Wednesday, September 28, 2016

35mm Sprockets & A Holga

I've wanted to shoot 35mm film with sprockets in a 120 film camera for some time.  Finally, got around to it.  I like the look and had seen it done several times.  After researching how to do it, I decided to temporarily hack my Holga 120N.  Here is an earlier blog post on my DIY hack

I think I did it right, so I went out to shoot a roll of FujiColor Superia 400.  I shot in the daylight outdoors after a studio digital model test shoot.

Everything seemed to work A-OK.  I rerolled the film into the canister in a dark bag.  I then processed the film using C-41 chemistry purchased from the Film Photography Podcast Store. At the same time I developed a roll of C-41 shot in a normal 35mm film camera that I trusted as a development control.

Basically, it didn't work (the control did).  All of my shots were super soft (beyond normal Holga soft), and all were way under exposed.  I didn't get images on about 1/2 the 14 photos.  The others were dark and had colors hard to extract.  

My normal flatbed scanner used for 35mm film wouldn't work.  Therefore, I used a small light box with a DIY template and photographed the negatives with a Nikon D810 using a Nikkor 60mm Macro f/2.8 lens.  That part was fairly straight forward.  Here's the scanner bed hack

I then brought 3 images into Adobe Photoshop, reversed the image and played with the colors using curves & levels.  Each image was different with it's own unique look.  

Here are a couple more of the photos from around the studio.  One of model Gracie Be leaving the studio and one of a train passing by the back of my studio.

Come on, honestly, these images are sh*t, but you know what they are kind of cool.  It was a super fun experiment. I'm definitely going to give it a go again with a different camera.  Anyway, playing with / experimenting with film is a good Yin to my digital studio Yang.  Dig it.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Buying Second Hand Has It's Perils

I posted a blog post a few weeks ago about tips when buying used film cameras.  I use these tips all the time.  However, even when you "know" what you are doing there are still issues.  

Last weekend I purchased 2 SLR's from a "flea market" seller I've used before.  Generally the quality is good, but I've occasionally had minor issues.  I purchased a Pentax ZX-M that I've wanted to get and a Chinon CM-4 which I'm not 100% familiar with.  Both looked clean and from my on sight inspection they looked good to go.

I loaded the Pentax tonight with a roll of FujiColor Superia X-TRA 400.  Loaded A-OK.  However, as soon as I pushed the shutter release button the film rerolled into the canister.  Weird.  OK, I opened the camera and using a trick I learned I retrieved the film leader.  Reloaded the camera, pushed the shutter release and same thing happened.  Either the film was jammed enough that the camera thought the film was at the end, or there is an electrical glitch.  I'll have to deal with it later.

On the positive side, I retrieved the film leader again and loaded it into the Chinon.  Loaded well, light meter seemed to work and I took a few shots.  Batting 500 with this purchase.

Friday, September 16, 2016

I Have A Need, A Need For Sprockets

Recently I got the itch to shoot a roll of 35mm film with exposure all the way into the sprockets. Kind of a cool look, and I've never done it before.  Online I went to see how it could be done.  After reading a few blog posts, checking with Twitter friends, & watching a few videos I decided to give it a try by slightly hacking my Holga 120.

The Holga is a 120 sized film camera with limited / no controls.  It's simple so it's easy to mode & there were plenty of blog posts and videos on using one for sprockets.  OK, here we go I said.

My technique is to cut a plastic screw-top bottle cap in 1/2 and use it as the stabilizer for my 35mm roll, tape up the red window, and mode the receiving reel so the 35mm film doesn't slip around.  I also read up on how to advance the film using the Holga "clicks".

Here is what I finished last night in pictures

First, my camera and the split cap

Back open, and receiving spool removed

Gaffer tape handy and ready to tape over the red window so I don't get light leaks.  This is important since the 35mm film doesn't have backing paper like 120 film

Once side taped up

Inside too, why?  Well, why not

I didn't see this requirement on any of the blogs or videos (the recommendation is just to tape the film leader onto the spool).  However, I wanted to make a small channel the the film could wind in to keep film somewhat stable.

Bottle-cap jammed in.  The top one has the closed side facing down. The bottom side of the cap has the cut side facing out with the closed side down.  I taped the bottom side down, but didn't need to on the top 1/2.  It was snug.

The film fit perfectly between the 2 halves of the bottle-cap, and I cranked the film onto the receiving spool.  I closed the back, taped it shut (mainly because I had some gaffer's tape already cut off the roll) and cranked the film 42 clicks for the first shot.

 I've got a model shoot tomorrow in the studio and will bring this Sprocket Rocket with me.  After the shoot I play around with the roll.  I'll probably develop it pretty quickly and will followup.  The only challenge at this point is to figure out how to scan the film.  I'll deal with that later.

Camera fun

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Film in Frig

I was reaching into my garage refrigerator this evening after working in the yard to get a cold beverage. These lovely blue & yellow boxes caught my eye. Reminded me that I have about 25 packs of Kodak slide film ready for use. 

I think this weekend I'll grab a box & give it a go. It's been YEARS since I've shot slide film, but I do have an E-6 chemistry kit. Therefore I can develop the film at home. Could be fun. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Girls On Film - Location Fashion Shoot

I did a fashion shoot on location in an abandoned building recently with model Katie Allen.  I was joined by local fashion photographer Wil Foster.   Lots of interesting architecture and natural light to work with.  Of course, I used my digital kit for the main shoot.  However, I also brought this little cutie to the shoot.  A super compact Canon SureShot 80u 35mm point & shoot.  

This was another Goodwill find some time ago.  Not sure when I got it, but it's completely clean.  The camera packs a 38-80mm zoom lens and a groovy art deco vibe to the body.  I loaded it with a roll of Ilford XP2 400 B&W film and put it in my camera bag.

During the shoot I pulled out the SureShot and popped off a few shots during each clothing & location change. Since this was a "real" shoot there was also studio lighting equipment involved. Because the lighting in the building was somewhat low, the SureShot's flash went off on every shot. After a few shots I realized the camera's flash was triggering the slave mode on the Profoto lights and setting them off as well.  No wonder a few of the shots were completely blown out.  The struggle is real.

On all the shots I kept the zoom at 38mm.  Everything was automatic.  The parallax framing in the optical viewfinder was a bit hard to see in the environment so some of the pictures were not framed like I wanted, but seriously, this is minor.

I dig the camera.  Really easy to use and I am surprised at the quality of the prints.   BTW, I developed the film myself and scanned the negatives using my low end Epson V370.

A few of the shots.  No post processing except to straighten / crop & apply a bit of sharpening.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Expired Polaroid 600 Film Funness

This past Friday, a photography friend of mine gave me a 4 pack of Polaroid 600 Instant Film. Without hesitation I say, "why yes, I'll take this off your hands".   I checked the back and it was dated 2004.  Hmmm, might not be very good.  I've used 10+ year old Polaroid film before with little if no success.  Either the chemistry is dried up, leaked or the pack batteries are dead.  Oh well, really what do I have to loose.

I brought it home and loaded a pack in one of my Polaroid cameras.  I picked one that I knew worked well.  I used one of my Polaroid OneStep Closeup.  I've used this camera a few times before with Impossible Project film and it works great.  I wanted to eliminate the poor camera element.

I opened my first pack to see if any of the chemistry had leaked or there was anything that looked wonky.  So far, so good.

OK, here we go.  I wanted to just shoot some snapshots around the house.  I took a selfie, some flowers, and yard and my cat.  At first I was concerned because the chemistry didn't seem to spread very evenly, but the batteries were strong and most of the shots spread the chemistry to cover between 90-95% of the film.  That was better than I expected.

It worked groovy.  Yes the chemistry has broken down so there are extreme color shifts, the images don't have enough contrast, and they are washed out.  You know what?  Who cares, it is fun and cool.  Thats what I like, very experimental and weird effect.  Not much different than trying a Lomography camera.

Bottomline, you need to be careful buying original Polaroid expired film online.  The chances are high that the film won't work.  But if you get the film for little or no money, or they give it to you...then do it!!