Monthly Archives: April 2015

Don’t Bother Me, I’m On Vacation!

Its our twentieth anniversary and my lovely wife and I are currently on the European trip we promised ourselves. 

We started in Barcelona and are now in Munich with Berlin and Copenhagen still to come!

I decided not to bring any of my film cameras, just the D7100. Hopefully some good photos will result. 



I developed four films in Rodinal and got very good looking negatives:


I noticed a horizontal line that had to be the result of an inadequate volume if developer in the tank. Turns out I need 850mL to submerge 4×5’s rather than the 600mL I tried first. 

Satisfied with these results I then loaded a single film in the tank and processed using the SAME Caffenol C-M solution I mixed up the other day. I processed for 15 min at 20°C with three agitations each minute. And…


I then ran the remaining films with the Caffenol. It all looks good!

The two negatives above are actually the last ones  I did, but they all looked similar. 

I’ll get them scanned and post again. 

After developing with Rodinal it’s a bit hard to go back to Caffenol. A 3 1/2 minute development time is really easy to get used to – as opposed to fifteen minutes with coffee. This got me thinking about trying to come up with a faster version of Caffenol C. Maybe increasing the Instant Coffee and Ascorbic Acid – 1.5x or maybe 2x the normal amount. This calls for some experimentation!

And Another Thing!


I have been meaning to mention the New55 Project – a startup company that has been steaming away for about the past year to produce a new version of the discontinued Polaroid Type 55 instant film. 55 film is 4×5″ and produces an instant print as well as a high quality negative. Cool stuff!

I think I saw mention of their kickstarter campaign last year, but erroneously assumed that it was part of the Impossible Project and didn’t contribute. Now that my 4×5 is done, I am VERY interested in this company. 

I really hope this works out!

Hang On Just A Moment!

Yesterday I finally got out into the hills to conduct the first field test of my 4×5. I loaded up my jeep and headed into the Sierras. I quickly realized that my next purchase needs to be a bag of some kind to safely house all my large format gear. Lugging cardboard boxes back and forth really doesn’t cut it!

For the sake of brevity, I made about a dozen exposures and called it a day, returning home to process the film. 

I loaded four sheets into my Omega tank – taco style – and mixed up a liter of Caffenol C-H. I processed in the same manner that has been very successful with my 35mm experiments. Here is what I got:



No Bueno. 

The last film with the dark “gradient” is the film I cracked open in daylight just to convince myself that I loaded the holders correctly. 

I successfully developed two films a few days ago, so I’m pretty sure there isn’t some drastic equipment problem – I know this camera is functional. 

I focused carefully on the ground glass, so I can rule out having left the lens caps on. I could possibly have forgotten to pull out the dark slides, but I distinctly recall having done it – and replacing them. 

The two successful films were developed in Rodinal  rather than Caffenol. I may have a bad batch of developer?

To test this hypothesis I sacrificed a sheet of film and developed a test piece in the very developer I used on the blank sheets. 


It came out nice and black, proving that it wasn’t the result of bad chemistry. Additionally, the film I “peeked” on has a completely exposed area that developed normally. It seems that the “process” is ok, for some reason the film wasn’t exposed properly? Or some other issue?

It seems like I should have gotten SOME image if I had just way underexposed, but these films are totally blank – except for the “peeker.”

My plan is to shoot another two test film in the backyard – very deliberately and carefully, ensuring that there aren’t any dumb mistakes confounding me. I’ll develop the first in Rodinal again to guarantee that the chemistry is not to blame. If that turns out ok I’ll develop the other in Caffenol and see what I get. If that looks good then I think the only explanation is that I somehow developed films that were never exposed in the first place. Seems far-fetched, but stranger things have happened. 


As mentioned I finally finished the 4×5, and I’m very excited to get out and put some miles on it! But unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet. I did get things sorted out with the Polaroid film holder and I’ve made some nice test shots on Fuji fp100c. And when my box of Arista ISO 100 film arrived from Freestyle I made two test exposures – which look great, meaning no light leaks, plane of focus where I expected it to be, etc. The images themselves are nothing to write home about. 

I did get around to developing all of my 35mm film. Some good images were discovered!

Sparks Hills Near Pryamid
Paint Streaks On Concrete Wall
Tree And Hilltop
Tree And Communications Towers

More to come! I’m scanning the last two rolls right now, and I’m hoping to go out shooting with the 4×5 in the next few days. Then the fun will really begin!