but extended the development time to compensate for the colder temperature. Pre-soak for 10 minutes, developed for 11:30 in T-Max 1:4 and then fixed for 10:30.

Flims Awaiting Processing

Posted 2011.10.17 19.15 in Hobbies

Soon I’ll have to mix up a new batch of colour chemistry. I’ve got a small-but-growing backlog of films impatiently in need of processing.