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  • Workshop - Paper photography using old cameras

    Workshop Dates & Times Thursday June 6th 14:00-16:30 Friday June 7th 10:30-13:00 Saturday June 8th 10:30-13:00 and 14:00-16:30 There are 4 places available on each, and the cost is £25 to include all materials. Book on Eventbrite Location 1a West Street, Somerton, Somerset TA117PS Learn how to make new, “real”, images in old “charity-shop” cameras. Cameras will be provided but participants can bring their own. Using single pieces of “film” participants will create new images in old cameras ·      We will learn how the cameras work – Lens, Film loading, Viewfinder, Shutter ·      Using pre-cut photographic paper, we will load the cameras in a “changing bag” ·      The film negative will be unloaded and developed without the need for a darkroom. ·      The negative will be inspected against a light table and viewed and recorded as a positive using The Kodak film scanner app. ·      Participants will have time to experiment making 2 or 3 better/different images. Reviving something that has been written off as outdated/useless is not only satisfying but speaks positively to the soul. Finding out how the cameras and wet photography work reminds us what we have lost (and gained) in the digital age.

  • Pictorialist Panoramic

    Testing for exposure my recently acquired Kodak Panoram 4B with some slightly fogged film after recent replacement of bellows, I have ended up with (to my eye) a beautifully rendered pictorial style landscape. This particular camera has a fixed aperture of f10. Effective exposure speed seems slower than my 4D at approx 1/30s. Yellow filter used to tame the brightness of the sky. X-Ray film negative photographed on a light table and digitised in photoshop for inversion to a positive. Location is Clevedon Somerset, UK.

  • Balloons over the Clifton Suspension Bridge - Kodak Panoram

    Designed by Kodak in 1890, this particular model (Panoram 4D) was built between 1920 & 1926 the camera is simple to shoot but loading/unloading film is challenging. Originally using a (103) roll format there would be 4 shots per roll. I use single sheets of X-ray film, which though much cheaper than ordinary film it is double sided and scratches easily. Given that shooting in the field necessitates swapping film in a changing bag scratches were a real problem. I have now come up with a system of putting each sheet of cut film, together with a black paper backing, into a glycine folder and am able, most of the time, to load and upload the film without accumulating dust or scratches. I have added (non destructively) some foam supports inside the camera to try and keep the film flat against the curved guide. This isn’t always successful and so some sections of the image can be slightly blurred. Composition is a challenge as the top-mounted viewfinder shows only the middle third of the field of capture, which is 142 degrees. The fast shutter speeds mean the camera can be hand-held - but, unless done for artistic reasons, it must be level or the horizon becomes curved, and straight lines become distorted and curves either flattened or emphasised so I added a period Kodak bubble level (fitted on other models). The shutter mechanism is a, beautifully simple, spring loaded trigger mechanism which can be cocked in the 1/50 or 1/100s position alternating left to right after each shot as the lens changes sides each shot. The spring operates a toothed plate that engages with the spindle on which the lens is mounted turning it as the spring is triggered from the shutter button. My camera has been well used and there is now only a very fine range of vertical adjustment available to engage the toothed plate with the geared spindle and it took a lot of time to find a working position. At the end of its swing the lens arrangement is caught by a sprung catch to stop it - these too needed fettling to get a good working position. The lens (C P Goertz f6.7 110mm) has waterhouse stops and I have added a permanent yellow filter as the X ray film tends to blow out skies being most sensitive to blue/UV. Behind the lens is a rectangular cone that creates the defined projection of light that sweeps across the film. There is the satisfaction of shooting with something that I have revived and renovated. I have always liked the panoramic format and produced and printed some large digital panoramas. I love the fact it produces such big negatives that mean I can make good-sized contact prints - whether as ordinary silver-gelatine prints, pigment prints or cyanotypes. I enjoy the fact that the camera, lens and process impact an aesthetic to the image that makes viewers stop and wonder about the age of the image. Lastly, and I’ve appreciated this more and more as I have used the camera, it’s format means I have to change my eye for composition. “Leading lines” are a common feature of effective pictures and are particularly important here; otherwise there can be dead space with nothing of interest in the a large part of the scene. Then there is the opportunity to play with distortions the camera produces which remind me of some of Bill Brandt’s work. Not every scene works in panoramic - but some scenes and subjects are just made for it - like the balloons over the Clifton Suspension Bridge. The first problem to face was where to stand to get the shot. This was wind dependent - in which direction would the balloons be flying? Fortunately the forecast was for westerly blowing from the launch point across to Bristol over the bridge and gorge. I wanted to get the balloons flying over the bridge and the bridge with as little distortion as possible so that meant being some distance away from the bridge on the cliff top path where it curves in towards the river. This was an early morning shot and the sun was going to be well off to the left from this view point which was good. With the panroramic format there is always the restriction that the sun will be in either end of the shot and blow-out one end of the image or the other. So the fact it was slightly cloudy also helped in this regard. Then I needed to be able to get a shot holding the camera absolutely flat horizontal, without getting any of the bushes on the cliff edge in the bottom of the image - fortunately turning up early enough (5:30am) I was able to get to a point here the bushes were lower than elsewhere. Being so early in the morning (at sunrise) the light level was low. My Maximum aperture of f6.7 with my ISO 100 Xray film was looking to give an underexposed image by about 1 stop at my slowest shutter speed of 1/50s. Fortunately the balloons were another hour from launch and by the time they started to come over my light meter app was reading for 1/50s and all images were properly exposed. I took one shot with the first balloon so I had at least one ‘in the bag’ because a change in wind direction would mean not shot to be had. It took 2 minutes to change the film and now more balloons were up in the air - I waited to see if some of the balloons would rise above the horizon, which fortunately they did. This shot is soft at the ends - probably because the film was not flat agains the curve - it happens - but in fact to my eye this helps the image. The negative is developed in a tall glass cylinder (5” diameter flower vase) in dental X-ray developer and develops out in 15 seconds, then into another vase for the fix and finally a wash tank. Once dry the negative was photographed with my fuji XT20 (23Mp) on a light table, inverted in photoshop and had a treatment applied in SilverFX 2.

  • Panoram Kodak in the perfect location

    Very pleased to have stopped light leaks marring the film in the 100-year-old panoramic Kodak. The solution is a piece of black paper covering the back of the sheet of film - simple but effective. Great to have the fabulous Hartland Quay to explore with the panoramic format which is ideal for this location. These pictures are a foot wide and 4" high.

  • Getting to know the Panoram Kodak 4 D from 1920

    I'm enjoying exploring the capabilities of this 100-year-old panoramic camera - gradually identifying where the light leaks have been coming from and making adjustments to the lens swinging mechanism. Today I've been back to the Clifton Suspension Bridge to test it further. It is possible to turn the camera through 90 degrees and make vertical panoramas too - perfect for a location like the #cliftongorge The lens swings across the view and projects the image through a rectangular aperture onto a curved film surface. The effective shutter speeds available are approx 1/50 and 1/100s The lens is f6.8 and can have stops inserted - I have made stops for f11 f16 f22 and f32. A yellow filter is used to reduce the blues and tame the skies. Each frame is 12 inches by 4 inches I use single sheets of orthochromatic AGFA X-ray film (ISO100). Stand developed in X-ray film developer diluted from usual strength 1:5. #panoramic #Xrayfilm #largeformatphotography #largeformatcameras #analoguephotography #diydeveloping #vintagecamera #largeformat #darkroomprint #blackandwhite #Kodak #artspacecreatives #discoverclevedon #facesofclevedon #clevedoncraftcentre #studiothreegaller_#Studiothree_Gallery #artspacecreatives #visitnorthsomerset #westonartspacewsm

  • Kodak Panoramic 4 D - repair

    Having tracked down a reasonably priced Kodak Panoram 4 D, it needed some cleaning and repair, but the effort was rewarded with a lovely functioning camera to use. The #kodakpanoram came in a variety of models during its manufacturing lifetime from 1899 through to 1924. The larger Panoram 4 is the one I wanted as I like to use X ray film and make contact prints. The image size is 10x29.5 cm. After a gentle cleaning of all surfaces to remove dust and a little mould, the lens needed more attention. The outer surfaces cleaned up well with dilute hydrogen peroxide and then proprietary lens cleaner, but the inner surfaces were very dirty with some light fungus. Whilst the retaining ring could be removed the glass was stuck fast and I wasn't going to force it out!. Fortunately the slot (for filters and/or Waterhouse stops?) allowed me to pour in more peroxide and then slide in a cut-down piece of cleaning cloth which could be manoeuvred around inside with a piece of stiff wire bent through the slot. After a thorough rinsing and then drying the lens has come ups very clean and useable. The biggest problem with camera was that the swing shutter mechanism didn't work. An internet search didn't bring up any details of how this works other than the original patent diagrams. So with these I set about dismantling the mechanism. Not any easy job as there is no space for ordinary screwdrivers. I didn't want to remove the chamois leather as this seemed a bit fragile but I did manage to get a screwdriver through the lens hole and start to move the 4 screws that retained the main mechanism. In the end I made a tiny finger-screwdriver by putting masking tape around the end of a 2cm long jewellers' screwdriver bit and this gave enough purchase to remove the screws. A good clean and a bit of clock-oil and I re-assembled the mechanism after many trials and errors. I did get the lens to swing but at the end of the swing the gear disengaged - it was swinging too far. The sprung gear has two square holes that the shutter release latch engage with, lifting out of the first to start the motion and dropping back into the second to stop it. However the latch mechanism's tooth was worn and rounded meaning that although it would drop into the hole the momentum of the swinging lens assembly provided enough force to lift the latch tooth up again because of its curved corner. Clearly this needed a repair. I tried filing it square but then the reduced width gave too much play in the mechanism. I didn't fancy my chances of making a whole new part - but, having slept on the problem, I came up with the idea of putting a "crown" on the tooth. I soldered a piece of copper wire on and then filed it down to size. After reassembling the mechanism - everything worked first time! A trial image made in the garden - using x ray film was a success (ignoring the bright spot where I forgot that I needed to cover over film number inspection window). Some work is need to ensure the film is secure against the curved guides - but I am looking forward to taking this camera out and about and making panoramic images. Original user manual for the 4 series cameras - pre the 4 D.

  • Dawes Twine Works “through an older eye”©

    Dawes Twine Works in West Coker, Somerset is a heritage site for industrial archeology, preserving the story, buildings and artefacts of the twine-making industry. It is Britain’s only surviving Victorian twineworks with its original working machinery. Saved from total collapse and now restored by local volunteers for everyone to enjoy. I was made very welcome on my visit and the refreshments were excellent! Now run by the Coker Rope & Sail Trust and CIO, this fascinating site is open Monthly, every fourth Saturday. The website for the village of West Coker contains a wealth of information about the works’ history as well as current activities and events. I visited in late June 2022 with my cameras from the early 1900s: A 1900 full-plate Thornton Pickard Imperial using sheet film (1st picture on the left) A 1910, half-plate Thomas Sanderson using vintage (1950s) glass plates (1st picture on the right) A 1904, 3D-Stereoscopic Blair Hawkeye No3 using sheet film (2nd picture) Photographically, the day was challenging. Being a bright sunny day scenes inside the sheds were high contrast. Dark interiors and very bright windows/doorways. In fact the interiors were so dark it was hard to see clearly to focus properly using the ground glass screens of the plate cameras. On my next visit I will come with an LED floodlight for focussing. It was great to have the engines running to be able to capture their motion with the long exposures needed for such dark conditions. This 3D Stereoscopic pair of images (cross-view) shows the main engine. Built by Alexander Shanks & Sons Ltd (Arbroath & London) in 1927. More images can be seen here.

  • 3D stereoscopic images - a journey of discovery

    #Stereoscopic images when viewed correctly create the illusion of depth and can be quite startling in their effect. From a small boy, I have always loved these images spending hours in my primary school viewing images from around the world and getting lost in them. It has been, therefore, a natural progression from my work with antique cameras and processes to explore the world of 3D image making and viewing using not dissimilar cameras. However the price of a reasonable antique example is high - and getting higher following the trend of a growing interest in the field. So I set about making my own - adapting my largest field camera - a 10x8" 'New Countess' from c1890. The first problem was finding two identical lenses. I solved this by taking the objective lenses from an old pair of binoculars. With a focal length of about 4" these were to work quite well. The second problem was making a divider or "septum" to keep the two images separate from one another on the film/plate. A sliding black-paper arrangement worked out well. The third problem was to make a shutter arrangement of suitable speed. For the X-Ray film I use (ISO100) this would be approx 1/30s. However using photographic paper as film with its much slower speed (ISO4-6) allowed me to use a method of covering and uncovering the lenses for several seconds. To achieve the 1/30s speed I employed a strip of wood with two equally sized slots in that could pass behind the lenses and expose the film. Add an elastic band gave the arrangement the necessary speed.

  • Pictorialist Tulip

    Having discovered by accident the effect seen here, I set out to reproduce it in order to create this image. Starting with a #largeformat #Xrayfilm negative of the #tulip I made a contact print onto #cyanotype in gelatine brushed onto watercolour paper. This cyanotype paper had been made several months ago and stored and had, I had thought, been spoiled - already gone blue on its own. However testing showed it could still produce a good image out in the sun for 15 minutes. I developed in a 1% citric acid bath, then oxidised in dilute hydrogen peroxide. This produced some small bubbles with start to lift the gelatine. I then bleached in washing soda which produced larger bubbles and a little more lifting before finally toning on black tea at which point the crazing effect becomes visible. The print is then washed thoroughly and carefully so as not to lift the gelatine too much. So far I have made 4 images in this way. All available to buy soon (Prices tbc). #XRaynegative #photooftheday #picoftheday #bestpic #beautiful #art #artwork #artists #wetplate, #collodion, #photography, #thorntonpickard, #largeformatphotography, #largeformatcameras, #analoguephotography, #diydeveloping, #papernegative, #vintagecamera, #largeformat, #darkroomprint, #blackandwhite, #studiothree_galler #Studiothree_Gallery #brass #antiquelens #artspacecreatives

  • Lockdown learning - Wetplate Collodion

    This is one good thing to have come out of lockdown for me - It gave me the time to research and then steadily work through my misunderstandings of the process of Wetplate Collodion (Ambrotype) and practical mistakes to get to a (nearly) clean and clear image. It has so much more atmosphere than the digital and you can hold the finished result in your hand! It took dozens of attempts before I made a glass plate photograph that I planned. Still not perfect - but I know what is needed to correct the technical imperfections. Some of the more useful online resources I have used are listed here: Wetplate Collodion-Unblinking Eye ​ A visual guide for beginners to making a tintype photograph ​ Rikard Österlund's Guide to Wet Plate Collodion - The Intrepid Camera Company ​ John Coffer, Quinn Jacobson. ​ Wet Plate – Collodion – An Introduction | A photographer Living in France Attila Pasek workshops ​ Tintypes and keeping your Silver Bath happy – The Analogue Laboratory ​ Alex Timmermans Collodion Ambrotype wet plate Photography

  • Camera in Clovelly

    A visit to Clovelly gardens in North Devon was a great chance to use my Thornton Pickard Imperial - full plate camera from the 1900s. I was using 5x7" paper negatives in customised holders inside the double dark slides. Here is an image (toned in coffee) of the Summerhouse designed by Rex Whistler in the 1930s. - see more pictures here.

  • Still learning – paper negatives

    The sky looked promising for clouds above the old Birnbeck Pier, so I took my 1900s Thornton Pickard Imperial camera (Image size 8.5×6.5 inches) loaded with Ilford RC IV paper. So the first image here is an exposure of 3 seconds on F16. The paper behaving as ISO 2. I wanted to blur the motion of the estuary water as it rushed under the pier on the tide. To do this I thought I’d use a “stopper” ND1000 filter. I metered for the light through the filter and exposed accordingly. However the image came out very under exposed so the filter is dramatically stopping the UV/Blue light needed to darken the othorchromatic photographic paper. The image below uses a graduated ND filter, but shows some strange light leaks – this needs investigation!

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