Finally a Good Use for Coffee

July 30, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

I really enjoy pinhole photography on direct positive paper with my 4x5 camera. I believe it's the thrill of capturing a unique one of a kind original like a painting. There is no intermediate negative that needs to be printed onto the final product. What is captured in the camera is the final product. No dodging or burning or other further adjustments.

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All that is left after the capture is developing the latent image into a visible print. The paper needs to be unloaded from the "film" holders and run through a developer, stop bath, and fixer. Since the Ilford Harman Direct Positive Paper is orthochromatic, sensitive only to blue light, one can do the whole process under a red safelight in the darkroom, which makes it an easier experience compared to developing large format film.

Roots of an Old Tree, Lensless 4x5 Pinhole Camera, Ilford Harman Direct Positive PaperRoots of an Old TreeOriginal 4x5 Pinhole Photograph

Roots of an Old Tree
Lensless 4x5 Pinhole Camera, Ilford Harman Direct Positive Paper

While the camera produces an original photograph my statement above that no further adjustments are possible was not completely accurate. There are methods for controlling the contrast, for example pre-flashing. And pre-flashing can be done before or after taking the photograph. And there are ways to change the final look of the print. Like with traditional darkroom photographs these prints can be toned, or stained.

For this set of photographs I decided to try coffee staining for the first time. It offers a similar look to sepia toning but in a more environmentally friendly fashion, cheaper, and also simpler way. All you really need is a strong hot coffee to soak the fiber paper in for a bit. And the results? I must say I really liked what I got and will definitely use this technique more.

Custard Lite Ice Cream Stand, Lensless 4x5 Pinhole Camera, Ilford Harman Direct Positive PaperIce Cream StandOriginal 4x5 Pinhole Photograph

Ice Cream Stand
Lensless 4x5 Pinhole Camera, Ilford Harman Direct Positive Paper

For subjects of this experiment I chose my two local favorite stops, each within 5 minutes of where I live. Above, a popular summer ice cream stand and below, a historic train depot. In my opinion, the stain adds depth to the photos and also gives them a more vintage look. Given the selected subjects I like how that worked.

By the Orchard Park Train Depot, Lensless 4x5 Pinhole Camera, Ilford Harman Direct Positive PaperBy the Train DepotOriginal 4x5 Pinhole Photograph

By the Train Depot
Lensless 4x5 Pinhole Camera, Ilford Harman Direct Positive Paper

Enjoy the Beauty that Surrounds You! (#etbtsy)

Would you like to see more pinhole photographs from Buffalo and Western New York? Visit my pinhole gallery on timelessbuffalo.com and enjoy!  Please, let me know if you have any questions about any photo products offered, or not offered, I will be happy to help! For a quick reference to all photo galleries and collections as well as all photo products currently offered through my site, please, visit the Products page.

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One Truck, Large Format Pinhole Photograph on 4x5" Direct Positive PaperOne TruckPinhole Photography Two Trucks, Large Format Pinhole Photograph on 4x5" Direct Positive PaperTwo TrucksPinhole Photography Tram, Large Format Pinhole Photograph on 4x5" Direct Positive PaperTramPinhole Photography

 


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