Friday, January 13, 2017

New 6x6 at 45 and better results with caffenol

Although I built the Evil Cube specifically for photographing the mansion at the Paine Art Center, when I went over there I also took the Glenlivet Vertical Populist.  I discovered I probably had more opportunities with the wider angle and if I had a second 45mm camera, I could take better advantage of the time I was there.


So I took the template I made for the 120 Populist, cut 3 cm out of the middle to make it 6x6 cm and cut the flaps and the film bay spacers down to 45mm and put the film counter hole in the middle.  Otherwise, follow the recipe.  There are some modern improvements such as three layer shutters and using cut off nails to keep the film reels parallel. The Student Services from the University were giving away those rubber wristbands (how can anybody stand to have those on their wrist?) in the school colors, black and gold. They turn out to be just the right size for the 120 populist and wide enough that you can cut them in half so placed on both sides, they hold the winders on very securely, and turned with the lettering inside, give that professional black body look. I hand drilled the pinhole which is .27mm.


I had been experimenting with caffenol developer last year using my old Compact 120 6x9, and had significant issues with background fogging - I thought.  I got some improvement working with table salt as a restrainer, but the pattern of the fogging increasing toward the edges of the film made me a little suspicious so I shot another roll and developed it in Microphen.  Turns out the Compact 120 6x9 has a low level general light leak, probably where the pieces go together but maybe also through the winders. Time to experiment with another camera.

I intended to develop the first role through this new camera with Microphen to double check for light-tightness, but I used the last of it on the roll from the Compact 120. I've had very little problem with light leaks with the Populist scheme, so I decided to go ahead with caffenol.  I used the standard C-M formula, but I added 6 grams of table salt (in 500 ml) as a restrainer since I was still using Arista 400.

I was very pleasantly surprised how well it turned out.

I started out on my bicycle to get some historic sights in Oshkosh.

I had to move into the middle of the street to get one of my favorite scenes - Boots Saloon, right across the street from a Catholic Church and Grade School. Only in Wisconsin.


An overgrown window in a dilapidated abandoned factory.  Once again, I wasn't paying close enough attention to making sure the film was tightly wound, and ended up with a curved film plane, which many people consider pinhole fun.


The giant sundial downtown in Opera square.


Speedboats stored on racks at the Mercury Marine Engineering Lab.


The roll sat in the camera for quite awhile while I waited for inspiration, but finally last weekend I decided to just finish it off around the house.

A sunbeam on the crystal doorknob in the bathroom.


A decorative pull on the curtains in the upstairs hallway window.


And another sunbeam in the corner of the kitchen next to the refrigerator.


I guess I'm warming up to black and white again. I've got plenty of washing soda, vitamin C and instant coffee left. I thought the Arista 400 was a bit grainy so I've gotten some of the 100.  Another lesson I had to relearn was to get some wetting agent.  I had significant scum marks on these negatives that took forever to retouch out.

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