Once you get known as a weirdo who still shoots film, people tend to ask you if you want film cameras that they have in the attic or found at their mother’s house. A friend of mine did find some cameras and expired film at her mother’s house when she was cleaning it out and gave me the film and sold me a Kodak Six-20 Brownie Junior in almost pristine condition.
Most Brownies take the proprietary but long gone 620 roll film format and as its name suggests, you can only load the Six-20 with that size. I’d shot with a Brownie Hawkeye that I own and was always able to just trim the flanges of the roll with nail-clippers but because the Six-20 holds the film reel in with friction and not spindles, it’s hard to get the roll to spin freely if you do that.
That leaves you with two options: re-roll 120 onto 620 spindles or buy it from a retailer who has done that for you. For the first time out, I ordered a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 from the fine folks at the Film Photography Project but next time, I’ll probably try to roll my own.
Right around that same time, a local photography gallery posted a challenge to shoot a sequence of pictures that symbolized late summer sunsets so I took the Brownie with the roll of Ektar up to the area near the railroad tracks in my neighborhood in the early evening.
The saturated colors of Ektar 100 are perfect for a shoot like this but the Brownie is somewhat of a challenge to shoot. The shutter is fixed at something like 1/30s and you have two choices of aperture controlled by a lever at the top which switches between f/16 and f/11. I used a phone app for a light meter and did my best to approximate a correct exposure with the controls available. Somehow I managed to hold the thing steady enough for the 1/30s shutter and all of the shots came out with decent exposures.
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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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