Expose yourself and see what develops - Shiply photographers

It's been a while since we had a photography thread, and I wonder how much interest there might be?

Plus... I have a trumpet to blow.... I have an article published in this week's Amateur Photographer magazine - on using box cameras (that's right, Granny's Box Brownie) in the 21st century. And I'm blowing it everywhere I can (matron).

AG

Comments

  • Ooo my first 2 cameras were box. I bought them (aged 5 or 6) for pennies in jumble sales. I probably still have the negatives/prints from those, will see if I can find them.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    My first camera was a box Brownie bought for 5p at a Cubs jumble sale. I really liked using the viewfinder. Much better for composition than a standard. SLE viewfinder. Also if you’re holding the camera at waist level, people often don’t realise you’re about to use it. It has a slide in/out lens for ‘close up’ and a bulb setting. The only thing is it’s very hard to get 620 film for it now, and I’ve not had enough time/energy to see what might be done with 120. If I did, my daughter, who’s a keen photographer would love to try it.
  • How exciting - a published photographer! (The pic on our pew sheet this morning was by me, and I did a © St Everild too...)
    I'm a boring photographer, I'm afraid - I use a Panasonic compact camera and take photographs of things that interest me, But technically they are no good...
  • To be honest, I spend most of my time taking photos of things that interest me rather than creating high art. Though I do take a lot of photos of my cricket team (it mostly gets me out of umpiring!), and make a photobook for the team at the end of the year.

    BroJames, if you let me know what model your camera is, I can do some research - I know some only needed a 620 spool on the take-up side, and I have spare plastic 120 spools that I c ould trim down if that's the case. Alternatively I could respool a film for you - though that's a bit of a faff by the time you've bought film, sent it to me, waited for me to do it, sent it back...

    AG
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    edited February 16
    Ah ... though I used a box camera, this gem was the first camera i owned. I found it in a draw at my aged mother's house a year or three back.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    To be honest, I spend most of my time taking photos of things that interest me rather than creating high art. Though I do take a lot of photos of my cricket team (it mostly gets me out of umpiring!), and make a photobook for the team at the end of the year.

    BroJames, if you let me know what model your camera is, I can do some research - I know some only needed a 620 spool on the take-up side, and I have spare plastic 120 spools that I c ould trim down if that's the case. Alternatively I could respool a film for you - though that's a bit of a faff by the time you've bought film, sent it to me, waited for me to do it, sent it back...

    AG
    That’s a very kind offer. Though to be honest I could do either of those things myself. I’ve even got a dark bag somewhere from when I used to develop my own slide film.

    I think it was probably a Brownie Flash II, but I’ll have to check when I’m home again. Having 8 exposures on a roll certainly made one both selective and careful.
  • I could probably trim down a couple of 120 spools for you, in that case? It's not as though they are in short supply! Incidentally, it seems that the Brownie Flash II has an interesting place in camera history... https://www.brownie-camera.com/22.shtml

    AG
  • A snap poll of hosts, and a picture has developed that this thread will be better in the Kodachrome environment of Heaven.

    Alan
    Ship of Fools Admin
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    I've got one of those 620 cameras, but haven't used it since I did so to show my class how to fake ghosts and fairies, since I couldn't get the film. ( Got a piece on FriendsReunited from someone impressed by that.) I learned on a 127 my parents gave me.
    You obviously know more about 620 and 120 than I do - I would welcome more information - off to get the magazine.
  • I think my first camera was a Kodak Brownie (not the box brownie) followed by a Kodak instamatic. First camera I used that was any good was my Dad's Voightlander which went on a few holidays. First good camera I owned was a Canon AE1 which I had for over twenty years before I lost it in a house move.

    Since then it's been digital with a Canon Powershot and now a Lumix FZ72 'bridge camera'. It doesn't have the crispness of my AE1 but its flexibility and the freedom of not having to count the cost of every exposure is immense. Plus it has a brilliant 20-1200 lens.

    I've tried setting up a website on Wix, which did a nice job of presenting my photos but turned out to be practically invisible so far as Google is concerned :/
    https://sinistersquirrel.wixsite.com/sinistersquirrel
  • 620 and 120 film are exactly the same size of *film* and exactly the same size of *backing paper*. Where they differ is that a 620 spool (that the film is rolled onto) has a much slimmer centre, and narrower ends as well. The camera also has a smaller end on the winding key that engages the spool. No-one seems to be quite sure whether it was an attempt to ensure that if you had a Kodak camera you bought Kodak brand film, or whether it allowed the manufacture of slimmer cameras, but it's a bit annoying when you find a nice camera, only to find that it takes 620.

    There's a good illustration of the differences here:
    https://www.brownie-camera.com/respool/respool.shtml

    Sorry, that's more terse than I intended when I strated, but I have to go out!

    AG

    P.S. Thank you for moving this in such an apt style, Alan.
  • Good grief - did everyone here have a Brownie 620? I was given mine for passing the 11+ exam 60+ years ago. I still have negatives and prints from it, but the focus is generally poor, and perhaps there's been some degradation over time.

    The best investment we ever made in photographic equipment was an Instamatic for our older daughter when she was about 8 years old. Children of that age can take pictures that are denied to the rest of us. They catch viewpoints and moods that we'll never get. The technical quality may not be great, but as moments frozen in time, they are wonderful.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    I was given a camera for Christmas when I was about that age. I have a wonderful shot of the rest of the family looking really grumpy. It's my favourite picture of my family. Dad hated it.
  • Good grief - did everyone here have a Brownie 620?

    There are reasons that everyone knows the brand "Kodak"...

  • Good grief - did everyone here have a Brownie 620? I was given mine for passing the 11+ exam 60+ years ago. I still have negatives and prints from it, but the focus is generally poor, and perhaps there's been some degradation over time.

    The best investment we ever made in photographic equipment was an Instamatic for our older daughter when she was about 8 years old. Children of that age can take pictures that are denied to the rest of us. They catch viewpoints and moods that we'll never get. The technical quality may not be great, but as moments frozen in time, they are wonderful.
    I have a box camera which takes the same 620 size film. I always tried to load it in the dark to hopefully get an extra picture.

    I found an Asahi Pentax 35 mm (called I think Honeywell in some markets). I turned it into the police who called me to say or wasn't claimed after 6 months and it became mine. There was a film in it which I had developed to negatives but it was blank. I got a Sunpak flash for it. Almost the size of camera. And a tripod. I have 2 screens and a carousel slide projector.

    My father started taking pictures as a child. He has boxes of photos from 1920s Germany into the early 30s, then many from French Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia), Singapore, Burma, India. His father took standard 8 movies from the same period. Before WW1 he too daguerrotypes - stereo pictures (3D) on glass slides. These are from Russia, Austria, Germany, England.

    I have 2 digital cameras, small and large,a couple of Pelican cases (shock and water proof), a small solar charger. Can take on wilderness trips. I also have a GoPro which attaches to helmet, head, bicycle. My most famous séquence is cycling on a lake in a fatbike (4.5" snow tires) and went through the ice.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    edited February 20
    Thank you, Sandemaniac. Now to find the film....
    Which date was that magazine? I can't find an article in either the one that was in the shop before the one that's there now, or that one.
  • Cover date is Saturday 22nd February - piccy on the front cover can be seen here: https://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/ , you'll need to scroll down a bit for latest issue.

    You could try Firstcall photographic for the film, they sell Rollei80S in 120 for £4.49 a roll, which is about as cheap as you will find it.

    AG


  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    Thanks, article acquired. As is a mystery. You recall I said I had a camera which took 620 film. I certainly did. It was bigger than a 120 film camera. I recall leaving it with the shutter open one moonlit might with snow, standing on the bird table while we went to the pub in the village. Lovely picture, that was.
    On the way back, I began to have a niggle. Did I still have it, or had it fallen foul of my anti-hoarding personality and found its way to the Oxford Oxfam shop (which specialised in cameras) along with my Zenith with a Praktica lens and other associated stuff? That bit of my brain can often omit to make sure I remember what it has got rid of.
    So I went to my camera etc. cupboard, and found at the back a canvas cover which strangely seemed smaller than I remembered. This was because it contained a Brownie 2 120 camera of a different vintage from the 620. It will do all the things I want - it has a portrait lens (I have a nice picture of a robin taken with the other camera), it has the lever for keeping the shutter open (so more snowy pictures), and it has screw fittings for a tripod in either landscape or portrait position. I have absolutely no recall of buying it - though I do recall thinking how having the 620 box was not worth it, with the film out of production and no access to useful pages about rewinding.
    When I have had to do things with film, I used to draw the bedroom curtains, crawl under the bed with the camera and my dark green woollen coat with the hood over the neck, buttoned up with the camera inside, and put my hands up the arms from the wrists to the shoulders, and do everything by feel! Not sure I could do that with the 620 process!
  • Good grief - did everyone here have a Brownie 620?

    Brownie 127 for me. Nearest I ever got to a box brownie was a Lubitel 166 which I totally failed to get on with.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    You have now sent me to find the aperture setting device! But you didn't mention that the viewfinder produces a mirror image, which takes some getting used to - I certainly managed it with my first camera, and vaguely remember being told about it before I started.
    The thing that will take getting used to will be rationing myself to 8 shots per film! I do still tend to be very careful, even with digital, not to waste space, carried over from that 127 camera, but can splurge where necessary.
    My niece gave me a kit for making a pinhole camera from cardboard, and it was tricky trying to judge how to expose things when I couldn't see what I had done for ages while it was developed! Needs serious note taking at the time. For that, I would have welcomed the limited number of exposures, but it takes 35 mm, so I need to take a lot before I can judge whether the results justify it.
  • One of our treasured possessions is a colour (not coloured) transparency of my maternal grandmother, taken probably pre-1914. She died at the age of 40 in 1930, so this is rather special. My grandfather and his brother had learned how to make their own colour emulsions in the early 20th century high tech scene in London, and this photo is their only surviving one I know of.
  • @Penny S You may not find the aperture setting device - the later box Brownies were rather more basic than their predecessors, not sure why.

    Stercus Tauri - all I can say to that is WOW!

    AG
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    edited February 22
    Nope, I found it. Very carefully hiding as part of a seam.
    And WOW, too to Stercus Tauri.
    After my 127, I had one of the plastic Brownies, but when that went, I went without a camera for a while, because all the ones I could afford took square pictures, which I did not want. Then Boots got in an eastern German 35 mm camera which had adjustable apertures and exposures, marked with little pictures of landscapes and faces, suns and clouds and such like. But round the other side of the lens, it had the numbers, and they went further than the picture settings, so I started to learn how to use them.
    I got a strange kit from the local camera shop which had push on lenses, and little arms to screw into the tripod fitting which were colour coded with the lens in order to do close up work without the viewfinder. It had been designed for medical use, for taking pictures of interesting skin conditions or such. Each little arm had a matching rectangular frame to define the photo area. I got some very good pictures of orchids and other plants using it! Possibly also rocks.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    Careful research on Ebay indicates it was a Beirette.
  • MarsupialMarsupial Shipmate
    We were on vacation earlier this month (I suppose now last month) and I took my camera with me - nothing esoteric, a mid-range DSLR with an 18-200 lens.

    Now going through the photos and being reminded of the challenges of vacation photography. The light is never what you want it to be, I never think enough about composition at the time, and many interesting places that we went to see just don't make very good photos, at least not from anywhere I was able to get to. Church cloisters seem to be particularly difficult to photograph for some reason - we saw some beautiful cloisters, but they mostly made for rather mediocre photos.

    I did get some good photos though and there is nothing like learning by doing...
  • SpikeSpike Admin
    I was a very keen photographer in my teens and early 20s, but somehow the interest lapsed for far too many years (I think my camera broke and I didn’t get around to replacing it)

    A couple of years ago I treated myself to a new Nikon D3500. I still consider myself a beginner having returned to it after so many years, but I’ll be following this thread with interest
  • caroline444caroline444 Shipmate
    edited March 2
    I did a degree in photography at the London College of Printing (as it was known then). I loved it. We learnt practically zero about practical photography (at which I was useless), and instead wrote a lot of essays about the heroes of post-structuralism, which at the time I much enjoyed.

    Since jettisoning my beloved Nikon F2 I've switched to digital cameras, and very simple cameras at that. I also discovered Photoshop, which became the all consuming passion of my life for about 5 years. More importantly I discovered flickr, and the stimulation & pleasure of being part of this community. I would happily recommend flickr to anyone enjoys looking at brilliant photographs, and sharing one's own humble efforts with like-minded folk - but I think it's going down the pan. Seriously I think it might well fold in the next few years, so probably not a good place for storing one's photographs, unless you also keep them elsewhere.

    I think there is burn out with photography too. I see it all the time on flickr, and I see it in myself. The muse goes trotting off into the wild blue yonder without even a kindly backward glance. Every now and then though she comes trotting back, even if only for brief periods. Given that my pleasures on flickr lie mainly in looking at other people's pix (greatly stimulated by the fact one can create 'galleries' for keeping caches of one's favourite pix), it doesn't really matter whether or not I take pix myself. Herewith one of my galleries of dogs - all other people's photographs. I think the calibre of the work is amazing...

    https://tinyurl.com/u25kyem

    I've had a long and changing relationship with photography, but it's been a great joy in my life.
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