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Photographer Makes DIY Lenses with Cake Molds and Epoxy

In an effort to problem herself, Italian photographer Ursula Ferrara has made her personal lenses for her large-format movie digital camera utilizing plastic epoxy and silicone cake molds.

Ferrara is a photographer, painter, and animation movie director from Italy who first grew to become all for images at age 13 when she began taking pictures together with her father’s Leica. She is the writer of a number of brief animated movies which have been acknowledged in movie festivals comparable to Cannes, Berlin, and Locarno. She commonly experiments with completely different photographic methods, which incorporates converting an old camper van into a giant camera in addition to beforehand changing a Lomography Lomo’Instant Wide into a camera that can take tiny wet plate collodion photos.

For her most up-to-date venture, Ferrara determined to make her personal lenses for her mid-1900s-era 8×10 Eastman Business large-format digital camera. She tells PetaPixel that the thought to take action got here from her previous the place she has constructed many cameras together with a 16×20-inch with scrap Ikea elements, so she needed to push herself to completely different challenges and try and make her personal lenses.

“I attempted a design that used ice, nevertheless it wasn’t excellent,” she says. “However working with water received me fascinated by utilizing resin.”

Ferarra says that she first discovered the epoxy she needed to make use of, which ended up being a transparent casting resin, after which bought a set of silicone cake molds that she would use to type the curves of the optics.

She says she ended up making dozens of various lenses at completely different sizes with completely different curves and thicknesses in an try and mimic what she noticed in industrial glass lenses.

“I made many errors,” she tells Petapixel. “Mainly, I stored repeating the identical mistake involving the curvature till I understood that there was a virtually imperceptible flattening on the bottom of every mildew. So I lastly corrected that by tilting the mildew at an angle and was in a position to get the right form. I modified the place of the mildew because it dried so the curvature was good.”

She says the method of trial and error took her about three months earlier than she created a set of optics that truly labored. The lenses that “failed” would lead to pictures that have been far too blurry to be thought-about usable. However as soon as she had a set she was pleased with a set of lenses, she mounted them to her large-format digital camera.

She selected to make use of a plano-convex lens design that might focus by way of a small diaphragm. Plano-convex lenses mix one spherical floor and one flat floor and are easy, all-purpose focusing parts. The picture above exhibits her diaphragm, which she positioned about three centimeters behind the principle curved optic earlier than pointing it at a topic.

He design labored, and beneath are just a few pattern pictures that she captured utilizing her customized, hand-made, epoxy lens:

Although she has made cameras earlier than, Ferarra says she has by no means made optics and has no historical past with optical design. The truth that she was in a position to make a working plastic lens she says was “fortunate.” Extra probably, it was a mixture of previous experiences with constructing her personal cameras and understanding the ideas of images. Regardless of the case, her completed product isn’t any much less spectacular.

For extra from Ursula Ferrara, make certain to take a look at her website.

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