Tag Archives: caffenol

Fog and cows

The plan was to go to Spitzingsee, near Schliersee to hike up a little mountain, have some beer on top and make it back down. Saturday was supposed to be a sunny autumn day with temperature up to 20C. All I found were fog and rain. I shot a couple of frames with the cows as my models. One of the smaller cows licked my hand and I touched its smooth fury nose.

I walked a little bit around the lake. The rain stopped for a little while and came back again. I shot a couple of more frames catching the lake, the mountains with the fog hanging heavily in them. Back in Schliersee the sky cleared up a bit and I walked a bit more. around the lake here finishing the trip with a cup of coffee.

I developed the film, an Ilford HP5+, the next day by letting it sit in Caffenol C-L for 90min. As it turns out, HP5+ isn’t as boring as its reputation.The film base took on a brownish coffee stain but the contrast and sharpness are just fine. Maybe 80min developing time is also fine.

Here is the recipe for 1l water: washing soda 16g, Vitamin C 10g, Salt 1-2g, Instant coffee 40g


Caffenol workshop wrap-up

Here is the complete album of images taken during the Caffenol workshop weekend in Salzburg. I shot 3 films with my Praktica MTL5b. Unfortunately the camera had some issues with film transport. I guess I got to try and check what’s wrong with it

Anyway i had a fun weekend, met nice people and shot some cool frames. I know it’s a bit nerdy to test three films. I haven’t really found my favorite combinations yet. You might think I have a structured approach. Believe me, I don’t … I use whatever film is in the fridge and whatever I feel like.


Here again the links to the organizers: Dirk Essl and Marco Spalluto with lots of images and info about developing film in coffee. Many thanks to Lisa from the Leica Galerie Salzburg as well. They do have an Elliott Erwitt exhibition which is worthwhile a visit until the 12th of October.

About the results: I like the Fomapan 400 for the smooth grain. I guess it only works for motives that have not much fine and sharp detail and open up into some blur. Contrast isn’t really high but pleasant in my opinion. I know people who say it’s a bit flat but maybe our eyes are trained to see digital photos. The Kodak TMAX 100 is quite the opposite: strong in contrast, no visible grain and still enough sharpness in the details. However, lots of the tonality in the middle of the gray scale is lost. The Delta 400 is somewhere in between: nice grain, good sharpness and good contrast.

Ilford Delta 400:

Kodak TMAX 100:

Fomapan 400:


How I met Isabelle Huppert and other surprises

So, last weekend I went to a workshop how to develop photographic film in coffee in Salzburg. On Saturday we walked around in the city center to have some material to practice our darkroom skills. We saw that the Ropac Gallery just opened an exhibition of Robert Mapplethorpe curated by the French actress Isabelle Huppert. We walked in and at least I was shocked of how dressed up everybody was or better how dressed down I felt.

I was standing in the middle of the entrance hall and Isabelle Huppert and the owner of the gallery walked down the stairs and came to stop right in front of me. A whole bunch of press photographers were suddenly around me, hundreds of flash' went off and I was standing there with a 30 year old Praktica MTL5b loaded with a Kodak TMAX 100 film and couldn't do much. Anyway, I felt pretty stupid but I tried. Guessing the foucs, using 1/30 and aperture wide open I pointed the camera towards the actress and shot: "glong", wind the film and another "glong". 

Later when we developed the film I realized that something was wrong with the camera and the film was only transported half a frame. Here is the result. In the left half the focus is more on Thaddaeus Ropac but gives Isabelle a nice glow (all un-indented) and she autopraphed some images of her on the right side.


Some words about the exhibition. Isabelle Huppert chose a little bit more than 100 images. Of course she selected some of the well known themes of flowers and human bodies. However, the exhibition also includes some less known images like earlier work with polaroids and even some landscapes. My personal favorites are the portraits. They speak very much a Mapplethorpe language of tender truth. The exhibition mixes them all. This might be confusing but standing in front of a wall with several pictures, they make sense, the virtually vibrate from the wall. There were too many people and too much hectic around to enjoy the images but the exhibition is open until the end of October and I can go again. 





My images are all taken with a Praktica MTL 5b on Kodak TMAX 100 and developed in caffenol with the Delta recipe here.


Some useful links:

Dirk Essl's Caffenol blog: http://www.caffenol.org

Marco Spalluto's blog: http://www.spalluto.de

Reinhold's Caffenol blog: http://caffenol.blogspot.de/


The cats of Gasthof Baur

I have no idea what made me stop in Linden, a small village between Munich and Bad Toelz. Maybe I was a bit hungry and the sign of Gasthof Baur invited me to check it out. What I found was a place that looked just normal and open for business but yet it was closed. Only dozens of cats strolled around the place and seemed to have taken over the place. I had my pinhole camera with me and I took some shots on color negative film just like the friendly ghostly cat.


When I returned a couple of days ago the friendly cat and all the others were still around. When I entered the former biergarten, a grumpy old man sat on the porch which might have been the owner of the restaurant, August Baur. We exchanged a couple of words which made it clear that I wasn’t really welcome there. However, I wasn’t asked to leave either. I took some images with my Voigtlaender Brilliant 6×6 camera.

I used and Adox CHS 100 which I developed in a self-made coffee chemistry which can be found here. The film looked a bit pale after development but it was fairly easy to scan. Grain and contrast are quite ok. Also sharpness is really not bad. Maybe I can tweak the recipe a bit for the next rolls.
  • 1000ml (1l) Water
  • 45g Instant coffee
  • 24g Washing soda
  • 20g Vitamin C

10min developing at 20C. agitation: 1st minute and afterwards each minute 5 times.