Sunrise London. Camera : Olympus OM1n, Film Kodak Portra 400 VC

Tomorrow wherever you are in the world the Sun will rise and it will be 2017.

I don’t do new year resolutions and I personally find New Year a bit strange as it’s just the turning of the month, the same as August to September right?

But I do understand how new year can be a good point in time to stop and reflect on the past 12 months and look ahead to the next 12.

In terms of film photography I think I have had a year of good progress. There are images I have shot that I am am proud of and I believe I have progressed which to me that is the most important thing.

So for next year I hope to continue my progress and also build on this blog and interact with the many great people out there who I can learn so much from.  I have a number of projects planned and look forward to sharing them with you.

Thus Happy New Year and I wish you all the best for 2017


Must do better


The above picture was taken using my Olympus OM1 with a roll of Kodak Portra 400VC.

When I receive my images back, I think like most people, there are some I immediately like and those I immediately dismiss. I then review subjectively again a few days later.

As mentioned before I am not a professional photographer and am on a journey taking it one step at a time to try and improve my images.

I don’t have a mentor so I have to rely on my own eyes to firstly decide if I like the image and secondly could I have done better.

A quick point on social media here, it will only tell me so much about my images.  Some likes are because of a genuine like of the image, some will be supportive of what I am doing and finally people’s views are subjective so it is not the best guide as ultimately if I really like it that’s important to me and how I want to continue.  Very rarely will we get feedback on ways to improve.

I have had the opportunity to attend a couple of courses where my images have been reviewed by a professional and it has helped me immensely.  One comment in particular where it was pointed out that I had blown highlights in a lot of my B&W images and this distracted the eye from the main point of the image as well as being technically wrong.  I needed to be told this.

However I can’t always be on courses so I have to look at my own images with a critical eye as best as I can.  Thus I thought I would share my thought process using the above image as an example. Hopefully you find it interesting but also I would welcome any honest feedback on my review and anything I may have missed.

So firstly I do like the image but it could be much better.  I was aiming to get the gentleman in the foreground calmly watching the skating, him still and well separated from those on the ice rink.  I like the fact he is offcentre from the main part of the building.  Other than that I see the following that could have been better

I tend to be very annoyed if I don’t get straight lines so the building being at an angle annoys me, but that is a personal thing.

I should have shot it a bit lower as that would have got the barrier he was leaning on in the shot, this I believe would have provided better separation between the viewer and the skater.

But most of all I spent time getting him into focus and using I think an aperture of maybe f2.8 (sorry Mike didn’t have my photomemo with me) to get a more blurred background but as it was a bright day this needed quite a fast shutter speed.  I should have also tried slowing down the shutter speed as there is not enough movement in the skaters, I think this movement would have made the image much more interesting.

I should also have taken a few shots of the scene as it would be hard to legislate where in the image the skaters were so a couple of extra shots might have got one where he didn’t have any that take away from his shape.

I try and do this with all my images not to rubbish what I am doing but to ensure I try and get better.  In practice it is difficult once back out with the camera to remember everything but if even one thing becomes more natural it should improve my images

Thanks as always for reading

Can Film Photography survive long term?

A recent post on the darkside that is facebook got me thinking about the long term prospects of film photography and can it survive.

We hear both through industry sources and anecdotally that we are seeing a growth in interest and sales in film as a medium of photography.


There is a thriving community of film photographers with professionals also using it for shoots.  But we in the film community surround ourselves with like minded individuals are we looking through rose-tinted spectacles?

Who are the main players in the industry

Ilford – Black & White films, papers and chemicals. Taken over by private equity whose message is they believe in analogue

Kodak – still producing colour negative film but with less variety than previously and of course the omnipresent Tri-x and more modern T-max.  Moving back into super 8mm and umm smart phones

Fujifilm – still selling slide film, colour film and some B&W but prices ever rising and with a dread anticipation of them slowly moving out of the market

Agfa- thier Vista film and CT doing well but as we know these are rebranded Fuji films

Rollei – not done my research here but maybe someone can comment if these are rebrands

Impossible – Releasing new and interesting films, plus the launch of the new camera

Lomography – a good selection of ‘lo-fi’  cameras and again rebranded films plus ‘art’ lenses

Instax – I kept this purposely separate from Fujifilm as I believe Fuji support for this is strong unlike ‘traditional film’

Leica – Still making film cameras (for a price) and also the new Sofort for Instax

Ferrania – Don’t get me started on this one but hopefully one day we will see their slide films on the shelf

The above list is by no means exhaustive. Then there are those still creating niche cameras such as pinhole and large format or other such as JCH bringing back film stocks. The film labs seem to be striving, publications such as Let’s Explore and companies such as Filmshootco are bringing quality film related media to the market.

But hang on, when I look around many of us love shooting discontinued and expired films, are new film sales being impacted because of this? But wait you say that still means chemicals are required and papers so all good for the manufacturers of those. Its a fair comment, but film is a business and one main barometer will be new film sales.

For me there is an Elephant in the room we don’t talk about much and only one film type is addressing this. Where are all the new film cameras being produced to make up for the finite supply of 2nd hand cameras? Instax cover this and regardless if you like the look of the camera or not Impossible were very clever launching a new camera so people would continue buying their film.

lomo have a deserved place but again they are slightly niche. Where will we get the mass market new 35mm SLR, rangefinder or 120 MF camera systems? Yes I know Leica if you have the money.  I do believe long term we need a company bold enough to release a ‘proper’ consumer camera.

2nd hand film camera prices are rising again, this is a good sign but this finite supply will dwindle as they break down and parts become scarce.

So is it all doom and gloom I don’t think so.

I look at what has happened with vinyl records here in the UK, from a hardcore that never gave up there is a genuine resurgence. You can once again buy vinyl in shops including the bigger supermarkets. Whilst turntables never fully went away, you can again easily pick up quality consumer turntables on the high street and Technics for example recently reissued their famous 1200’s

So whats the future. I believe there is still more change to happen in the industry in regard to films available and for example if Fuji go will we still get Agfa? But this should make the survivors stronger.

We as group need to be mindful that we support the manufacturers with our cash, as much as they enjoy it, they are ultimately there for the profit.

We need to keep promoting film photography anywhere and everywhere we  can, people like Emulsive, Believe in Film and Film is Not dead to name but 3 do sterling work in this area.

But I do believe ultimately we need a manufacturer brave enough to bring out a proper consumer film camera system, vinyl succeeded so can we……

Note: I have written this off the cuff and on the train home, there may be inaccuracies but hopefully you get the gist, don’t hate me