Monday, August 10, 2009

Argust Memories

Argus C3, c1940s

Another Argus Day come and gone. Here's some preliminary "scans" from the roll I took yesterday, and developed last night in Caffenol C. I've simply got to buckle down and get a decent scanner if I'm going to post pictures: these look like they've been shot though a fine mixture of Vaseline and sand. The excess dust on the guitar picture is particularly annoying.

Rock and Roll

Neighborhood Watch

Dog Days of Argust

My "handoscan" technique is holding up a sandwich of white plastic, the negative sleeves, and a sheet of clear Plexiglas to the window and then photographing it in macro mode with my digital camera. (In other words: pathetic.) Reflections from the digital camera bounce back onto the Plexiglas and sleeves, so many of the shots have a mysterious ring on them. What I need to do is encase the setup in a box of some kind to limit stray reflections. I'm still experimenting.


Mike Speegle said...

See, I think the guitar one looks especially great. It's got a cool fiery quality.

mpclemens said...

That negative was fairly underexposed to start with, so boosting the contrast shows all the flaws in my crappy scan technique, although he would be thrilled if I could make it look like flames were flying off the neck as he plays.

Hunter Bond said...

You can honestly use any kind of scanner you can get your hands on for cheap.

All you need to do is place the negs on the glass, Put something translucent but not transparent behind it (milky white lexan works awesome) to disperse the light source you'll use, and somehow back light it. That's all consumer "film scanner" does, it just back lights the negatives so the scanning element can read them.

I did it this way before I finally got my film scanner, and used a $2 thrift store scanner, it worked great.

Olivander said...

Those kind of look like the 50-year-old photos I sometimes find on exposed rolls in cameras! You could start your own "faux found film" look!

You can use a flatbed scanner with the aforementioned light diffuser. Something you're going to run into, though, are Newton rings. You also may not get image scans that are as sharp as they could be, 'cause regular flatbed scanners aren't calibrated for transparencies.

OTOH, anything would be an improvement over what you've got now.

Epson usually has some sweet deals in their online clearance center.

Hunter Bond said...

Olivander is right about the newton rings, and to a lesser extent the slightly less sharp scans, as the scanner is expecting a reflective piece of paper and not a translucent film strip.

I mostly assumed that since he was shooting them with a hand-held camera, things like newton rings ans all the tech jazz is a bit less important.

I have an epson myself, and I have to say that when you do get one, I heavily suggest one that can at the very least scan medium format.

It's one of those things you think isn't a big deal until you really want to scan some medium format negs.

mpclemens said...

I'm well aware of Mr. Newton and his infernal rings. The plastic-sandwich I'm doing right now is just a test, but ideally I'd be holding the negative sheet in front of my white plastic diffuser, and magically keeping the negatives flat.

I could go the junk-store scanner route, I've seen that some folks have make negative carriers out of thin cardboard to keep the strips flat and elevated off the glass (presumably cheapo scanners do not feature anti-Newton glass.)

I still think that this can be done, though. And since I don't have the space or budget for a transparency scanner right now, I'm experimenting.

Duffy Moon said...

I happen to think those pics are awesome, and I'd proudly claim them as my own. And your java-developer process has me green with envy.

I saw a little 35mm negative scanner at my local Goodwill store for something like $6, but it didn't have the software with it. Still, I was tempted, assuming I could find the necessary software online somewhere.

Keep up the good work, Mike. I love it.

Duffy Moon said...

Oh, and I also have problems leaving comments on some blogs. JV's I can get, but Monda's is lost to me. Still reading it regularly, Monda (I know you were losing sleep) but can't figure out how to comment.

Hunter Bond said...


Assuming that the scanner is of decently new make (see:Not using a serial port) you can probably find the software and drivers very easily on the manufacturer's website.

That's a really good deal assuming it works, I'd grab it.