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Since developing in wine is working just fine, here are some papers inserted in a self made pinhole cameras, developed in a beer.  I used the cheapest beer I could get (Lövenbräu 4,2% alc). The papers were expired in 1960’s but still ok…

The recepie:

250 ml beer

2 teaspoons of soda

1 teaspoon of vitamin C






Chutney developer – Ajvarol


Ajvar (chutney) is a tasty and aromatic vegetable relish made of peppers, tomatoes, aubergines and spices. Ajvar is naturally rich in vitamin C/

Ilfospeed 3.1M paper developed in Ajvarol

Ilfospeed 3.1M paper developed in Ajvarol

Ilfospeed 3.1M paper developed in Ajvarol

It works pretty fast, and it is a mess… but it works…


4 teaspoons of chutney
3 teaspoons of water
3 teaspoons of washing soda
1 teaspoon of vitamin C



Red beetroot juice developer – The beetrootol

Did you know that almost anything that contains vegetables develops film if mixed with washing soda and vitamin C?

Well, it does. Today I present you:

The beetrootol

250 ml Red Beetroot juice
2 tsp of washing soda
1 tsp vitamin C

works fine with papers, haven’t tested the films, yet.


Welcome Tina Bele – Piller Cuveeol recipe

Hello readers, I know it was pretty quiet last year here on the blog. It’s not that I had no new ideas or stuff to write about, but just very little time. This year I will hopefully have more time, as I have some pretty new stuff in the pipeline.

One of Tinas tin-pinholes and the resulting picture.

One of Tinas tin-pinholes and the resulting picture.

I am also very proud to have a new member on the site. Tina Bele is quite new in the caffenol (and pinhole) scene and creates awesome art with self made pinhole cameras and home-brewed caffenol based recipes. Tina is kind enough to share her findings with us and will get her own “Alternative Recipes” category here. Tina, please say hello to your new readers.

Hi, my name is Tina Bele. I live in Zagreb, Croatia. I’m an amateur photographer, and after attending a workshop in April, 2014 I fell in love with Pinhole cameras. The whole idea of making cameras, plus developing on my own… made me an addict. I like to build pinhole cameras out of tins and boxes and use Caffenol recipes to develop my papers (since my dog is allergic and can not stand the smell of classic developing chemistry).




My father was an amateur photographer too, travelling around taking shots and doing developments on his own. Since I am having a not so creative job to pay the bills, I enjoy this free time with boxes and tins, and I hope my dad would be proud of me.

I am happy to share my recipes and will start with a recipe out of cheap Rosé Wine. I started loving chemistry, and made some new Caffenol, I mean Wineol recipes. This cocktail contains some extremely cheap Rosé, blackcurrant juice and some washing soda.

The recipe:
250 ml Wine
50 ml black currant juice
2 teaspoons of soda
1 teaspoon vitamin C

Thank you very much, Tina! I am pretty sure we will see some awesome experimental recipes from you, as you have already posted a few in the caffenol Facebook group.


Merry Christmas


I wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you in 2015!


Technical Pan in Caffenol-SMT / Mini Workshop

I recently asked in the Caffenol Facebook group how I should shoot a roll of Kodak Technical Pan. Many people suggested I should shoot it at EI 25 or 50, but I also wanted to know if it is possible to get something useful out of it in EI 200. I took a stroll around a small lake near my workplace and fired away.

When the roll was exposed, I wanted to do something crazy, so I asked again on Facebook in which recipe it should be developed. After 9 suggestions and some calculations by averaging ingredients and times, I had my recipe. For the moment it is called Caffenol-SMT (Caffenol-SoMeThing).

I also wanted to do some video again, and as my Wineol Video has just reached about 15.000 views, it was about time to create something fresh. It shows my way of mixing up caffenol and some other things which I do when I develop film. If you have any comments about how I do things, please use the comment section below, or discuss it in the Caffenol Facebook Group. Warning, the video is rather long , so make yourself a nice cup of coffee, lean back and enjoy 22 minutes caffenol-geek-talk.

Techical Pan in Caffenol on Youtube from Dirk Essl

The recipe comes down to:

1 liter water at 21 degrees C
Washing Soda: 24g (multiply by 2.7 if your soda is crystalline)
Vitamin C: 13g
Instant Coffee: 32g
KBr: 0.4 g
Semi Stand with 6 initial inversions and 3 gentle inversions at 15 minutes.

Here are the uncorrected scans (Autolevel from Vuescan). Please be aware that the film seems to be light damaged, so the top and bottom of the frames are completely white. It however gives a very nice panoramic effect.

Here is the EI200 shot again, which was tweaked a bit in Lightroom:

EI 200

EI 200

I think with the right subject, this film is even usable in EI 200, but your mileage may vary.

The recipe is just missing a proper name now, so this your chance to give it one.
There is a lot more to discover on this site, have a look at our recipes or browse other caffenol addicts in our ‘A Coffee with…’ series.

And remember, whatever you do: Have fun!


A Coffee with…No. 7 – Becky Ramotowski

After a long, long (too long) break, we continue with our Series “A Coffee with…” where we present analog enthusiasts and their work. Today I am happy to talk with Becky Ramotowski, who has a real passion about pinhole cameras and ‘marinating’ prints in caffenol. Becky also wrote an awesome book about the “Secrets of Stargazing”. If you are interested in Astronomy, I can highly recommend this book! Surprisingly, Becky doesn’t drink coffee but enjoys a good glass of red wine, tea or mountain water… (Which all of makes nice caffeic acid based developer) Becky is also a group admin in our beautiful Caffenol Facebook Group, so if you are a Facebook member, go ahead and join our group.

Caffenol: Hi Becky, nice to have you here! Can you please introduce yourself to our readers:

Becky: Hi, my name is Becky Ramotowski, you all might know me as Astro Beck. I live in New Mexico, am a freelance writer, amateur astronomer and like to build pinhole cameras and use caffenol to develop my photos.

Becky Ramotowski

Caffenol: Anything else you want to add about you as a person?

Becky: I grew up in Texas, love football and old cars and pickup trucks. I also like to travel and take photos mainly to remind me of the places I’ve been and not necessarily to record a perfect photo. Oh, and I don’t drink coffee.

Caffenol: What do like about photography in general?

Becky: Photography lets me slow down and let everything soak in. Since I mostly do pinhole photography, I can immerse myself in my surroundings and see what’s going on and really get to know a place. I feel like I get to experience things that a lot of people miss because they are going too fast or are in a hurry.
Photography is more than just looking at and being somewhere and framing the scene. I like to feel the breeze and smell the wind if it’s blowing and listen to birds…it’s all part of the picture for me, even if you don’t see it in the photo I show you, I know it was there. It’s the little extras and nuances like that. It’s like each photo has a secret.

Caffenol: How did you get into caffenol?

Becky: My photographer friend Britt Aximon and her husband Magnus were using it and having terrific results. Their developing and resulting photos really grabbed me!
I was also interested in it as an alternative to the harsh and stinky photo chemicals I had been using. The idea of home brew photo developing also appealed to the mad scientist type of personality I have. Experimenting and mixing up a coffee cocktail that would develop film seemed too good to be true and that the ingredients were easy to find just made it that much more enticing. I found everything I needed except the Vitamin C powder on the shelf at my local grocery store. The Vitamin C powder had to be purchased at a health food store.

Caffenol: What kind of gear do you use? (You can include a picture of your gear if you like) Do you have digital stuff as well?

Becky: Oh man, I have lots of stuff. I have about 30 cameras that range from an old Pentax K1000 that I bought new in 1985 (it still works and I still use it), a Crown Graphic, a Yashica Mat 124G, a handful of Holgas and then I have a herd of pinhole cameras that I bought and some that I have built. I have some old box Brownie cameras that I love and a few Nikons that are used for astrophotography because they are totally manual and have mirror lockup.
I also have a Panasonic Lumix GF-1 Micro-four thirds digital that I use for quick snapshots and video.
Below you can see a few shots of the main gear I use and some of my camera collection.


Caffenol: Which is your favorite camera/lens combination at the moment? Why?

Becky: If you ask me this question tomorrow it will be a different answer, but today I would have to say my 4 x 5 pinhole camera. I like the simplicity of it and the ruggedness of it. I don’t worry about it getting rained on or dropped or knocked over. Besides, if it breaks, I know how to fix it or build a new one. It has character plus it always gets a conversation going when using it in public.
I like all of my other cameras too because they each do something different or reveal a different personality in the photos they make.
Friends sometimes ask me if I could only keep one camera which would it be, and I usually say the Pentax K1000 because I have an emotional attachment to it. It has traveled the world with me and it was the first camera I used when I started freelance work for newspapers. We have a long history together. Oh, and it has a ridiculously sharp f/1.7 SMC Pentax A lens that I love, which may seem kind of weird for a person that loves pinhole as much as I do. I have a pinhole body cap for it too, so maybe that balances everything out.

Caffenol: Which caffenol recipe do you use? Why?

Becky: I mostly use the Delta-STD recipe. It’s the first one I used and had good results with plus I have it memorized. I also like CM-RS which has salt in it. It works nicely with the hard well water everyone has around here.
Experimenting with other ingredients such as lichen, moss and crushed juniper berries because they are abundant is also fun but probably not for everyone. One of the cool things about caffenol is there’s room to experiment if you are adventurous.
I measure by volume when mixing the ingredients and not by weight so I feel like there is room for some “play” when using caffenol. Some readers and caffenol users might frown upon this idea, but I’m fairly laid back and like to let things happen as they will. Making photos should be relaxing and so should developing. If it’s uptight then it’s not fun.

Caffenol: Where do you buy your ingredients for caffenol?

Becky: I buy a cheap Kroger brand of instant coffee called CAFÉ AUTÉNTICO, (which interestingly is a product of Germany) at my local grocery store. The Vitamin C powder comes from a Vitamin Shoppe and the Arm and Hammer washing soda also comes from the grocery store. I can buy everything for under $20.00

Caffenol: Do you shoot Auto-Mode, A-Mode, S-Mode, P-Mode, M-Mode? Autofocus or manual?

Becky: Mostly manual. It’s how I think. For pinhole I just do it by feel, imagining myself being the emulsion collecting photons and going from there. Mind you I’ve had a lot of practice so just feeling how long an exposure should be is easy. Sometimes I mess up, but it’s all part of learning and getting better at it.

Caffenol: How do you scan your Pictures? What kind of tools do you use for post processing?

Becky: My negatives are scanned on an Epson Perfection 4990.
Next I use Photoshop to adjust levels and curves and maybe do a bit of tweaking on the contrast and then dusting, dusting, dusting! It’s dry here so dust is a devil. I have humidifiers in the house and they help, but dust still finds its way onto my negatives. After I scan and make adjustments I put the negatives in archival sleeves in a 3 ring binder and then put that in a file cabinet.
My bathroom does double duty as a darkroom. I use some light blocking material and Velcro it in the skylight to make it dark and a safelight hangs off the shower rod to make an instant darkroom. It’s a small workspace, but it is better than nothing.
I have an old Besseler enlarger but it’s not set up right now. The bathroom needs some rearranging before it can be used. That’s a project for this summer!

Caffenol: How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?

Becky: Mostly by studying other’s photos and going to galleries and looking at some of the famous photographers work and how they used natural light.
When I was 5 years old and had my first camera, my aunt told me to be still and hold the camera level. It’s something I still think about when I have a camera in my hands.
My favorite way to learn about photography is to watch movies. Not movies about photography or photographers but classic or epic movies by time honored directors that make you sit up and notice the cinematography as much as the story that is being told. This is unconventional, but I love studying movies. It has helped me understand framing and light and telling a story with still photos more than anything else. David Lean’s Dr. Zhivago, Sydney Pollack’s Out of Africa and Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven are favorites.

Caffenol: Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?

Becky: This solargraph that I made a few years ago of the Sun’s path during winter solstice.
It was one of the first solargraphs I made specifically for the days of Winter Solstice. Since I’m an astronomer, it has a special meaning for me. It shows a lot of energy in a subdued way and it puts me in place as far as how I fit in a much larger reality. It puts me at ease when I look at it.
This was a tough one to make because I had to leave the pinhole camera in the wild for 9 days and hope that it wasn’t damaged by the bad weather it was left out in.


Caffenol: Any other shots you want to show?

Becky: Yes, thanks! Here are few more favorites:

And here is a photo I made by brushing on caffenol on Harman Direct Positive paper. It was the Delta recipe and I used a foam brush to wet the paper and then kind of moved the caffenol around on the paper for developing. It looks uneven, and rightly so…


Caffenol: Whose work has influenced you most?

Becky: I think every photo I have ever seen has had some influence on me. Whether I like it or not, each photo causes a reaction or emotion that is stored away.
But you probably want names so a couple that immediately come to mind are:
Alfred Eisenstaedt’s, “Children at a Puppet Theater”, this is my most favorite photo of all time and I occasionally think about it when I’m out making photos even though I seldom photograph people.
Dorothea Lange, I can’t say anything about her depression era work that hasn’t already been said.
Pentti Sammallahti is someone I’d like to follow around so his skill would rub off on me.
Phil Bebbington, who is a good friend and makes timeless photographs of small town America.

Caffenol: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?

Becky: That some films would come and go and to not get attached to a particular film because it might not be around forever. Also, it’s never about the camera or gear or film…it’s all about the mind of the photographer.

Caffenol: Where can we find your work? (Flickr, tumblr, personal website, facebook, etc…)

Becky: http://palominopinhole.blogspot.com/

Caffenol: Thank you very much for that inspiring Interview, Becky! I love the idea of imagining being the emulsion, that is something I would like to practice. I would also like to thank you very, very much for helping with me with the Caffenol Facebook Group, it is a pleasure having you in the admin team!

Becky: I’ve been developing film for a long time and it was mostly a “put myself on autopilot” kind of thing. When I discovered caffenol, it took me off autopilot and put me in the seat of a car I wasn’t even sure would run. But, man did it run and it’s been running ever since!

You can be in the caffenol blog as, well! Just contact me, or msg me on FacebookDM me on Twitter and we get your stuff on here!


Merry Christmas


I wish all of you and your families a Merry, Merry Christmas!


LeiCaffenol – Caffenol Workshop in the Leica Gallery Salzburg

Mark your calendars! I will teach a 2 days caffenol workshop from 31.08-01.09.2013 together with Marco Spalluto at the Leica Gallery Salzburg.

This 2 days workshop is suited for absolute beginners in film developing as well as for experienced users that already develop their films at home. No experience in film developing is needed for this workshop.

The only equipment needed is an analog 35mm camera and film. We have a small amount of loan cameras available.

We recommend using Kodak TMax 100/400 and Ilford FP4/HP5. If you would like to use other films please inform us in previous consultation. Almost any film including silde film and colour film works in caffenol. Colour films however will come out Black & White in caffenol.

Workshop topics include:

  • How to expose for caffenol
  • How will my film look like in caffenol?
  • Does any film work in caffenol?
  • What are the differences of all the recipes?
  • Push processing in caffenol
  • How to scan properly
  • Fighting Dust before and after the scan

The price including all equipment is EURO 220,–

Travel and accommodation is not included in the workshop price. Please contact us if you need assistance finding a suitable hotel to stay.

Workshop language is German and English.

To book your spot, please directly contact Lisa from the Leica Gallery per email: salzburg@leica-galerie.at or by phone: +43-662-875254

This Workshop is over. For new offers, please watch this space.

LeiCaffenol Workshop

I am looking forward to seeing you there, we will for sure have 2 wonderful days in a lovely city.


A Coffee with…No. 6 – Gabriel Van Ingen

Today our journey takes us to Nottingham in the UK and we meet up with Gabriel Van Ingen, a photographer that has mostly given up digital. Read on, and look what he has to say.

Caffenol: Hi Gabriel, good to have you here on the caffenol blog. Could you please introduce yourself.

Gabriel: Hi Dirk, I am a photography lecturer and professional photographer based in Nottingham in the Uk. I work and live at  Clear View House where I have a professional darkroom and photographic studio.

Gabriel Van Ingen

Caffenol: Anything else you want to add about you as a person?

Gabriel: I also publish an independent photography magazine called Lumen Magazine which is published every quarter. It is available to read free online at www.lumenmagazine.com

Caffenol: How do you drink your coffee?

Gabriel: I love a good double shot latte or a macchiato. I used to own and run a coffee shop and gallery in the city centre of Nottingham. I really love my coffee!!!

Caffenol: Being a Pro and making a living out of photography, what do like about it in general? Do you shoot a lot in your free time as well?

Gabriel: Everything I do in life revolves around photography. I teach 3 days from 9-9 and the rest of the week is spent in the studio or in the darkroom. I am currently re-building a new darkroom at Clear View House.

I also work as a professional darkroom printer. I have just recently finished some printing for Roger Mayne, an iconic British photographer. The work will be exhibited this November in the Djanogly Gallery in Nottingham

Caffenol: How did you get into caffenol?

Gabriel: I love experimentation and alternative/historical processes. I cannot resist trying out anything that involves the alchemy of photography.

Caffenol: What kind of gear do you use? Do you have digital stuff as well?

Gabriel: I work with mostly film at the moment. I gave up digital over a year ago (apart from some commercial work) I have a collection of film cameras but I mainly shoot with box Brownies, Holgas, a Bronica SQB, a Mamiya 645af, a 5×4, two 10×8 cameras, several half plate and full plate cameras and the largest camera I own os a 8.5×15 inch Banquet camera. I do own a digital fuji x pro 1 which is a great little camera.

Caffenol: Which is your favorite camera/lens combination at the moment? Why?

Gabriel: The two formats I love the most are 6×6 and 10×8. With the 6×6 I shoot mainly with a 150mm lens. I love shooting with my Holga and with the 10×8 cameras. I can use them for film, wet plate, Harman Dp paper and paper negatives. The 10×8 makes great size negatives for Platinum prints.

Caffenol: Did you ever do wedding shots in caffenol? do you offer caffenol development for your clients?

Gabriel: I shoot with Porta 400 on the Mamiya 645 for weddings but I do offer/develop other commercial work in caffenol.

Caffenol: Which caffenol recipe do you use? Why?

Gabriel: I use a variation of the CL recipe. I always stand develop my caffenol films from 1-2 hours.

Caffenol: You combine Platinum printing & caffenol  photography with caffenol. Can you describe us a bit more how both of those fascinating techniques work together?

Gabriel: With wet plate collodion I can make a glass negative with the plate camera or the 10×8 using the wet plate collodion process. Once I have dried the plate I can then contact print onto fibre based paper and develop it in caffenol. With the Platinum printing process I shoot large format 10×8 negatives and develop them in Caffenol. Then I contact print those to make Platinum prints which have the most amazing tones and detail.

Caffenol: You are also a qualified teacher of photography and a lecturer in photography at the University Centre Peterborough. Is caffenol part of your photography courses? If so, what do your students think about it?

Gabriel: Caffenol is one of the many processes that I have introduced to the photography course since I started there two years ago.

I am a firm believer that learning traditional and historical darkroom craft makes photography students not only more informed but better practitioners of the craft. The students absolutely love the historical and alternative processes and many of them decide to use these processes in their final major exhibitions.

Caffenol: Where do you buy your ingredients for caffenol?

Gabriel: I source my ingredients from Silverprint in the UK, or from Ebay as well as from Bostick & Sullivan in the USA.

Caffenol: Among the gadgets that you own, is there something that you wish you hadn’t bought? Why?

Gabriel: A 5×4 fiji Polaroid back for my 5×4. I just bought one as they announced the end of production of the pack film!

Caffenol: How do you scan your Pictures? What kind of tools do you use for post processing? Explain your workflow.

Gabriel: I have recently fallen in love with two films, Ilford FP4 and Adox CHS 100. Both are great for portraits and give the image a certain classic look. I then develop them in Caffenol, stand developed from 1-2 hours depending on the highlight retention/expansion. For web purposes I scan on an Epson v700 Scanner using Silverfast

Caffenol: How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?

Gabriel: I constantly experiment, make mistakes and try again. My library of photographers work is a constant for me, I always spend several hours a week looking through my books. One of the greatest transformations has been through teaching photography; never have I been so analytical about my own work and approach than before I started teaching.

Caffenol: Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?

Gabriel: mmm, that’s a hard one. As yet I have not discovered that image.

Caffenol: Any other shots you want to show?

Gabriel: Sure: These images are from a variety of cameras formats including 6×6, 5×4 and 10×8 Films were Adox chs 100 and FP4 all stand developed.

Caffenol: Whose work has influenced you most?

Gabriel: Bill Brandt and Irving Penn

Caffenol: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?

Gabriel: That Polaroid would stop producing large format. I would have had a fridge full by now!

Caffenol: Where can we find your work?

Gabriel:  I have a website and blog:



I also publish Lumen magazine www.lumenmagazine.com

You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin

Caffenol: Thank you very much for this very interesting Interview! I always find it to be interesting meeting new people and to learn about their style  and technique.

Gabriel: It was a pleasure!

You can be in the caffenol blog as, well! Just contact me, or msg me on Facebook, DM me on Twitter and we get your stuff on here!

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