8x10 camera and factory sculpture from film

  Last term at the Certificate for Photography program at University of Washington, I constructed a 4x5 box camera thinking I would make it for a pinhole, I did make it and made a shutter out of a floppy disk which you can see in previous posts. One of the projects I made from the film after making drawings for all sides of a factory was to develop the film and without enlarging it onto paper, cut the film into shapes and make an "architectural" model out of the film adhering the sides and clerestories with scotch tape.  The 4x5 factory was a bit small and an 8x10 film camera would make a bigger sculpture from it's negative, so a new camera was built, originally designed for a pinhole lens, but made flexible to take any Horseman or Sinar lens board.  The camera had set a focal length of a little over a meter and used a 210mm lens and lens board from a Horseman 4x5 view camera.  On an 8x10 camera a 210mm lens is a bit wide, so so the drawings to be photographed were enlarged  to fill the negative.  Instead of hand drawing the elevations were constructed them in Google's SketchUp drawing program, printed at 11x17 and then about doubled on an enlarging copier.  The pages were taped together to get a subject big enough to fill the image on the film.  Color corrected compact fluorescent bulbs in two studio lights with reflectors and scrims were used to flatten out the light.  After some sloppy developing (two of the negatives dislodged in the developing tank and blocked a lot of the chemicals for another two negatives, so they were faint) the negatives were dried and then cut out and made into the factory sculpture out of the film.  The sculpture was placed upstairs in the study window and shot digitally south to Lake Union, Downtown Seattle and the Space Needle.  The RAW files were manipulated in Photoshop and made a couple of great prints.


Simply stated, an economical scratch-built 8x10 camera box was built with a fixed focal length, a 210mm lens and a double sided 8x10 film holder were attached to the front and back of the camera, a set of sides were drawn electronically for factory shapes, the enlarged factory drawings were shot on film with the 8 x 10 camera, the film was chemically processed, the film was washed and dried then cut out to be joined with scotch tape, then the sculpture was digitally shot and the RAW files were manipulated in Photoshop and printed on the University's high-end Epson archival inkjet printers.


Seems so simple, doesn't it?

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New Shutter from floppy disk, Legos, etc.

  I cruise the Web for all sorts of cheap ways to make components for large format cameras.  I have seen several shutters for pinhole cameras made using floppy disks.  The recently built  4x5 camera needed a better shutter than the taped black piece of paper that was being used.  Shutter speeds are pretty slow for pinhole cameras, so time or vibrations are not as critical as cameras with the relatively large openings in glass lens.  This shutter was cut down with a band saw and the rough edge was sanded.  The floppy memory material was removed.   A Lego "handle" was cut in half and one piece was epoxied to the slide and the other was attached above the slide on the body of the floppy case to act as eye hooks to make a frictionless path for the waxed thread (used for finishing off ropes for sailing).  Another Lego piece (white) was drilled and had a small v cut into the drilled hole and the hole was reamed to have a round glass bead seat into the bottom to hold the slide open.  That stop was epoxied to the lower part of the floppy. Two holes were drilled to the top and bottom of the floppy case for small stainless screws and washers to hold the shutter to the lens board in case another shutter wanted to be used or this one repaired.  The tolerances on the slide are such that there is still room for the mechanism to move freely and remain light tight.  On the photos of the open mode of the shutter you can see the brass sheet with the pinhole. This was not only fun to build and cost effective, it has very little vibration and is very effective and light proof.