South Bank Spraypaint

Some more of my photos from the London trip, this time of the grafitti around the South Bank (if you look you can see the blurred skaters). Nothing ‘special’ about these, I just loved the colours which I think look better on film than they would have on digital, something about the way film captures images just, well, works…I think anyway!

Shot on Ultramax 400, Pentax MX with (probably) the Hoya 28mm lens

Five Photos of a Woman Drummer

A few weeks ago I was walking down Oxford St, heading towards Paddington, when I heard amazing drumming; on getting closer it became apparent that it was a young woman seriously getting her groove on. I headed over for a closer look and then realised that not only was it great drumming, it was a great photo opportunity. Check out her Instagram @ladybananamusic

I was shooting Kodak Ultramax 400 on my old Pentax MX, but it was a really sunny day so I managed to shoot at 1/500 or 1/1000 to freeze (more or less) the action. I really like the way these turned out, and while I didn’t see the bystanders when I was shooting, but they make a couple of these images.

Norwich on Expired Delta 3200

A while ago a friend was clearing out his film fridge and said did I want anything, well that would be a yes so I said ‘surprise me’. Among the stuff were some rolls of Delta 3200 which expired in 2004, so significantly out of date but I knew he’d have looked after it. We were going away to Norwich (‘A Fine City’) for the weekend and I knew that while I was taking my 6d digital it’s not a great camera to carry for popping into the city, especially as the forecast was for a bit of rain…well in the end…a lot of rain! So I loaded it into my Pentax MX and as I was in experiment territory put the Hoya (remember them?) 2.8 28mm lens on the front. I thought that would be a good nightime city scape lens, and also practically it goes to infinity at 3m and I don’t manually focus so good in low light these days. Given the age of the film I shot it at 1600, which is also the fastest film speed the MX can deal with, and decided that as it was largely sacrificial film which cost me nothing and was only going to cost me a shot of developer and some time to process I’d just shoot it for shit and giggles.

There were 5 or 6 on the roll I thought were quite nice, and after I scanned them decided that a blue split tone gave them a nice effect. Pulled the contrast up a bit and left it at that.

I definitely want to get some in date 3200 and try some more city at night photography with it, though I’ll have to take a light meter or guess the exposure on the MX…

Foggy Tintype

I was walking to work this morning through the mist, well almost fog and decided a photo was worth taking “and I’ll decide what to do later”. Later turned out to be loading it into the tin type app.. I think it works, bit of fun…

Delta 3200

I’ve had a couple of rolls of Delta 3200 which I got from a friend in the fridge for a while, there’s going to be a chance for some city centre evening photography coming up this weekend so I thought I’d break it out. Expiry date of 2004 so I’m going to rate it at 1600, which is the highest ISO my Pentax MX can take. Coupled with the f2 widest apature on the vintage 50mm I bought in 1978 (or maybe the 2.8 22mm of the same vintage, not decided yet) I reckon I could be in with a chance of getting something at least…

I prophesy grain like marbles though!

Morocco ’88 (part two)

I’ve got it down to the final 31. Interestingly, even now shooting digital I still psychologically feel that nobody wants to look at more than a roll when they look at photos so 36 or less is a magic number! It’s been less of a tough sort than I thought it might be, I’ve had to let go of images I liked, but which in the end I decided just didn’t have it.

The final count was, of the 31, 23 were ones which I’d originally put into the album with 8 new entrants. I think this is because, frankly, a lot of the ones which didn’t make it into the album, which was originally 80 images, just werent that good and now I probably wouldn’t have even tried to take, or would have taken ‘better’ so statistically most of the worthwhile ones would have been in that 80 image subset.

So now it’s going to be down to a lot of scanning….here’s where I find if investing in Vuescan was worth the money 🙂

Morocco ’88 Revisted: part one

In 1988 Sue and I visited friends of her’s in Morocco. My memories, to be frank, are not great: I’d never been abroard before, it was very different to anything I’d seen in my life, it was very hot, and I got food poisoning (the only time I was happy to get on an airplane and be presented with cardboard food processed to within an inch of it’s life was on the way home). But I took a lot of photos, which in the days of film meant less than it did now but definitely a fair few rolls of, I suspect, Kodacolour II.

These got sorted through and the best 80 put into a flip album of the trip: 80 being chosen because it’s the number of pockets in the album rather than for artistic or philosophical reasons. The rest went into a file box where they’ve sat for the past 31 years, and I doubt I’ve looked through the album more than half a dozen times. Quite often I get an old negative out and scan it to put it on my blog or Instagram, and I found myself wondering three things about the Morocco trip

  1. If I were picking now, would I pick the same images as the strongest?
  2. What do they look like scanned from the negatives and digitally processed rather than the somewhat bland prints from Supersnaps I got back in ’88?
  3. Back then I sequenced them chronologically, would I do that again now?

So I’ve taken them out of the album, numbering them in order so I know which were in the original sort, I want to put the album back as it was because it’s part of our history and also represents my photographic thinking thirty one years ago, though I’m pretty sure I wasn’t thinking like a photographer back then! I’ve mixed up the album photos with the spares for each town and picked out the ten or so images I think are the strongest, eh photo above shows the town of Meknes. The next step will be to take the ones I’ve picked for each location and pull them down to the forty strongest overall. I sense this is going to be tougher, but I’m following more or less the process I go through from a shoot now where I hammer through the images in Lightroom accepting or rejecting, then go through a process of making choices, doing some processing at which point I invariably decide some just are not working, then pulling out the small percentage of the originals to go here, or my website, or social media. I’ve already found something I’d hoped which is that I’m removed enough from the taking for them almost to seem like somebody else’s images rather than mine, though a lot do still make me absolutely remember taking the photo, and the circumstances around that. Lots of these don’t make it into what you might call the semi-finals as one thing I’ve learned is that just because it’s a massive memory jogger for me doesn’t (necessarily) make it a strong image which somebody else might enjoy.

But in a lot I’m catching a faint smell of heat and dust; of of Rick and Ilsa.