First Time 35mm in Stereo

Short Story About Stereo Photography

Freezing cold in the moment and only one month to Christmas.

My interest in stereo photography started about two years ago. I saw my first stereo paper pairs and was fascinated what was in front of me. Strange I thought. Those pictures were made like nearly 100 years ago and I felt I was standing right there.

We all know 3D movies. This is something I would call ordinary nowadays. But in that time it was something new, something special.

Stereo photography had it success in the 1950s when I wide range of U.S. citizens explored the Stereo Realist camera made by David White. There were already stereo cameras on the market but mostly in Europe. One of the best known camera is the Verascope F40 made by french manufacture Jules Richard. The Stereo Realist was still expensive compared to the time this cameras cost nearly 1000 USD, so it was still something luxury that not everybody could afford, but it was the start signal for a new way of photography to normal people.

Animated Stereo Pair To Illustrate The Depth Of Field

With the success of David Whites camera other companies started producing stereo cameras too and there were two different models which vary in size of the pictures or coupled range finders etc.

To the fellas who are interested in the history of stereoscopy you will find a ton of information in the internet.

The First Exposures

Back to the present. I already owned a Stereo Realist but never used it before. Why you may ask. Well, I have absolutely no idea. Maybe I was kind a afraid to fail I can’t tell. A couple of weeks ago I used at general a stereo camera for the first time, namely my LOMO Sputnik. So after developing the film I contact printed the first images and was impressed. So I thought I should dig deeper in stereo photography again. And now I’m sitting here. I ordered a copy of the Stereo Realist Manual and thought it would be a great way to improve my knowledge about stereo photography in general. And yes it did.

After I read my first 80 pages of the book, I spontaneously loaded some old HP5 film in the camera when my wife asked if I want to join them on a walk. I didn't know what to expect, so I played around. I took some pictures of my kids, my wife, casual things I noticed. The first exposure was metered the others were guessed according to my experience. So a short city walk later I came home with approx. 24 stereo pairs. Of course I immediately developed them (Rodinal 1:50 for 12min) and observed the results. Hell yeah, my first 35mm stereo images turned out to be good. Sure the camera made the most of the work but I was proud that I had something in my hands. Since I never used the camera, there could be so many issues (beside the one I already knew that the long shutter speeds are not correctly working) but neither the expired film nor the camera itself let me down.

After the negatives hang to dry I started to scan them. As you can see I animated the stereo pairs to a GIF file to create the illusion how it might look framed and projected or viewed in a stereo viewer. The creation was more quick and dirty just to show some results. You can even see some Newton rings from the glass I used since I scanned the whole strip including the edge marks. Now that I have some negatives what will be the next step?

Contact Copying To Get A Positive The next thing I want to try is to contact copy the film on an Ortho film so I have directly a positive image. I will use Ortho film because it's not sensitive to red light, so I can develop the film pretty comfortable in my dark room on sight. The only problem I have is how to determine the right exposure. We will see if it works but I came to the conclusion to use my enlarger and a light meter. In the theory I thought I will put the lens of the enlarger on a f-stop the light meter is showing. In my example f/4.0. The exposure time is 8 sec but metered trough the film it's 30 sec. If I include calculating the Schwarzschild effect of the film I'll need to expose it to 60 sec. That's the theory we will see if it turns out as I think. To be continued...

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