Archive for November, 2007


Lens and Shutter Work Great!

November 13, 2007

Proof prints from November 10th’s negatives:

KU Korean War MemorialKU Korean War MemorialBooth Hall of Athletics, Allen FieldhouseWW II Memorial CampanileRobert J. Dole Institue of Politics

Seneca Improved View 8×10

Ilex 14 3/4″ Paragon Anastigmat w/ #5 shutter

J&C Pan 100 @ 80

Rodinal (R09) 1+40, 13:30, Jobo CPE2

Proofed on Arista EDU.Ultra VCRC, #2, Dektol 1+2 1:30


Veteran’s Day

November 11, 2007

Yesterday, Saturday 11/10, I decided I wanted to go back on KU’s campus and find some subjects to help me test my “new” Ilex lens and shutter.  I had made some minor repairs to the shutter so the slow speeds are working but I was itching to USE it!  (It should still have a real CLA though).

Also, I found an old package of J&C Pro 100 8×10 film I purchased several years ago to use with an 8×10 pinhole camera I made.  I used a little of this film out at the Ranch Road Ruin in the Flint Hills and even with my setup mistake, it looked pretty good.  And since I’m still getting technique down, it is priced right (that is, I already have it!). 

So load up the 8×10 holders, put it all in the trunk and out the door.

Used all 8 shots (I have 4 8×10 double-dark-slide or DDS holders).  While driving around I happened to drive past the Korean War memorial on KU’s campus.  The local ROTC cadets are standing post this weekend.  I’ve tried before to get a picture of the memorial and just didn’t care much for it.  I hoped that having the cadets present would make it more interesting.  Below is a quick scan from one of two negatives.  A print will show much more detail that my scanner can pick up.  (I have put a decent transparency scanner on my acquisition list but it will be a while yet).


While I was putting away my toys, I was approached by a staff reporter for the Lawrence Journal World, local newspaper.  His assignment was to cover the visitors to the KU war memorials.  Nice guy.  We talked for a little, discussed why I was there.  What we both thought of the memorials and how Veteran’s Day was observed in town.  When I checked today’s paper, he did quote some of the things I said, but only partly.  Sigh, so while I wasn’t misquoted, I was taken a bit out of context but then he (and his editor) are the ones writing their story.  In the article I think I came off as an opportunistic vulture.  :>(  And he didn’t pick up on my plug for the LPA either.

In the meantime I have 4 more sheets to process.  I’ve decided to try processing my 8×10 film in my Jobo CPA2 and a 2840 tank, I can only do one sheet at a time.  The 2840 tank could hold 2 sheets of 8×10 film but I would need some little clips that fit inside the tank to hold the sheets in place.  I buy used equipment so it was a lock that the clips would be missing!  Missing pieces aside, the tank works great.  I’m using Rodinal for nearly everything and I’m very happy with the results of the J&C Pro 100 film. 

An aside on the J&C Pro 100 film, it isn’t available any more.  J and C Photo went out of business (turned into a rather nasty affair) last year.  I was sad to hear it because they were local, in Overland Park, and had good prices on good materials.  The Pro 100 film was supposedly special made for them.  Searching around with Google you get a lot of stories that it might have been made by the same factory that makes Lucky SHD (Chinese).  All in all, a decent film for a decent price.  But nothing I should expect to ever buy again.


A little more salt-print making…

November 5, 2007

Got another chance to do some salt-printing.  This is sort of a misnomer because I’m not printing with salt.  The light sensitive element is silver chloride.  But to create it you first coat the paper in a salt solution (I happen to be using Kosher salt so we have sodium chloride) then you coat it with a dilute solution of silver nitrate.  And you get silver chloride (and sodium nitrate which washes out) on the paper.  Add a little Knox gelatin to size the paper and you are on your way.

Heck, we used silver, how about using some gold too!  Make a gold-borax toning solution with gold chloride, borax and a few other simple ingredients.  This toner (unlike most others) gets used BEFORE fixing the print.  Depending on several variables, it will warm the print toward a chocolate brown or make it a peachy-brown.  In my case, I’m getting peachy-brown. 

This is a contact print from a 4×5 negative (a camera I built several years ago, but the lens is a modern commercial design) on some FomaPan 100 sheet film.  Developed in Rodinal on the ole’ Jobo CPA.  This is one of the cable support anchors for the power cable towers below the Bowerstock Dam.

Cable Anchor


Murphy-Bromelstick House

November 5, 2007

Getting caught up on some film developing and printing this weekend. Between what I generate and what Becky does I had 8 rolls of 35mm to process (some from last St. Patrick’s Day and also Band Day!) as well as several sheets of 4×5 and 8×10 to deal with. I do enjoy my Jobo CPA! Makes this stuff a lot easier than sloshing sheets around trays in the dark or straining my wrist agitating small tanks.

Anyway, made a couple of 8×10 negatives at the Murphy-Bromelstick house. My girlfriend Becky was again quite patient as I fiddled around and got set up.  Not exactly a point and shoot camera!  Used the 400mm single element lens I made. Still learning the subtleties of focus associated with that crazy thing. Amazing that it both works well and has such an odd focusing pattern away from the central axis. Lots to learn.

This scan is a bit more pink that the real print. The Fomatone MG Classic Baryta base is a little more chestnut brown after toning in Selenium 1+3 than this scan indicates. Same cheap scanner I keep bitching about…

RJD at the Muphy-Bromelstick House


Is that a big lens in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

November 5, 2007

eBay continues to be a wonderful thing.  While I have two very interesting lenses for my 8×10, they are both “barrel” lenses and lack a full set of f-stops.  On the one hand, this simplifies things.  Just have fewer settings to fool with.  On the other hand, it complicates things because I have to find ways to manage “fast” film and short exposure times.

While a Packard shutter handles some of the issues, it raises just as many as it puts to bed.  The biggest problem with a Packard shutter is mounting the shutter.  They are (for the most part) intended to be mounted BEHIND the lens.  However, there is nothing wrong with placing the shutter in FRONT of the lens.  So far, this is what I have done through the creative application of rubber bands.  Works but isn’t that great. 

 So back to eBay to watch for a lens that is in my price range, has a working aperture adjustment and a working shutter.  Also required is coverage of the 8×10 negative.  What I got was an Ilex Paragon Anastigmat 14.75″, f/6.3 in an Ilex #5 shutter.  This is a big monster hunk of glass and metal.  Two and one-half pounds.  While not the heaviest lens around, there are other, bigger, multi-pound monsters out there!  The Ilex shutters are self cocking.  This one was listed as the two slowest speeds (1 second and 1/2 second) not working.  More truthfully, the seller should have included 1/5 second on the injured list.  But that doesn’t bother me.  Ilex shutters are also relatively simple mechanisms and a little cleaning and a light lubrication and it seems to be back on track.  The only missing bit of kit is a shutter release cable with an extra long throw.  Again, this is peculiar to the Ilex.  Being a self cocking shutter, the pin in the release cable must push far enough to both release the shutter and re-cock it for the next time.  I got lucky and one of my shutter release cables has a long enough throw to fire the Ilex shutter!

So, now I have a nice, “modern” lens to experiment with.  At 14.75″ (375mm) it is just a little on the long side of “normal” focal length for 8×10.  I’m happy with that, I generally prefer a little bit of perspective flattening that comes with a normal-plus lens.  This is gonna be great!