How it works

You will receive the Terrapin in the mail ready to go with a roll of film to shoot.

You will shoot the roll of film and develop it, scan it, and post your favorite photos photos on this blog (You will be invited to register once the camera is on its way to you). You will also share the scanned photos with the person who sent you the camera. ( is a great service for this).

In the meantime, you will shoot another roll of film through the camera. When you finish the roll, rewind the film  so it will be ready to go for the next person. Make sure the little “1” shows up in the red window!

Use the hashtag #TATLPinswap or #gitswap when discussing the project on Twitter and Instagram. This way we can track where in the world the camera is. You can follow these hashtags by opening the footer of this blog (click the circle with the + sign at the bottom of the page).

If you don’t already know the next person on the list contact me and I will hook you up so you can get their address.

Let me know when you mail the camera so I can update the participant page.

Exposure tables for the terraPin:


Notes from Todd about the terraPin:

There is not much friction inside the camera, and one should always check the frame indexing before making a shot, especially if you are trying to double over another shot and if the camera has been handled some.  There should be enough margin between frames, for the occasional bumped knob, but low holding friction is something to consider.
The camera is put together in “right hand fashion” such that the supply spool is on the left, and the takeup spool on the right, the side of the shutter. I term these secondary and primary knobs, respectively.  Additionally, there is a an arrow on the top of the frame inside the camera to remind you which way to load. If someone wants to load it backwards, they need to communicate how they loaded it to the next person who gets the filmswap.
Winding with two knobs is pretty cool for a couple of reasons –
1) if you wind too far and overshoot the frame, it’s trivial to back it up.  The trick is to rewind further than you need and then take it up again.  The film has an inherent springiness and very subtle adjustments in indexing have a way of slipping.  See low friction note above.
2) The whole “fat roll” issue seems to be moot if the supply knob is kept under a gentle traction while winding the last of the spool.  There is a film clip in the camera, and I recommend you use it on the side the exposed film will be unloaded from.  For the GitSwap, the film should always come out of the takeup side because the camera is passed along with the exposed film.


Note: We are in the process of rebooting the project after a long hiatus. Stay tuned for new info!


22 thoughts on “How it works

Comments are closed.