Thursday, 31 December 2009

New Years Eve

So, another year over and God knows how many rolls of film I've shot or cameras I've purchased. I've still not made my fortune but there's always next year so who knows.

So what have I got to look forward to in 2010? Here's a list of items on their way to me at this moment:

8 rolls of 110 Fuji Superia 200
5 rolls of 110 Kodak Ultra 400
Both the above bought for the Superhedz Demekin my wife got me for Christmas.
10 rolls of Kodak Ektachrome EPY 64T 120mm Expired Film
10 rolls Fuji Provia 400X 120 Slide Film
Holga Macro Lens Set MLS-1
Holga Close Up Lens Set
Kiev 60
2 bottles Woodlock Oil (for my shoulder)

Trips planned for next year

Marrakesh (next week end!)
Budapest at Easter
A wedding in Cartagena de las Indias in Colombia in February
Madrid (for work)
Lisbon (for work)

So as you can see I will be doing a fair bit of wandering next year.

Finally below is a photo I took with my Lomo LCA loaded with Ilford Delta 400. I was out cycling along the River Lea in October on a fairly unpleasant day but this scene caught my eye.

The image is abit dark and the cyclist on the path to the left is half obscured in shadow but it is an atmospheric shot nonetheless.

On that note HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Monday, 28 December 2009

Pinhole Lomo LCA

I recently made a couple of paper pinhole Lomo LCA cameras using a template I downloaded from the Lomography site. Follow the link to read the full account of how I made the pinhole camera.

I initially made one camera and tested it out. I have two packs of Agfa Multicontrast paper (gloss) from the days when I used a wet dark room and whilst this paper probably is not the best choice for this task, at least the paper is being used after languishing in my garage for almost five years.

The first two images I took can be seen below.
This is a test shot of my living room with a 15 minute exposure. The paper was developed in Rodinal 1:10 solution for 5 minutes and then scanned onto my mac. This is where one of the disadvantages of using glossy paper becomes apparent as it reflects some of the scanner light back.

The camera gives a nice panoramic negative which needed a hell of alot of photoshop work to retouch it and also remove the glare from the scanner.

My second shot was of me at my computer.
The exposure time was 30 minutes and the image was processed in the same way as the first. One tip I can give is to handle the negatives very gently when developing them. the paper seems to scratch very easy and it's a nightmare to retouch on Photoshop.

Since then I have had a couple more attempts using all three cameras that I made but these unfortunately have been failures. I tried to take some night shots on the night of the winter solstice with a twelve hour exposure - but there must have been a hell of a reciprocity failure as the negatives hardly captured any detail.

I also messed around with two and three hour exposures during the day time - but I suppose I should have realised this would not work.

I have been intrigued by Justin Quinnell's work taking six month exposures and I thought these cameras might be ideal for trying something similar. I currently have one of the cameras set up over a flower pot with tulips. I want to capture the bulbs bursting through the soil, flowering and then dying back on one exposure which I think would be quite an interesting variation on the 6 month exposure. The camera is loaded with the Agfa multicontrast paper and I have no idea whether I will get a usable image.

According to Justin, you don't have to develop the paper with chemicals, just stick it in the scanner and hey presto. I'll be sure to post the results here as well as any other images I take.

If anybody has advice they can give me or wants to leave a comment or swap links, let me know!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Lisbon with my Lomo LCA

I get to go to Lisbon three or four times a year with work and when I have to stay overnight, rather than get the earliest flight out and the latest one back, I always take my Lomo LCA with me and go out for a wander first thing in the morning. These were taken one sunny morning in October with expired Ilford Delta 400.

The Lomo gives mixed results - quite often images are over exposed or half covered in random light likes. Unlike other aficionados of toy cameras I don't like light leaks. I also don't like sprockets - sorry but I don't and I know that makes me unusual amongst the Lomograpy community, though that's a topic for a different post.

Getting back to Lisbon and my Lomo LCA, these were two of my favourite images. When Lomo works it shows what a great little camera it is, though it can be frustrating at times. Both images were taken near the city centre. You can see the full gallery by clicking on Lisbon.

Finally it's Christmas Eve so Merry Christmas! This has been a very un Christmas like post and I actually spent the morning out taking landscapes of the snow covered countryside but I have got such a back load of images to process that I probably won't publish those til June.

Please feel free to comment on any image or swap links with me!

Monday, 21 December 2009


There are only so many Madonnas col Bambino (I'm not talking about the singer on an adoption spree here) you can look at without your head exploding as I found out during a recent trip to Florence, Siena and San Gimignano with my wife.

Florence is one of the architectural and cultural jewels of the western world and the amount of art on display is just bewildering, almost too much really - luckily though I had my holga at hand (as well as my Nishika N8000) and alot of films of all different types to keep my sanity intact.

Overall I was abit disappointed with alot of the photos I took and I the limitations of the holga's fixed lens did become apparent......the Tele and Wide Lenses I had ordered on ebay a few weeks before still hadn't arrived which was a shame - I am not a huge fan of the tele lens but the wide angle would have helped my capture some of the architecture.

However, I did get some shots I was pleased with and here are my particular faves.
This first image was taken in the Pitti Palace. The film is Fuji Realia (expired & bought on ebay) and I like the angle and the strong colours. I did think about cropping out the buildings but that would have necessitated cropping out alot of the sculpture's outstretched arm and I didn't want to lose the sense of drama in it's pose.
The Ponte Vecchio in Cross process Kodak E100G. Not my favourite film at all for cross processing. The film has a yellow caste when xpro'd that is far to strong for my liking and the yellow just drowns out the image. This shot took alot of Photoshopping: I set the blue on the colour balance to 100, darkened the highlights and thumped it with alot of gamma before getting the picture to look any where near interesting.
A detail of the Santa Croce - can't remember which film I used and I can't be @rsed to dig the film out so let's call it Fuji Realia again. Actually my favourite shot of all; this image has a nice strong sky which contrasts well with the stone work. I was going for an off centre view of the church (just like the way the holga gives off centre images if you don't compensate for the lens being to the side of the view finder) and it came out well.

I'll post the images from Siena and San Gimignano separately. You can find the full gallery of travel photographs here and feel free to leave comments or exchange links with me

Sunday, 20 December 2009

The Toy Camera Book

A quick plug for the Toy Camera Book. Some dedicated enthusiasts from are putting together a book of images taken with toy cameras. I have submitted some images and will respond to the next call for travel and flora/fauna related shots. The book will make a great Christmas/Birthday/whatever present when it comes out and I am sure will look good on any coffee table. You can find the link to the toy camera book website here.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Autumn in Epping Forest

At the beginning of November, I went down to Epping Forest with my Holgas to shoot the multi-coloured leaves on the trees. I had the luck to visit on a beautiful, bright morning and caught the trees in the height of their autumn glory.

I managed to spend a couple of very pleasant hours wandering through the forest taking photos surrounded by every shade of red, yellow, brown and gold imaginable. I took 6 or 7 rolls of Portra 160 NC and 400NC. Unfortunately, the shadows were just a little too dark and so most of the photos I took were unusable. Any way, at least a couple of the landscape photos I took turned out alright and the ones I like the most are below:
Actually the above image was taken with Kodak Ektachrome EPP which I then crossed processed. Ektachrome gives bright, clean colours when xpro'd - I bought 50 rolls of expired Ektachrome about a year ago and I have about fifteen left - it's one of the best film purchases I've made. Another great buy was the 30 rolls of expired Portra 160 and 400NC I bought off a Canadian bloke on Ebay. I'll have to list my favourite films on another post.

Anyway; back to Epping Forest:
This second photo is one of the few that managed to capture the colours of the trees without being shadows blacking out half the trees.
This last photo really shows how Portra captures vibrant, rich colours from the red holly berries to the turquoise sky.

Since I visited Epping Forest winter has set in and I find myself just using black and white to better capture the mood of winter. More of that to come.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

B&W Champagne

These two photos were taken back in August on the last day of my trip to the champagne region. We visited Rheims and the heavens opened. I fired off half a roll of HP5+ and these are my two favourite shots.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Broxbourne Woods and the Holga Wide Lens

The day after I visited Amwell Nature Reserve, I went down to Broxbourne Woods Nature Reserve clutching my Holga and my Tele and Wide lenses. The light was pretty poor so I left my colour films in the car and grabbed a handful of black & white film and headed into the woods.

The two images below are three of the best shots from that day (follow the link to see the the rest of the B&W landscape photographs).

The first is taken with the Holga's normal lens.
The second with the Tele Lens:
Note the exaggerated vignetting - it sort of works with this tunnel like image but in general I'm not a huge fan.

Finally an image taken with the wide lens

The results with the wide lens are better than those using the tele lens - but in many cases the vignetting seems to be off centre which make most of the photos I took with this lens look badly cropped and that's something I don't like.

These photos are part of my ongoing project to document the countryside around Broxbourne and the Lea Valley Regional Park.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Holga Landscapes of Amwell Nature Reserve

Amwell Nature Reserve is a former gravel pit near the village of Ware in Hertfordshire. It forms part of the larger Lee Valley Regional Park. My personal project is to photograph the Regional Park and other nature reserves in and around the Hertfordshire town of Broxbourne using a variety of different format cameras to produce a documentary record of this lovely area which stretches for 26 miles along the banks of the River Lea.

You can find many more photos of the Lea Valley and Broxbourne here on my site.

These two images were taken with my Holga which was loaded with Kodak Portra 400NC. I have recently bought the Holga Wide Angle and Tele lenses and this was my first chance to test them out. The first shot below is taken using the Holga's usual lens.

The photo looks like an old landscape painting - I had to fiddle around with the colour balance abit to get rid of a strong magenta cast on the scanned file and so the shot ended up with quite a warm feel to it.

The second image was taken from exactly the same position, with the same film but this time with the tele lens - I wanted to see if I could get a bigger image of the cows in the field.

There's not a huge amount of magnification but the vignetting is more exaggerated. When you fit the Tele lens you need to ensure the lens is focused to infinity (which it was here). When I studied the file at 100% size in Photoshop it was not as sharp as the first image, but the vignetting does give the photo a nice effect and I'm not sure which I like best.

You can see the full gallery of Holga Landscapes by clicking on the link