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The Challenge: Make a camera and film

the castaway camera

On Capraia, we used a mud paste to plug any holes in the box and thus prevent stray light from entering — the only light you want in the box is that coming through the lens. As a final touch, we built a simple tripod to support the camera while we were "out on location."

Having positioned the camera so that a high-contrast image was visible on the screen, we focused the image and placed the home-made photographic paper on top of the screen. Unfortunately, our castaway film was very insensitive and even after about 30 minutes' exposure (in late-afternoon sunshine) no discernible image formed on it.

This is hardly surprising. We really needed to treat our castaway "film" with a developer, as we would if we were using proper photographic film; the developer enhances the initial image that forms on the film. We also needed much longer exposure times than we had available at the end of this particular three-day challenge.