Saturday, January 29, 2011

TMX in Reagent III

It is very pleasing to see the kind of mid tone contrast we seem to be able to reliably get out of various emulsions, here TMX, in Reagent III.  Here is a greatly cropped (-10X) section of the negative shot at normal ISO by DF. The grain structure is clearly visible and probably familiar to users of TMX, present, but not too intrusive.

Some highlight blocking is definitely apparent in the V750 Epson scan at the "automatic" setting. Like a number of other slow to develop emulsions, TMX does appear to have that tendency to block up the highlights with this mix, Pan-F much less so, and Efke somewhere in between.  I think we can fine tune it later, just watch out, maybe by a half or whole stop, if you are experimenting as we are today with the published mix.

Nice twisty things on that plant.

1. 8 ml HC-110 USA concentrate
2. 25 ml household ammonia(soapy is OK)
3. 5 ml Ilford Rapid Fixer
4. Water to make 128 ml

If you can measure the pH with a test strip, confirm it is at least 8.5, and if not, add a little more ammonia. Use the Ilford fixer as that has ammonium thiosulfate.
HC-110 is like a thick syrup. Measure it out in a larger container, then dilute it with the ammonia which will dissolve the syrup.  Process TMX for 10 minutes at 75F. This works best when warm. Wash the negative in plain water for a few minutes if you can. The water should not be cold or hot. Then hang it up to dry. If you used soapy ammonia, you won't need any Photo-Flo, as the residual wetting of the soap is still present.

This could hardly be easier. Don't worry about the pH or the washing, Just mix it up and you're there. I would recommend you try this with Ilford Pan-F ISO 50 too, as the result is quite nice. See here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gigapixel Camera Revealed: Sci Am

Scientific American reported on the making of gigapixel imaging cameras requiring special software such as google Earth to view.  The article, which references large format photography and film, mentions the use of array relay lenses, as glowingly depicted here.

Focal plane photography, in any form we know it today, such as 1. film and chemical and 2. electronic array, are actually quite similar, and not very different from each other, except the electrochemical processes have been replaced by electronic processes and image map generation.

It is still a lens that projects a little image of an outside scene onto something. The smallest digi right up to the biggest 20X24 and even space telescopes use projection to organize light and dark onto coordinates.

Focal plane photography will one day be replaced by surface array imaging, or lenseless cameras, as they will be likely called at first, enabling surfaces and people to capture entire visual and IR (and maybe THz) scenes discreetly, continuously, and rather completely with depth and other information, to use and process as needed. It will be fun to have ubiquitous recordings of some people's entire lives, and it will have legal, social and economic consequences for sure.

Until that time, we have to struggle with flat films or sensors of various kinds such as CCDs, CMOS arrays, and other pixelated, light sensitive surfaces such as so-called photographic films with small silver halide specks that can turn light or dark when exposed to light.  These are OK for now, but will seem quaint in the future.

The Gigapixel Camera story, linked here, is a good start toward that end, but it is only the start of what will still be a long journey of decades. It does help put what we do into perspective though,  and all the more reason for us to use the gigapixel cameras we already own!  They went through a lot of trouble to get the image below, if you read the story. It's impressive, I guess. Or is it?

Or, how about something you can get and do today with digis? The Gigapan, discussed and presented here, is worth looking at, and very interesting.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

First Result: Daylight Processing of TMY/Readyload in Monobath

 Today we finished painting one of the clear tanks, made a sponge cap, exposed a TMY ReadyLoad of a familiar scene, and processed it for 10 minutes in Monobath 3, same as used by DF here.
Afterwards the processed and fogged negative was dunked in the clear tank to have its portrait taken.  I've selected a small section as shot with the digi, rotated it, and reversed it.  It occurs to me that an iPhone app might include a one button PN reversal and maybe a nostalgic border if we used the clear processor and sleeve arrangement in the field.

Except for the obvious fogging caused by light leaks, this looks like a fairly normal negative.  Some things we learned:

1. When wet, the ReadyLoad film sticks in the sleeve and won't come out. This could be easily corrected with some waxed paper in the sleeve.

2. The film has a tendency to lean against and stick to the side of the tank. Rails, are needed on the sides to prevent that.

3. Light leaks from the cap have to be prevented. There were also pinholes in the black paint, which probably produced the fogging in the lower right. The top fog is pretty clearly from the crude foam cap, which was cut from an old microphone case.

4. This scheme will definitely work, and it took maybe 15 minutes, including 10 minutes of processing time, to use.  You might know that with the Efke 25, we can cut the processing time to 2 minutes.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monobath Field Processing Tanks for 4X5 Film

Two versions shown here, one to be opacified and capped, for a light-tight seal so we can process B&W Readyloads and the like (EPN shown as a prop) in broad daylight, and fast. The small catch at the base grabs the clip, allowing the sleeve to be pulled up through a light seal cap of rubber.

Yet another tank on the right needs nothing to protect it from the light. The top sleeve, in black with sporty red stop bar,  shown with fluid apertures, and a swelling paper that separates itself from the emulsion surface, to eliminate uneven monobath development. Under that, proof that just about anything can be a sleeve, made from a FedX envelope, and taped, and under that, the last of the Old Pol 4X5 material, soon to be depleted.

With dimensional modifications, we have made the clip and sleeve arrangement fit all of the holders, including the 500, 545, ReadyLoad, and Quickload systems. I like the late-model Kodak ReadyLoad holder the best, with its pressure plate, and lightweight design, but any of them can be used.

Which way are you looking?

Sorry for two videos in a row, but I thought this one was particularly good and awful at the same time, for various reasons. Boo-Hoo, the darkrooms are going away, we can cry all we like and it is good that somebody thought to make images of them so we can look back - that will be even more fun in 50 years. But the challenge is to recognize the new possibilities, if they exist. I believe they do. The main limitation is my/our own imagination once confronted with reduced-utility technology. Focal plane projection imaging is still a growing field, and not until plane array imaging (lensless cameras) become commonplace will the lens, the light source, the capture device (digital electronic, or digital silver grains, or something else) completely go away. The analog portion of photography as we do it hasn't changed at all - the only analog parts were lenses and shutters anyway, and we still have them. It is up to artists to decide what fun they can have with it at a bargain, if they can overcome their nostalgia, and see new potential.

It is always this way.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


This year-long collection (go back here and see) of information and possibilities would be incomplete without mention of Lomography the company, and "Lomography" the artistic culture, fashion and movement.

Less than technically perfect, unexpected, cheap, low tech, analog, accessible to younger people, and interesting by its unimportance,  Lomography the company has aggregated a fun, and apparently successful business out of the castoffs of declining films and combined them with cheap plastic which in the hands of the naive and professional manage to turn out worthy images.

Less than daunting, surprising, cheap, easy, low risk, and a lot of fun, Lomography the movement manages to inspire and introduce newcomers to the field of focal plane imaging that we used to call "photography" in a way not unlike older hands experienced in the days of Spiratone, Federal and Yankee Tanks.

I have a Diana, and the Instax Mini back for it. This has been a challenge to use! But, I think I have some worthy images from them - and it was a lot of fun doing it.  I expect to see many "less is more" product areas develop in all fields of art, and in transportation, food, energy, and entertainment. In some ways it already has done so. Let's not forget why TIP has been well received by the ready and flexible minds of the young, too.

But most of all, check out the film selection Lomography has! Brands I haven't seen in quite a while. What fun!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

SEM layer of T55 receiver

This cross section view of the T55 receiver is wonderful.  John Chervinsky supplied this along with several other very informative SEM (scanning electron microscope) images.

You are looking at the inside of the receiver. On the right is space, the top layer is a very thin layer of a substance like gum arabic. Under that is a colloidal silica layer (or sodium silicate) with nucleating particles in it. These appear to be palladium.  Below that is the white baryta layer.  Good stuff! Thanks John.

Look at John's fantastic work, here.

Thank you!

You know who you are.

We will keep plodding along!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

8x10 stuff wanted (needed)

Have one of these? Parts, holders? Do you really need it? We do, because we are working with vendors on sleeves and while we're at it, we ought to start on 8x10.

Yup, 8x10.   Have cash, cattle, or Speed Graphic parts. Call me.

And on another note, Tobias from Germany, thank you for some clips and some 55! Very much appreciated.

The Impossible Project mentions Type 55

Great news Interesting Flickr post I just learned of: The Impossible Project has just announced here (edit: not confirmed) that they are thinking about a T55 type product, presumably integral.  4x5 T55 is dwindling, so I know I will buy it!

Anybody with additional information on this please let us know!

There is much chatter about it here.  The louder the roar, the better our chances!

This post was edited by Bob on Thursday evening after realizing that this was much ado about  speculation, and not necessarily fact.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

FP3000B45 now available

Interesting news for users of this super high speed black and white instant pack film: The 4x5 version of it has finally reached North America and should show up online any moment.

This uses the PA-45 holder, or the Polaroid 550 large packfilm holder.

Thanks to Brandon Remler of Fujifilm USA for giving us notice that it is on its way. I certainly will get a case of it and go wild in low light with my Speed Graphics and maybe a Byron.  Aaron Muderick has been a big fan of this material in the smaller size, and has produced good looking images from the scanned negative, which has a decent tonal range.

FP3000B and FP3000B45 are descendants of my original favorite Type 47 film that I think revolutionized instant photography when it came out. Fuji has refined it to use a minuscule amount of silver in a highly amplified DTR intensification process onto a receiver sheet that has a little better mid grays than the Old Pol 667.