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Spon Street and Spon End

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Spon Street in Coventry contains a lot of the medieval building in the city, some of which were moved there in the 1970s. During daylight hours the street is usually full of parked cars. These photos were taken early on a sunday morning to try to avoid too many vehicles.


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Coventry Cathedral

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Coventry Cathedral, build in the 1960s, stands next to the ruins of the 14th Century St Michael's Cathedral. The old cathedral was heavily damaged by German bombing in 1940 and now only the shell remains.

The photographs below compare B&W pinhole photos with colour photos taken from the same position.  

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Eleanor Cross, Northampton

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Eleanor Cross, Northampton
Pinhole photograph of the Eleanor Cross near Northampton.

Eleanor Cross, Northampton
The same view, taken with a normal camera.

Red Squirrel

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red squirrel
Red Squirrel, photographed at the Formby Nature Reserve. We didn't manage to get close to the squirrels because it was vey busy and there were a lot of coach parties of noisy kids which probably scared them away. This was the only clear photo I managed during the hour or so that we were there.

Black & White film

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At lunchtime I had a walk round the shops. I went to Jessops in the Bullring to get some of the medium format black and white film I use in my pinhole lubitel. I was wanting some of their own brand film because it is cheaper and works well enough. I was told it was out of stock and had actually been discontinued. I checked their website and where they used to sell 3 different versions of the film, they only had one listed and that was out of stock. It looks like if I want to keep doing more pinhole photography I am going to have to bite the bullet and buy some more expensive branded film, which always seems a bit overkill when the camera is a bit cheap and rubbish!

Pinhole Photo of Leicester Space Centre

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Yesterday I developed the photos from my pinhole Lubitel camera. This was a photo of the space centre from sunday:

View of the Space Centre

Photo Gallery

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An assortment of my photos from over the years. Viewing each photo will bring up details of location and sometimes the film used. Two of the photos (Nether Alderley Mill and Christchurch) were taken using Infra-red film.


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Concert Photos

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Pinhole Photographs

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The images here were taken with my two pinhole cameras: the pinhole modified Lubitel medium format camera and the Nikon FM pinhole 'lens'. The increased film size of the Lubitel gives better resolution than the 35mm pinhole camera.


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Making a Pinhole Camera

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After reading an article on the web about pinhole cameras, I decided to make my own pinhole lens to fit on my Nikon FM. I had a look at some articles on the internet for inspiration, but most of these concentrated on building entire pinhole cameras. I already had a perfectly serviceable camera so I decided the best course of action would be to simply make a pinhole lens for it.

Diagram of pinhole lens construction Making the lens would be fairly easy - this was simply a disc of cardboard with a hole cut in the middle. I then sellotaped foil across the hole, and made a smaller hole in the foil with a pin. The only remaining problem would be attaching the lens to the camera. I realised that the t-mount that I use for astrophotography could be attached to the camera, and the lens could then be attached to the mount.

The focal length of the lens can be adjusted by using a different length of cardboard tube - the actual focal length being the distance from the pinhole to the image plane. The lens as shown in the diagram had a focal length of 100mm and an aperture of approximately f/100 (the actual aperture was measured using a magnifying glass and a ruler.

Aperture=focal length/diameter (mm)

Metering the exposure can be tricky with such a small aperture. Most cameras will allow TTL metering with such a lens, but an aperture of f100 may be too slow for accurate results. The Nikon FM is only suitable in bright conditions because the shutter speed doesn't go below 1 second - slower speeds need the B setting. The Nikon F70 is ideal for this purpose. Selecting aperture priority auto exposure, and covering the eyepiece (to stop stray light affecting the metering), reasonably accurate exposures may be obtained. The camera thinks a manual focus lens is attached, with the aperture fully open, and meters accordingly. Reciprocity failure will rear its head for exposures over 1 second, but with negative film this shouldn't present much of a problem with 'shortish' exposures of about 5 seconds.

If TTL metering is not available - which may be the case for some autofocus cameras (such as the Nikon F50) then a separate hand held meter can be used. If you are lucky enough to own one which goes down to f100 then a straightforward meter reading may be taken. If, like me, your meter only goes down to f22, then a reading can be taken at that setting, and a correction factor applied to the shutter speed. In this case, f100 is just over 4 stops less than f22 (following the sequence f22,32,45,64,90 etc), so I divided the shutter speed by 4 e.g. a reading of ¼s at f22 is just over 1 second at f100.
Recently, I have moved up to medium format for my pinhole work. This was done using a simple modification to an old Lubitel camera. I took it apart and removed the lens! The lens quality wasn't very good, and as I recently bought a second hand Yashicamat, I no longer needed the Lubitel (it had actually been sitting in the back of a cupboard for several years, gathering dust).
Removing the lens was remarkably easy. It was a simple triplet, with the elements held in place using clips. I placed a foil pinhole at the front of the camera, and set the shutter speed to B. The aperture was about f/160. View the pinhole photos

Member of the Pinhole photography Webring

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Toning B&W Prints

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The toners described here are suitable for both prints and black & white slides. As well as staining prints (which is their intended use), they are also capable of staining fingers, table tops, etc. so it is best to wear gloves or use tongs.

  1. Sepia Toner
  2. Iron (blue) Toner
  3. Copper (red/pink) Toner

For the metallic toners(iron & copper) I have prepared a number of stock solutions which I simply mix together and dilute to give the various formulations which I then use for one session and discard. This ensures that my chemicals are fresh.

Sepia Toner

This is the classic sepia toner, presented here in its odourless form which used Thiourea instead of sulphide. The toner is capable of creating a range of brown tones which will give an old-fashioned look to photographs. When used sparingly it is effective, but if overused it can become a cliche or gimmick. I have noticed that this toner modifies the contrast of the print slightly and can increase the amount of detail in shadow areas, which can come in very handy in some situations.

Three solutions are required. The first is the bleach, which converts the silver image to silver bromide. The second solution is the toner itself. It converts the silver bromide to silver sulphide, which is the brown colour. The third solution may be added to the toner to vary the brown tone obtained.
(Note: when B&W photographs are exposed to the air, any airborne pollutants will attack the silver in the image, which will lead to discolourisation caused by irregular patches of tarnished silver. A sepia toned image has no metallic silver present because it has all been converted to silver sulphide, so should last longer than an untoned print.)


Potassium Ferricyanide (red crystals) 10g

Potassium Bromide 10g

Water to 1 litre


Thiourea 10g

Water to 1 litre

Additive: Tone Modifier (CARE: wear gloves and safety glasses)

Sodium Hydroxide 5g

Water to 100ml

When toning prints, pour sufficient of the bleach into one tray, and sufficient toner into another. Some sodium hydroxide solution may be added to the toner (trial and error is needed here, but about 10ml is a good starting point), more hydroxide gives darker browns. Place the print in the bleach until most of the image has faded - this will probably take 1-2 minutes. Wash the print well then place it into the toner. Leave the print in the toner for 1-2 minutes, then remove and wash thoroughly in plenty of water.

Iron Toner

This is my version of the blue print toner, which traditionally consists of Ammonium Iron Citrate, Potassium Ferricyanide and an acid. A number of different acids may be used (such as Acetic or Citric), so if you don't have sulphuric acid, don't be afraid to experiment. Similarly, I couldn't get hold of Ammonium Iron Citrate, so I use a mixture of Potassium Citrate and Ammonium Iron Sulphate.

The toner is mixed immediately prior to use, from pre-prepared stock solutions as follows:

Solution required Amount

Potassium Citrate (20% w/v) 10ml

Potassium Ferricyanide (10% w/v) 10ml

Ammonium Iron Sulphate (10% w/v) 10ml

Sulphuric Acid (10% vol) 20ml

Water to 500ml

The above mixture is poured into a developing tray (double up all the volumes if more solution is needed to cover the prints). The prints should be left in the toner until the desired tone is obtained, then washed thoroughly in plenty of water. After a print has been toned, it may be lightened by immersing in a dilute borax solution (about 1-2%).

Copper Toner

This toner replaces the silver in the paper with metallic copper, which gives the image a red/pink colour. With some papers, the effect can be similar to a sepia tone. Two of the solutions used are identical to ones used in the Iron toner above, so if you have already tried the iron toner, then you only need one extra chemical to make this one.

Solution required Amount

Potassium citrate (20%) 10ml

Copper sulphate (10%) 10ml

Potassium ferricyanide (10%) 10ml

Water to 500ml

Mix the chemicals together in the order given, and pour into a developing tray. 500ml is sufficient to tone up to 5 10x8 prints. More solution can be mixed if larger prints are to be toned. Alternatively, the toner may be applied with cotton wool (the same applies to the iron toner), but this may leave streaks on the print if the toner isn't applied evenly.

Box Brownie Photography

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I recently inherited an old Kodak Box Brownie - a Portrait Hawkeye. Despite the camera being around 70 years old, the film for it is still available.

I popped down to my local camera shop, bought a couple of rolls of ISO 100 film in 120 format, and tried to thread in onto the take-up spool in the camera. Loading the camera is pretty much the same as any old style medium format camera - much more difficult than todays modern machines. When you consider that this camera was supposed to be a simple to operate 'camera for the masses', you realise that back then, manufacturers expected users to put a bit more effort into their photography. Modern photographers who have been brought up on autofocus 35mm or APS would be horrified to see how complicated the film loading procedure was.
I realised than the lens wouldn't be very good by modern standards, so I decided to contact print the negatives (another reason for contact printing is that my enlarger doesn't go up to 6x9cm negatives). I also thought it would be a good idea to take a 'panoramic' shot, by holding the camera vertically and taking several exposures side by side. This wasn't as easy as I expected, because the Brownie viewfinder wasn't very clear, but I managed to take 4 overlapping shots, which fitted together fairly well.

One of the Brownie Panoramas as described above. This one was taken near the Boat Museum, in Ellesmere Port. One disadvantage of taking this kind of photo is thay you only get 2 actual shots on a roll of film (the 6x9cm format used by the Brownie gives 8 frames per roll, and 4 frames are used per photograph).

ID-11/D-76 Film Developer

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The standard published versions of ID-11 and D-76 are identical, and is reproduced below. The off the shelf versions are slightly different, but work in much the same way. Development times should be identical. It can be found in many books and internet sites. It is close enough to the off the shelf version for the same developing times to be used.

Water @ 40°C 500ml

Metol 2g

Sodium Sulphite 100g

Hydroquinone 5g

Borax 2g

Water to 1 litre

Dissolve the chemicals in the order listed. Ensure that each chemical is dissolved before adding the next.

ID-11 is designated as a general purpose fine grain developer, and is suitable for virtually every B&W film. Development times for it come with nearly all films. Although the developer may be used full strength (where it is poured back into the bottle and re-used, with an increase in development time for the next film) it is easier to use diluted, where it is treated as a one-shot developer. The most commonly used dilutions are 1+1 and 1+3. If times aren't given for diluted developer, then a good starting point is:

For 1+1, multiply the time in stock developer by 1.4
For 1+3, double the time in stock developer.

One problem with the formulation above is that it will slowly increase in activity over several months of storage (apparently because of oxidation of the hydroquinone. This increases the alkalinity of the developer). One possibility (which I haven't tried) is to use 8g of Borax and 8g of Boric acid. This should give sufficient buffering to keep the developer activity constant. Another solution would be to keep the developer and borax separate. This lowers the alkalinity of the stored solution, which should reduce the rate of oxidation of the hydroquione. If the developer is always used diluted 1+1, then two solutions may be prepared: one containing all the above ingredients except the borax, another containing 2g/litre of borax. Mixing equal volumes of these together will give the working strength solution equivalent to 1+1.


This is another variation on the above formula, but without the hydroquinone. This removes the problem of increasing alkalinity.

Water @ 40°C 500ml

Metol 2.5g

Sodium Sulphite 100g

Borax 2g

Water to 1 litre

In use, the developer is identical to the standard ID-11/D-76

B&W Transparencies

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There are a few black and white transparency kits available, ranging from buying pre-paid Agfa Scala to kits of chemicals designed for reversal processing ordinary black and white negative film to give slides. They all follow a similar processing method - develop the negative, dissolve the developed image, and develop the remaining silver halide to give a positive image.

See more ....

If you don't want to mix the chemicals from scratch, or if you can't obtain any of the chemicals required, then it is possible to obtain B&W slides by other means:

  • Exposing Ilford XP2 at EI50-80 and developing in standard E6 transparency chemicals. This will give slides with a green cast.
  • Processing Kodachrome in E6 chemicals.
  • Exposing onto a duplicating film, eg. Eastman 5302

Reversal developing

The first stage is to develop the image on the film. The developer used here needs to give higher contrast than a normal film developer, otherwise the slide will look incredibly flat. The usual way is simply to use a print developer, with the addition of some sodium thiosulphate. Most print developers are suitable - I use Ilford Multigrade here because I also use it to develop my prints.
The next stage is the bleach/clear. This removes the developed image (which is a negative), so the remaining silver salts can then be re-exposed and developed to give a positive.


Ilford Multigrade 100ml

Sodium Thiosulphate* 25ml of 10% w/v solution

Water to: 500ml

*Approximate figure - optimum amount to be determined by experimentation. The effect of the thiosulphate is to lighten the developed image - it removes a small amount of density from the film so that the maximum density isn't too high but it also lightens the image.

Bleach & Clearing bath

There are two types bleach & clearing bath which may be used. The first is Potassium Dichromate/Sodium Sulphite, the second is Potassium Permanganate/Metabisulphite. Out of the two, the potassium permanganate option is less toxic, but can stain quite badly. Both will need to be handled with care.

1) Dichromate bleach/clear. The bleach and clearing bath solutions may be re-used. The bleach is exhausted when it changes from orange to green. The clearing bath starts off colourless and turns green after use; it is exhausted if it contains a hint or orange.

Water 500ml

Potassium Dichromate
CARE: Potassium Dichromate is toxic. 9.5g

Sulphuric acid 120ml of 10% vol. solution

Water to 1 litre

Clearing Bath

Sodium Sulphite 50g

Water to 1 litre

2) Permanganate bleach/clear. The bleach is prepared from 2 stock solutions because the acidified permanganate does not keep long, and needs to be prepared fresh.

Stock Solution A: Sulphuric acid 10% volume

Stock Solution B: Potassium Permanganate 4g/1 litre

Working strength bleach:

Stock A 500ml

Stock B 500ml

Clearing Bath:

Sodium or Potassium metabisulphite 25g

Water to 1 litre


  1. First Development, 6½-7 minutes @ 20°C (re-use the developer for stage 8)
  2. Water rinse, 3 changes of water (instead of a stop bath)
  3. Bleach, 3 minutes (normal agitation - 4 inversions per minte)
  4. Water rinse, 15 seconds.
  5. Clearing Bath, 2 minutes (normal agitation)
  6. Water rinse, 2 minutes (several changes of water)
  7. Re-expose the film to light - at least 2 minutes under bright light. For best results, remove the film from the spiral (if there is sufficient illumination, and the spiral lets light get to the film, then the film may be left on the spiral).
  8. Second Development, 7 minutes @ 20°C (re-use developer from stage 1, then pour away)
  9. Water rinse, 15 seconds (just like a normal stop bath)
  10. Fix, 3-5 minutes (An acid-hardened fixer may be used to help protect the emulsion)

An alternative to re-exposure and re-development is to use a highly active developer to redevelop the remaining silver halide without any need to expose to light. One to try is:

Sodium Sulphite 50g

Hydroquinone 10g

Sodium Hydroxide 10g WEAR GLOVES AND GOGGLES!

Water to 1 litre

Leave out step 7, develop for about 10 minutes, then proceed to step 9.

Wash, 20-30 minutes as normal.

An alternative to continuous running water - using 3 changes of fresh water:
Pour in water, invert 5 times. Pour out.
Pour in water, invert 10 times, leave for 5 minutes. Pour out.
Pour in water, invert 10 times, leave for 5 minutes, invert 10 times, leave for 5 more minutes. Pour out.
Final rinse - 1 minute with distilled water or tap water with a wetting agent.

Duplicating film

Another way of producing B&W transparencies without having to buy extra chemicals is to use a film such as Eastman 5302 Fine grain release positive film. This is designed to give a positive image by having a negative 'exposed' onto it, in a similar way to producing a B&W print.

Making the exposure

The emulsion on Eastman 5302 is similar to a fixed grade paper - and is insensitive to red light, so it can be handled under a safelight. This means that it is possible to contact print a normal negative onto the film. Test 'prints' would be required to find the correct exposure in a similar manner to making normal contact prints.

Another way of exposing the film is by loading the film into a normal film cannister (the film is available in 100 foot rolls, so a bulk loader is necessary), and re-photographing the negative using a slide duplicator. This is the method which I use - the film speed needs to be set to about EI 6, and bracketed to get the best results.


After exposing, the film can be loaded into a standard daylight tank and developed as normal. Any print developer should be acceptable, used at it's normal dilution. I use Ilford Multigrade for my standard darkroom work, so I tried this at the 1+9 dilution. Development times of 10-15 minutes produced acceptable contrast. It should also be possible to develop in a tray, but the lengthy times required mean that the darkroom would have to be free of any light leaks to avoid fogging the film. After development, stop, fix and wash as a normal film.

It is possible to tone the film, just like any normal B&W print. Monochrome transparencies can look a little flat when compared to colour slides, and toning can sometimes improve the final effect.

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