Anniversary Speed Graphic and paper negative portrait

I recently became the happy owner of a 4x5" 1943 Anniversary Speed Graphic camera. It's a lovely old thing, full of quirks and definitely feeling its age, but I think I'm going to enjoy shooting with it. I gave it a quick test run with the help of friend and fellow photographer, Nathan Green (go check out his work!). I so love my paper negatives. They have so much personality and depth to them. Colour tones capture differently so skin appears different to in real life. It's very interesting and you never quite know how it will turn out!

1943 Anniversary Speed Graphic, 4x5 paper negative, 1 sec @ f4.7, ISO 6. Ilford MG developer.

Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day 2018

Yesterday was Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, where people all over the world go out and shoot pinhole cameras. I recently purchased a Reality So Subtle 4x5 pinhole so this was the perfect time to give it a test and experiment. 

Setting up a shot with my Reality So Subtle 4x5 camera. It's such a wonderfully made camera.

I decided to develop my paper negatives in Caffenol as I'd been wanting to experiment with this on paper. 

Caffenol recipe for paper negatives (courtesy Daphne Schnitzer, facebook)
1L water
49g washing soda
16g Vit C powder
40g instant coffee

The negatives developed quickly compared to my usual mix of dilute Ilford MG, next time I'll try diluting this one too as I like the control of slower development. I was blown away by the tonality and the sharpness that the Caffenol brings. I had a shot I'd taken a while ago for comparison, and the Caffenol negative seems to have a broader range and is much easier to scan and post process. The only trouble is that it's such a dark colour that it's impossible to see what's going on while it's developing. I do like it though, and it easily processed nine 4x5 negatives without exhausting.

Reality So Subtle 4x5 Pinhole on paper negative, developed in Caffenol.


Reality So Subtle 4x5 Pinhole on paper negative, developed in Caffenol.


I took two shots of this last one and was very interested in the results I got from the second version. It was completely accidental. First off, I post-flash my paper under my enlarger for 0.4 seconds so I get less contrast. With this one, I accidentally turned the enlarger on rather than the timer, so it effectively got about 15 seconds of light by the time I'd finished going "Ahhh shit" and trying to find the off button in the dark. 

I decided I'd throw it in the developer anyway as it was the last one to be done, and it developed very dark and very quickly. It didn't seem worth saving so i threw it in some water and turned on my darkroom light to check on the previous ones. Turning my head, I noticed a faint image on the paper, so I had to run to turn off the light and throw the print into the fixer, figuring that this would have really completely buggered it anyway. When I turned the light back on, I could see I still had a faint image, I was completely surprised. Scanned it up and was blown away by my results. I absolutely love it. Now to go and find expired, fogged papers to get this result on purpose!

Reality So Subtle 4x5 Pinhole on very fogged paper negative, developed in Caffenol.

Fashion Shoot: Because of Nature

Shoot for ethical fashion label Because of Nature. Check them out on Instagram, they're doing awesome things with sustainable and ethical materials. All the fabrics are handwoven and dyed with natural substances. The clothes are absolutely beautiful!

Paper negatives, 4x5" camera, and a 100 year old lens

I recently became the owner of an Intrepid 4x5 camera (red bellows mmm yeah!). It's a great lightweight camera for large format shooting. I do own a vintage Russian FKD 13x18cm and a 3 1/4x 4 1/4 Speed Graphic, but the Intrepid is fast becoming my favourite.

My research at the moment is using paper negatives. This involves cutting down photographic paper under red safelights to fit the camera I'm using. In this case 4x5" of course. I've been experimenting for some time, at some point I'll try to do a more explanatory post about my journey. For now, using paper negatives involves using photographic paper instead of film in the camera. It has a unique look and is actually a faster way of creating an image generally, as the development process is very fast. Exposure times can be quite long however.

To begin you start with finding a base ISO (Ilford MGIV in my case is 3 ISO). This will result in  a quite contrasty negative. Preflashing (or post, it doesn't seem to make a difference) will cut down on the contrast and give a faster speed to the paper (ISO 6 in my case). I preflash under my enlarger and have tested with test strips to get the amount of light JUST BEFORE any tone is registered on the paper, so that last possible fraction of a second of paper white. Once I've gone out and exposed the paper in my camera I develop it in paper developer that is only half normal strength and for a maximum of 1 minute. You dont want tones being too strong and contrasty. I actually like to pull my negs out even earlier if I can get away with it, as they'll have more of the textural uneven look I'm after.

Anyway, this post is about my new lens! I recently acquired a 100 year old lens in a shutter for my Intrepid. It was originally from a pretty basic folder camera. The results: Amazing! I've only had time to give a brief testing in the backyard just before the sun went down but I can't wait to try it some more. It's so exciting being able to give this old equipment new life.

Intrepid 4x5, Antique 130mm lens, Ilford MGIV paper negative, ISO 6 (post-flashed), 3 secs@f5

Vintage Diana tests

I recently bought a lot of 3 original Diana cameras from South America and got to test them. The one with the best lens has a permanent light leak which I can't find the source of (naturally!) but the others are fine and still work very well. They all have a very unique look and are a lot of fun to use. The cameras are probably from somewhere around the 60's though it's very hard to tell as the design remained the same throughout it's production. 

Diana 1: Tri-X400 developed in Rodinal 1:25 because I was in a hurry!

Diana 2: Tri-X 400 developed in Caffenol CL semi-stand. this was a bit of an experiment with process as I hadn't developed Tri-X in Caffenol and had read many people saying it didn't work well. I found a process that was recommended at it didn't turn out too badly. I'll probably choose Rodinal in future specifically for Tri-X though, but it was very much useable.

This is the camera with the light leak. I patched it up somewhat in Photoshop in these ones, but more of the images just didn't work well because of it.

Diana 3: Tri-X 400 developed in Rodinal 1:50 (my usual)

Holga wanders

Wandering around my home town of Geelong with a Holga in hand. When you know your town pretty well you tend to miss a lot of the details that make it special so I wanted to explore areas I don't normally think of being places to photograph.

Barwon Grange and Holga

I think I may have found a new obsession! I could quite easily shoot with nothing but the Holga at this point, I'm just loving it. Portraits may have to be tried soon!

Barwon Grange is an old National Trust property in Geelong. It's a fascinating place with an interesting history and is great to visit. The tour guides are very friendly and knowledgeable, definitely a place to go see if you have a spare Sunday afternoon!

Melbourne with a toy camera

Holga cameras are wonderful, plastic film cameras. Very limited controls, limited quality, plastic lenses, they strip away all but the essentials (and even some of those!) and make you see in a completely different manner. You never quite know what's going to be in focus, random light leaks appear and vignettes around the edges of the frames all add to the appeal of these cameras.  I'm having a great time exploring the possibilities and loving the retro feel. Going from being a complete control freak over my images, to having pretty much no control is actually really liberating!

Holga 120N with Tri-X 400 film, processed in Rodinal and scanned with the Epson V700.

The Bushrangers

I'm a huge lover of history. I find the past fascinating and it's a goal of mine to somehow find a way to combine my photography with my study of history too. For now though, I get to play and have fun!

This shoot was so much fun. My models Nathan and Natasha are so easy to work with and just naturally look the part! Images were shot on Kodak tri-X 400 film, using a Nikon F100 and the Petzval 85mm lens. Developed and scanned by me. I love what i do!