Notes From The Top Left Corner

Discussion in 'Competitions, Themes & Blogs' started by Chris Bennett, Apr 13, 2019.

  1. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    The shots with the Konica lens (just the three that the barrow is included in) have a quality that I can only describe as 'smooth', which I like very much.

    The flower shots were taken with an Adaptall 28mm f/2.8. The background is a pink paper gift bag.

    The grater and strainer shots were with a modern autofocus lens (Canon 50mm f/1.8)
  2. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    We dug about in some stuff that has been stored away for years this weekend, in order to find some measuring jugs, thermometer, mixing tank and changing bag.
    We found it all except for the bag.
    Still, onwards and upwards, why would that stop us?

    So, the Weekend Cafennol Adventure began!

    Broken Tulipsjpg.jpg


    Gste Fastening.jpg

    Workshop Door.jpg


    Canal Curve.jpg
  3. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    Excellent results there, Chris. A certain @Brian Moore was a great exponent of Caffenol here on the forum. Still not tried it myself. Is that ghosting on the 4th shot caused by the glow of a wristwatch by any chance?! ;)
    Chris Bennett likes this.
  4. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    Just for fun and out of interest, I wondered if colour C41 film could be developed in coffee. Expecting nothing but the worst, I thought it would be appropriate to use the very worst camera I could find.

    And so it was, that I found lurking on a shelf in the spare room, a Coronet 6x6. Not a pinhole camera, but not far off. It's a box with a hole in it, some sort of semi-transparent disc in the hole and a shutter. There is no means to adjust a single thing except whether the shutter is to be opened or closed.

  5. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    Well, yes, it kind of does work. Some results.
    Kodak Ektar 100 Colour C41 film developed with Caffenol C-H



    img152comverted_lzn.jpg Cockerham Sands.JPG
  6. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    I quite like the effect of that, especially the last one. The low contrast and 'murkiness' suit the image well I think. In fact, I really like the last one.
    Chris Bennett likes this.
  7. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    Just so you know Pete, this is not intended to be my medium format 'final solution'!
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  8. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    Cheaper than a Holga though I bet!
    Chris Bennett likes this.
  9. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    I have a confession to make.
    I own three Spotmatics! There, I've said it.

    I bought one a few years ago and it is great - it's a Spotmatic F and functions perfectly and has been my first choice for a film camera ever since the day it arrived.

    A while back now, I happened upon a listing on Ebay that was described as a job lot of old cameras - no more or less than that to describe them. From the photo (yes, just one) I could see there were two cameras - one was a Praktica LTL, which I was not in the least bit interested in. However, it had a nice looking Zeiss Tessar mounted onto the front. Now, I already owned a Tessar but it had a short, very slightly tight spot on the focus ring, so a new one would have been nice. The other camera was a Spotmatic F and it had a Takumar on it - the photo wasn't sufficiently sharp or properly exposed to see the inscription of the front ring, but if you've spent as much time as I have looking at Takumars for sale, you'd understand that I was able to spot this one from the shape of the lettering and numbering. The focal length and max. aperture were not visible from the angle of view, but the proportions of the lens made me guess that it might be the fabled 50mm f/1.4. It was an SMC model, which I could tell from the rubber focus ring grip, as opposed to the metal one on the earlier Taks. I took a punt and won the auction as the only bidder at £22 .

    It turned out that my guess was correct and the lens was a rather beautifully preserved 50mm f/1.4 - something people often pay up to £200 for. Result? A very happy Chris!

    The Tessar was broken - utterly beyond repair.

    The Spotmatic F seemed to be in good nick and was fitted with a split focusing screen, which was, apparently an option that had to be specified when you ordered your camera, and not many people did, so it is quite rare. The only thing I dislike about my original Spotmatic is it's focusing screen, as I used to find it extremely difficult to work with under many less than perfect conditions, especially with a red or orange filter mounted for black and white. So this was a revelation!

    Upon trying the camera, though, there was a problem with the ISO selector and it didn't function correctly. I tried for hours one weekend to repair the problem, unable to see what was causing it and just giving up. I made myself a promise to buy a Spottie sometime in the future and scavenge some parts to make a proper repair in order to put that screen to use. I looked into swapping the screens, but it looked beyond my confidence level. What if I ballsed up and broke not one, but two cameras?

    Lo and behold, a few days later a Spotmatic fell into my hands for a tenner or so and I resolved to getting around to sorting it out sometime soon. I never did!

    What I did do was to spend hours half heartedly trying to get this third camera to fire properly at low shutter speeds. I failed with that too and that's when I lost heart with the whole thing.

    Yesterday, though (over a year later) I needed to take a picture of my various Takumars to show a distant friend which ones I own, and I thought it might be fun to mount three of them onto my three Spotmatics. Putting things away afterwards, I idly wound on and fired one of them and the thought crossed my mind that I ought to get around to sorting out the film speed dial on that second F. So I took a look. It seemed to be functioning correctly. Strange!

    I picked up the other one and quick fired it off at each shutter speed to find it fully functioning. Stranger!

    I think the lubrication I applied must have finally worked its way into the placed it was intended to go, soaked in and, along with the fastidious cleaning i had done, it eventually did its job.

    I tested and tested and tested and everything seemed OK, so this evening I put a film into the F and took it out for a walk across the fields to my favourite local wood and the remnant hedge that I posted an image of last week (Link to that post HERE). The film was a colour C41, but I wanted to know asap whether this camera was OK, so after the walk, we fired up the Caffenol and developed it.


    Cockshades low sun.JPG Cockshades low sun 2.JPG Stile.JPG
    Remnant 2.JPG
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
  10. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    It was never meant to be anything more than a quick and dirty test. Next time, I'll try it with some film which is more appropriate to the development technique!
    The last job is to see whether the other one, the SP is as good as it seems to be.
    Last edited: May 13, 2020
  11. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    Oh, and here's the photo of the Takumars that rekindled the project...

    Takumars low.JPG
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  12. Dave Farnes

    Dave Farnes Well-Known Member

    They appear to be working. That remnant hedge looks remarkable, any idea of it's age?
    Chris Bennett likes this.
  13. Rhonda Smith

    Rhonda Smith Active Member

    Patience paid off, Chris. Seems to be sufficient. Looking forward to seeing the next results.
    Chris Bennett likes this.
  14. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure, Dave.
    The quick and rough rule of thumb for dating a hedge says you ascribe 100 years for every species. It has been heavily browsed by livestock and the herb layer has disappeared. I have seen an aerial photo of the site from the 1940s and it used to be the boundary of the wood I was standing on the edge of to take the shot in the other thread and I suspect that, before that part of the wood was cleared back down the hill, the hedge will have been shaded out by mature trees for a very long time. This means the species count may have already gone down. However, the wood is listed as being ancient semi-natural, which means it has been there since at least 1600.
    Pete Askew and Dave Farnes like this.
  15. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    My fantastic wife bought us a Bronica ETRS last week, or was it the week before? (LINK) The days all roll into one nowadays while working from home. We only had two rolls of 120 in the house, and they were colour Ektar 100, so we shot one off and got it into a lab lickety-split, but the current conditions mean that the post is slow and the lab has a longer turnaround time than normal, which means that we still don't have anything back yet. However, in the meantime, some rolls of black and white stock landed on the doormat. We shot a roll at the weekend and so, here are a few from that.
    These are low dpi scans and then sized down for uploading here, so just a mere shadow of their true selves.

    Knott End.JPG
    Knott End to Fleetwood.


    Treeline No.1


    Treeline No.2

    The last two shots are of a line of trees that I have been admiring from afar for years, idly wondering if a decent shot of them could be had from much closer up. My current obsession with a certain remnant hedge (LINK) inspired me to try to find a way to get a shot or two. After a while tootling around the back lanes of northern Lancashire, I think I cracked it.

    The above shots were developed in Caffenol - and, unlike a previous session, no glowing watch dials entered the changing bag!
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  16. Dave Farnes

    Dave Farnes Well-Known Member

    They may be "a mere shadow of their true selves", but they still look good.

    I like the grainy skies, they give a feeling of age to the pictures which suits the subjects well. The line of trees look great, the way they fit into the landscape is fascinating.
    Chris Bennett likes this.
  17. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    Thanks Dave. I'm quite pleased with these. The trees are quite striking from a distance of several miles if you're the kind of person who notices such things.
  18. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    Nice set, Chris and I like the last especially. What film was it? I also like the grain, but it seems quite heavy for 120 film. The contrast looks rather low too, but that might just be the scan / PP. I usually give my films a rinse with deionised water after washing to prevent drying marks.
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  19. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    The film was HP5 Pete. I have been a bit concerned about the grain and, having developed an HP5 35mm roll last night that was much better, I think I may be onto the problem. (Hope so, anyway)
    I have a more accurate set of scales now and this may help.
  20. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    From last night's roll.

    Herd Immunity.JPG


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