Box Brownie: Lessons in Light

It’s been a little while since I posted anything about my rather lovely Kodak Box Brownie camera, if the truth be told I have been using my digital a lot more over this autumn and winter and part of the reason for that is the light, or lack of it!

I posted a little guide to the brownie’s features a while back and in that I spoke about how you to control the aperture on this camera (the amount of light you allow to enter the lens and hit the film).

dsc02321My Brownie only has 3 basic settings. The lever which has 3 different sized holes in it simply pulls up out of the body of the camera. When it is in a closed position, pushed right in, it is at it’s widest aperture (for use on cloudy days/winter).  One click out, the middle position, is for bright evening/morning light.  The third position, with the lever pulled right out, is for very bright sunshine/summertime .

So that’s the theory but I want to talk about the results.  To me photography, especially photography with an ancient camera isn’t and cannot be an exact science.  But surely is half the fun!

Take for example these three pictures:



All taken at very different times and places The top one is Tregeseal stone circle near St Just in Penwith, it was taken in the evening, I remember debating at the time whether I was wasting one of my precious 8 shots because of the light levels.  The one at Holywell was taken on a very bright blue skied sunny day in the middle of summer and the third of Dupath well was in the early morning.  With all I used the required aperture position.  And the result is these gentle, soft images with loads of textures and inclusions.  So different from the shots below.


The sharpness, the detail and the deep shadows in these makes me very excited!  I have no idea what was different or what I did differently on each occasion. (As I have said before I am no expert.) But that I guess is the point of this post.  The fun that can be had from the unexpected, the uncontrollable and the unexplained!

These last shots are from Exmoor, unusually I took 3 pictures of one place! That’s how impressed I was with the ancient Tarr Steps clapper bridge!


For more posts about my box brownie showing you how to load the film or the other awesome features follow this link: Box Brownie Photos

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6 thoughts on “Box Brownie: Lessons in Light

  1. I’ve just discovered this post and am very glad I did. My personal favourites are the stone circle and the well. Both images are so timeless and evocative – really lovely work!

    I had a Brownie box camera when I was a child and for me, it was like a magic wand – you pointed it at something you wanted to immortalise and the Brownie would ‘remember’ that particular moment for you 🙂

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