digital dark room

Film.  I love film.  I had been anxiously awaiting my return of black and white film from our California vacation.  When I got the call that it had arrived, we drove quickly to pick it up.  I did not have prints ordered as they get expensive when I use professional grade B&W film.  Not to mention the price for a CD of the scanned negatives is a pretty penny as well.

I popped in the not so cheap CD to discover my new wonderful pictures were, well, blown out and super contrasted.  The whites sucking out all the detail and the blacks overpowering even more detail.  Sadly, I do not own a scanner for film.  This type of scanner involves a light scanning from the lid as well, illuminating the film.  Nor do I have a darkroom to create my own prints, but that’s another issue.

blown out store scan.

Needless to say, it was time to get creative.  Knowing I needed to shed some light on this film, we first started out by using a mirror.  Assuming it’s reflective powers would illuminate the film properly from the scanner light.  No dice.  Not worth trying.

Next try, a flashlight.  Just your simple run of the mill flashlight.  Simply place the film direct to the scanner, place a  white sheet of  paper over film, and put the flashlight over the desired image.   Once scanned, after some cropping and inverting of colors, you at least have an image to work with.  I enjoy the the effect the flashlight gives.  The circular pattern its pretty awesome, and gives the film a very gritty look.

flashlight scan.

In my last attempt, I tried using an old lamp of mine with a metal cone shaped cover.  I used the same method as the flashlight but instead was using a 60 watt bulb.  This image also had to be cropped, color inverted and touched up.  This was the best method I tried today.  Notice the details on the water, you can see the sun, clouds, and the horizon.

60 watt lamp scan.

Lastly, I will be going in tomorrow to see if I can get my film re-scanned at the camera shop. Also, this is Fred and Kara.  I’m happy to have taken this picture on the Berkeley Pier only days before their 1st anniversary in the spot Fred had proposed.

Anyone else out there trying some crazy tricks to scan their film without the proper equipment?  I’m willing to try new things.


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