Wednesday, 27 January 2010

The Third & The Seventh

This is a lovely short film by Alex Roman. Looking at architectural arts from a photographic perspective.

The Third & The Seventh from Alex Roman on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The Travelling Toy Camera Project

I recently joined the The Travelling Toy Camera Project. Organised by one of the members of the forum the project involves sending a toy camera around the world via all the participants who will keep the camera for a week, shoot a roll of 24 exposures before sending it on to the next member of the chain.

The camera in question is a Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim, a wide angle 35 mm point and shoot which gives panoramic shots. being the Wandering Holga I could hardly not join in and so I look forward to receiving the camera in due course.

I have a stack load of Kodak TriX films in my freezer just waiting to be shot and I will post the results in due course.

It looks like the project is going to be a lot of fun.

Admiral's Walk Lake, Broxbourne, Herts. Taken on a frosty morning with my Holga loaded with expired Ektachrome EPP100, xpro'd.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Looking Back at my First Holga Film

These two shots were taken with the first roll of film I shot with my first Holga. The film used was Ilford HP5 and when I saw these two images I knew I was hooked.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Develop Your Landscape Photography by Developing Your Own Film.

I recently read a good post about how to develop your own black & white film at home, and that set me thinking. I develop all my own film because if you really want to understand the photographic process you have to be involved in the whole process.

Tripping the shutter is half the battle and some of the most important decisions affecting the final look of an image take place in the processing stage and so, I think, are too important to be left to Boots or Snappy Snaps, or whatever your local lab is called.

I started to develop my own film after having taken a photography course at night school many years ago. The teacher recommended I buy a Mamiya C330 medium format TLR, if I was serious about landscape photography, so I did.

A month later I set off to Corsica to walk the Haute Route du Corse which is one of the toughest long distance hikes in Europe - two weeks of magnificent scenery but killer climbs and descents. So I packed my ruck sack with tent, food, stove etc., etc., heavy camera, even heavier tripod, quite abit of film, filters, spare lens and spent the next two weeks sweating blood lugging the camera around, but taking what I hoped would be great photos and my first adventure in medium format landscape photography.

On my return to London I hobbled off to Jessops to get my film developed and two weeks later I picked the films up. You can imagine how pleased I was when I tried to print from the negatives only to find that all of them were covered with scratches - some negs looked as if a cat with very sharp claws and ice skates had been dancing on them.

That was over ten years ago and it wasn't until I invested in Photoshop a couple of years ago that I was able to get anything useable from those films

At that point I realised that I would never again let anybody else touch my film again.

The excellent blog post I alluded to above got me thinking and I decided to write down why I feel so strongly that, if you want to be serious about your landscape photography, you should develop your own film. You can read the full article here.

Finally, here's a picture of Corsica
I walked up to the highest point in the photograph, down to the lake and up the other side, where I took this photo, and then down into the next valley - which took a long, back breaking day with a camera that weighed as much as a small car. Lovely view though!

Saturday, 16 January 2010

The 8.18 to London Liverpool St

This was an 8 second exposure of the train I normally catch to work in the morning. The film is Ilford Delta 3200 pushed to ASA 25000.

One day I hope to call this photograph "The Train I Used to Catch in the Morning"

Friday, 15 January 2010

Pinhole Landscapes

These three landscape photographs were taken on the same day as the photo in my last post. The first two are of the River Lea near Cheshunt and the last one is of Bowyers Water, a gravel pit near by.

Using the Holga 120 wpc pinhole makes me realise what it is I love about photography. It's not so much about the photographic process as about seeing the landscape. These photos needed 8 or 16 second exposures and gave me, the photographer, the chance to really see the landscape and appreciate it's beauty. The camera seems to drink in the view and absorb the atmosphere and so did I whilst making the exposures. That is not something that you can do with your face stuck to the back of a DSLR, worrying about white balance, etc.

I enjoy photography because I enjoy seeing and that is what these simple cameras allow me to do.

Hope you like the photos, here's a link to the gallery of landscape photographs on my website, I'll post a couple more soon. Feel free to comment, follow or swap links.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

A Foggy morning on the River Lea with my Holga 120 wpc Pinhole

I have no idea why these panoramic photos are so small - I suppose I have to change my lay out but I am not sure how to do that. Anyway, click on the image to see it in full size.

This is one of a series of black & white landscape photos I took back in November on a cold, foggy morning. Towards the end of the year I start taking the odd day off to burn through what holidays I have left and I decided to take my Holga 120 wpc out to capture the lovely winter atmosphere of the morning.

I ended up shooting several rolls trying out some different b&w films I had just bought and I will publish some of the better ones shortly.

I have posted before that I started my own personal project to document the Lea Valley Regional Park and countryside around Broxbourne in Herts and these photos very much are a part of that project. I want to try to capture intimate portraits of a landscape that has really been heavily influenced by man but has a sense of tranquility that is unique to England.

The River Lea was heavily engineered to act as a trade route bringing goods into London before the advent of the railways, and this legacy is still very apparent in the locks and the straightened course of the river. Many of the woods nearby are coppiced and the lakes are reclaimed gravel pits which are now home to numerous water fowl so man's hand is everywhere and it is our influence that make this area so special.

I was given the Holga wpc as a Christmas present in 2008 but was disappointed with my first efforts. It then sat gathering dust until I took it out for the outing in November - having seen the results I am totally smitten with the camera. It seemed to really capture the atmosphere of the morning perfectly.

The film used was for this shot was Ilford Delta 3200 pushed to ASA 25000 and developed in DDX (1+4 dilution, 25 mins at 20C).

I'll post more images from that morning shortly but feel free to comment, follow, swap links or send me money!

PS just got back from Marrakech and have a load of films to process.

Thursday, 7 January 2010


Empty spaces can be so attractive sometimes
Carved by persons unknown
A view across Siena

You can see the full gallery here. Comment if you like or subscribe to my feeds.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

San Gimignano

The camera freezes a fraction of a second (one hundredth of a second in the case of a holga) for posterity.

A photo represents the blink of an eye but the house in the picture has stood there for one or two hundred years. The hills are older than human civilization and the landscape has been there for millions of years.

I wonder who else has shared this view and about the people who have wandered through this landscape - they would have known fear, love, hate, joy, regret and hope. They would have memories, dreams, ambitions.

A whole history unseen and unknown to us. A total disconnect.

When we look at an image is all we see colour and form, or do we look into the picture itself?

Do we think about what we see or is it all forgotten in the blink of an eye?

The rest of the gallery is here.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

The River Lea near Broxbourne (my first roll of Ilford Delta 3200)

A couple of months ago I asked for some recommendations for fast black & white films on the website. I enjoy photographing the interiors of churches and obviously ASA 400 film has it's limitations even though I got some nice shots of Ely Cathedral earlier in the year. Recently though any such attempts with a holga have been failures.

The film recommended to me was Ilford Delta 3200 and I was particularly drawn to this film 1. because of it's grainyness (an effect I was looking for) and 2, because it can be pushed to ASA 25000, something I had never even thought possible.

I bought 10 rolls and took a couple of rolls out on a cycle ride one Friday morning in November. My wife was away and I still had a couple of days holiday to take (I get five more days than her so these are my photography days!) so I was all set up for a good day's shooting. The morning was dark and November like so it was a great day to test the film - low light and loads of atmosphere.

At home I processed the film using DDX (1+4 dilution) for 25 minutes at 20C as recommended by the Massive Development Chart on Digital Truth, a great online resource by the way.

This shot has lots of grain and contrast and is my favourite of that morning.

Not sure about the composition but the frame captures the feeling of the wintry riverbank quite well.

Overall a success I thought and I have since taken some more shots with my Holga 120wpc which I will post here in due course. Of course I haven't been near a church since I bought the Delta 3200....but it's a great "winter" film nonetheless, particularly when pushed to extreme levels.

You can see the full gallery here. Please feel free to comment on any thing you see here and if you would like to subscribe to RSS or swap links just drop me a line.