Monthly Archives: May 2014

Playing With Polaroid Negatives

I’ve had these giant TIFFs hanging out on my drive for a while and finally decided to do something with them. This is far from comprehensive and probably raises more questions than it answers. Scanned with the CanoScan 9000f at 4800DPI and no corrections unless noted. I used some of the same images from the Polaroid 250 post.

With B&W film, you don’t have to bleach off the black backing to get something scannable.

Scan of the print:

Ghost bike in Pojoaque -- Fuji FP3000B film.

Ghost bike in Pojoaque — Fuji FP3000B film.

Scan of the negative:

Not much to see yet.

Not much to see yet.

Inverted negative:

Less contrast but a lot more detail from the shadows.

Less contrast but a lot more detail from the shadows.

It will be interesting to overlay the positive and inverted negative to create a High-dynamic-range (HDR) image or selectively erase the upper layer to the lower. That will have to wait for some of this “free time” I keep hearing about.

Scan of the print:

Self portrait with Zoe -- Fuji FP3000B film.

Self portrait with Zoe — Fuji FP3000B film.

Scan of the negative:

You can already tell there's detail that didn't make it to the print.

You can already tell there’s detail that didn’t make it to the print.

Inverted negative:

Now we're getting somewhere.  More ear and forehead visible too.

Now we’re getting somewhere. More ear and forehead visible too.

For this one, I used the negative and applied Photoshop’s “Auto Smart Fix” just to see what I’d get and then inverted it.

Big difference.

Big difference.

Years ago, I used a similar trick to boost a photo of lightning. I separated the RGB channels, inverted them, boosted the contrast on red (I think — it was a long time ago), reassembled the channels and inverted. I used Jasc Paint Shop Pro (since bought by Corel) on Windows NT. I’ll see if my friend still has it.

Color Fuji instant acts very differently. The negatives look black until you remove the backing. I taped it face down to a piece of glass and used thick, “no drip” bleach and cotton swabs, then lots of running water.

Scan of the print:

Cropped to better match the negative.

Cropped to better match the negative.

Scan of the negative:

Not-negative negative.

Not-negative negative.

Some bleach got under the tape so I cropped it. There was some developer slime on the negative and I tried to wipe it off and removed some of the picture.

I don’t know the chemistry but the negative isn’t negative. I didn’t invert the image. It looks like the B&W component is positive (the shadows are dark, not light) but the color is negative (bluish print and orange-y negative).

Things I’ve learned from this so far…

The negatives are delicate. Do not use warm running water and fingers to clean off excess developer.

Scan as soon as practical — they were meant to be thrown away and aren’t stable over time. Or, at least, they change. There may be a point where they stop.

Given the above, wait until they’re dry. If a negative is damp, it’ll be ruined when you remove it from the scanner and you’ll have to clean goo off of the scanner glass.

Use good tape. Bleach is sneaky and it will work its way underneath.

It may not be usable because of the adhesive but the negatives have a little more image than the prints.

More experimentation is needed but there is detail hiding in the negatives of blown-out and dark prints.

52 Cameras: Week 35 part 1.5 — Pinhole Camera

There was a delay with processing so I won’t have film from the cardboard camera back until May 5th. For now, I have images taken on Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day (April 27, 2014) using a Canon 60D and a homemade pinhole “lens”.

EF-M42 adapter with pinhole in plastic from Impossible film pack.

EF-M42 adapter with pinhole in plastic from Impossible film pack.

Basilica of San Albino in Mesilla, NM.  ISO 800, 1/20 sec, f/whatever the pinhole turned out to be.

Basilica of San Albino in Mesilla, NM. ISO 800, 1/20 sec, f/whatever the pinhole turned out to be.

She doesn’t like this next picture but I can’t resist the pun. The wind kept inflating her shirt and making her look like a pill bug. It was spooky-windy driving north on I-25. I-10 between El Paso and Las Cruces was closed because of the wind the previous day.

Derrière at Derry Arrey.  ISO 800, 1/8 sec., f/?

Derrière at Derry Arrey. ISO 800, 1/8 sec., f/?

Mexican handbag photo by M.  ISO 800, 1.6 sec., f/?

Mexican handbag photo by M. ISO 800, 1.6 sec., f/?

Back in Santa Fe, about to have some Backroad Pizza.  ISO 800, 4 sec., f/?

Back in Santa Fe, about to have some Backroad Pizza. ISO 800, 4 sec., f/?