Money matters or the Caffenol break even

This is the roll number 40 of 2020, and the one for which I break even on my Caffenol investment. At 7$ per roll at the local lab, I am now breaking even on my dark bag, Vitamin C, Soda ash, Fixer and first batch of coffee.

October is a big period for Taoist faith, known as Nine Emperor Gods. I could not see any big ceremony, but its a good time to visit temples I never see before.

Ok I break even but I have finished my Nescafe so I have to get another pack, I will check the cheaper local brand for roughly 8$. Also I screwed up a few rolls (at least 4) so do I have to factor this is my cost as well?

Accordion

The picture above taken indoors has very nice tones I think. I am now using the Delta recipe and this roll was processed with a new batch, and turned out very fine. Not much dust to clone.

Finally 4 shots done during a stay-cation on the island of Sentosa. The island of fun seems a bit carceral at the moment with the beach being all locked down and some buildings in advances dereliction status.

All shots taken with Leica M6 and Summicron 35mm Asph V2. This is a 24 shots roll of a bulk Ilford HP5 that I handroll myself (I am really money conscious these day)

Money matters or the Caffenol break even

When the coffee is good

Yes this is a about Caffenol again: after a few rolls ranging from total failure to barely acceptable, I finally got two rolls who turned out pretty good yesterday. I must say that I finally received the pure vitamin C powder so this brew is more deterministic that the others. I also stick to reducing the ingredients by 1/4th as I use a .75L bottle to store it. I used the times derived from past experiences and the Massiv Dev Charts site. So for this Rollei 80s I used the mix at room temps ( about 28/29 Degrees) and 5’25” from when I started pouring to the time I poured out.

The result is pretty good, contrast is fine, there is little dust on the negatives and scanning goes without problem.

I ll keep doing this a few time before maybe trying to cool the mix a little in order to have more leeway in playing with the dev time.

All shots with Agfa Isolette III on Rollei Retro 80s. Oh it is noticeable on some shots that markings from the film backing paper can be seen, but this roll (I have 2 more) are 2 years expired are spent the last few years in the humid climate of Singapore so it may explain why.

When the coffee is good

A rainy sunday morning

Patience

I am not sure if we are officially in the rainy season but we are definitely heading for it. After a very wet bike ride Saturday morning, I joined some fellow photographers last Sunday. What started as a very cloudy morning ended being very wet as well.

China square

I went armed with the Leica IIIc now paired with the Elmar 50mmF3.5, and as it was rainy I loaded a roll of Shanghai GP3 400. This is supposed to be a new film, I could not find much information on the web.

Sam at the Kopitiam

We spend quite a while at the Kopitiam close to Circular road waiting for the rain to stop

The wild bunch

Finally we set out as the rain stopped and walked around the area.

If you read so far and wonder what happened to the pictures, I will inform you that I am currently in a Caffenol frenzy and my process is currently not working so well after some initial success.

Slowly the city wakes up

My last roll was a disaster (you can read here ), this one is quite close, I have made steps to improve my process thought:

  • I have invested in a changing bag
  • I bought some proper fixer (the images on this post are relatively clean)
  • I learned to bleach my spirals to help loading the film ( it is a breeze now)
  • I realized that my recipe was for 1 liter but my bottle was 0.75 so I reduced the doses of chemicals
  • and I ordered some pure vitamin C to have a more predictable result (but I don’t have it yet)

So the result is crap, but I scan still make a post with it : yeah! Ok there is no information anywhere on this film, left alone about Caffenol processing. I processed 5’50” at 28 degrees. As it’s over cooked I reduce by one minute this morning for my film of this week and … its not developed at all. I am a bit clueless.

Many take away from Lucky Cafe some years ago

As usual there is no lesson, lets do better next time. Maybe go back to 100 ISO films. Or start cooling the developer.

After the party
Good bye (Cruel world)
A rainy sunday morning

When its so bad it s almost good

Today’s roll of film has been perfectly ruined, the experience showing that I am not yet the master of Caffenol.

Busy

This was a roll of Fuji Across 100, shot with the Leica M6 and a mix of Summicron 50mm and then my “new” Elmar 50.

I processed the roll with my second batch of Caffenol which is now 4 weeks old, and my dodgy Fomapan fix expired for 5 years and used for the 9th roll. A recipie for disaster you call it. The only new variable on the batch of Caffenol was the addition of table salt to act as restrainer for higher ISO films, could this cause the problems seen here? It did not seem to improve the processing of the Ilford Delta 400, so I wont try it again.

I decided not to clean the negs in photoshop, but just to enjoy the artistic look after the usual adjustement. I have a mixed feeling, because the processing looks to be working quite well, the quality of the greys and finesse of the grain below is just great to my taste.

Marina Barrage

Finally the Elmar is working just fine, focusing and all seems good as you can check below. This is a great addition for my LTM kit, lets check the next roll.

Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple

Dont worry I have taken good resoltutions: I binned both the Caffnol and the Fixer and will shop for some new fixer this week. I also ordered some pure ascorbic acid to replace my lemon flavoured vitamine pills.

A mundane shot to show of the Elmar quality

On this note I whish you a good week, happy shooting and maybe next week a good roll for a change?

When its so bad it s almost good

The Social Kitchen at Orchard YMCA

Today I am posting a few shots salvaged from a friendly “reportage” we did with a group of friends last week for The Social Kitchen at Orchard YMCA, in Singapore.

The Social Kitchen, is the Cafe located on 4th floor of the YMCA. It is a social enterprise that provides employment to disadvantaged individuals. The intention was to give them a few pictures to put on their website.

I must say I did not perform very well, and I am bit ashamed of it. I pleased myself in my choice of gear, but the result is not really usable by our friends at Social Kitchen. Luckily some more conscientious photogs were there.

I brought the Leica M6 with Summilux 50 v2 loaded with Ilford Delta 400. Above are the shots processed in Caffenol, my eights roll and the worst so far I must say. Very nice opportunity to shoot in a kitchen, but also quite difficult as the place is small and was packed with 3 staff and 4 photogs.

I also carried the Hasselblad 500CM loaded with Cinestill 500. There are only 3 “good” shots on 12, I don’t use the blad so often these days, so I mixed up mix and max aperture, and the first 6 shots were blank. The Cinestill roll was shot at ISO640 as usual, and all shots were done at 1/60 F2.8.

It’s nice to have fun, delivering good and usable pictures is another matter.

The Social Kitchen at Orchard YMCA

Walking around with color film

A quick post about last two weeks walking around with the Leica M6 loaded with a roll of Kodak ProImage 100 and paired with a Summicron 50mm V.

This is a bit awkward in the middle of my Caffenol frenzy, but it helps changing perspective. Also I brought the film to Whampoa Photo, and the scanning is very nice. I usually scan myself, but that time I decide to give it a try and the result is surprisingly good.

Walking around with color film

Did I fix the Agfa Isolette rangefinder?

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The young film photog and his model

So a few weeks ago, after the last roll shot with the Agfa Isolette, I decided that  something must be done with the rangefinder. My easiest solution was to order a second Agfa from Ebay. But actually when he finally reached home, the camera was in very good condition but the rangefinder was stuck and so was the lens focusing ring. So I took  step back and decided to leave it alone (for the moment) and try to fix the rangefinder of my original Agfa.

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Potato head

I think I mentioned earlier this is a family camera bough in 1958 in Germany by my dad who was in the French forces there. It was my first medium format camera, I used it for the first time in 1990 (30 years ago already). I looked at this link and proceeded to fix my rangefinder : The Classic Camera Repair Forum: CLA’ing an Isolette III.

 

 

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The photographer’s wife

I don’t have much to add to the procedure, this precise camera has other issues so I think I will proceed with repairing the other one soon, or maybe send it to repair, depending on the time I have at hand.

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A chair’s story

Once again I used a roll of Rollei 80s because I have a few hanging around and because I love it. Shot at 100 Iso, this is a slow film for the weather conditions so some shots were taken at 1/50s F4.5.

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Public transport

I processed the roll in my second batch of Caffenol, so this is my Caffenol roll #7. The results are good I think, but there is a lot of dust or particles compared to the roll#6, I am not sure where it comes from and I am  bit disappointed as I took care to filter both the Fixer and the Caffenol before using them. I also added 1 minute to the fixing time, just in case.

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The chess players #1

It also seems there is some unevenness on the processing. I will have to reach out for some advice.

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The chess players #2

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Ah yes so what about the rangefinder ? Well see for yourself, but it looks to me that it may not be spot on but it surely can focus.

Did I fix the Agfa Isolette rangefinder?

The new normal

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The usual Shake Shack long queue

The title of today’s post is a trap. It should be called Caffenol week 6, but it starts to be boring. Saturday I finished a roll of Ilford Delta 400, and processed it as soon as I was back home.

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The uncle just score

This is my second brew that I kept from last week. I have been careful today to limit the time of processing to 5 minutes at 28 degrees, plus 10 seconds for pouring out.

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Back Alley BBQ

The negatives  are still a bit thick but on the better side I would say. I also filtered my fixer before using it. As a result I have very few crap on the film.

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Fishing in the shadow of the tower

Another innovation this week is that I cut the roll in two before processing to squeegee. Less chance to scratch by carrying dust over with my fingers, less residual water at the bottom of the film. Unfortunately I did not  count he frames so I ended up with an odd number of strips.

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A catch like that

The result : this is my best Caffenol film of these past 6 weeks. I must say it is the best film altogether and choosing a small number of shots from it was difficult.

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Chef of wheels

But back to the processing, there was very little dust on the film, and I did only  minimal spot cloning in light-room after processing. I also added 1 more minute to the fixing time, this is the 7th roll with the fixer (It should do 17), it cannot harm.

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Sometime we feel we are so small

This is shot again with the Leica IIIc, but with the Summaron 35mmF3.5, which is quite a sharp lens. I measured the light with the handheld Sekonic L-308-s, and used my 35mm Leica finder. The finder shoe was bent during my last move and I think the shot above really shows it.

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Reserved

The first three shots were taken around Chinatown last week, while the next three where taken around Marina Bay, where I met some friends by complete fluke. Friends are great picture subjects, lets remember this.

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Mannequin

Saturday morning I met some fellow shutterbugs in Haji Lane. The two frames above were shot in a kind of artsy enclave where a  lot of murals can be found.

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The world’s on fire

The area is far less crowed than usual, but its still a busy place in the morning, with deliveries for local businesses, people having coffee or photographers bringing models to shoot with the colorful area as a backdrop.

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The dancer

We hijacked the model above, thanks, thanks, one shot and we move, my camera is so old, anyway.

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Haji Lane usual crowd

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That time of the year

We have entered the 7th month of the Chinese new year and offerings are appearing outside maybe businesses.

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Lets all go home safely hop you enjoyed the ride.

 

The new normal

CAFFENOL REBIRTH : WEEK 5 : SAME PLAYER SHOOT AGAIN

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Happy birthday Singapore

Processing film at home is a funny activity, actually it is a very modern one, inline with instant self rewarding of Instagram and phone-o-graphy.

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National Day under surveillance

So after 4 weeks wit the same brew, I decided it was time for fresh coffee. I followed the same recipe but added some table salt, which is supposed to limit the fogging on the negative, specially for high speed film like the Ilford Delta 400.

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National Day Party atmosphere with social distancing

I prepared the mix Sunday afternoon to be ready for processing in the evening, but actually I could not wait and loaded the finished roll I had in an improvised dark cupboard.

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Feels like holidays

I realized that my expired fixer is now all grey and contains a lot of flocculation. I try not to poor the deposit in the tank, but did not think of filtering. I fixed for the usual 5 minutes. Then I filtered the fixer back in the bottle.

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The three bunnies

It looked the film was fixed properly but there is some deposit in places. Next time I will filter before pouring and extend the fixing  time just to be safe.

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Art Science museum with bird

So I used the new mix at 28 degrees for a bit more than 5 minutes. The result is OK, but I would say a bit over done. I cannot tell if the table salt had any effect (I put 10g for a litter of Caffenol).

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Art Science museum with bird II

This time I managed to squeegee the water from the film without leaving dust or hair and let dry in the bathroom. The negatives are thick but scanned ok as you can see. There are some marks due to the residuals of the fixer I think.

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Her (distant) reflection

So this is a roll of Ilford Delta 400, supposed to be a fine grain film (compared to HP5), a bit cheaper than the usual TriX. The film lacks a bit of contrast  in my opinion.

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The photographer’s family

This was shot with the Leica IIIC and Voigtländer 21mm F4. With the 21mm the subject is always so far away.

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Anish Kapoor miror

Unless you come very close

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Martin and his Mamiya

In which case you make friends, or at least you have to engage.

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Social Distancing Ambassadors

I engaged the social distancing ambassadors, as I think they deserve to be remembered for their service to the community and that hopefully one day they will only be memories and we will look back at this picture to make sure this was not just a dream.

 

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Wefie

The shots around Marina bay were made by a very bright day and some are done at higher speeds for which I suspect the Leica III to be a bit lazy, hence the mild darker right side (or brighter left).

I included a few more shots back to my usual habit of burning film randomly.

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Starbucks-nol anybody?

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Soon to go Liang Court / Novotel building

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Good looking lad

I am still not so good at hip shooting, it seems I constantly aim too high. Luckily I realized I am not the only one.

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Coffee again

I am a bit better at pre-focusing and aiming from the eye level. Particularly with my VC 21-25mm finder.

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The last walk of the Ents

I hope you enjoyed the reading. The next roll is not very far away.

Stay safe.

CAFFENOL REBIRTH : WEEK 5 : SAME PLAYER SHOOT AGAIN

CAFFENOL REBIRTH : WEEK 4 : Errare Humanum est

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Happy Birthday SIngapore

Here I am back for the fourth week with my Caffenol. I intended this week to be the last of my first brew. I was encouraged by the last weeks experience and became a bit too bold maybe and alas the issues added to the issues.

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Let’s go shopping

First for this last batch I chose to process a roll of Tri-x that I shot over the week end with friends and family. Tri-x is said to be not super Caffenol friendly and my first roll was not a massive success. How to calculate for both the estimates 7.3 minutes leading to over processing and the exhaustion of the Caffenol? I settled to try for a 6.3 minutes (including pouring in and pouring out time). To put odds on my side I also filtered the fixer that seemed to show some flocculation last week.

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Tiong Bahru riders

Alas again the gods of the dark room were not with me today, and after fiddling for a while (in the dark) I managed to load the film incorrectly in the spool of my Patterson tank. And the result is here : half of my roll is not processed. As I write it I think  could have put it back in the Caffenol, but actually I just binned it. Well we learn by our mistakes, so I will have to iron out this process. All in all I may only have loaded 10 to 15 rolls in my life.

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The Scalper

The film shows a bit of reticulation, but I think it may be the tap water used to rince the film, may have been to warm (tap let on hot after the washing up). Also it i snot as clean as my first negs so on top of it maybe the Caffenol need also to be filtered.

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Anyway, I think the point is that my negative looks ok, so 6 minutes 30 seconds in 3 weeks old caffenol is OK for processing Tri-x and also maybe the caffenol can last 4 weeks?

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The umbrella academy

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Mirror ok my mirror

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Refection in Tiong Nahru

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The small Tiong Bahru Durian stall

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That’s what a partially destroyed picture looks like

CAFFENOL REBIRTH : WEEK 4 : Errare Humanum est