Playing The Long Game: Outdoor Photography With Telezooms

The Chase Challenge


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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The Chase Challenge

3 Sep 2020 10:06AM   Views : 415 Unique : 276

Different minds work in different waysÖ My instinct, when I see a camera, is to want to use it: but my friend Janet Ė fellow member of the Critique Team, Chase Ė photographs it.

So, when someone locally was looking for a new home for her late husbandís Gnome enlarger and some darkroom accessories, I loaded them into my car and trekked across to the far side of the Midlands to deliver them Ė and also to see how someone who makes an art of still life works.

Spoiler alert: we agreed not to embarrass each other, and so there are no photographs of the proceedings. Suffice it to say that thereís a room with a clearer floor than any in my house, and a backdrop and table in one corner, and a Mac workstation in the opposite one.

You will, no doubt, be seeing the enlarger on this site in the next few weeks. I wasnít tempted to plug it in Ė itís still wearing the braided cloth cable that it wore when it came out of the Gnome factory in (Iím guessing) the late Fifties or early Sixties, with the original torpedo switch. PAT cleared? I think not!

When we opened the box with the paper masking frame in it, there were a load of prints along with the LPL easel: these have gone back to the donor, who recognised many of the subjects. The other accessories included dishes, a read Paterson safelight, and a Paterson 35mm developing tank, a Mark II, a Nebro measuring cylinder (just like the one I still use, that was part of my first day of developing, 25-12-67Ö)

With the enlarger, it was love at first sight: I am sure that youíll be seeing an HDR image or two before long, and the safelight (which I was willing to plug in and switch on) may end up illuminating something as well as making a walk-on appearance in a darkroom tableau.

Thereís a little kicker to the day, though. Towards the end of my visit, Janet produced a small camera case: the canvas sort that Brownie cameras lived in. Inside was a rather weird Kodak camera. Itís essentially a box camera, but the only viewfinder is a wire frame at the front that pulls out, and itís mainly metal (an awful lot of box cameras were largely made of wood and card for cheapness and lightness: this is the exception).

The Chase Challenge Ė Ďgo and take some pictures with this, Johní Ė and itís costing me! Itís still possible to get 127 film, but it costs as much as slide film does: best part of £15 per roll, and itís a brand Iíve never heard of.

There will be more in a week or so, when Iíve got the film and had a chance to use and develop a roll. At more than £1 a frame, I shall be taking a great deal of care!

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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
3 Sep 2020 10:09AM
For the historically minded, the camera's a Kodak Hawkeye, made in England.
chase Avatar
chase Plus
18 2.5k 682 England
3 Sep 2020 11:13AM
Awww John, you have given all my secrets away Wink
I daren't plug in the enlarger, there's too much electrical tape, joining bits of wires together, but the darkroom red light has many uses....yep, tried it, the red light it produces is lovely for some reflections Smile
No HDR as yet but I am working on it as I am staying with the Lensbaby just now, trying to put into practice the many things we discussed.

The Hawkeye challenge is on then, great stuff, I can't wait for the results, at more than a quid per frame.....gotta be worth it just to see what comes out if anything will be different most certainly.

Challenging yourself to something new/different keeps you thinking...and wears you out too.
Swapping ideas and skills is a wonderful way to be.

I am so pleased you took the photographs back for the donor, they did look rather interesting though.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
3 Sep 2020 12:31PM
She then told me that she'd binned all the negatives (except the few that we found in that box)... I have got those, though, and I'm going to scan them for her...

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