I recently picked up some expired photo paper from The Resource Exchange–a kind of thrift store for artists here in Philadelphia.
I had never heard of the paper but it had “Bro” in the name which made me think it would be a good lith paper. For $6 I got about 15 sheets of Agfa Brovira BW 119. It looks to be from the 60s or 70s.
A few sheets were fogged, which was to be expected.
I googled it to see if people had any experience with it in lith. Of course, there were about a hundred different opinions. Some people claimed it didn’t lith and others that it just needed a ton of time It turned out really well in lith for me so that’s that. Here are the final prints.
I like the way this Stuffproject is pushing me. Using diopters on the Diana means I am shooting blind. The Diana’s viewfinder–already suspect–is useless. And, focusing is pretty haphazard. I think my focus range is about 7 inches. But the depth of field is small. The happy result of these constraints is that I am taking pictures I never would have without them.
For example, when I started, I thought I would be shooting something like this.
I took this picture with the Graflex 4X5. It’s not a bad picture. A simple full-image of an object with it fairly centered. It’s object as icon. And it’s pretty much what I shoot when I shoot street scenes or buildings.
Now, I am getting pictures like this.
It’s much more evocative, with just a bit of focus at the top of the image and the subject off-center and cropped.
I’ve got this vague idea for a project that involves grainy, up-close images of stuff using the Stellar (Diana clone). Not sure exactly what I’m trying to say with these images. But maybe that will come to me.
I’m my precious post, I realized I would need to get closer for the look I wanted. These shots of one of my Kodak DuaflexIV cameras feel like the right intimacy. I can definitely see some parallels to buildings I’ve shot.
I shot these on Ilford HP5+, pushed (as much as I can in a toy camera) to 1600 and developed in D-76H. There may not be enough grain for me so I might have to go back to the Delta 3200.
I got the macro effect by stacking a +3 and +2 diopter over the lens. This gave me about a 7 inch focus. Tim at filterfind was extremely helpful in figuring out this solution. If you shoot with older cameras and need filters this place is the best! I used a Kodak Series 6 system which fit well on the Diana’s lens. It’s still a bit of a crap shoot with depth of field. I will stop the lens down to help with that.
Idea for a new project: still life portraits of things that are important to me, taken with the Diana on fast film to enhance grain.
Here are some proof of concept shots of some of my cameras on Delta 3200. The first hurdle that needs to be overcome is that the closest the Diana focuses is 4 ft. I am going to rig up a diopter to get closer to 1 ft. The other hurdle is that the viewfinder for the Diana is wildly off, so I’m never quite sure what is in frame. Will have to play around with that one.
I took a walk down 9th street today with the Diana and a roll of Ilford Delta 3200. Thought I would try a different developer, something simple. I had all the ingredients for D-76H, which fit the bill.
I’m continuing my experiment with Delta 3200 in the Diana camera. Testing film is a bit tricky with this camera since your exposure options are limited. Basically, you need to find lighting situations that fit the single shutter speed and 3 available f-stops. Here’s what I’ve tried so far:
Metered at 1600 assuming 1/30 sec shutter speed and stand developed in HC-110 for one hour: results were meh. A lot of underexposed frames. Clearly needed an EI higher than 1600
Metered at 6400 assuming 1/30 sec shutter speed and developed in HC-110 dilution a for recommended 6400 speed: similar results to the first try. Clearly underexposed.
Before I go any further I wanted to check my shutter speed assumptions. I just assumed mine was 1/30 since that is pretty standard for other box cameras I have. However, the shutter speed in the Diana is reported to vary from 1/200 to 1/30 sec due to the springs that operate the shutter. Those springs can get weird with time and temperature, not to mention sloppy manufacturing.
As a test, I shot the following scene using the Diana’s three apertures–f11, f13, and f19. I figured keeping the lighting the same and varying the f-stops would help me figure out my shutter speed.
Here are the three frames. I developed them in HC-110 dilution b for recommended 3200 speed. I’ve seen recommendations that metering at 1600 and developing for 3200 is the way to go with this film, some even suggest shooting at 1000. I probably should have kept to one of the other developing recipes I already tried, but whatever.
Shot at f19, assumes 1/40 shutter speed
It looks like the f11 shot has the most shadow detail. That would suggest the shutter speed is somewhere around 1/150 of a second. I like the f13 shot as well, it’s got some nicer blacks.
I also did one shot with my daughter Nora just to get a sense of how skin tones work out. This was metered at f11, 1/50, iso 1600. But clearly, that was off. The negative was thin, again looks like I needed at least another stop of light.
Given all this, I will assume 1/100 for now and see how that works.