Saturday, January 7, 2023

An imperfect revision of the Compact 30

After revising the template for the Compact 30 to correct minor issues, I built another camera to make sure everything went together properly. 

Dragon's Milk from New Holland (Michigan) Brewing is a Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout. It's fermented to a relatively high ABV of 11% which allows it to age without spoiling. It tastes just like you dropped a shot of bourbon in a regular stout. It only comes in 4-pack caddies but the design called out to become a camera and I thought I had enough for the entire exterior. Somehow I misaligned the dragon design on the front and the shutter, but that gives a little abstract and dynamic quality to the camera. Yeah, that's it. The carrier has three of the big dragons, but I needed to use two for the camera front and the back, leaving just one for the front shutter. The carton's fourth side included a smaller version circled with statements about the beer which became the film counter shutter.

It is about the smoothest loading and winding camera I've ever built, which was one of the objectives of the revision.

On the inside of all my cameras, the surface which the film rides over is covered with a smooth tape. I've often wondered if that was really necessary. With this camera, I forgot to do it before I loaded the film. It is necessary. It turns out the folded cardboard is abrasive enough to cover the entire film with fine scratches. I'm usually very meticulous about retouching all flaws and dust spots at high resolution. The scratches on these negatives are way too pervasive to retouch. Last year I got in a discussion on Facebook about the issue of dust, scratches and other flaws. A few folks felt that they should be just left visible which somehow gave authenticity and pinholiness to the image. OK, let's just go with that this once. I did find ways to minimize the scratches, but otherwise only retouched dust if it was visible in fit-to-screen.

The winter has been very dark and gloomy and it's been hard to get inspired to go out. This week it warmed up to just about the melting point of water and a light sticky snow created high contrast scenes that I thought appropriate to this camera with it's 1 bit color scheme.

A pile of logs frosted with snow.

A compound corner with a snowy driveway.

A large bush in front of the little pumphouse by the lake.

The row of trees that lines the shore of Miller's Bay.

Some of the rocks which help preserve the shoreline. This was one of those feats of tripodology where one foot of the tripod was extended quite a bit more than the others with one of my feet on it to keep the whole thing from falling over so I could get the view straight down at it without any feets in the image.

A large clump of grass growing on those rocks. You can see how thin the ice is by that slushy spot just above the grass.

Someone has left an ice boat just off shore.

The south side of the little pump house looks like someone poked it in the eye with that vent.

A crew was working on a transformer atop a pole just across the street. I don't like to distract workers but I couldn't stop myself when they raised three cherry pickers to lift them in place. One of them had a different colored jacket and came over to tell me I really shouldn't get any closer. I said OK, it was just too good to pass up. He asked me if I'd gotten anything good in the park. Did I see any birds? I told him I can't really take pictures of birds. He never said anything about the camera. He's walking back across the street during the exposure.

A grove of pines with the T-dock and Monkey Island in the background.

Between the two softball fields.

Viewers with a particularly acute sense of proportion may have noticed these are all just slightly taller than they are wide. Due to what I think is some clumsy assembly, the image is only 55mm wide. I took this shot of the softball diamond specifically to check if the viewfinder allowed me to accurately define the edges of the composition. Looks like if I'd had the whole 60mm negative, it would be right on.

I think I got the folds in the side wall of the image chamber a little off and the corner that turns around the film reel was blocking the view of the pinhole. I've gone after it with an X-acto knife and some sandpaper to round off that obstruction and it may project the whole 6cm image width now. I've also put some 3M #235 over the back edges of the film holder.

The Dragon 30 has .25mm pinholes, on the axis and 11mm above the axis, 3cm from a 6cm by sort of 6cm frame. The film is 200 semistand developed in caffenol.

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