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Found Film #5

Posted 2011.09.15 23.34 in Hobbies, Photography

I recently acquired another camera (no, really!) via that auction site, and was pleasantly surprised to find it arrived pre-loaded with a roll of film. The counter was on 8, so as long as nobody had opened the film door along the way, there was a good chance it had usable images.

This is my fifth roll of found film. After complaining that I was never lucky enough to find any, suddenly it’s everywhere!

I went ahead and shot off the rest of the roll (kitty pictures mostly) just to get to the end, then rewound it and gave it a bath in colour chemistry. The roll was a store brand ISO 200, 24 exposure colour negatives. The brand was “PhotoLab.ca” and interestingly, it was marked as pre-paid processing. I don’t know if there are any PhotoLab stores around me, and if there are, if they still process film, and if they do, if they’d honour my found roll. And anyways, it’s way more fun to soup it at home.

As always, there is some suspense up till the moment you open the tank and look in for that first glimpse. There were images! The film was good!

It appears to be part of someone’s holiday snaps – either the start of the trip, or the end. I’m going to go ahead and say it’s probably from the end of the trip. I’m pretty confident of this, for two reasons.

First, when you snap a half dozen shots that include going to the airport, and then (presumably) being picked up at the other end, then you leave the rest of the roll in the camera unused, that sounds to me like someone went home and put things away. If they had just started out on the trip, they’d have used up the rest of the film, right?

Second, the person I bought the camera from was not local – the camera had to travel some distance to arrive on my doorstep… but the picture in the Taxi, and the pictures at the airport, were taken surprisingly close to me – in and around Toronto International Airport.

Anyhow, enough talking, and on to some images!

Film was souped in my (very old and tired) C-41 kit for about 24 minutes, at 68 degrees F.

Found Film #3

Posted 2011.08.14 9.17 in Hobbies, Photography

In my travels last week, I happened upon some ‘junker’ cameras in a local thrift store. These were modern P&S dime-a-dozen types that I’d normally not give a second glance to. What did catch my eye though, was that one of them had a roll of film in it.

For a couple dollars, I thought what the heck – I bought the camera, to have a go at the film. Getting it home, I quickly figured out why the camera had been abandoned. The lens zooming mechanism was jammed, so when the camera was turned ‘on’ the lens would try to move to the active position, but would lock up then the little LCD screen would show “E” for error.

I fiddled with it for a bit, determined that it was ‘dead’ in this state, so put it in the darkbag. In there, I opened the back, and going by feel, I removed the 35mm can and then carefully pulled the exposed film off the take-up spool, and rewound it back into the cannister.

Still going by feel, I could tell that there wasn’t a lot of film on the take-up spool – the camera had jammed early in the roll. Not a good sign – that meant there wouldn’t be many pictures, if there were any at all.

Of course, it was also a possibility that someone had opened the back and ruined all the film, so regardless of how many frames were taken, there was a good chance all of them would be ruined anyhow. So, nothing to do but keep on going.

Processing was a snap and when it was done, I could see as I was hanging the film to dry that there were only a couple images at the very start of the roll. It looked like there may have been four or five frames taken before the camera failed. Unfortunately, someone had indeed opened the back, which flashed out a few inches of film from the fourth frame back. The first three frames survived, although with some discolouration from the back being opened.

As with previous found films, it’s fun to see what you find, and then a mystery to try and figure out what is going on. Obviously this one is much more current, probably within the last 5 or 10 years, so there isn’t an historic feel to it. Though it’s an interesting note that they had at least two film cameras with them – the one these pictures came from, and the one visible in two of the three pictures.

Anyhow, it really is a bit of an adventure, going through the process with the found film, seeing if you get images or not, and if you do, trying to guess what the people are up to.

The camera itself was kaput and not worth fixing – though I did get a good CR123A lithium camera battery out of it – new, those cost more than I paid for the camera. The film was Kodak Max 400, souped for 20 minutes in (stale, exhausted) C-41 chemistry at room temperature (78° F).

Comparisons

Posted 2011.07.15 20.47 in Photography

One subject, two films, three cameras, seven shots.

Last weekend I decided to go shoot some film at a local historical site – Bovaird House. Primarily, I wanted to test two cameras to see how they were working. I brought along a third that was almost out of film, figuring to finish that one off too.

When I got there, the thought occured that in addition to testing the cameras, I could also compare them. So for almost every shot, I shot twice, with two different cameras. This was not a scientific test or anything, it was mainly just done for curiosity – the pictures aren’t framed exactly alike, the cameras were very different in some respects, with different film and so on.

Still, the results are interesting, even if they aren’t exactly meaningful.

The first camera was the Olympus XA-3, which was loaded with ProMax 400, an inexpensive black and white film that I substitute for Ilford HP5. This was a new acquisition and was the first roll I’d put in the camera, and was primarily what I was testing. The XA-3 has fully-automatic exposure, and zone-focusing, with a 35mm focal-length lens.

The second camera was the Minox 35GT, which was loaded with a store-brand colour film, also ISO 400. I’ve run some rolls through the Minox before but had not used it in some time and wanted to have another go with it. The 35GT has aperture-priority automatic exposure, and distance-guess focusing with a 35mm focal-length lens. I tend to set the aperture for “sunny-16” and the focus either at the hyperfocal distance for wide shots, or for closer shots I try to ensure enough depth-of-field to compensate for my bad guessing at distances.

The final camera was a store-brand single-use / disposable, loaded with ISO 400 colour film. I’d recently re-discovered this camera as it had been forgotten in the glove-box of my car, and consequently spent 2 winters and 1 summer in there. There were a few shots left on it, so I figured I’d use it up and see if it was any good. The disposable has a single fixed aperture and speed – probably f/11 and 1/125 or thereabouts. It has a wider lens than the other two, roughly around a 28mm focal length.

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Art Camp, 1983

Posted 2011.07.09 21.16 in Family/Friends, Photography

Going through my negatives binder recently, I found buried in the middle of it a few strips of negatives that brought me back… way back, to June, 1983.

These were the first two rolls of film I ever shot & developed myself, in the first couple days of the first photography class I ever took. After 28 years, I can still remember many of the details.

It was Art Camp, I had my dad’s 35mm Rangefinder — a Fujica 35-SE, which he bought in 1959. Photography was a popular subject at Art Camp and there were four different classes set up. My instructor’s name was Tom I believe, and he gave each of us a roll of film and told us to come back in an hour or so with the whole roll shot.

Art Camp, by the way, was a 2-week camp experience for students with some skill, aptitude, or interest in the visual arts. Participants selected their major and minor studies from options such as drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, and so forth. It was held in June, towards the end of the school year. If my memories and calculations are correct, I attended in 1982 (majored in sculpture), then in 1983 when I majored in photography.

Here are a collection of shots from those first two rolls, from those first couple days of class, in June 1983.

Click the thumbnails for the full-size images, and for some details & information on each pic. There are likely to be inaccuracies as this is based on my memories from 28 years ago.

For what it’s worth: the negatives are marked as “Kodak Safety Film 5062” which was known as Plus-X Pan film, rated at 125ISO. I have no memory of what chemistry we used to develop it, only that we had dark bags and daylight Patterson tanks like I do now. The dark bags were optional as the classroom was light-tight and could be secured for processing.

We didn’t just do the negatives, there were also enlargers so we could make prints. Somewhere I still have some of my prints from back then filed away, but probably not as carefully as my negs were.

Pinhole Colour

Posted 2011.07.06 22.08 in Hobbies, Photography

Another day, another roll of colour film. Sort of. Actually this roll was exposed at least a year ago, some time in 2010. I don’t remember when exactly.

It was some random colour shots around the house with my home-made pinhole camera. I had this roll of medium-format film sitting around waiting for me to make the trip to a professional lab and it just never happened.

So… results are middling. Mostly it’s dirty negs, dust in the scan. Someday I’ll figure out how to keep the negs and scanner from becoming dust-magnets. Sigh. There’s also some persistant dust or lint or something stuck in the camera itself, as evidenced by seeing the same hunk of lint appear on several frames.

Those problems are severe enough that they pretty much ruin the shots, but if you could pretend not to see them, then things actually look not-half-bad, I think.

These were on medium-format (120 roll film) Kodak Portra 400VC, shot in my home-made pinhole camera. Exposure times were guessed. Film was developed at home with C-41 chemistry. This time I developed at room-temperature and guesstimated the development and blix time.

And then, Colour!

Posted 2011.07.04 23.24 in Hobbies, Photography

After a couple decades of developing my own black & white negatives at home, the time has come to make the big jump into colour!

Like many, I’d heard lots of reasons for why not — too difficult, too expensive, too picky, exacting temperature control requirements, and short-lived chemistry. Lately though, I found some articles online that helped to disspell some of these myths.

Finally, looking at the pics I took a couple weeks ago, I realized that it was time to make the jump to colour. Canada Day was the perfect opportunity to shoot some colour, and today I had my first go at processing it.

For my first attempt at processing colour film, I’m fairly pleased. The first image above was using 10-year-expired AgfaColour Pro film, but the rest were on a new roll of Kodak (Professional) Portra 400VC. The VC stands for Vivid Colour and I am quite pleased with the results.

The camera was, um…. well… a Lomo LC-A+. Yeah I know, I know. There’ll be a whole post about that in the future. Honest.

Anyways, I’ve got a couple medium-format rolls lined up for some colour chemistry, and I’m still shooting colour with 35mm as well. So there’ll be more colourful goodness coming in the next couple weeks.