Director Jason Bognacki had a Contessa-Nettel Piccolette German folding camera from 1919 sitting around on his shelf for ages, and decided one day to bring it back to life by attaching it to his Canon 5D Mark II.
This photo shows what 5MB of hard drive storage looked like in 1956. The IBM 305 RAMAC hard disk was state of the art, weighed just shy of a ton, required a forklift to be carried around, and was composed of 50 separate 24-inch discs that occupied 16 square feet. The annual cost of using it was a staggering $35,000 — steep even in today’s money. Nowadays most RAW photos outweigh the storage capabilities of that behemoth of an external hard drive…
Did you know that in vintage tintype photographs of infants mothers were often present in the photo but hidden by a veil? Subjects needed to remain still due to the longer exposure times required back then, so mothers were often asked to hold their children tightly while the portraits were being exposed. It was common practice back then, but the resulting photos are pretty eerie when you look at them now.
The George Eastman House in Rochester, NY is the world’s oldest museum dedicated to photography. A couple years ago, curator Todd Gustavson wrote a book on the history of photography featuring the museum’s gigantic collection of historical cameras. This behind-the-scenes video with Gustavson gives a glimpse into the drool-worthy warehouse and a brief tour of some legendary cameras.
Kaufmann’s Posographe is an intricate pocket-sized mechanical calculator invented back in the 1920s. Measuring 13x8cm and filled with tiny scribblings, the device allowed photographers to approximate the exposure values they needed by simply sliding around six small pointers.
Maurice Ribble of Tech Photo Blog recently found the ingredients list for flash powder, which was used for state-of-the-art photographic lighting 150 years ago. After making some of the powder, he began to test it to see how it compares to modern day flashes (more specifically, a Canon 580EX II).
One of the tests is a simple scene that was lighted with a modern flash and then flash powder so we can compare the images. Overall I was quite impressed with the amount of light that even a small amount of flash powder makes; however, there were many disadvantages to flash powder.
If you’re interested in making your own, a simple search on Google will point you in the right direction. Be careful though — the stuff is quite dangerous.
If you’ve never shot with a large format camera before, you might find this video illuminating. In it, photographer Simon Roberts walks us through the process of making prints using a 4×5 plate camera, from setting the camera up to watching the giant prints roll out of the machine.
Because it’s quite a slow process, you think much more about the composition…you take a lot more care and thought in crafting the image.
(via ISO 1200)
If printing your film photos with the usual chemicals isn’t old school enough for your taste, you should try your hand at making a salt print. Photographer Andrew B. Myers made the above print using the technique, and explains,
Salt printing is one of the oldest processes photography has employed, pioneered by Henry Fox Talbot back in 1839. The process hasn’t changed much since then. Basically, you start by coating paper in a solution of water and sodium chloride (I ended up using table salt) and letting it dry. Next, in a darkroom environment, a silver nitrate solution is applied to the salted paper, creating a light sensitive emulsion. Let it dry. At this point, a contact print can be made by sandwiching a film negative or some sort of transparency and letting the paper sit in the sun. In my case, I had access to a powerful UV light with a timer, which worked in a similar fashion, and allowed me to work at night in the winter. It’s quite neat seeing the image once it’s been exposed, and after washing and fixing, you’re done. [#]
Image credit: Photograph by Andrew B. Myers and used with permission