Roll 4: Photographing Snow is Tough

As some of you may remember, in Roll 2 I posted pictures of the frozen Charles. I mentioned in that post that I wasn't entirely pleased with the results. Yesterday it was snowing and I decided to try redeeming myself. I failed.

I took a walk in the Fens, and brought along a roll of Ilford Delta 100 (I figured with this much snow, it's practically black and white already) I am not sure whether it was the time of day, the film or the fact that I shot B&W, but most of the frames have no contrast. Next time I will wait until later in the afternoon, and try and capture some more interesting light. Or perhaps I will shoot color. If you have any thoughts or suggestions on photographing snow, feel free to frop a comment below.

Anyhow, we have a blizzard on the way to Boston so I will try this again soon.

For now though, here are the couple frames from this roll that I liked (the snowman is by far my favorite, he has a great Toupée):


Roll 3: James'

Moar party pictures!

I promise this isn't my usual fare, its just been very convenient lately. This was the first roll I put through this camera, a cheap old Nikon N70 that I picked up at an antique store in Cambridge a few weeks ago. It was pretty useful because it has a flash, something that I don't use often when shooting film.

Clearly I didn't take all of these because I am in a few of them. Part of why I love having a cheap film camera like this at parties is that I don't mind passing it around a fair bit, and you get some cool stuff this way.

Without further ado, I present the photos:


Roll 2: I'm Cold!

This roll (well half a roll, I shot the first few frames a while back), required a lot of pain to produce.

I kept meaning to shoot some frames all week, but every morning as I got ready to leave, I forgot to pack a camera! Fast forward to Saturday, I had nothing for my roll this week and I needed to figure something out. So, I decided to take a walk by the Charles and get some pictures of its fresh covering of ice. The windchill was roughly 10 degrees. I can't operate my camera with gloves on. By the time I returned home I could barely move my fingers, and my ears were burning.

So the logical next question is "was it worth it?" The answer to that is.... sort of. I am a bit undecided on how I feel about these shots. I wish I had shot them in color, which may have done a better job of bringing out all of the hues in the ice.

In the spirit of the 52 rolls project and posting whatever I have, here they are!


52 Rolls: Roll 1

I am very excited to be particiating in the awesome 52 rolls project this year. As you may have guessed the goal of the project is to shoot one roll of film a week, every week, for a year. I'll be creating a blog post like this one for each roll, and posting them both here on my main blog as well as on the 52 rolls blog.

Below is the main post for my first roll:

Hey everybody!

My name is Ze'ev, I am based in Boston, MA and I only recently started shooting film. My main goal with this project is to get myself shooting more consistently. I find that I often en up shooting in bursts. I'll go crazy for a week or two and then not pick up a camera for a month, but I'd like to get back to just taking my camera everywhere, and work on improving my eye for things even when I am close to home.

My main camera is a Bronica SQA, a 6x6 medium format camera, that I am absolutely in love with. I am also working on building my own large format camera, so I hopefully I will posting some sheets from that on here at some point later this year.

This post isn't from either of those cameras though, this first roll was shot on my Minolta XG-M over New Years Eve. I shot them on Kodak Tri-x that I pushed to 3200. The results were interesting... despite the high ISO, the space was quite dark and many of the frames ended up under-exposed. Regardless, I like the look of the few frames that survived:


Developing Film With Coffee

I recently started developing my own black and white film, but I wanted to avoid having to buy a ton of commercial chemicals, partly because they are hard to get, and partly because they are hard to dispose of. I remembered that a friend had once mentioned to me that it was possible to develop film with coffee, and so I started doing a bit of research.

Coffee based developer is commonly referred to as Caffenol and there are a ton of resources available about it on the internet. The one thing I found the most useful was this table which gives development times for different films with different developer recipes. I shoot Ilford Delta film for most of my black and white work, so the Delta-STD recipe worked out well for me.

The Recipe

750ml Water 9tsp Washing Soda 2.5tsp Vitamin C 13.5tsp Instant Coffee A couple of notes about this recipe: first, the amounts don't have to be perfectly exact, the tolerances for this developer are, in my experience, pretty lenient; second, get the cheapest instant coffee you can, seriously cheaper is better in this case; lastly, this stuff smells like shit, like really bad, in fact theres little point in my saying this, because it would be hard to accurately describe how awful it smells. In addition to the developer, you will need a fixer. This is the only commercial chemical that is needed for this process and it can be picked up pretty cheaply. One bottle will work for a LOT of film. I use Ilford Rapid Fixer follow the instructions on the bottle you buy for mixing it.

The Process

Before you can develop film you will need to have a daylight developing tank and have loaded your film onto the reels for your tank. Note that film loading must be done in COMPLETE DARKNESS, many people have misconceptions about this because they have seen darkrooms with red safe lights in them. Film is to sensitive even for a safe light, and must be kept in total darkness until it is developed. I fashioned a changing bag out of an inside-out black sweatshirt and some black garbage bags. Loading the film onto the reels in complete darkness is not easy, so I suggest you practice a bit first, there are plenty of tutorials on youtube that can teach you how to do this.

There are four main steps to developing black and white film:

Developing Stop Fix Rinse I started off with a quick presoak, just fill the tank with room temperature water, and let soak for a few minutes. With the presoak done, and the developer mixed, its time to start developing! Pour the developer in the tank, it will take about 9 minutes to develop. Agitate the tank continuously for the first minute, and then agitate it three times each minute, it helps to have an interval timer to do this.

Once the developing is done we need to stop it. This simply involves rinsing the film three times, agitating the tank during each rinse. As soon as you have rinsed the film, pour in the fixer.

The fixer stays in for about five minutes(refer to the instructions on the bottle) follow a similar process to the developer, agitating three times every minute.

The last step is to rinse the film. Rinse it four times, agitating more and more each time. On the last rinse you will probably want to add a bit of dishwasher detergent, or a drop of Kodak Photo Flo in order to ensure that the negatives dry streak free.

Now you can hang your negatives up to dry and just wait!


Once the negatives are dry I like to scan them. I find that these negatives scan extremely well, but I will let the results speak for themselves!