Pinhole Photgraphy (basic questions)

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by SleepyLizard, Dec 3, 2003.

  1. SleepyLizard

    SleepyLizard TPF Noob!

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    I want to do some very basic pinhole photography with my kids in the hope that it will be educational as well as maybe getting them interested in photography. I haven't done anything like that since high school which for me was back in the 70's and my memory is more than a little rusty.

    I have instructions for making the camera. I will be using photographic paper directly instead of film. I was planning on taking a shortcut by making the positive image on the computer. (yes I know that's cheating but I really want to keep it as simple as possible just for now :) )

    I've got some information from looking through previous posts but I'm still confused :) So, basically I think I just need a reminder of:

    1. What chemicals to I need to purchase.
    I think I need:
    *developer - is that the same chemical that is used
    for the film or different.
    *Stop sollution
    *Fixer
    Do they then get washed in something?
    2. Roughly How long do I need to dunk the paper in each.
    3. How do I store unused paper after I open the packet.
    4. Is there anything else you think I might want to know or anything obvious I'm missing.

    BTW I tried finding answers at our local library but they have nothing (small town).
     
  2. oriecat

    oriecat work in progress

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    You would need paper developer. The time might depend upon the exposure you do in the pinhole camera. Normal development is like 2 minutes usually in my experience, but if you overexposed and see it getting very dark, then you can always pull it out early.

    Stop - about 30 seconds
    Fixer - will depend upon what kind it is

    Wash in water for a couple minutes if using RC paper, longer if fiber based.

    The paper needs to be stored in darkness of course. Paper comes in a paper sleeve and then has a black plastic sleeve inside. Just make sure to close the plastic sleeve up good and return it to the paper sleeve and it will be fine.
     
  3. oriecat

    oriecat work in progress

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    Also remember that since you are using paper instead of film, and paper is not as light sensitive as film, then you will need to use longer exposures, altho since it has been so long since I have done it myself, I couldn't tell you how long it might need to be. :)
     
  4. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    Umm... wouldn't exposing paper create a negative image?
     
  5. SleepyLizard

    SleepyLizard TPF Noob!

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    oriecat - thanks for the advice - it's appreciated.

    Yes but you can then create a positive although I can't remember how it's done. That's why I was just going to cheat by scanning the negative image and creating a positive in PS. Mind you, back in the 1840's the calotype photos were done using treated writing paper for the negatives. They were then placed flat over another sheet of treated writing paper and left in the sun to create the positive.
     
  6. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    Well you can always get some sheet film which will create the negative. You don't need an enlarger to print the image on paper.

    In complete darkness you would place the negative over the paper. Then turn on the lights for a few seconds and then back to darkness. You'll have to experiment to get a proper print.

    That's the route I'd go to show the whole process to someone.
     
  7. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    If you are using a manufactured pinhole it will come with a f/#. If you are making your own, you'll just have to experiment.

    Paper has an ISO #. It may be in the literature that comes with the paper or you may be able to get it off the manufacturer's website. I seem to recall that the last time I tried this that the paper's speed was ISO 12 or less.

    Get resin coated (RC) paper, paper developer, and fix or rapid fix. Ilford RC paper will develop and fix in 1 minute each, and then wash for 10 min. You don't even really need to buy stop. Just use water or water with vinegar or lemon juice for 15 sec between the dev and the fix. While stop bath does halt development, I feel that the main purpose of stop is to save your fixer. Unless you are planning to crank out more than a hundred prints, then a gallon of fix is going to be way more than you need anyway. Once your paper has been in the fix for 30 sec, it is light proof if you want to turn on the lights and look.

    Wash your prints by soaking them in a tub of room temp water. Completely replace the water at least five times. Soak for 5 to 10 min between each water change.

    The paper comes in light proof bag inside the box. Just store it in the bag and box; someplace dry, cool, and dark would be best. Tape the box shut to avoid it accidentally opening. Get in the habit of immediately putting the paper away properly so that you don't forget about it and switch on the light.

    I think that using the computer to make positives is a good idea, especially with the shorter attention span of kids. But if you are interested, you can use the paper neg to make a positive contact print. Arrange your work space so that you have direct, even, over head lighting. Shut off the lights, place the paper neg on a sheet of new paper. Hold it down with a sheet of clean glass. Flip the light on an off quickly. Develop as above. If it's too light, then try to give the next one more time. If it's too dark, try a lower watt bulb.

    Mixed BW chemistry will last for longer than the manufacturer says it will. You know your developer is no good when you can't get solid black. BW paper will last a very long time; I've used paper that was stored in an un-airconditioned house for 6 or 7 years before I got it, and it seems to be fine.
     
  8. photoman

    photoman TPF Noob!

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    At school we used a 4x5 peice of paper as the negative and used a pin in tin foil. the exposure was about 20-40 sec for kodak polycontrast paper.

    We developed it in dektol and fixed in kodak fixer for 2 min.

    to make the contact sheet we wetted a blank sheet of paper and the negativge and sandwhiced them togeter (get rid of air bubbles) and exposed it on the enlarger at i think 15 sec at f 11 or so. and developed the newly exposed paper.
     
  9. SleepyLizard

    SleepyLizard TPF Noob!

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    Thank you good people of the Photo Forum. Together you have given me some great info. I've ordered a couple of books from Amazon too but at this time of year they probably won't arrive anytime soon.
     

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