The Joy of Not Knowing What You Are Doing

I like the way this Stuff project 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.

This is what I thought I was going to do

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.

What did I do?

It’s much more evocative, with just a bit of focus at the top of the image and the subject off-center and cropped.

Here are some shots from my latest round.

Imperial Debonair

Argus C3

Kodak Brownie Hawkeye

Marx and Coffee Cup

Trying D-76H

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 like the forms in this one

A still life in my living room

I accidentally had the shutter on bulb. I like how precarious the watermelons feel.

1600, 3200, 6400, whatever

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.

Meter reading from Pocket Light Meter app

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

Shot at f13, assumes 1/100 of a second

Shot at f11 assumes 1/160 of a second

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.

Believe in the internet

I saw on the internet that Delta 3200 is good in the Diana for low light situations. Well clearly my Diana pics needed more grain.

Exposure is kinda tricky and I am still working through the lighting situations that this will work for. One thing I can say is it needs more light than you would think.

Results are promising.