Help - problem developing pinhole paper negatives!

theres126

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Hi-

My daughter is trying her hand at pinhole photography for the first time, and we're running into some problems with the developing. She did a mini-class last year, so she knows what they should look like. (she's 14)

This is our first time at developing our own photos. She used the oatmeal box design for the camera, which she and my husband put together. She's using the resin-coated paper film.

She's experimented with different exposure times, but every time we put it in the developer, it just develops into a smeary mess (different every time). We're using Ilford paper developer (liquid concentrated), which we mixed with water according to the directions.

What could cause this? There are black and dark gray smears, and very little of the image. What we can see of the image (if anything), has pretty much no contrast.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks-
Theresa
 
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theres126

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Hi-

My daughter is trying her hand at pinhole photography for the first time, and we're running into some problems with the developing. She did a mini-class last year, so she knows what they should look like. (she's 14)

This is our first time at developing our own photos. She used the oatmeal box design for the camera, which she and my husband put together. She's using the resin-coated paper film.

She's experimented with different exposure times, but every time we put it in the developer, it just develops into a smeary mess (different every time). We're using Ilford paper developer (liquid concentrated), which we mixed with water according to the directions.

What could cause this? There are black and dark gray smears, and very little of the image. What we can see of the image (if anything), has pretty much no contrast. Could it be the developer? Or the technique?????

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks-
Theresa
 

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Heya Theresa and welcome to ThePhotoForum. I merged your two identical threads so the forum remains uncluttered.

Let's hope you'll soon find someone to give you a hand in developing pinhole photos. I'm afraid I am not the right person to answer your questions.

(My daughter's 14, too, by the way).
 

Alpha

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This sounds like it may be a problem with the camera itself. A couple things to check off.

The paper has to be loaded and unloaded (at development time) either in complete darkness or under a safelight (amber would be preferable but a red safelight will also do).

The pinhole in the oatmeal camera should be just bigger than pin-sized (about the size you'd make with a thumb-tack).

The camera needs to sit perfectly still during the exposure and be completely light-tight except for the pinhole.

The exposure time will generally be btw 15 and 45 seconds outdoors, depending on how bright a day it is.

You should cover the hole before you pick up the camera to carry it anywhere.

If you're doing all of that correctly, then we can talk development problems.
 

ann

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smearing mess is not going to be very helpful to determine if this is a processing problem or an exposing issues.

things that are out of focus may have that "look" of smearing. things blend into each other.

can you post an example.
 
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theres126

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Hi again.

I'll try to get those photos posted tonight. Max - everything that you mention sounds about right for what we've done. We did notice that when we didn't have enough developer in the tray, that the areas it touched first turned really dark - kind of like a dark stripe though the middle of the picture. We added more developer, thinking that might help, but it did the same thing.

I'll try to scan the photos and get them up in a bit.

Thanks!

Theresa
 

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when your "taking the photo" is the "camera" completely still? if it moves at all it will be blurry. also, make sure when you load the paper into the camera, it is loaded correctly{directly across from the hole}. alot of people will mis-align the paper.{happens ALL the time in my high school class}
 
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theres126

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The camera was definitely still (sitting on top of our septic field cover with a map weight on top), and as far as I could tell, the paper was loaded correctly. It's not a blurring of the image, but big streaks. You can't really see the image at all.
 
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theres126

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I scanned the photos (if you can call them that!)

How do I post them?


Thanks!
 

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pretty sure you have to upload to an image site first{such as photobucket, or putfile}

then use the link it will give you and just copy and paste it into the reply
 
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theres126

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Here they are.....

Any ideas?




pinhole1.jpg


pinhole3.jpg




pinhole2.jpg




http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n226/theres126/pinhole1.jpg

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n226/theres126/pinhole2.jpg


http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n226/theres126/pinhole3.jpg
 

Dissolution

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how long do you develop, stop, fix, and wash?

i think it might be chemical stains.
 
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theres126

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This comes up in the developer - and fast!

We develop only about 10-15 seconds, or so. Once the color starts appearing in these patterns, we pull it out.

The stop bath is about 10 seconds, the fixer, two minutes.

But, like I said, it already looks like this when it comes out of the developer....:(


Could the developer be bad? (we just bought it). Could it be mixed wrong? We did follow the proportions on the bottle.

Thanks-
Theresa
 

Dissolution

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i see, the only other thing i can think of that looks like that...is fogged paper.

was the paper exposed to ANY light other than the red/amber safelight before being "shot" in the pinhole?
 
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theres126

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No it wasn't.

We opened the package with only the safelight (and it was new, when we opened it)

It's frustrating, since my daughter is trying to use this as a project to get her into Governors school at her high school. She took a course at a summer enrichment camp where they did the pinhole photography, and developed their own pictures, and they looked great. She loved it, and wants to continue it on her own..... We're not sure what went wrong, or where to go from here!
 

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