2013-05-03

NEW BLOG

NEW BLOG • NEW BLOG • NEW BLOG • NEW BLOG • NEW BLOG • NEW BLOG

I started this blog to share my ever growing love for film photography two years ago. I've been using Blogger since 2007, but never felt completely happy with it. I mean, Blogger is great, but it just ain't my thing. I think this is one of the reasons why I've never been able to blog consistently. I also think that I could never get completely rid of the sense of guilt due to my neglecting this blog in the past.

That said, a few days ago I finally resolved to start a new blog on typepad. I'm still working on it and am far from finished, but I'm already publishing new posts there.

It really would be wonderful if you, dear followers, decided to follow my new blog over there... I'll be adding a Bloglovin' widget as soon as possible, I promise! Also, if you have any tips on feeds etc, let me know!

I'd finally love to thank you all for having followed my blog.
Thank you very, very much.

Take care,
C.

2013-04-29

WWPD 2013: Deluge Disappointment

So yesterday was the much anticipated [by me, at least] World Pinhole Photography Day. I've been making pinhole cameras all the time like crazy for something like two weeks, and then what? Deluge. Really. It's been raining cats and dogs since last night. And my biggest pinhole adventure today resulted in me taking a picture from my backyard's balcony in a ten-minute break of heavy pouring.

So this is what my World Pinhole Day 2013 consisted of: a single, instant picture taken with this instant pinhole camera in a ciggy box.


Small wonder the weather sucks, it's Sunday, after all.

World Pinhole Photography Day: what a bummer. Hope the weather gets better asap as I have too many pinhole cameras to test.

2013-04-27

WWPD 2013: Instant Pinhole Camera for Polaroid film

If you've been following my blog lately, you might have noticed that I've found myself more and more intrigued by the magic world of pinhole photography. And since World Pinhole Photography Day is just around the corner, I'm getting ready to celebrate it with a whole arsenal of pinhole cameras I've made myself. Here's my latest creation and a step-by-step tutorial in case you want to make one too: an instant pinhole camera for Polaroids!



What you need for this project:
• A box of Polaroid film [and the film too, of course!]. Since original Polaroid film is quite hard to find these days, I used Impossible film, namely PX 70 Color Protection.
• A tiny piece of aluminum [I cut mine out of an empty soda can]
• Black electrical tape, scissors, a pin and a marker


First, open your film box and take the film cartridge out. If you're using Impossible film like I did, you will notice that the box it's all covered with silvery plastic inside, even in the corners, making it light-proof except for the part you opened to take the film out. This makes our job easier, as we will only have to cover one side [and its two corners] with black tape, but this will be the very last step.

So, take your empty box and mark its center.



Now cut a little square aroung that spot.


Take an empty soda can and cut a small piece of tin out of it, roughly as big as the square hole you've just cut out of your box, and pierce a, hole through it using a pin. Do not make the hole too big, just enough for a tiny ray of light to pass through it, and try to make sure the edge is as cleas as possible. When making my pinhole, I usually put my aluminum piece of a rubber, as it makes it easier to pierce it without shaking the pin. Also, it prevents you from turning your table into a colander ;-)


Next, tape your piece of aluminum right on the hole in your box. Use black tape to make sure light will not leak in from its sides.



Now it's time to make a shutter for your instant pinhole camera. You have many, many options here, but I think that the easiest one is to cut some black tape and fold it on itself leaving just a tiny sticky part on top of it.


Then you only have to glue the sticky part on the box a bit above your pinhole...


 ...And keep it in place using another piece of [possibly, not too sticky] tape on the bottom.


What now?

You will now have to go to a darkroom [any very dark room will do], take film off your cartridge and put it into your brand new pinhole camera*, tape the open side of the box to make it 100% light-proof, turn on the light and go take pictures.

*Unlike Fuji Instax Mini film, Polaroid film's light sensitive side is the front [the side where the picture is], so you will have to put it into your pinhole camera with the front side facing the pinhole.*

To take a photo, just lift the shutter so that light can get inside through the pinhole. I usually determine the exposure time with my pinhole cameras following this exposure guide:


I'm not very familiar with this film yet, so I cannot recommend a more detailed exposure times chart. This film is rated as ISO 125, but it seems a bit faster to me, so I would shoot it as ISO 200, but that's just an opinion. I guess the best thing to find out the perfect exposure time is through trials and errors.

Remember to keep your pinhole camera as steady as possible while taking a picture, and to make sure the shutter is perfectly closed once you're done exposing the film.

Once the film has been exposed, you have to wait 'till you get to the dark room before taking it out of the pinhole camera. Then, in complete darkness, you will have to press the white edges to activate the film development process. I would not roll a pen on the film as when I tried it with Fuji Instax Mini, the results were horrible. Instead I gently rubbed the white edges for a moment and then put my Polaroid in a book and left it there for a whole hour, as it takes about forty minutes for the picture to fully develop according to the sheet that comes with the film.

Now, let me show you my very first picture with this pinhole camera:

Taken indoors, 13 minutes exposure. It's very blurry and a bit reddish but I'm super happy with it!

I will take more pictures with this pinhole camera on World Pinhole Photography Day next April 28th and share them here, so make sure to drop by if you're into this sort of things!

In the meantime, I'd like to share a few more tips that might be helpful if you're experiencing the same problems that I've had when playing with pinholes and instant film.

First problem: How do I get the film out of the cartridge?
This part is a bit tricky, especially because you'll be doing it in the dark. I can't help you that much on this, you just have to lock yourself in the dark room and try with your fingers, scissors, skrewdriver, whatever. Please remember that Polaroid/Impossible film cartridges have a battery inside, so be careful.

Second problem: What do I do with the other film sheets?
It's up to you. You can keep the other 7 films in a light-tight container [perhaps another film box completely covered with black tape] and feed them to you pinhole camera after you're done with the first picture. This isn't much convenient, as the hardest/most boring part of this project is the one about putting the film inside the camera, in my opinion. This is why I decided to make two more pinhole cameras following this very same process, which enables me to take more than one single Polaroid at a time. I would have made more, but I only had three boxes of Impossible film, so I had to store the four other film sheets in a light tight box, but I'll definitely build more as soon as I find some similarly sized boxes.

I think this is it. I really hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I would love to hear your advice or stories about pinhole photography, so feel free to share!

With World Wide Pinhole Day just a few days ahead, fancy building a pinhole camera yourself?

Here's a tutorial to make a 35mm pinhole camera out of an empty film box while here's how to make one out of a chewing gum box. Found an old 110 cartridge in a drawer? Let's turn it into a 110 pinhole camera! Die-hard fan of instant film? Here's how I made an instant pinhole camera out of a ciggy pack, but if you own an Instant Back+ you should definitely check this out!




2013-04-26

WWPD 2013: Instant Pinhole Camera in a Ciggy Pack

Smoking is such a bad, bad habit and all of us smokers should quit asap for our own good and for the people around us as well. While working on it, though, we could still turn empty cigarette packs into very basic pinhole cameras. Of course you could follow this tutorial and turn it into a 35mm pinhole camera, but as you can see in the picture below, the average cigarette pack has the same size of Fuji Instax mini film, so you may want to try making an Instant Pinhole Camera!


You will need: a pack of cigarettes, black electrical tape, a piece of aluminum (you can cut it out of an empty soda can), a pin, scissors and a marker... and instant film, of course!

First, take your ciggy pack and take out the plastic wrapping outside and the silver paper inside.



Mark the centre of the film area (you can use an old instax photo to get the idea).


Draw a little square there...


And cut it out.


Now you will need a piece of thin tin that  you can easily cut out of an empty soda can. Pierce a hole through it using a pin...


...And tape it on the pack's window that you've just cut out.


You can now start covering your whole camera with black tape to make it light-proof, except for the part that needs to be opened in order to put the film inside it. The black tape I use is quite large, so I decided to leave some extra tape already half-glued to the pack so that it was easier for me to completely wrap my camera with tape in the darkness after inserting the film.


By the way, you will have to put the film in with its back facing the pinhole [see picture below], but DO NOT insert film now: you can only do so in a completely dark room!


Before putting the film in, you will have to make some sort of a shutter, or light will leak in through the pinhole. I made mine folding a long piece of tape on itself. I put it on the front of my camera and taped it with a red tape band on top to keep in place and another smaller piece of red tape on bottom which keeps the shutter closed. To open it, I only have to lift the red tape and the shutter itself.


Now that your camera is almost entirely light-proof, you can finally put the film in it. This is the most difficult part of this project, so let's first talk about the issues and then let's (try to) find a solution.

As you already know, instant film comes in cartridges, and it's not easy to take single film "sheets" out of it. If you have an "Instant Back+":http://shop.lomography.com/it/accessories/camera-accessories/backs/lc-a-instant-back , no problem: you can build a DIY Instant Pinhole Camera like this one  and the Instant Back+ will do all the dirty job for you.

The camera we're building here does not require an Instant Back+, but this means that we have to use this camera with one film sheet at a time, as it would be quite difficult to build a mechanism that ejects a single sheet of film at a time.

So, basically, we will take the ten film sheets out of the cartridge in complete darkness, put one in the camera, take a picture, go back to our "darkroom", take the film out, press the white edges where the chemical stuff is to develop the picture, turn on the lights and finally see our picture.

This is going to take some time, and in order not to waste the film you will have to keep the nine sheets yet to be exposed in a light tight container and repeat the whole process each time you want to use this instant pinhole camera. 

Frankly, this would be quite a drag, especially if you consider that it takes more time to put the film into the camera than making the camera itself. That's why I decided to make more than just one camera, so that once I opened the cartridge I could already put all the ten film sheets in different pinhole cameras and have them ready to use.

So, here are two other instant pinhole cameras I made out of cigarette packs:


What happened to the other seven sheets of film from that same cartridge, you ask?

I made some other pinhole cameras which are quite different from this project. If you're curious about it, just drop by in the next few days as I'll be sharing them here on my blog.

Back to this current project, another major problem when you do not have an Instax Back+ is that you will have to find a way to press the chemicals contained in the white parts of the film in order to develop your picture.

The thing is: if you don't press it enough, the photo will not fully develop; at the same time, if you push it too much, you will end up with a black liquid endlessly flowing out of your film. This personally happened to me when I was trying to develop the first picture I took with my DIY single use instant pinhole camera:


You can now only see a tiny black stain in the corner, but you cannot even imagine how my kitchen sink looked after the film started bleeding an awful lot black ink or whatever it was!

This photo was a total failure: I tried to develop it rolling a pencil on it a few times, so many times, actually, and pushing it so much that it started spilling that black thing.

Yet, the picture was still looking too pale, so I had the not-so-brilliant idea of heating the film using a lighter. The photo turned a bit purple at the beginning, then all of a sudden it turned all blue.

Thankfully, I was way luckier with the second trial:

This time the picture looks pinkish because right after taking my photo I put my pinhole camera in the freezer and left it there for a couple of minutes, and only then I took it to my darkroom to take the picture out and develop it. This time I pressed it more gently, rubbing the white parts with my fingers only, and the results are better, I guess... If you do not consider the fact that I was aiming at my dogs but didn't apparently managed to get them in my picture.

I haven't tested the third ciggy-cam yet as I want to keep it for World Pinhole Photography Day next April 28th, but again, I'll share that picture and other shots from all the pinhole cameras I've built for the occasion here as soon as I get to process them.

So lastly, a quick recap:

1. Make your camera, cover the pinhole with the shutter, make sure no light is leaking in and only leave the upper part of the ciggy pack to put the film in.

2. You will have to go to a completely dark room to open the film cartridge and load the film to your camera.

3. Use the exposure guide below to determine how long to keep the shutter open [remember that Fuji Instax Mini film is a ISO800 film].



4. Once you've taken your picture, close the shutter and keep the camera closed until you get into the darkroom again.

5. Once there, open the camera, take the film out, and press the white edges to make the developing process start. Do not press too much or you'll end up with black chemical stuff everywhere!

6. Only turn on the light after you pressed the film, starting the developing process. If you expose the film before it is beginning to develop, it will be light-sensitive still, and you will burn it.

7. Once you've opened it, the film cartridge cannot be exposed to light. Keep it in a light-tight container. You can build one using another pack of cigarettes completely covered with black tape. Otherwise, make a pinhole camera for each of the ten film sheets in pack so that you will have them ready to use.

I really hope you enjoyed this clumsy tutorial and had fun making your own instant pinhole camera in a ciggy pack. If you have any advice or want to share any pinhole-related story, I'd be more than happy to hear them!

Feeling the Pinhole DIY Fever? How about making your own 35mm pinhole camera out of a chewing gum box ? Wanna try something a little more complicated? This tutorial to make a 35mm camera out of an empty film pack can feel quite challenging. Love the tiny 110 film? You definitely gotta take a look at this 110 pinhole camera tutorial! Still want more instant film pinhole goodness? Then this DIY Instant Pinhole Camera is absolutely worth checking out!





2013-04-24

WWPD 2013: Chewing Gum Box 35mm Pinhole Camera Tutorial

Today, while I was drinking my umpteenth soda of the day, I felt like a chewing gum. With the shewing gum box in one hand and a can in the other, I had the epiphany: tiny box + aluminum = pinhole camera!


To make this revelation turn into a pinhole camera I used the afore-mentioned chewing gum box and can, black insulating tape, normal tape, a pencil, a marker, a pin, scissors and two rolls of 35mm film [an empty one and a "fresh" one].

First, I decided where my film would pass through the box. I marked two parallel lines on the front [representing very approximately the film]...


...And one per side, as tall as the film cartridge.


Back to the front, I marked [again, with my distinctive scientific precision] the centre of the "film path".


I cut a small rectangular window there...


...And taped a little piece of tin foil [cut out from the soda can] that I had pierced right in its centre with the tip of a pin.


I then cut along the two lateral lines to make the slits through which film would get through the "camera". I used a pen to crack the slits a little more in order to make it easier to insert the cartridge's edge.


I mentioned you need two rolls of film. Actually, you only need one, the other one can be an empty cartridge, as the one I used. 


It is so wrecked because lately I've started developing film at home but have yet to master how to pull film out of the cartridge. Anyway, it doesn't really matter if your empty cartridge looks as bad as mine as long as you can still turn the spool, as you will have to tape about every inch of it soon.

Now it was time to put the film in my soon-to-be pinhole camera. Here I was faced with two options:

1. Shooting the film the good old way and get normal pictures


2. Shooting the film the other way and get redscale pictures.


As it's been a while since the last time I shot some redscale film, I decided to go for the redscale.
I inserted the film slotting the cartridge in into the chewing gum box and made the film go all the way through the other slit. 


I used black tape to hold everything still and to prevent light from leaking in.


I then taped the fresh film to the last bit still coming out from the old cartridge's spool.


I wound a bit to make sure the film inside was well stretched.


Next I covered the old cartridge and most of the box as well, except for the top of the cartridges [so that I could still advance/rewind the film] and the pinhole.



I made my shutter folding on itself a piece of tape as long as the chewing gum box, leaving a sticky part on top.


I glued the sticky part to the top of my camera, adding another piece of tape [the red one] on the bottom to keep the shutter closed. To open it and take a picture, all I have to do is lifting the long black tape.


I added some more red tape on the top to keep the shutter closed better... and some more on the sides just because.


To advance the film, I put a paper clip in the top of the old roll's cartridge, making two full turns to advance to the next frame. I've read somewhere that one turn and a half is enough, but I personally prefer to make two whole turns.

Also, I keep by my side this helpful exposure guide which comes with the Diana Multi Pinhole Operator to help me determine exposure times:




I will share my results (or whine about my epic failure) as soon as I get the roll developed. 

With World Pinhole Photography Day just a few days ahead, fancy building a pinhole camera yourself?


Have fun and feel free to share your own pinhole projects!

2013-04-23

WWPD 2013: 110 Film Pinhole Camera Tutorial

To celebrate this year's World Pinhole Photography Day, I've been making pinhole cameras in all the film formats I'm familiar with: 35mm, 120, instant film and now... 110!

Since Lomography brought back 110 film, I’ve been thinking about making a 110 pinhole camera. I was pretty worried that, with such a tiny format, the pictures’ quality would not be outstanding, but hey, we’re plastic-lens-lovers, aren’t we? So nevermind quality and let’s have some crafty fun!


So, here's how I made my baby pinhole camera. 
All you need is: a 110 film cartridge, a not-so-big piece of cardboard, a pencil, a ruler, a little piece of tin (you can cut it out off any can), a pin, black/dark electrical tape and scissors (and maybe a cutter or an x-acto knife)... nothing fancy, as you can see!

First things first: let's take a look at the anatomy of 110 film.
Here we can see the top and back sides of the cartridge, where the film counter is...


...While here's the front/bottom sides with the film and the advance wheel.


Once we'll be taping our cartridge to make it light-proof, the only two things we will never ever cover with tape are the exposure counter and this tiny little wheel here, which is the only way we have to advance film.


Now, the first thing I did was measuring the distance between the two bumps on the front of the cartridge. 



Then I measured both the height and depth of the cartridge and cut a small rectangle out of my piece cardboard, tracing on it the outline of both the top and the bottom of the cartridge.



Next I traced the diagonals in the part corresponding to the front and drew a small rectangle there too...


...Which I then cut out...


Here's where the little piece of tin foil will be, i.e. here's where the pinhole will be.
So I flipped the whole thing and taped the tin foil bit on the back of my cardboard "camera body".


I then flipped my cardboard piece again and I marked the tin foil-rectangle's diagonals too and, using a pin, I pierced a hole in the centre of it.


Now I was ready to tape the carboard to the cartridge. As I was using some recycled cardboard, I taped it with some washy tape. 


If you wish to do the same, be careful: you will either avoid covering the piece of tin foil, or you'll have to pierce a hole through the tape (like I did) for the pinhole.


Also, remember not to cover the back of the cartridge (where the exposure counter is) and the advancing wheel on the bottom.


Everything is now in place, so it's time to make sure the pinhole camera is truly light-proof. I know Lomographers LOVE light leaks, but when it comes to pinhole cameras, light leaking in means best case scenario, über-exposed pictures, or, mostly, burnt pictures.
I don't know what's going on 'round here, but I went to three different hardware stores and couldn't find black electrical tape, so I bought three rolls of blue tape and used two layers. 
Anyway, here's the mummy/pinhole camera, 100%light-proof (except for the pinhole, of course).



Last but not least, the shutter. Mine is really simple: just take a piece of black tape and stick it on the pinhole. (I folded the last bit of it on itself so that it doesn't stick to the "camera" and it's easier to lift).  I used blue tape and covered it with red tape just because. Do not use red tape only as the light would definitely leak in.


Lift it up to take a picture...


Stick it back to close the shutter.



Turn the advance wheel counter-clockwise to go to the next frame. It was a bit stiff at the beginning so I had to use my car keys to move it, then it became smoother, so don't worry if it seems to be stuck, just force it a bit and it will work.


I absolutely love the exposure counter on the back: it makes 110 pinhole cameras much more convenient than those in the 35mm format!


I've built this camera for World Pinhole Photography Day, which is next April 28th, so I haven't tested it yet, but in case you want to build a pinhole camera and need an exposure guide, I'd recommend the one that comes with the Diana Multi Pinhole Operator. If you use Lomography Color Tiger film like I did, remember that it is an ISO200 film.


I will share my results (or whine about my epic failure) as soon as I get the roll developed. 
With World Pinhole Photography Day just a few days ahead, fancy building a pinhole camera yourself?