Fun with Old Cameras

Images in this section are added as they become available, so check back from time to time. Newest posts appear at the top of the page, regardless of photography date. All images are posted raw, with no modifications other than cropping, resizing and, on rare occasion and where noted, very slight adjustment of levels.

FYI, the usual copyright restrictions, listed elsewhere in this blog, apply to all of these images.

Zeiss Baby Box, September 2008

These images were taken on a roll of Efke R100 127 film in two locations: New Orleans and the Beach Mountains near Van Horn, Texas (southeast of El Paso). One blurred image of Toby and Moriaki crossing the street is not reproduced here.

This camera was something of a special find for me at an antique store here in Columbia. It was buried under a bunch of stuff in a case that did not appear to have been opened in a long time, and I was skeptical about whether it would still work properly, but it turns out to be a very enjoyable camera to shoot with. There’s also something about the contrast of these images–whether a function of the film or the camera I do not yet know–that is very appealing to me.

(For the record, slight changes were made in levels only.)

Toby in New Orleans

Toby and Moriaki, New Orleans

Toby and Jenny in Texas

Toby and Eric in Texas (shot by Jenny)

Eric and Jenny in Texas (shot by Toby)

Beach Mountains, Texas, #1

Beach Mountains, Texas, #2

Brownie Special, Six-16, July 2009

These images were taken on a roll of Ilford FP4 in two locations: near Samaria, SC (Lexington County) and near Limestone, SC (Edgefield County). Not all images on the roll are reproduced here.

I *really* like this camera, which has been modified with spacers (courtesy of Toby Morriss, machinist extraordinaire!) to allow me to run 120 film through its 616 body. The camera was the gift of a really cool lady who was apparently reading my mind at my last birthday. I might just have to marry her.

Lexington County 1
Overgrown, Samaria, SC

Limestone 1
Through the Looking Glass, Limestone, SC

Limestone 2
Looming, Limestone, SC

Jiffy Kodak, July 2009

The following images were taken on a roll of Ilford Delta 100 in four locations: Mt. Carmel, SC; a garage on US-321 in North Columbia; on the old chicken farm that was part of the SC State Asylum operations for African Americans at State Park; and in an abandoned building in the State Street area of West Columbia (in that order).

For the record, I don’t know what created the strange light streaks and distortions at the garage and the old chicken farm, but I will admit that they completely freaked me out when I first saw them, as I believed at first that they appeared ONLY on images taken at the chicken farm, and not on adjacent frames. (I will say, for the record, that it was one of the creepiest places I have ever been in my life, and those who know me know that that’s saying something.) Plus, the image at State Street was taken within a half hour of when the last image was taken at the chicken farm, and it shows no signs of these streaks. Careful review of my notes, however, revealed that the fourth image on the roll was taken at the garage, not the chicken farm. I still think I see ghosties, though. Hmmm….

Images appear here in the order they were taken. The first image on the roll was a dud and is not reproduced here:

Mt. Carmel 2
Mt. Carmel Church, Mt. Carmel, SC

Mt. Carmel 1
Mt. Carmel Church, Mt. Carmel, SC

State Park 4
Garage, North Columbia, SC

State Park 3
Old Asylum Chicken Farm, State Park, SC

State Park 2
Old Asylum Chicken Farm, State Park, SC

State Park 1
Interior, Old Asylum Chicken Farm, State Park, SC

State St. 1
Abandoned Building, State Street, West Columbia, SC

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5 Responses to “Fun with Old Cameras”

  1. Was the image of the grain silo double exposed? I love how you can barely make out the semblance of a radiant smile and chin just right of center in the lower quarter. Perhaps it is just the play of the light, but it is a ghostly smile, nevertheless, to me.

    What a beautiful collection of photos both on this page and on the page Fun with Old Film. He seemed so proud of his birdhouse; too bad he didn’t get to see his photos of himself with it.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for visiting, Kelly! I’m glad you enjoyed the images. I’m still not sure what caused the light leak in those frames, but it’s not a double exposure. My Jiffy Kodak has a back that pops a little when the film is wound, and I suspect that’s the culprit. Interesting nonetheless!

  3. I came here initially because of your review of LOVELY BY SURPRISE. I did publicity for the film! Wasn’t it splendid?!

    At any rate, I am SURE that is the smile of a child in that image. I can see the chin, lips, and teeth clearly. And the bottom of his nose and his left eye. I can see he has ice skates tied over right shoulder. I know it is ice skates and not roller skates because of the reflection of light off the blade. I can see his coat isn’t closed. Can you see all of that?

    I love your work! It is truly ethereal. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  4. Where do you get your film? I have a brownie six-16 and need film. We have similar style of photography and I really love your work.

    • Thanks, Crystal.

      120 film is still easily available from lots of outlets, as you probably know. I had a good friend machine some metal spacers for me a while back that allow me to run 120 film through 116 and 616 cameras. Doing so obviously yields an image that is narrower than either 116 or 616 film would be, but it still allows me to use the camera. Some folks complain about the possibility of light leak because the take up spool ends (116 size) are separated from the backing paper/film edges this way, but I have not had much trouble with this. I unload in a dark bag, and that solves the problem. Then I reload using a new 120 roll with spacers and an empty 116 spool.

      There are some methods to be found online for creating your own spacers. A Google search should turn them up easily.

      Some folks also roll their own, combining 70mm film with old 116 backing paper, but I’m a bit of a klutz and have big fingers, so I avoid challenges like this, especially in the dark.

      My understanding is that most of the various outlets that once provided newly rolled 116 film (Central Camera, for example) are not very reliable these days. Central Camera currently lists it at $37.95 per roll, but they’re out of stock. I’ll take my chances with my method, which runs me about $4.50 a pop for the film I like. Much more affordable that way!

      Good luck!

      E

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