Apples and Errors

I got off work yesterday at 2:30pm and arrived home by 3:15 or so. I had a very brief nap, shot a quick unboxing video of the SP-445 and had it posted by 5:15. By 6:15, I had two negatives drying in the shower and was changing clothes to go mow the lawn. I expected it all to be easy…

Back in January, I loaded 10 sheets of film into 5 holders with the hope that I’d shoot them, get something going with the Graphic View.

8 months later, there are still 2 sheets of film in one holder, and I haven’t done much with the camera at all. Part of my hesitation has been the developing aspect: the R3 is great, but it’s a bit of a pain to deal with, developing one or two sheets at a time in sandwich boxes, in the dark bag. Or so I tell myself. But the biggest part is not really having a plan, just shooting willy-nilly like, trying to go all macho or grunge with it and shooting without a dark cloth or loupe to make squinting into the ground glass easier.


It’s been so long since I loaded those 10 sheets, that I’m not positive my memory can be trusted, but I seem to recall having a bit of trouble getting one of the dark slides to slide in correctly, but maybe I’m just inventing something to explain my experience shooting the apples.

It started normally-enough: frame up, focus, set the exposure, double check, slide the film holder into the back, pull the dark slide, trip the shutter, and slide the dark slide back in, except the dark slide got about 1/3 of the way in and stopped… I wiggled it a bit and pushed: nothing. I pushed harder… nothing.

I pulled the dark slide out, spun it around, and slammed it in hard and I heard a sound like a stiff piece of plastic card flapping in the breeze.

So I carried everything inside and went into the pantry, closed the door, carefully removed the film holder, and felt around inside… no sign of a negative. So I pried the back open, felt around inside, and found the negative in the bellows. I pulled it out and put it back into the holder, got everything light tight again, and got on with it.

Once in the dark bag, I felt around some, but had forgotten where the notches are supposed to be. With the film in vertical orientation, the emulsion side faces you when the notches are on the right side of the top edge, but in my haste, I oriented myself with the notches on the top side of the right edge instead…


Note the slight shift to the frame, a sort of 2° tilt to the left, and the centimeter or two shift of the image area to the left: the results of wonky loading.

Note the horizontal lines: these are where the emulsion side was pressed against the inside of the SP-445’s film holder after I loaded it incorrectly.

Note the bright line running vertically down the left side: that’s a crease in the film from where it got bent in half just before snapping out of the holder and into the camera. Note also that the lines from the holder get a bit blurry where the crease forced it away from the holder a bit.

Other than that, it’s not a bad picture…

So now I know where the notches are, relative to the emulsion, and may Allah help me to remember. And Alhamdulillah, I now have a super easy way to develop 4×5 film and maybe 36 or 38 more frames to shoot and try to get a handle on this camera. InshaAllah one day I’ll put some C-41 and/or E6 through it too: one of the big stumbling blocks for me was the lack of a darkroom, but the SP-445 makes that moot.

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