Welcome to my blog.  I normally don't have a lot of time; so, my posts tend to be rather short. But if I find something interesting and have some time to post; I will create a blog entry.

Awagami Factory Paper

I have started working with a very nice inkjet printer paper now available from Moab called Moenkopi Washi Unryu 55.  This is a traditional Japanese Washi long fiber mulberry paper produced by the Awagami Factory in Japan.  Moab is currently selling three papers produced by the Awagami Factory under the Moenkopi Washi label; Unryu 55Kozo 110 and Bizan 300.

The photograph below was taken with the Unryu 55 paper lit from the side to show the fiber texture in the paper.

DSC 5026

I was originally concerned the texture of the paper would be a problem for my HP Z3200; but, the Z3200 does a very nice job when printing to this paper.

The Unryu 55 paper itself is a delicate looking paper with some translucent qualities.  That being said; the paper is actually very sturdy.  The long fibers make it somewhat more difficult to tear the a cotton rag paper of the same weight.

The Awagami Factory produces many other papers which are not available from Moab.  Sample packs can be purchased directly from the Awagami Factory.  The Awagami Factory website also has a good history of paper making and close up photographs of all of their papers.

About Pinhole Optics Designer

The Pinhole Optics Designer software is now available as a service on this web site. The Designer can generate a PDF file suitable for photo reduction; and, currently supports the generation of Pinholes, Zone Plates and Pinhole Sieves.

I developed this software for my own experimental work; and, am interested in any feedback anyone can give me with regard to the software.

I currently have the generation of Photon Sieves disabled because I am working on improving the performance of the algorithm.

Light Blue Optics

Following is a link to the technology for Holographic Laser Projection (HLP™) from Light Blue Optics Technology Oveview

The Impossible Project

The Impossible Project is a group which has acquired the former Polaroid factory in Enschede Netherlands.  Their aim is to produce new films for instant photography.  The group has announced a press event scheduled for March 22, 2010 with details.

More information on the project can be found on their original web site The Impossible Project 2009.

Existing stocks of instant film, cameras and accessorise can also be purchased from their web site.

MIT Course on Optics

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has much of their course content available on the Internet their MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) program.  Of particular interest to me is their course on Optics.  The course includes lecture notes, problem sets and a video introduction.

Transparent Film Base

UV/Vis spectral scans of film I have tested with can be found on the Film Base page.

Zone Plates

I have spent quite a bit of time working on creating my own zone plates.  The basic problem has been developing a technique that can produce good quality zone plates using simple, and available, technologies.  

I print a negative image of the zone plate to paper and use a use a 35mm camera, with high contrast film, to photograph the print.  The camera is positioned a precise distance from the print to accurately photo reduce the printed image onto the film.  The developed film, now the zone plate, is then placed into a slide mount for easy handling.

Image of Zone Plate


Epson Stylus Pro 7600 with Matte Black ink printing on Aurora White paper from RedRiver Paper.  The Epson Photo Black ink is much more reflective then the Matte Black ink.  The reflected light shows up on the film; and, produces a poor quality zone plate.  The print size I am using a 24" x 24".  

Photo Setup

The optical rail is built using extrusions from 80/20, Inc. Two photo floods are positioned on either side of the camera at 45 degree angles with respect to the optical rail and the print to be photographed.  The optical rail has a 24" x 24"foam core board on which the printed zone plate is mounted.  The print is simply clamped to the foam core board using OXO clips.  The optical rail is not entirely necessary; and, the photograph can be made using a tripod, but, the rail ensures the camera is perpendicular to the print; and, allows distance between the print and the camera to be easily changed.


With regard to pinhole photography; the majority of my work has been using Polaroid 4x5 sheet film.  Unfortunately, Polaroid discontinued production of instant films in 2008.

I've tried the majority of films which were manufactured by Polaroid; and, found I prefer using Polaroid Type 72 Black & White instant sheet film for pinhole photography. Type 56 Sepia is also very good with very nice tonal qualities.  

I have tried using Type 59 and Type 79 color film; but, the results were far less then satisfactory.  The Polaroid color films are not made for the long exposures necessary for pinhole photography.  Note: Polaroid color films have horrible reciprocity failure characteristics.

The photo below, of St. Philomena's church in Lansdowne, was taken using Polaroid Type 72 using the Zero Image 4x5 camera with a focal length of 50 mm and an exposure of 1 second.

St. Philomena's RC Church

Rollei Ortho 25

From my work developing zone plates; I have found I enjoy working with Rollei Ortho 25.  Ortho film in general is not sensitive to the red region of the spectrum; so, the film response is quite different then a classic B&W film like Efke 25.  In addition, since Rollei Ortho is not sensitive to red, it can be developed in a tray under a red safelight.

Film Base

Rollei ATP

plot of mid infrared transmittance of Rollei ATP film

Rollei Ortho 25

plot of mid infrared transmittance of Rollei Ortho 25 film

The base of a film and unexposed emulsion may look clear; but, some film is more clear then others. For example; Rollei Ortho 25 has a uniformly clear base across the entire visible spectrum.  TMax is also uniformley clear; but, the amount of transmittance is lower.  The maximum transmittance of TMax is 58% while the maximum transmittance of Rollei Ortho is 70%.

Note: These scans were produced on an HP 8450A UV-Vis Spectrophotometer and plotted using an HP 7550 pen plotter.  Both pieces of equipment were manufactured in the early 1980's.

There is a good piece of software called GraphClick which will interpret scans of plotted data and extract the data points.


Here are a couple GigaPan images I have taken in Lansdowne. These images are served from the site and use a flash viewer. It will take a few seconds to load the images depending on your connection speed.

Saint Philomena Church Lansdowne Pennsylvania

First Presbyterian Church of Lansdowne


Camera Equipment

Pinhole Photography

Eureka Lab Book - Manufacturer of scientific and professional notebooks since 1890.  Eureka will also custom emboss company logo's on the cover of the books.

Camtech Photo Services - Olympus OM Repair

High Performance computing on Mac OS X

B&H Photo Video - I purchase most of my equipment and supplies from B&H because of their quick shipment and excellent packaging.


My official Bio can be found on the Appligent web site.  Information about Portable Document Format (PDF) and my PDF Blog can be found on the Appligent Labs web site.

I started taking pictures in the 1960's using my mothers Kodak Duaflex camera which she purchased in the early 1950‘s.  I still enjoy using the Duaflex because of its incredible simplicity.  There are no focus, shutter speed or aperture controls. Simply point and shoot.  Unfortunately, Kodak discontinued manufacturing 620 film in 1995.  Though, 120 film can be wound onto 620 spools; and, there are some companies who do this commercially.  For example, 620 film can be purchased from B&H Photo Video.

Since that time I have worked with many different cameras; from fancy single lens reflex cameras with multiple lenses; to antique box cameras and even pinhole cameras.  For example:

  • Zero Image 2000 - Simple and elegant pinhole camera which uses 120 film.
  • Zero Image 4x5 - The workhorse of my pinhole work.
  • Olympus OM-1n - This is the camera I have wanted since it was introduced in the mid-1970's.
  • Leica DLux-3 - Small with manual exposure and RAW files
  • GigaPan Imager - Robotic camera mount for building huge panoramic photographs.

No matter the vintage or technology; the function of a camera is to capture an image.  The secret of photography, regardless of the type of camera, is to learn where to point the camera and when to snap the shutter.

Copyright 2015 by Mark Gavin