Pinhole Day

Cherry Blossoms

Pin­hole Day is only two days away! Well, tech­ni­cal­ly, it’s three days away, but since the last Sun­day of April this year is also East­er Sun­day, they will accept pin­hole pho­tos tak­en between April 23 and May 1. You don’t get three days a week to come up with a pin­hole pho­to to sub­mit to every year, I can tell you that much! That’s why I urge you to par­tic­i­pate. It’s fun, and you’ll be amazed with the results if it works out. Empha­sis on ‘if it works out’ because some­times it doesn’t, but you know, there’s always next year.

Last week I built myself a pin­hole cam­era out of a small­ish card­board box for the body and stuck to it is a roll film back from a vin­tage press cam­era we won in a live auc­tion in Paris (Ontario, not France) years ago. The pin­hole is made from my favourite mate­r­i­al: pie tin (the thin, dis­pos­able kind; easy to punc­ture). I meant to take it out for a test roll last week­end, but alas, the weath­er just wouldn’t coop­er­ate. I’ll just have to guessti­mate the expo­sure time this week­end.

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Developing B&W film with Tea

Developing B<span class="amp">&</span>W film with Tea

UPDATE: I post­ed my very own tea devel­op­er recipe here!

After search­ing the web for infor­ma­tion on tea-based film devel­op­er and not find­ing much, except for this rather inspir­ing forum thread, I decid­ed to just bite the bul­let and make my own tea devel­op­er based on what lit­tle infor­ma­tion I had. I didn’t have black tea but I did have some orange pekoe, green, pep­per­mint, and pome­gran­ate green teas in my kitchen cup­board so I thought, what the heck, let’s get some water in a saucepan, throw some tea bags into it, boil it, mix it with vit­a­min C and wash­ing soda, and see what hap­pens!

While the teas were steep­ing, I shot a roll of Fuji Acros 100 around the house with my long-aban­doned Chi­nese medi­um for­mat SLR cam­era, the Great Wall DF. If the tea devel­op­er didn’t work, I wouldn’t be too sad because I can always re-shoot the same things all over again some oth­er time if I want to.

While I was busy prepar­ing the film for devel­op­ing, Troy got home from work and insist­ed on going gro­cery shop­ping. I didn’t real­ly want to wait until we got back home to devel­op the film. Orig­i­nal­ly, I thought I’d do a 30 or 45-minute devel­op­ment, agi­tat­ing every 3 or 5 min­utes, but since we had to go, I decid­ed to do a 2-hour semi-stand devel­op­ment. I end­ed up agi­tat­ing only 3 times in total. Then I washed and fixed as nor­mal and washed again. And then, the moment of truth: did it work? It did! Yaaay!

I did notice the white spots on the neg­a­tives when I was hang­ing it to dry but didn’t think much about it until I start­ed scan­ning and saw the many dark spots on the scans. It was kind of dis­heart­en­ing at first but then it grew on me. The dark spots actu­al­ly give a vin­tagey feel to the shots which I find rather endear­ing. I hope that I’ll be able to repli­cate the effect the next time I decide to devel­op with tea again, which is going to be soon. I real­ly can’t wait to exper­i­ment again with dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions of tea!

If you’re inter­est­ed, there’s a cou­ple more pic­tures from the roll devel­oped in tea (oth­er than the one at the begin­ning of this post) in this Flickr set.

Dental Woes

No Picnic

I’ve prob­a­bly used the pic­ture above in anoth­er post in the past but thought I’d post it again because it just won me a new cam­era bag through a pho­to con­test held by Book Depos­i­to­ry! There were 2260 entries when the con­test end­ed. Who knew I’d be one of the 10 win­ners. I only entered one pho­to (out of the three allowed) and just kind of for­got about it until they sent me a mes­sage about me being one of the 10 win­ners. It’s kind of nice to know that soon I’ll be able to put my cam­era with some lens­es and a lap­top in the same bag when I’m trav­el­ling.

Um, what was I going to write about again? Oh right. The sad state of my poor teeth. I’ve been hav­ing a toothache since Mon­day. Didn’t tell Troy about it until Wednes­day morn­ing when the pain got a bit unbear­able. He then made me an appoint­ment with his trusty den­tist in Water­loo who was will­ing to see me the next day, i.e. today. The last time I saw a den­tist was prob­a­bly when I was still in mid­dle school. It was that long ago. Ever since my trusty den­tist in Indone­sia (who had been my den­tist since I was a wee lit­tle kid) died, I just couldn’t trust anoth­er den­tist. But now I think I’ve found anoth­er den­tist I could trust. Troy’s den­tist turns out to be not scary at all!

Long sto­ry short, I have a tooth extrac­tion, a root canal and a den­tal implant in a not so dis­tant future. And the dentist’s only looked at two of my molars. Yup, serves me right for not going ear­li­er. That den­tist vis­it was super long over­due. If last year was the year of optometrist/ophthalmologist vis­its, this year is def­i­nite­ly going to be the year of den­tist vis­its. Not real­ly look­ing for­ward to it but I just keep telling myself that after this long string of den­tist vis­its, I’ll be able to eat like a nor­mal per­son again. Haven’t been able to do that for a while so that’s some­thing to look for­ward to.

Any­way, this will be the first of two blog updates I’m sup­posed to make this week since it’s March already and the sec­ond step in the Oper­a­tion Blog Revival’s 6-step pro­gram is to blog twice a week in March and April. Not sure how I’m going to keep with it since my life is not real­ly all that inter­est­ing and there are only so many things I could talk about but we’ll see. I’ll fig­ure some­thing out. Some­one told me once that I’m resource­ful. :)

Live and Learn


I love learn­ing to do new things. It gives me a sense of accom­plish­ment when I look back. This year I’m hop­ing to:

  • Learn to draw;
  • Learn to make cute shrinky dinks out of my draw­ings;
  • Learn to make neg­a­tives out of Fuji instant film;
  • Maybe learn to knit.

I said maybe to knit­ting because I still find it daunt­ing, but I’ve got a cou­ple of friends and my moth­er-in-law offer­ing to teach me how to knit so we’ll see about it. I do have a big stash of yarn to burn from my ven­ture into the won­der­ful world of cro­chet last year.

I just ordered three books to help me teach myself how to draw. They’re all by Sachiko Umo­to. I like her draw­ing style. Troy also says that he has Draw­ing for the Artis­ti­cal­ly Undis­cov­ered by Quentin Blake some­where among the piles of books in the base­ment that he’ll dig out for me. Quentin Blake is known for his quirky draw­ings in var­i­ous Roald Dahl’s books and I do enjoy his style.

As for shrinky dinks, well, I was first inspired by a blog post and then of course my new favourite TV show, Rais­ing Hope, has to fea­ture shrinky dinks in its fourth episode that I just watched last night. It’s like the uni­verse is try­ing to tell me some­thing, and I’m lis­ten­ing! :)

I start­ed shoot­ing with a vin­tage Polaroid Land Mod­el 100 last year. Polaroid no longer made the film for it but luck­i­ly, Fuji­film does. With the cam­era, I’ve been shoot­ing Fuji­film FP-100C instant film, which is a peel apart film. I’ve always found the part that you peel off and throw away to be such a waste. But then I found out that you can actu­al­ly make a neg­a­tive out of it with a lit­tle help from a house­hold bleach prod­uct! Of course I have to learn how to do it. Even more so now that I’ve got an instant film back for my Has­sel­blad. Hav­ing a neg­a­tive to your shots is always a good thing.

Are you still awake? Good. I was wor­ried for a bit there. :) And this is the part in which I don’t know how to end a blog post. I think I’ll just end it with a “Fin” a la French movies. Oh là là!


My First Book Cover

look what i got!

Pho­to by Jody Miller

No, this is not going to be a self-con­grat­u­la­to­ry post about how a pho­to of mine got select­ed to be includ­ed in a book by an awe­some group of pho­tog­ra­phers and writ­ers called Uta­ta that I’ve been a mem­ber of for years, nor is this about how some­how it end­ed up being on the cov­er of the book. No. This is going to be a post about how the pho­to came to be. This pho­to:

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Developing B&W film with Caffenol-C

Caffenol-C Results

I’ve been want­i­ng to try devel­op­ing film with Caf­fenol-C for awhile (the fact that it’s envi­ron­men­tal­ly-friend­ly real­ly appeals to me), and last week, I final­ly did. The first roll I devel­oped turned out to be a dud since it came from a total­ly exper­i­men­tal pin­hole cam­era. I had no more exposed roll to try to devel­op so I took Troy and my Hol­ga cam­era for a walk down­town and shot a roll of Agfa APX 100 film. The result is what you can see above. It’s grainy, streaky, uneven­ly devel­oped (the last two are large­ly my fault) but hey, it real­ly works! Next time I’m going to have to try it on a roll of prop­er­ly exposed film, as in shot with a SLR cam­era instead of a toy cam­era. Over- and under­ex­posed neg­a­tives just don’t scan very well.

Any­way, if you’re inter­est­ed in my Caf­fenol-C recipe, this one’s for you:

  • 5 table­spoons of Maxwell House Orig­i­nal Roast instant cof­fee
  • 3 table­spoons of Arm & Hammer’s So Clean Super Wash­ing Soda
  • 2 Redox­on Vit­a­min C Effer­ves­cent tablets (I used the lemon-flavoured ones)

Mix with 500ml water, or use two glass­es with 250ml of water in each to dis­solve the cof­fee and the wash­ing soda sep­a­rate­ly. Once the cof­fee is dis­solved, throw in the vit­a­min C tablets. It will get frothy on top but I’ve found that once you mix it with the wash­ing soda solu­tion, the froth dis­ap­pears. Devel­op for 15 min­utes, agi­tate every 60 sec­onds, and then stop bath and fix as nor­mal. I use tap water for stop bath and Ilford Rapid Fix­er for fix­ing. If you know of a source of sodi­um thio­sul­fate (the active ingre­di­ent in fix­er) that can be found in super­mar­kets, please do let me know! I’m almost out of fix­er.

Anoth­er green b&w film devel­op­ing solu­tion I’d like to try is the one with mint tea and bak­ing soda. It’s sup­posed to work and smell bet­ter than Caf­fenol. Peo­ple are com­plain­ing about how the Caf­fenol-C solu­tion smells like death. It’s actu­al­ly not that bad. It smells like tuna sand­wich!