Here's some photographic stuff that's a current & potential happy thing in my life.

Rainier Photographic Supply, 1 800 all film

My new (to me, Spring 2001) Rollei 6008i camera. I really like how it works. I like how it makes me think about taking photos. I like the huge viewfinder with the magnifier on top so I can get the focusing just right. I really like taking the big 6cm by 6cm slides and I can still develop them myself just fine (I only had to buy a reel sized for the 120 film *see 120 developing note below). I bought it used for a good price from Eli Kurland. If you get one, get the kit, or you won't get the film magazine or the lens with it. Also, buy an extra battery, as it has to have one to work and it uses 'em up kinda quckly. Also, be warned, when I got mine, the manual was in German. I translated relevant portions with Alta Vista's Babel Fish. There's also some good info about these cameras at the Rollei FAQ and the Rollei Users Group FAQ among other places.

My Stroboframe Press-T flash bracket. I have a "potato masher" style flash, and needed a bracket to hold it over the Rollei. I went to Glazer's in Seattle on a Saturday afternoon, and it took two hours and three people, but the Stroboframe Press-T is the bracket that finally worked. The combination of not having the vertical support on the right hand side of the camera (where the flash adapter sits for the Rollei) and holding the flash far enough forward of the body so you can look down into the Rollei's waist level finder proved to be too challenging for many of the other (more expensive) brackets out there.

My new tripod. I had been using a Cullman 3400 tripod, but the head came off the plastic threads that hold it to the center column a few times, so I did some research on replacing it. What I ended up getting was a set of Libec T97C legs with the 100mm bowl, Bogen's 3141 half-ball adapter, the Arca-Swiss B1-G ballhead, and some quick release camera plates to connect to the ballhead. The head's a little heavy, but I like the lack of a center column, the simple way the leg locks work, the way I can level the head with the half-ball and how simple and solid everything feels. I also like how smoothly the head moves, and how you can turn the tension knob with almost no force at all to make the head lock absolutely still.

Here's a couple customizations. I got a little metal plate cut the diameter of base of the ballhead with a tab to one side for holding a little plastic level I got from a hardware store. I keep it mounted between the ballhead and the half ball adapter. I photographed it early one evening, and put photos here. Also, I tried the Hasselblad Arca Swiss adapter plate that Really Right Stuff makes and found it personally unacceptable when I put it on my Rollei. I drew a diagram and left the camera and the diagram with a local machinist and he made me three prototypes to which I made a couple more modifications (and modified some bolts to serve as the captive screw) and they're doing an excellent job for me. They work so well and seem so appropriate, I sometimes forget that (March 2004) I'm the only person in the world who has them. I posted a question on to see if the rest of the world was interested, but apparently it isn't very much. The topic came up once again later on, and I have an order in with the machinist who made the prototypes. I had hoped to have a bunch by the end of 2005, but the machinist who made the prototypes sent me an email resigning from the project on Dec 31. I'll get a prototype and camera off to SK Grimes after I get home next. Here's a page with my adventures in mounting a Rollei Panshot digital back holder onto the back of a an Arca Swiss Monolith view camera. Here's one on mounting a Rollei electronic shutter on the rear side of an Arca Swiss lens board. And, here's another on mounting the Rollei Lens Adapter to an Arca Swiss lens board. I have also made a preliminary design for making an extra fine focus adjustment to use in place of the format frame extender I have in place under the rear format frame. It'll be a little while longer before I get some one to make me one, though.

The Ansel Adams Guide: Basic Techniques of Photography, Book 1.
Revised edition - 1999, Little, Brown and Company ISBN 0-8212-2575-8
I learned a lot from this book and recommend it more than any other for learning first things about taking pictures.

Developing E-6 Process color slides. The equipment cost me less than $100 and takes up less than a cubic foot:

a 600ml graduated cylinder
a dial thermometer accurate to half a degree Farenheight
four 500ml nylon bottles for chemicals
a stainless two reel developing tank
two stainless film reels
three little aquarium heaters
a three gallon "Rough Tote" storage container

You don't need a darkroom, just a changing bag. I fill little Rubbermaid storage container with water & use the pet store aquarium heaters to maintain the temperature, then keep everything in it when I'm done. Chemicals to develop 12 rolls of film cost about $16. A slide scanned at 1200 dpi on an ordinary flatbed scanner, takes up a whole VGA monitor.

*120 Developing note: The same single use of 500 ml of E6 chemicals that can develop two 36 frame rolls of 35mm film can develop two rolls of 120 film or one roll of 220 film. However, in order to get two rolls of 120 on a reel, you have to use a reel for 220, and the stainless reels for 220 are twice the cost of the ones for 120 and are hard to use, especially for putting two rolls of 120 film on in a changing bag. For the price of one of those ss 220 reels, I bought a Patterson Super System 4 (500 ml) plastic tank with an adjustable plastic reel. I've found that the way this reel is designed it's not too difficult to load two rolls of 120 in the changing bag. However, I now own three of those reels, because I have found that once a reel has been used to process film it takes a long time (and nothing but time seems to work, although a kind person online has recommended a hair dryer, but I don't have one yet.) for it to get dry enough to load two 120's in sequence. I've learned the hard way that when putting two 120 films on the same reel it is necessary to tape them together. The stainless reels hold the film from the inside, and the plastic ones hold it from the outside, so if they aren't taped, one isn't being held in place at all, and it may move during the agitation process and that will cause problems. I try and re-use the tape that tapes the film on to the spool. The presence of the tape doesn't chemically interfere with the development process.

Photographic Chemical Disposal

I emailed Kodak from their web page asking about the environmentally sound way to dispose of the chemicals used in processing E-6 slides, and Kodak Environmental Services snail mailed me a copy of their document J-300 (cat 851-8755). Based on reading that, what I do is mix the bleach fix with steel wool (not stainless steel - the kind that rusts, and plain steel wool - not the stuff with cleaning chemicals impregnated in it) for a while until the silver precipitates out. The more chemically active iron replaces it. Kodak sells (for $50) a chemical recovery cartridge if you want to do this the official way. Then pour the treated fixer (but not the silver sludge) into another container. Pour the other chemicals (developers, stabilizer) into this container also. Mixing them helps neutralize the ph. Don't mix them before or during the silver precipitation process, though. Once they're mixed take them to the house of someone in the city who's sewage is treated by a sewage treatment plant (not someone who's just on a septic tank, like I am) and pour it down the drain. Save the silver sludge until you've got a lot of it and then sell it to someone. Film developing places may know who buys this. Alternatively, if you live near Seattle, you can drive to the transfer station where Hwy 599 meets the first avenue bridge and they'll accept it (on Thursdays, Fridays, & Saturdays, I think). Kodak warns: do not pour Selenium toners, solvents or flammable materials into a septic or a sewer system. These have to go to Household Hazardous Waste Disposal (someplace like the transfer station I mentioned).

Here's a link back a couple of levels.