Thursday, 28 November 2013

Redmire Photos, Kodak Brownie - Never the Easy Option

The easy option is to fish with my modern tackle on a commercial fishery, that is if I want to catch fish all day. It has to be said that the aforementioned is perhaps not my primary objective. I do the things I do because they make me smile. I like to think that I take the fun option. Cane rods are not as adept at catching fish as their carbon cousins, they are more fun though.
 So then, let's take photography. A digital camera will produce a high resolution image that can be manipulated, should one wish, to become black and white, then aged, quite simply. That's not real though is it?
 At a summertime car boot sale I chanced upon a Kodak Brownie 44A, a camera that is contemporary to some of my old tackle. I purchased it for 50p and purposely hung it around my neck for the rest of the sale,much to the embarrassment of Lady Sarah. I new exactly what I wanted to do.Just like the rods I refurbish, I wanted it to live again, and in style. I would purchase a film for it and use it at Redmire Pool!
 Lady Sarah gave a customary eye roll at my latest barmpot scheme.
 The camera takes the now obsolete 127 film. I thought my only option would be ebay, and after some perusal found that I'd only be able to buy the film from old expired stock or from eastern Europe. I didn't fancy either option and searched the internet for something else. Fortunately ,I stumbled across this fantastic site....Lomography....which in turn directed me this site,a site with instructions on how to convert your Brownie camera to the more readily available 35mm film format.
 Having carried out the conversion I purchased an Ilford HP5 plus 400 film and loaded it as instructed.
 Having the camera alongside my digital at Redmire just seemed right, and I followed the shooting and winding procedure as set out on the site.
 On return I sourced a processing lab in Devon...Spectrum Photo Lab  and having manually rewound the film under the duvet, it was sent off to be printed.
I'd long forgotten about the anticipation, the old questions, "Will they be blurred, double exposed etc."
 I was able to obtain 15 images from the 24 and I'll let you make your own decisions about the results, ironically digitalised here in order upload to the blog.
 Clearly not the easy option, but it has been really good fun.

I think they have an old fashioned charm and thoroughly recommend that you have a go.

Link back to T.F.F


  1. Shop around for a very similar camera called the Kodak Cresta (or Cresta 2 or Cresta 3). These use 120 film, which is cheaply available still. £50 on a changing bag, Paterson tank, three measuring jugs (£1 each from the co-op), some simple chemicals and you can process the film yourself then scan them as you have done here. The results can be a delight and you get to enjoy the old routine of making photographs in the "Contemplative" way.

    "Chemicals?" Yes. Coffee, Vitamin C powder and Washing Soda makes a great developer called Caffenol. You'll need some fixer. Ilford Rapid Fixer is very good and easy to use.

    Here's a link to a great resource for Caffenol recipes etc.

    I went back to film a little while ago and have found no reason to regret it. The only regrets are that I sold off all my old cameras and have had to start again...

    I hope you do keep it up (and continue to maintain that beatific smile when you hold a fish).



    1. Interesting stuff RR, I will look into this further.

  2. They do have a charm to them Gurn, theres no denying that but I am viewing them on a monitor so its a pixelated image and that's what you get when you Photoshop a modern image. But I bet the photo's in your hand remind you of all those years ago and yes, the long wait for them to be processed was terrible. How many of us 'wasted' nearly a whole film just to get the pictures of a recent capture back as soon as possible.

    A worthy project I say, a bit crazy but well worth it :o)

    1. The photos are much crisper than these images suggest Dave. I enjoyed the whole process very much. Who knows, I might go for one of those big bellowed cameras next with a blanket over my head and an exploding flash...Now, that would be crazy mate.

    2. Like this?



  3. Please do Gurn, I really mean it, I'd love to see you setting that lot up bankside :oD But you would need a moustache for authenticity.

    I never knew you could make your own developer, that's fascinating. Like many of us I used to dabble in the dark room but I have to admit that I took the swing to digital with both arms.

    I accept that the images will be sharper in the hand as it were. You get the impression of a 'clean' image in the water shots. Keep at it mucker, I look forward to seeing many more from you.

    1. Talking of moustaches, I am currently doing Movember, You're gonna love my grayling pics...coming soon.

  4. You need a finger obscuring most of the lens of the best fish in order to be really genuine............(!)

    The trouble with digital is you end up with 100s of images that you think you should 'print' out or get developed properly but you never do. At least with film you HAVE to get them developed. And they're always more enjoyable to look back on. Nice one.