4am Project with Box Brownie (Photography)

As part of my contribution the the 4am Project I took a set of photos with my digital SLR ( blogged on the day here) and a set of nine photos with my 75 year old Box Brownie No 2 (Model F). 


Here are the photos from the Box Brownie No 2 taken at 4am on 4th April 2009 in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England, UK.

Looking down towards Bore Street:

4amproject lichfield uk: to bore street 

Conduit Street:

4amproject lichfield uk: conduit street

Minster Pool:

4amproject lichfield uk: minster pool

Empty market stalls outside the Heritage Centre:

4amproject lichfield uk: market stalls

Telephone boxes in Market Square:

4amproject lichfield uk: market sq phone boxes

The bus station:

4amproject lichfield uk: bus station

An accidental double exposure at the train station:

4amproject lichfield uk: double exposure

From the upper car park at Lichfield City Train Station looking to the bus station beyond:

4amproject lichfield uk: bus station horizon

Lichfield City Train Station platform with an accidental double exposure as I thought there were more exposures on the film and half wound it on:

4amproject lichfield uk: train station

I used 120 Fuji Superia 100iso film, respooled (by me) for the Box Brownie and measuring exposures from shots with the Nikon D40 (very expensive for a light meter!).

Not having a spare plate for my tripod but needing long (10-16 second) exposures I rested the camera on the ground mainly.  I also made use of a low wall by Minster Pool and an empty market stall in the Market Square.  My assistant Paul used the stopwatch on his phone to help me time the exposures.

Maybe I shouldn’t have cleaned the lens quite so well when I acquired it!  But I’m quite pleased with the results – a great improvement on my first roll of film through it.


  1. You do so well with these old cameras! Very good results, interesting! I think I like the one of Minster Pool best.

  2. First off, I haven’t a clue how you managed to be up at at ’em at 4:00, let alone on point creatively. I’m so impressed. I absolutely love the Minster Pool and the upper car park shots with the glowing lights and bits of colour. I would like to see them very large like paintings. The empty stall shot looks like a vintage print. I’m so impressed that you did these without a tripod and just used what was on hand. Excellent framing.

    I know this word is loaded for people with disabilities, but from one PWD to another: your pursuit of your art is inspiring.

  3. It’s great to see these old cameras being used (he says, feeling guilty about his Ful-Vue which he’s not even repaired yet…) It reminds me a bit of my horror when I was in some museum or other and saw a violin in a display case. Now that’s not what a violin is for. (Though maybe it was a horrible one—that could make it forgivable.

    You’re making me realise that the same is true of cameras: they’re not meant to languish in disuse…

    And the fascinating thing is that many of the results have the character of old photos—to do with the limited exposure settings, quality of the lens, maybe light scattering inside the camera and so on. Very interesting.

    Mind you, with these the yellow from the street lights is a big factor so maybe I’m reacting to that.

    I really like the dramatic effect of the Minster Pool one, with the backlit tree and the reflections.

    Do you mind if I put that one on my blog in a post telling people to come and look at yours?

  4. These just blow me away Rachel, i too cannot believe how you managed to work out all the technical stuff at 4am, never mind find such beauty. Some have the feel of a model town or film set, so strange to see city scenes so empty… well done!

  5. Yee Gods woman — what commitment to one’s art: up at 4 a.m. ! but these were really worth the effort. They have a really enigmatic quality to them that captures that lonley early morning/night feel. There’s a certain mystique about them that must, in part, be down the camera and the lens and of course your own cretaivity. You must have really cleared the old brain fog to work out exposures too: real triumph. ;0)

  6. These are superb. I keep getting inspired by your forays into vintage photography, but never quite manage to suss out the technical stuff. This alone is a feat, let alone producing such great pictures.

    Please, please tell us how come you were up at 4am (and persuaded your lovely assistant to be up and out with you!)

    I really enjoyed looking at these

  7. hi i have just recieved a brownie No 2 model F from ebay in excellent condition and after seeing your brilliant results cant wait to get a roll of film and start shooting. regards mick. ( selsey west sussex )

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