Afghan Box Camera

3 12 2012

Well, I’ve got a week off work at the moment, due to having a pile of holiday to take. So there’s a week now, and a fortnight in February during which J and I will be visiting Berlin. Pretty excited about that, just got to decide which camera/s to take along!

This week, however, is largely dedicated to Creative Things. It’s got off to a great start, with some wall space for my Floriography work at my favourite local coffee shop, a 5×4 pinhole nearly completed, and a joint effort (although it’s J’s baby, really) construction of an Afghan box camera.

The main bulk is constructed from 9mm MDF, with some thick cardboard as a (maybe temporary solution) to make the moving parts. We hijacked the lens from an old, cheaper model Kodak Brownie Junior (a 620 camera I could never be bothered respooling 120 for – although now it’s lensless, I’m considering making a pinhole plate for it; I find I have much more motivation to do fiddly things, like respool film, where pinholes are concerned).

This has been a couple of days worth of cutting, drilling and sanding in a freezing cold workshop (although the gluing time wasn’t so bad – we just clamped the lot together and buggered off back into the warm house for a few hours).

Making the focussing system:

Gluing the parts together:

Pretty much finished!

Now all that’s really left is to find some trays for the chemicals, and test her out. Hopefully tomorrow.

The 5×4 is pretty much in one piece now, all that’s left is to cover it in vinyl leatherette (entirely for aesthetic purposes – the wood is cheap pine, so got a bit tatty whilst planing and sanding, then I managed to cover half of it in paint whilst spraying the interior flat black) and add a hinge, lock and shutter. Maybe a tripod mount. I’m determined to finish it by the end of the week, so I’ll write more about it then.

Lastly, a small picture of my work up on display 🙂



One Thing Leads to Another

1 10 2012

In this case, it’s photography leading to DIY. Honestly, I’m now nearly as excited about new power tools as I am about new cameras.

For a while now, my interest in pinhole photography has led me to pretty much seeing any light tight, hollow object as a potential camera (and to demonstrate what I mean, let me tell you that I’ve been eyeing up a top hat for just this purpose for a while now).

I’ve also been ogling various premade pinhole cameras, such as the Zero Image lovelies, and the gorgeous Noon Pinholes available on Ebay. But I can’t quite bring myself to spend £100 on a pinhole camera, no matter how beautiful, since pinhole to me is very much all about doing things yourself, from scratch – learning photography from the absolute ground up, as it were.

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Biscuit Tin Pinhole Camera

19 09 2012

Wandering around charity shops last weekend, I picked up a wooden biscuit box, thinking it’d make a great base for a pinhole camera. Unfortunately, it had a plastic lining on the interior, which would have been a pain in the ass to work with.

Later the same day, in a different shop, I found what looked like the exact same box, but upon closer examination, the plastic inside this one was a removable insert. Clearly, this was meant to be.

The box, before modification:

Biscuit Cam

Biscuit Cam

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Quick 35mm Pinhole Conversion

8 04 2012

J and I picked up a box of cameras ages ago from a car boot, for about £2. Just a collection of cheap point and shoots, some with flash, various formats. I’ve been dipping into them for night out cameras here and there, but mostly they’ve just been awaiting creative inspiration.

Recently, I’ve been very into pinhole photography. I’ve build a large format pinhole camera, and done a few tests with photographic paper, but I don’t have anything worth posting just yet. I’ve ordered a box of sheet film, and am hoping to get some clearer results using that, but we’ll see. Another project in the offing is a Polaroid pinhole conversion, which I’m pretty excited about, but again, I’m waiting for things to arrive.

So, itching to do something pinholey, I fished this little lovely from the box of cameras.

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6 01 2012

So, another year on and another year older. My only resolution is simply to do more. More photography, more crafts, go out more, see people more, do more new things, do more things I already like. Essentially, try that bit harder not to sit around for hours doing absolutely nothing productive. Because I work nights, and also live in a relatively remote area, it’s difficult to get into any sort of routine, or feel like I have the time to do something productive, and socialising is doubly hard.

One of my main requirements is simply to manage my time better, and stop using the internet as such a major distraction. I know from times when my broadband has been down that I am perfectly capable of occupying myself with creative and productive pursuits away from a laptop. I suspect the best thing would be to just give up internet for a short while. One of the challenges I set myself when I wrote my 101 things in 1001 days list was to give up internet for a week. All internet, including mobile. This really shouldn’t be hard, but the idea is daunting for someone who lives at around 60 miles from most of the people she knows. But, whilst it is my main day to day connection with the world, it’s still all just excuses. I have a phone number, most of my friends know it. Sharing descriptive paragraphs of my daily life with 200 people is not really communication so much as it is narcissism.

Over the past few months, I’ve been working on a few ideas related to memory, and family/snapshot photography. I’ve become interested in collecting slides and photographs of unknown parentage, and I’m hoping to produce a body of work based around these in the near future.

My main focus right now, though, is producing a large scale project proposal for a funding application. I have a huge quantity of research, and it’s all coming together slowly. I just need a good couple of creative bursts to refine the idea, and come up with a solid proposal brief. I’m really looking forward to sharing what I come up with later on in the first half of 2012.

The next post will contain some actual photography. I have a few bits and pieces to show, but since it’s been a while I wanted to keep this seperate.

Happy new year!

Kodak Brownie No.2

14 10 2011

A little while ago, I bought a Kodak Brownie No.2 from an antiques shop in Richmond, close to where I live. It was only £3, and I had originally assumed it took an obsolete film format. That in mind, I planned to either have it as a display piece, or use it as a small handbag – the inside area is large enough to hold a small purse, mobile phone and cigarettes, and the catch is tight enough to make it secure enough.

Upon closer inspection, it turns out that the No.2 models accept 120 film, so of course, I had to run at least one roll of film through it. This was intended to be black and white, so I could develop it at home quickly. However, after shooting, I realised I’d used C41 process black and white, like an idiot, so it’s taken a while to get around to processing it.

From what I can find out, my Brownie appears to be a 1931 UK model F, making it the oldest camera in my collection. This in mind, I’m pretty impressed with what I got out of a camera nearly a century old. A lot weren’t in focus, but that’s more my fault than the camera. Every frame contained something, and of reasonably close exposure. I’m going to have to wait for bright days to use it in future (all these were shot on sunny days through the summer), but I’m inspired enough to experiment further with it, and hopefully shoot some more interesting subjects next time round.

Infrared Flash Part One

8 08 2011

Recently, J and I have been looking into infrared flash photography.
After some careful research (mostly done by J, it has to be said), we split the cost of a ten pack of Rollei Infrared from AG Photographic.

Next step was deciding on a camera, and flash, setup. In terms of flashguns, I’m currently limited to a choice between a Metz hammerhead, and the little Cobra manual. For the sake of size, I went for the Cobra. Easier to mount and carry, slightly less conspicuous (which is kind of the point) and less flash area to cover with the IR filter. Plus, it comes with a diffuser attachment, from which the piece of diffuser plastic pops in and out of, onto which I can tape the infrared filter rather than taping it directly onto the flash itself.

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