Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Uncle Jonesy's Cameras Podcast #51: In the Same Room at Last!

While Wayne and Kevin have enjoyed talking film photography with each other over the internet, there is noting like being in the same room for a face-to-face chat, and that is what show #51 is - an in-person session with two guys who love to make photographs using the analog process. Our first segment is all about our listeners questions, and we have some good ones about composition techniques, homemade developers, and two-bath developers like DD-23. Kevin was particularly interested in this topic, as he has been experimenting with homemade D-23 lately. Here is a link to a website that Kevin found with a lot of useful information about DD-23.

Our second segment is a discussion about the tension between the need to be creative on a regular basic versus the lack of inspiration in the form of subject matter. During a recent printing session, it began to dawn on Kevin that while he has a lot of negatives that were indeed fun to make, they didn't necessarily make for good prints in the darkroom. This left Kevin with a very disappointing feeling that the three ring binder in which he keeps his negatives is full of "fuzzy concepts." What to do?! Wayne shares his advice on reaching a balance between actually making photographs and other useful creative photographic activities. If you have ever struggled with  creative ebb and flow, you might find Wayne’s advice helpful also. 

Finally, Kevin shares his growing interest in making prints using the RA-4 process, to which one might ask, “Is this a good idea given that YOU ARE COLORBLIND?!” Nevertheless, Kevin has been doing A LOT of research, including this very helpful (and dryly funny) video by Gregory Davis, aka The Naked Photographer. Should he go for it? 

As always, we are extremely grateful for our listeners m and we would love to have your input for future shows. You can send your questions, comments, tips, stories, and even voice memos to You also can follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and feel free to leave your feedback there.

Now let’s go get some pitchas!

Friday, July 8, 2022

Uncle Jonesy's Cameras Podcast #50: And the Winners Are . . .

After taking a midsummer break, the Shutter Brothers are back, and we've got some winners to celebrate. First, Wayne announces the winner of his 35mm system shootout. You may remember from show #50 that Wayne was torn between two different 35mm camera systems. In one corner was his beloved Pentax KX, and in the other corner was a newly acquitted pristine Canon FTb. In that show Wayne discussed the pros and cons of each camera. He even got some help from some of our listeners. Well, "no more calls - we have a winner," and it's . . . (Did you think we would tell you here? Hey, you gotta listen to the show!)

Canon or Pentax? A decision has been made.

Meanwhile Kevin has a similar "quarterback controversy" (to borrow a football term) with two able twin lens reflex cameras, his Rolleicord Va(2) and his Yashica-Mat. 

Both are fine cameras, Kevin, but which one is The One?

Next, Wayne talks about his "butcher cover" lens that appears to be an Otar 58mm f2. But when he "peeled off the cover," he found something quite different.

Otar 58mm f2 lens in 42mm mount. Or so one might think . . . 

The ID ring hides a secret past . . . 

 . . . that is revealed when removed. 

Lastly, we announce the winner of our book giveaway! And thank you to Shaun Nelson of Utah Film Photography fame for donating this fine hardback book so that we could give it away. Yay!

An excellent guide for the newcomer to film photography.

As always, we here at Uncle Jonesy's Cameras would love to hear from you, so send us an email at You also can find us on Facebook and Instagram

Happy Shooting!

Friday, June 10, 2022

Making Color Darkroom Prints Pt 1: Thinking

In a ratio of 2:1, I have shot more black and white film than I do color. If you look at my photography since I retired from teaching music at a public elementary school, the ratio would be more like 4:1. Nowadays, the only occasions I shoot color film are:

1.  family gathering

2.  garden walks

My color film workflow differs from my black and white film workflow, in that I always scan my color film. Since I got serious about darkroom printing more than two years ago, I no longer scan my black and white film. Why? Because I do not allow the scans to have the final say on what my photography looks like. That job goes to the darkroom prints I make. If you see a photography of mine online, chances are that you are seeing a scan of the print, not the negative.

There are disadvantages to this. The biggest one is that the majority of my images do not see the light of online day. In the past, I would post any image that I thought half decent. Now, you only see the ones I print in the darkroom. If you follow Uncle Jonesy's Cameras Podcast on Instagram and Facebook, you probably think that I am shooting less and less these days. In fact, I shoot about the same as I always have, and I develop every roll either at home (B&W) or at my community darkroom (color). But I only share the images I deem worthy to print, and I have quite a backlog of those. It's easy to load a camera and photography. Printing takes time and perseverance. I love it. 

Garden Friend, Gibbs Gardens near Ball Ground, Georgia
I'd love to print this someday.

The exception to this practice of sharing only prints is color images. Why? Because I have not yet made a color darkroom print. Sure, I could make inkjet prints of my color scans. In fact I have done this often with my flower and garden photography. I love to make small prints of fleeting blooms and give them away to my fellow condo residents or to friends and family through the mail. To me, these prints are throwaways. Why? Because even though my Canon printer does a decent enough job at least to my eyes, deep down inside I do not trust it. It does a lousy job of printing my B&W images, so why should I think that the color prints are any better. Sure, I could buy a better (and more expensive), printer, but do I really want to put my money there? What if there was another way?

Autumn Leaves, Union City, Georgia.
Another one I'd love to print.

Only recently have I become acquainted with the RA-4 process of making color prints from color negatives, and this is chiefly due to one person:  Andrew Bartram. Andrew has been a photography friend for quite some time, and I always enjoy reading about his photographic adventures in his town of Warboys in the south of England, which he posts on Facebook. Recently, he has endeavored to start up a community darkroom in his town. I know how thankful I am for my community darkroom in Chattanooga, Safelight District, so I followed with interest. Soon, Andrew was offering workshops through his community darkroom, and one of those caught my eye. It was about making color prints. He himself took the workshop, and now he posts beautiful examples of color photography, photography completely devoid of any digital process. I was intrigued.

Garden Girl and her Dog, Gibbs Gardens near Ball Ground, Georgia.
Surely I can make a better print of this than my scanner did.

I say "intrigued," but I was also very skeptical. Why? I have a major handicap when it come to color photography. I am quite colorblind. No, that does no mean that I cannot see color. Rather, it means that my  color vision is not accurate. My particular colorblindness involves red and green, and this spirals out to other colors as well. I simply don't see color the way most people do or the way my wife, Debbie, does. Although I have lived with this all my, I am reminded of it almost everyday. "Oh, look at the pretty cardinals in the grass. They are RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU!" And they are, as are the red azaleas or the pink dogwoods, or anything purple, or . . . the list goes on. 

So, I must be certifiably insane to think that I can perform the necessary color evaluations and corrections when making color darkroom prints. Perhaps this is a really bad idea. But hey! I'm retired. I've got some time. Why not look into it and do some research. It's not rocket science, is it?

Is it?

Jobo 2840 Print Drum. I took it home, cleaned
it up, and now it's ready for use.
And so, since I actually love do do informal research, I have been combing the internet for all I can learn about the RA-4 process. Along the way, I began compiling a list of things I would need, like RA-4 paper, RA-4 chemistry, a print processing drum, an enlarger with a color hear, and color print viewing filters. And just like a sign that I should continue this pursuit further, I found a print drum at my community darkroom large enough to hold 12x16 paper. Check! Oh, and Safelight District has an enlarger with a color head. Check! So far, so good. That leaves the color print viewing filters. These filters are used to evaluate color casts in your prints and give some guidance on correction. Kodak made some, and they are expensive, about $100 on eBay. However, Kodak also included viewing filters in their Kodak Color Darkroom Dataguide, which can be found on eBay for much less. A possible alternate? 

Ok, so acquiring all this and learning the process does not mean I will be able to get the colors right and make decent prints. I know this. However, I do know someone with perfect color vision, and this person happens to be my wife. I know she will be glad to help. And I going to need help.

Lots of it.

To conclude, I definitely am at the thinking stage. I am doing my research and looking around for equipment. I haven't gone as far to make any purchases, yet, but maybe that will come soon. 

We'll see.

Stay tuned . . .

Monday, May 30, 2022

Time Travels: My Earliest Days of Film Photography

 by Kevin Lane

Last my wife, Debbie, pulled a large plastic tub from underneath our bed and began digging through hundreds and hundreds of photographs (If you are my around my age, you probably have a tub like this as well). She was looking for pictures of our wedding rehearsal to show my youngest daughter, Amber, who currently is planning her own November wedding. However, the search for a single photograph soon turned into a mammoth trip down memory lane of the Lane Family. There were piles of prints scattered on the bed as Debbie attempted to organize the chaos that existed in the photo tub. I made the mistake of walking in the room and was quickly recruited to help, and before long, I too was lost in stacks of handheld memories, some of which date back to before I was born.

As one point Debbie held out an envelope in my direction and said. "You might want to take a look at this." The envelope held about a dozen black and white negatives in 120 format. The film was cut into individual frames, and as I held up one frame to the ceiling light, I realized I was holding one of the very first rolls of film I ever shot. Later, I got out my light table and examined the frames with a loupe. I could see images that dated from around 1969 when I was eleven years old. They were images of Shutter Brother Kelley, me, our younger brother Michael, our family dog as a very young puppy, and our front yard on Vance Avenue in Chattanooga. The light from the light table was projecting the past right into my eyes.

A testament to the past:  This film was actually there.

As I sat at the table looking at these images, all the memories came flooding back. I actual could remember making most of these images, but what I really remember was how Kelley and I got the images from the camera to actual paper. Our Uncle Jonesy had given us a Yankee 18 Piece DeLuxe Home Developing Kit ("Everything you need for truly Professional Quality") for Christmas (you can read more about our experience with this kit here). I distinctly remember us trying to make our small apartment bathroom light tight, rolling the film onto the plastic reels, mixing up the chemicals, and following the instructions to develop the film. When we removed the processed film from the tank,  there was clear evidence that our "darkroom" was not completely dark. Our darkroom techniques left a lot to be desired, nevertheless, and to our amazement, there were images on the film. And now I was staring at those same negatives some fifty-three years later.

The Yankee 18 Piece Home Developing Kit also included a contact printing light box, photo paper, print chemistry, trays, and tongs. So, when the negatives were dry, we set about making prints from these negatives. I want you to thing about this for a moment. People today frame analog photography as some sort of distant lost magic that is either between extremely inconvenient or damned near impossible to do today. "Wouldn't this be a lot easier with a digital camera?" I hear that one a lot. More than a lot. But here we were, to fifth graders learning how to shoot, develop, and print film in our small bathroom. We were in to it! We bought more film. We shot it. We developed it and made more prints. We were on repeat, and we were hooked. Talk about addictions; we were creativity addicts at the age of eleven.

People say to me now, "Wow, you've really gone crazy with this film photography thing lately." They have no idea. The evidence is in those surviving negatives and contact prints.

Me with our newly acquired puppy, Pogo. Taken by Kelley.

A Pogo portrait.

Me in our front yard with our younger brother, Micheal.

Kelley chatting with two of our den mothers during a Cub Scouts outing.

Bedtime for Michael. Our foray into flash photography.

As I kept digging through the box of photographs, I found more early negatives and prints, and to my amazement, I found some from around my sophomore year of high school. These would have been made four years after our first photographs using the home developing kit. Apparently, photography was not a passing fad to us. Also apparently, we were able to get more chemistry and paper, although I have no idea how or where we got it. But somehow we did.

Aunt Clair (L) and Uncle Jonesy (R) greeting guests at their annual Christmas Open House.
I took this one and the one below. I'm guessing 1971.

Kelley is holdinghis newly acquired Kodak Instamatic X-15 camera.

Uncle Jonesy, my Grandmother, and my Mom at our 8th grade graduation ceremony.
I distinctly remember taking this.

I know the date of this one:  December 25, 1972.
Kelley took this one of me looking over Christmas gifts. 

Kelley with fellow band members at a high school band car wash, fall of 1973. This is a scan from 
and actual contact print.

In case you are interested, we likely used two different cameras to make these photographs. Some were made with our parent's Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash Model, which we had "borrowed." I think the earliest ones, however, were made with a Diana, a cheap plastic medium format camera made in the 1960's by the Great Wall Plastic Factory of Hong Kong (you can read more about this camera and how I recently found one in it's original box at a local antique store here). As for film, some of it is Kodak (likely Verichrome Pan), but the manufacturer of some of it is a mystery that will likely never be solved.

The two cameras used to make the above images were just like these.

The point of all this is that I am so grateful to have had family members like Uncle Jonesy, who took an interest in us and invested his time and dollars to steer us in a creative and fun direction like photography. His mentorship had a lasting impact, as I am photographing, developing, and printing to this day. And no wonder why I sometimes feel like a kid in the darkroom. It's still just as fun as it ever was. I enjoy it so much that I feel compelled to share what I learn and be a mentor to others, hence the UJC Podcast, this blog, and the teaching work I do for our community darkroom. I don't want my negatives and prints to be the sum total of my photographic legacy. I hope that there will be others who, because of something they heard on the podcast, read on this blog, or learned in one of my workshops, will find a passion for film photography and leave a legacy of their own. Sharing is caring.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Uncle Jonesy's Cameras Podcast #49: It's Testing Time!

When I reach for a roll of film in my refrigerator, I pay attention to the ISO rating and set my camera accordingly. When it is time to develop that roll of film, I look for recommended developing times provided by the film manufacturers. If those aren't provided for the developing I'm using, I look to the online Massive Development Chart. 

But what if the Massive Development Chart either lacks the information I need or provides information that proves to be wrong? And what if my film's ISO rating isn't accurate for the workflow that I have? What do I do now? The answer is to channel my inner Ansel Adams and conduct a series of tests to determine my film's actual exposure index and developing requirements. 

Because I have been experimenting with a home-mixed developer, D-23, which is no longer a commercial developer and is not widely used, I needed to perform tests to determine the proper developing time for (in my case) Fomapan 100 in D-23 (or any film and developer combination). As always, Wayne was an invaluable resource, and in this show, Wayne and I present a testing workflow that will provide useful and reliable information regarding exposure index (the working speed of a particular film based on your workflow), printing times, and film development times. As a companion to the podcast, Wayne has written out his testing procedure, and I included at the end of this post. We hope you find it useful.

Speaking of Wayne, he is thinking about 35mm cameras. Yes, you heard right! Wayne is anticipating the day when he will not be able to carry around his large format gear, and carrying around a 35mm camera will be his medium of choice. But he has a dilemma. Should he use his Pentax KX camera and the extensive system he has built around it, or should he use his newly-acquired Canon FTb, which he came as a gift and has very much captured his fancy. We break down the advantages and disadvantages of each, and we also ask for your input, which you can give by sending us an email to

Pentax KX or Canon FTb - Help Wayne Decide!

Finally, we read some listener email, including one from Professor Paul "Bear," in which he describes his "Bear-a-Fied" cutting device that cuts 4x5 sheet film down to 3x2. You can see pictures of this device below. 

How do you down 4x5 sheet film down to fit in a 
3x2 film holder? Professor Brown knows how!

Also, we are very excited about our book giveaway, The book is Shooting Film:  Everything you need to know about analogue photography by Ben Hawkins and Liza Kanaeva-Hunsicker, and it was donated to us by listener Shaun Nelson, the author of the fine blog, Utah Film Photography. We will be giving away this book to a listener who either is a newcomer to film photography or knows someone who is. To be eligible for this giveaway, you must email us at and tell who the book would be useful for and why. We will pick a winner on our next show, which will be show #50.

Happy Shooting!

Wayne's Guide to Film Testing

Speed Test: This is to determine your system film speed or Exposure Index (EI). You’ll be making a series of Zone I (the first appearance of tone above black in a print) exposures from 2 stops under to on stop over the film’s rated ISO. You’ll need a roll of film, a smooth neutral tone subject (a gray or black mat board works great), someplace with consistent, soft, even light and your camera mounted on a tripod.

  • Load your camera and attach it to the tripod positioned so that the target fills the entire frame and focus to infinity.
  • Take a meter reading and select a shutter speed and f/stop in a combination that lets you use f/2.8 or f/2. That way you can make all your adjustments using the f/stop instead of shutter speed.
  • Stop your lens down 6 stops, you should be as f/16 or f/22 depending on you initial setting.
  • Make a series of 10 exposures following the chart below. 

  • Once you finish this, you can either finish the rest of the roll normally or go ahead and develop it.
  • Develop the in your standard developer using manufactures recommend time/temp and agitation.
  • Once dry, compare each exposed frame to the adjacent blank frame looking for the first exposure that gives you a slight but noticeable density above the film base. The exposure that produced that exposure is your EI. It’s probably, but not always, going to be less it’s rated ISO.

Print Test: This determines the minimum exposure time to get maximum black on a print by making a test strip of the negative that gave you your EI. 

  • Set your enlarger to a convenient height.
  • Put your EI negative in the carrier so that its edge is in the middle of the frame (the frame should be roughly half exposed film and half clear film). 
  • Focus the negative and stop the lens down about two stops.
  • Make a test strip along the border of the exposed and unexposed film.
  • Once dry, look for the exposure that shows a slight but noticeable difference between the exposed and unexposed film. You may need to make several test strips using different base times and intervals to find the best exposure, when you do, that is your print exposure time.

Developing Time Test: This test helps you determine the developing time that gives you good detail in the highlights by making identical exposures at your system EI and developing at different times. You’ll need a roll of film (preferably 36 exposures), a light-colored textured subject (a clean white towel works great), direct light that brings out the texture of your target, and your camera mounted on a tripod. 

  • Set up your target in the direct light so that there is visible texture and position the loaded camera and tripod so the target fills most of the frame.
  • Carefully focus on the target, you want to see the texture.
  • Set you meter to your newly determined system EI, and meter you target.
  • Set you camera to overexpose 2 stops (open up 2 stops or divide shutter speed by 4).
  • Expose entire roll at the same setting.
  • In the darkroom or changing bag cut the exposed film into 5 pieces, load one strip onto a developing reel and keep the others dark.
  • Develop the first length of film for the manufactures recommend time/temp and agitation.
  • Individually develop the remaining lengths of film:
    • One for 15% less time (multiply original time by 0.85) 
    • One for 30% less time (multiply original time by 0.7)
    • One for 15% more time (multiply original time by 1.15)
    • One for 30% more time (multiply original time by 1.3)
  • Once dry make a print with the same elevation and f/stop you used in the Print Test at the time you determined in the test.
  • Evaluate each print looking for the one that best shows a white subject with distinct texture, that’s your developing time. If it looks like one is too light but the next one is a bit dark, average the times.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Uncle Jonesy's Cameras Podcast #48: A Handheld Camera for the Large Format Photographer

Wayne's Plaubel Marina 67 and some first prints
Wayne and I each took a bit of a spring break since our last show, and during that time both Wayne and I have enjoyed some productive photographic endeavors. Ironically, our recent photography journeys have crossed path in an interesting way. I, a long time 35mm shooter, have been trying to learn all I can about large format photography and have been shooting a Crown Graphic 4x5 camera. I also have been learning how to print such large negatives. Shooting large format has certainly altered my workflow (as I knew it would), so when I saw that Wayne, a devoted large format shooter for over forty years,  has recently picked up a handheld camera that shoots much smaller negatives, my mind was full of questions. "Does using a handheld camera change the way you approach subject selection, composition technique, exposure, focus, and darkroom work?" "Do you try to print every shot?" "Do you print small or large?"

So, UJC Podcast #48 begins with a discussion over how format effects approach, with Wayne and I each describing how we approach photography when using formats we do not usually use. In addition, Wayne give us a rundown of the Paubel Making 67, a medium format camera that Wayne has been using in preparation for times when he can't use his 4x5 camera. It's definitely a keeper camera!

Next, I relate how I ran into a major roadblock when I first began printing enlargements of the 4x5 negatives I have been making lately. I already knew about diffuser enlargers and how they differed from the condenser enlarger I''ve been using in our community darkroom. However, I didn't know anything about cold light heads, and it turns out that the 4x5 enlarger at our community darkroom has one, and it's a diffuser head to boot! In the show I share what I learned about these light sources and how I found a solution to the problems they can cause.

A diffuser . . .

 . . . and the blue light of cold head mean that 
variable contrast filters will be useless. (The green 
strip is the result of frequency mismatch that happens 
when trying to photograph a fluorescent light.)

Solution:  a condenser head with a
tungsten light source.

Lastly, listener Shaun Nelson, the author of the fine blog, Utah Film Photography, recently asked me if he could send me a book that he had reviewed for the purpose of giving it away. The book was Shooting Film:  Everything you need to know about analogue photography by Ben Hawkins and Liza Kanaeva-Hunsicker. I replied that I would love to get the book into the hands of someone who is just begin a film photography journey, so a few days later the book arrived. I must say that I am very impressed with the effort the authors made to make the book both useful and fun to read. So, Wayne and I want to give this book away to someone who truly needs a book like this, and here is how we are going to do this. 

1. Entries must be submitted by email to

2. Entries must come from newcomers to film photography or . . . 

3. Entries must come from experienced film photographers who already know of someone who could benefit from this book.

4. Entries must explain why they (or a friend who is a film beginner) need this book and what they would like to learn from it.

Wayne and I will consider all the entries and choose the entry that best explains why the book is needed and how it will be used.

Good luck, and here is the link to Shaun's review of the book.

In the show I mention the excellent exhibit of photographs by the well-known American photographer Bruce Davidson at the Jepson Center in Savannah, Georgia. It lasts through May 1, 2022, and it is well worth your time if you can get there.

Until next time, Happy Shooting!

Monday, March 14, 2022

Uncle Jonesy's Cameras Podcast #47: Mixing It Up!

by Kevin Lane

I am a devoted user of Kodak D-76 for film development. Why then, have I recently become interested in mixing my own developer? The answer lies in the way I use D-76, which is always diluted 1:1 with water and disposed of after a single use. While I believe that some household cleaning products are more dangerous to the environment than D-76, I still think about all that D-76 going down the drain. Coincidentally, Wayne recently had suggested to me alternative developers like caffenol and D-23, developers that are not only more friendly to the environment, but also easy to mix at home. And Wayne should know, as he has been mixing his own developers for years. 

So, this show is all about chemistry that you can mix at home. You will learn about what equipment you will need as well as why it may work for you. For myself, I will be mixing some D-23 soon. It only requires two ingredients, both of which are friendly to the environment. And of course, Wayne's developer of choice is caffenol, which is based on instant coffee! 

 Getting ready to mix up some developer in Wayne's darkroom.

Wayne's antique Kodak chemistry scale.

Here is Wayne's formula for caffenol C-L:

            Water         500 ml
            Instant Coffee 40.0 g
            Water         500 ml
            Washing Soda     16 g
            Vitamin C             10 g
            Potassium Bromide     1.5 g 

Combine and let stand 5 minutes.

Here are Wayne's developing instructions at 68ºF:

    - Brief water presoak of 15 – 20 seconds with agitation.

    - Pour in caffenol developer and agitate gently for the first ten seconds. Let stand for fifty minutes.

    - Stop and fix a normal.

For those of you who want to give mixing your own chemistry a try, the Photographers Formulary is an invaluable resource for supplies and information.

Here is the link for the digital scale that Wayne recommended to me:

The Darkroom Cookbook by Steve Anchell is a compendium of photographic chemistry formulas and best practices and is now in its fourth edition:

Here is the link for the free online version of the third edition of The Darkroom Cookbook:

The Caffenol Cookbook that Wayne mentioned can be found here:

Here is a lengthy blog site dedicated to the use of Caffenol:

Wayne and I also read some great listener feedback, and one question listener Billy led Wayne to talk about his 3A Kodak Series II camera, which used 122 film. The 3 1/4 x 5 1/2 negatives were contact printed to make postcard size prints.

Wayne's 3A Kodak Series II folding camera. 
If only 122 film were still available . . . 

As always, we here at Uncle Jonesy's Cameras would love to hear from you, so send us an email at You also can find us on Facebook and Instagram

Happy Shooting!