Sunday, March 14, 2010

What Price Fleas?

Why do I hear a bad Andy Rooney impression in my head going, "Why do they call them flea markets?" They don't sell any fleas there, and I've never seen a flea going to market at one either..." But a-flea marketing I did go this weekend. One of the fleas I spotted was a Six-16 Brownie Junior. The seller was asking $35 which was way over cost. like by $30. These things were made in the millions, and were cheap box cameras (though they did have a nice deco thing going on with the faceplate). Not only that, the handle was busted and it was rusted. Rusted and busted. But once I picked it up and looked at the little red window in back, I realized it still had a roll of film inside.

"I'll give you $20."

"twenty-five" she responded.

"Come on, these things were made in the millions, and it's rusted."

"I already came down ten for you."

For some reason I forgot to mention the broken handle and relented at $25. Yeah, I knew I was grossly overpaying for a box with a hole in it (but then again, that's all what any camera is when you get down to it, right?), but the mystery of what was on that film was eating at me too much. I doubt she even knew there was film inside, or even knew how to open it up. Actually, I wasn't too sure how to open it up either, but the internet solved that problem but fast.

So I got it home and removed the film to see that it was some Verichrome, judging from the backing paper probably from the 30s-early 40s. I couldn't wait to process it, especially now that I pretty much figured out which developer to use. So I got my juice ready, cooled it down to 18 degrees celsius, put it in for about ten minutes and...

I got nothing. $25 for nothing. But that's the chance you take with this sort of thing. But maybe I was trying to get too fancy with the developing times and temperatures. Maybe I should have just done it like when I was a bit more ignorant about things yet still getting results, you know, just dropping it in at 20 degrees for a shorter amount of time.

Well, that's what I did with the second roll I developed last night. It was also a 616, but Kodacolor, out of a Kodak Special Six-16 purchased via ebay (I bought the camera, the film was a bonus). So I took the, "Well, let's just be carefree and see what happens," approach.

And here's what happened:

I got five shots off the roll. Two of them were of this snowy scene, this one the with the more gooder composition. Then there were two that showed this scene:

It comforts me to know that even way back when people were forgetting to advance the camera. Unless of course this is an intentional triple exposure. The other shot of this scene was just doubly exposed.

The third shot was of a lonely lamppost. I'll scan that tomorrow and maybe have it up then. These big negatives take a while to scan, and well, we lost an hour this weekend and you know how I am with cutting things close when it comes to posting up on the site.

Do you ever worry that you're going to die during daylight savings time and never be able to get that hour back, or is it just me?


  1. The next time you see an old camera with film still in it, you might want to see if you can just buy the roll of film - that way the vendor still can sell the camera, but also make a few extra bucks on the film too.

    Of course, that can sometimes lead to conversations like the following:

    Me: Hey, this camera has an old roll of film in it. Would you be willing to sell the film separately from the camera?

    Vendor: Well, what good is the camera then if you take the film?

    Me: But the film has already been exposed. The camera doesn't have any more use for it.

    Vendor: [Blank stare]

    Me: I find old rolls of film and develop them. I already have one of these cameras, and don't need two. Is there any way I can just buy the film?

    Vendor: No.

    (This actually happened)

  2. Now why didn't I think of that! Though it's hard to me to leave a camera unboughten.

    But I'm glad to have it. It's actually produced some pretty sharp shots.