The sound of St Paul’s

As followers of this blog are aware, Washi S sound recording film is favourite of mine to try and experiment with. This film really intrigues me and is one I will keep persevering with. It is an extremely high contrast film and there can be very little between the deep blacks and the harsh whites.

The images you will see in this blog have all been shot using my favourite camera the Olympus OM1n using either a 50mm f1.4 or 28mm f2.8 lens with an orange filter.

I generally use an orange filter just because that is what my research told me. Reflecting on this now, I’m not sure this film needs the added contrast of a filter, so next roll will be no filter to see how that goes.

So back to the details. For this roll I picked a subject of St Paul’s Cathedral. Partly because it is very close to my work, but mainly because it is one of my favourite buildings in London. My plan was to start at one corner and walk around the cathedral taking photos. This walking around did not mean I had to stay close, just that I could see it. All images were taken over the course of about one hour.

So enough talking, come on the walk with me around St Paul’s and see what you hear from this sound recording film.

The starting point a bit of artistic inspiration

I dragged myself out quickly as otherwise no photos would have been taken

Then time to cross the road starting with the mystery door

Then the steps

Time to climb the steps and look out from the main doors

Back down and a couple of images from the front

Time to head into Paternoster Square

From here I headed toward a small shopping centre called One New Change

One the roof of One New Change there is a restaurant and a bar, but more than that there is a place to just admire the views

By now it was time to wait for the lift to get back down again

Couldn’t resist one more shot of this view

Now time to get around the other side and see what shots I can get from there

Moving towards the front of the building again

And finally time to reflect on the walk I just did

I hope you enjoyed walking with me, look out for the next in the series of ‘The Sound of….’


The Littlest Holga

My Holga has gone on a little journey. I am trying to learn a new camera so knew the Holga was going to get very little use. I was originally going to give it away but Ashley Williams on Twitter suggested I send it on holiday to people interested in giving it a go. There was no end of people who volunteered so this post is for them to help provide some guidelines.

The Holga now has its own twitter account @littlest_holga the plan would be for the Holga to make its way around the world taking photos of what it sees on the way. I will also set up an Instagram so we have a collection of all photos in one place as well

For those of you that are in line to meet The Littlest Holga:

The Holga comes with filters (coloured & special effects), shutter release cable holder, adapters if you want to shoot 35mm with it and if you are really lucky maybe even some insulating tape.

The idea is for this to be fun and for you to be able to shoot a few rolls of film with it and share your experiences. For those of you comfortable with it, I will give you control of the twitter account and you can run it how you see fit. Again there are no rules, keep it fun and let us know your experience with it. If you do not want to run the account that is also fine and I can do any updates. I would ask that you try and aim to send the Holga on to the next person within 2-3weeks of you receiving it so that everyone gets a chance.

The Holga list of recipients is as below and in the order you are likely to receive it.

If you change your mind, no problem just let me know. If I have missed anyone, apologies and send me a note. If you want to join in let me know. If you don’t want to ship internationally let me know. Basic premise this should be fun and not work.
















US, Mexico, Canada :











The schools in our area put on a yearly joint fireworks show. I thought I would take the opportunity to take a few photos but did not want to lug around lots of gear as it was a fun family night out. Thus I decided to take the Zeiss Ikon Nettar and one roll of Fujifilm Astia. I had no idea how well the Astia had been stored. I figured with a slow lens and ISO 100 film I would only be able to catch the briefest of lights but hopefully with a dark black background. I set the shutter to 1/25 as I wanted some movement and I set the aperture to f4.5 and shot handheld.

The film was E6 processed and the shots edited in Snapseed. A couple have been cropped quite a bit as I have obviously not got used to the parallax view yet. Enjoy

The Holiday rolls 4&5:  Kodak Vision 250D

Firstly apologies for the time taken for this update it has been a bit busy recently.

So quick recap I took 10 rolls of film with me on holiday recently to Malta and I have been sharing my results here.   So far we have had

Roll 1: Oriental Seagull 100

Roll 2: Kodak E100VS

Roll 3 : Velvia 50

Roll 8 : Film Washi S

Roll 10:  New Lomochrome Purple 

In hindsight probably should have done them in order.

For this update I shot two rolls of Kodak Vision 3 250D.  This is a cine film designed for daylight shooting.  The film has a remjet coating so is not processed by most labs.  It is also designed to be processed in ECN2 chemicals but can be processed in C41 chemicals once the remjet has been removed.  

I mention this as I was lucky enough that these were processed in their native ECN2 chemistry.

I get my Cine films from they are also who I use for getting them processed.  They now sell ECN2 kits for those who home develop.  These were developed (and two rolls of Vision 50D) in ECN2 to test the kits, as for Cine film this is not their current standard offering and I was very happy for them to use the rolls as test rolls.   Please contact them directly for any further info.  (This is not a sponsored blog btw)

Thus back to the setting.  At this stage in the holiday my meter had broken on the camera so I was bracketing more than normal.  In hindsight, especially with this film stock it probably was not as necessary as the differences between one stop were not huge.

The location was M’dina Malta.  This is known as the quiet city.  It is full of narrow streets and paths and is set among the hills.  The city was also used for quite a few scenes in Game of Thrones.  All the photos have been taken using an Olympus OM1n.   IMHO the Kodak Vision films are one of the best colours film out there, better than any standard colour C41 films and easier to handle than slide film.  See what you think

The Holiday:  Roll 3/10. Velvia 50

Those of you that know me or follow me on twitter (@givemeabiscuit) will know I am a big fan of slide film, with Velvia 50 a personal favourite of mine.

Thus there was no way I was going to Malta and not shoot a roll of this lovely film.  This time however I wanted to try something different and practise long exposure.  Thus I also had with my Lee Filters (10stop ND & 0.6 soft grad).

I tried some daytime long exposures with both filters and some at dusk with the soft grad.

When writing these blogs I always like to ensure I share both what works and what does not work.  It helps me clarify in my mind how/what to do better next time and hopefully provides you with some insight also.

So here come the images.  

The black slides are unsuccessful evening shots

Some normal exposure, (but I still over exposed!)

And daytime long exposure.  Lesson one get the framing right next time, lesson 2 if shooting into the sun, either don’t or at least have a the lens hood and lesson three read up on exposure techniques for this film more thoroughly

And in case you are wondering what total over exposure looks like, it is a completely clear slide that scans like below

Yes this really is the scan

There are some slides the lab did not scan (understandably) but I can see something is there, so will get them rescanned and check them out.

In conclusion, I really really ballsed up the roll of film.

The Holiday Roll 2/10 Kodak E100VS

As per previous updates I shot 10 rolls of film on my recent holiday to Malta and am sharing how a I got on with each roll.  This update is in regard to a roll of Kodak E100VS.   This is a lovely discontinued slide film from Kodak.  The VS stands for Very Saturated (I think).

I managed to find a brick (10 rolls) of this film and this was the third roll from that brick.  The first roll came out OK and the second roll had a large Cyan cast to it, so I knew the results of this one could be flaky.

This roll was shot during the hottest part of the day (it was over 40 degrees Celsius)  in full sunshine.  I mention this for a reason.

All films on this and previous holidays have been through X-ray machines at the airport.  Whilst in the hotel room they are in air conditioned luxury, in my bag and camera they are not and can be carried around for a couple of days in full heat.  Whilst I am no way suggesting that we can safely keep our film sitting on a hot radiator at home, I do sometimes wonder are we over cautious with keeping films in the fridge and worrying about how they will be affected by heat.  I get storing them long term in fridges/freezers but day to day especially with fresh film we maybe do the resilience of film a diservice.

Anyway I digress.  This film as all the others was shot in my OM1n, some shots using a circular polarising filter.  I rated all shots at box speed.

Before I get to the images I want to say the following.  When I see others images with this film I love it and what people can achieve with it which is why I bought the brick.  Slide film can be tough to work with but I do feel we shouldn’t be scared of it because when you get it right slides are wonderful and the scans do not do it justice.  Yes it is expensive and tough but I do believe it is worth the effort.  That said I am disappointed with the results I got with this.  Partly because the scans required more than I normally prefer adjusting in Snapseed* but mainly because I have seen what others have achieved and I know I can do better.  I am finding this film tough.

*side note, IMHO adjust away the same as a darkroom adjustments but I do like to get as close as possible in camera

Enough said here are the results and oh yeah say no to x’pro E6 all the way

The Holiday:  Roll 1/10 Oriental Seagull 100

The third instalment of the rolls of film I shot in Malta.  This time it is Oriental Seagull 100.   I was sent this film (and the 400 version) by @Emulsivefilm (Twitter) 

My research tells me this is a rebranded film based on Ilford’s Kentmere range.  The lab that developed this roll and the 400 used the development guide for Kentmere.

I very much liked the results I got from the 400, so was interested to see what the 100 would be like.  (400 example below)

Oriental Seagull 400. Daytime long exposure

The 100 was shot through my Olympus OM1n, at this point in the holiday the meter was working.  What I did however find interesting was I set the camera meter ISO to 100, it was a bright day but the meter seemed to be telling me (against my instinct) that it needed more light, it just didn’t feel right.   This was interesting to me as I am reliant on my meter, yet when I shoot with my Holga I don’t use a secondary meter and go by instinct.  I am slowly learning to trust my judgement with light and scenes.  

Anyway back to how I got on with the 100.  I like the film a lot and if it is basically Kentmere will definitely buy some more.  In terms of the pictures I have taken with it in Malta I am pretty Meh about them, they are only OK.  I believe I rushed this roll too much.  It was the first of 10 rolls for the Holiday and we were visiting the city of Valletta and in my head I guess I felt the need to finish the roll that visit as otherwise I would get behind finishing the 10 by the end of the Holiday.

Anyway enough of the words, here are the pictures so you can make your judgement

The Holiday.  Roll 8/10 Washsi S. The Sound of Valletta 

So following on from my last post shooting the Lomochrome purple in Malta, today’s update is how I got on with Washi S film.

If you have not come across this film before it is a film provided by Washi, a French outfit, best known for their film papers.  I have shot this film twice before.  One time in London where I was very happy with the results and once in Brighton where I got a few images but I wasn’t respectful to the film properties so not so great.

Washi S is a sound recording film used in the motion picture industry.  Shot in a 35mm camera it acts as a very high contrast ISO50 Black & White film.  What I have learnt in the few times I have now tried it, is that you have to be very respectful to the highlights and also the areas where the sun is reflected.

This roll was shot in my OM1n, metered at ISO50 using the Lumu iPhone app and an orange filter on the camera.  A little note, I found it better to meter the whole scene and then also spot meter certain areas of the frame to try and gauge between the bright and the dark to aim to keep the light under control.   This again maybe my own blind leading the blind theory but seems to have worked out.

I shot this roll in the city of Valletta, which is Malta’s capital and also a UNESCO World Heritage sight.  The conditions were bright sunlight, mainly clear skies and shadows from the buildings.

Here are the results, I don’t normally say things like this, but I am very very pleased with the results and looking forward to using and understanding this film more and more.

An idea what a difference one stop makes below

and another example below of one stop difference 

The Parliament area of Valletta 

Near the main gate to the city

The lift to the Upper Gardens

The Architecture

Valletta is also going to be European City of Culture in 2018 and they are building up installations, artwork and sculputure to add to the fantastic historical sights they already have.

And finally, my favourite (non-family) photograph of the whole trip.  We were sitting in a typical Valletta outdoor cafe, great food and drink when I took this, it is also the first shot of the roll.  It has come out exactly as I visualised with the film and I love it.

I hope you enjoyed this, still to come from my holidays rolls:  Oriental Seagull 100, Kodak E100VS, Fuji Velvia 50, Kodak Vision 50D, Kodak Vision 250D and Kodak Double x

The Holiday.  Roll 10/10 New Lomo Purple

I recently spent two weeks in Malta for our family holiday.  I originally wasn’t going to take any film cameras with me just my trusty Fuji XT1 as it was a family holiday and not a photography trip.

This thought process didn’t last very long and I knew I would regret it if I didn’t have my Olympus OM1n with me.   The next decision was what film stock to take.  I ultimately decided to take a mixture of films to try different things.  I also challenged myself to shoot 10 rolls in those two weeks.   Considering it was a family holiday which would mostly be spent sitting next to a swimming pool it was quite a challenge to set myself.  The following films were chosen.

10 rolls, 360 exposures, 8 emulsions and 4 different developing processes 

For each emulsion I will do a separate blog post.  Today’s post is the 10th and last film I shot on my holiday (I’m not writing about them in order so yes this is the first blog).  

Lomography Lomochrome purple, their new version.

For context it is important I mention that very early in the holiday the meter broke on my OM1n so I was metering with a combination of an iPhone app and instinct.  I also bracketed more than I normally would.

My first challenge was how to rate the film.  The film suggests anything from 100-400.  I went with rating it at around 250iso.  My thought process was that it was too bright where I was for 400 and I did not want to go as slow as 100.   I guess in my head I looked at it like redscale and thought the longer the exposure the less purple there would be.  This is a pure assumption of mine based on nothing I read or scientific and almost certainly incorrect.

The first set of shots were taken in and around where we were staying and the end of the roll at the airport on the way home.  So how did I get on, well take a look.

The tiles around the pool are white in normal colours

To give you an idea on colour the towels are actually bright yellow

Palm trees

The Hotel

Now for the next three I bracketed the shot.  This is the point where I should be really helpful, tell you all the camera settings so you can see how each exposure setting has changed the look of the result.  Yeah, it was my last day, it was hot, I was by the pool, wearing pool attire, therefore I did not write anything down.  At a guess the middle image was the one around 250iso and the other two, one stop either side. Sorry. 


The yellow flowers were originally deep red

The next one was taken early morning, the bright sunrise was to the left of the frame

Cruise ship heading to the Harbour

At the airport

The flower was originally bright yellow

Nice spot to watch the Aircraft take off and land

Hope you enjoyed this roll

Zeiss Ikon Nettar

A couple of weeks back I made a request on Twitter to see if anyone would be willing to lend me a MF format camera.  I own a Holga but I have some nice 120 film left that I thought would be better shot through a glass lens, hence the request.

I had no preconceptions as to which camera type I wanted or would be lucky enough to be offered.  Twitter user @Calor_gas_Terry kindly offered to loan me his Ziess Ikon Nettar for which I am very thankful.

Thus we met and he handed the camera over and a lesson and some tips on how to use it.

So here is said camera


The first thing that struck me was how small the camera is.  Folded closed it actually fits into my pocket.  Opened up it is light and easy to hold.  This camera also had added challenges for me.  Holga aside, the cameras I own are SLR’s with built in light meters thus I can get a handle on exposure and focus.  This camera obviously is different.  With the Holga I am crap at distance and generally shoot everything at ‘infinity’ thus for this first roll at least I planned on doing the same.

Thus the time came I needed to try it out.  Now being the Muppet that I am, for the first roll a normal person would probably choose a standard stock ISO 400 fresh film so that the only variable is the camera.  Moi, I went for (as seen in the above picture) Kodak E100G expired slide film.

Film loaded I then needed to decide on a subject matter.  Those of you that know me, know I do most of my photography during my lunchtimes at work.  (Mundane bit coming up) I had to go to the post office so I figured I would take shots of my walk back to the office.

It was a bright day but I didn’t want to guess the exposure so I used the Lumu iPhone app and took various spot meter readings to then estimate the overall exposure, a completely new thing for me also.

Anyway, enough of the words, here is my walk back to the office.  All images are lab developed and scanned and then I have tweaked them in Snapseed.  They are presented as they are and were shot as a test roll so no great thought on composition or quality.   Enjoy the walk !