Developing Our Photos

Developing Our Photos

After building our two camera models, we set out to develop our photos using photo paper. Developing our photos required the dark room, located in the basement of Lenfest. Since neither of us had taken photography, we had to ask a current photography student to take us to the dark room and show us the ropes. Developing our photos required a series of steps. First, we had to cut down our photo paper to fit each of our cameras. We started by testing our basic box pinhole camera. Once we loaded the paper and double-checked to make sure that the box was light-proof, we headed outside to shoot the photo. We had to make sure not to flash the shutter until we were ready to shoot, as that would cause additional, unwanted light rays to hit our photo paper. The recommended amount of time to shoot a photo is 8-10 minutes. We allowed about 10 minutes to shoot the photo, as it was later during the day and there was less sunlight available. We then headed back into the dark room to develop our photo. Here are some photos of the developing process:

Developing the photos requires three steps. First, the photo must be placed in a developer solution for approximately 1 minute. The developer solution is used to make the latent image visible. The most important compound in the developer is the developing agent, which is an organic compound that makes the image visible. The developing agent acts upon the exposed light-sensitive silver-halide crystals. Each exposed silver halide crystal contains an invisible speck of metallic silver, and the developing agent turns the entire crystal black. Another compound used in the developer solution is the activator. The activator makes the solution basic, allowing the developer to work more efficiently. A common activator used is sodium hydroxide. A third compound used in the developer is the preservative. The preservative prevents oxidation of the developing agents, preventing breakdown of those chemicals. Finally, a restrainer is used in the developer solution. Once the developing agents finish turning exposed silver crystals black, they start to attack unexposed silver crystals. This causes darkening of clear areas, and is called developmental fog. A restrainer prevents this developmental fog.

After developing the photo, it must be placed in a stop bath for approximately 5 seconds. The stop bath is acidic, which ultimately stops development of the photo. Finally, the photo is placed in a fixer for 1-3 minutes. The fixer dissolves the unexposed silver halide crystals, making the image permanent. The fixer contains sodium thiosulfate, which dissolves the silver-halide crystals, acetic acid, which neutralizes any developer still left on the film, sodium sulfite, which preserves the fixer, potassium alum, which is used to harden the gelatin on the surface of the photo, and a buffer, which protects the hardener. Finally, the photo is washed of the chemicals and dried until ready.

Our first photo did not turn out very well. The paper was either under or overexposed somewhere along the way, or the paper itself was not working properly. Here is the first photo that we developed:

First Image Developed

When we didn’t get the results we wanted, we decided to wait until another day when it was brighter outside. A few days later, we set out to repeat the experiment. This time, we developed photos from both our simple model and our more advanced model. We had to do multiple rounds of developing, but was finally able to develop two photos that resembled a proper image. Here are some photos from our shooting process:



The major problem that we had with our simple model was that it seemed not to be allowing enough light to hit the paper. However, we were able to get a proper image on our second attempt. Images of the trees, fence, and a trash can were visible in this photo. The major problem that we had with our more advanced model was that it seemed to let too much light in, and therefore may not have been light-proof. Once we light-proofed the camera further, we were able to come up with a faint outline of the landscape at which we were shooting. Here are all of the images the images that we developed:

Overall, we were satisfied that we were able to develop at least one concrete image from both of our cameras. Unfortunately, we were not able to utilize the film feature of our more advanced camera, as we did not have access to the film developing room. Our advanced model would work best with our film, however, as we would be able to shoot more photos at once, all within the click of a button! Nevertheless, our results show how optics can be utilized in order to form an image, as well as the sensitivity that cameras must have towards light rays when shooting an image!

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