The (Not) lockdown photos

I don’t think I am alone in this feeling, but when the lockdown started to come into play, I lost my photography mojo. I had grand plans to shoot still life, macro and make some zines, but what transpired was actually my mind was all over the place and photography was right at the back.

For me photography has always been my escape, my time to myself to gather my thoughts.

I made a throwaway comment on Twitter about not having photographed anything for a while and Paul from Analogue Wonderland ( www.analoguewonderland.co.uk) asked if I would be up for a challenge. Coming from the Marty McFly school of don’t call me chicken I said yes. BTW to be clear this is not a sponsored or paid for blog.

About a week later I received the following package from Paul.

An empty simple use Lomo camera, a roll of Kodak Ultramax and an “anti-lockdown” challenge not to shoot empty street, people in masks closed shops etc. It suddenly dawned on me that this could be very difficult, you see I am on what is known as the NHS vulnerable list so the advice for me was to not even leave the house for 3 months. But I had accepted the challenge and was determined to give it a go

Before I get to the images, my thought process was to shoot everyday normal things as if life was going on without any differences. The normal mundane day to day things we do. After the images I will tell you how I felt seeing them. One extra point, I shot most of the frames late April and through May. In May going stir crazy I did start taking the dog for early morning walks when no one was around, I just could not sit anymore.

Looking at the images, I failed the brief, that’s OK though. It really is representative of what lockdown has been like. Both the light and the dark images are quite reflective. The one that really sums it up for me was taken through our kitchen skylight. This is lockdown

6×6 lunchtime photochallenge

Earlier in January I had some time over one lunchtime where I knew I would be able to get out and about with my camera. During the week lunchtimes are the best time for me to get some photography under my belt. The one downside of this is that I know my area well so it can become a bit monotonous. So I thought I should shake things up a bit and make it more interesting for me. I asked my followers on Twitter to suggest some photography themes for my lunchtime walk. As always they did not disappoint and there were many good suggestions. I decided then that I would pick 6 themes and try and do 6 shots on each theme.

These are the following themes I choose:

– Shadows suggested by Parminder Matharu (@psmatharu81)

– Lines suggested by Jason Avery (@_JasonAvery)

– Sandwiches suggested by Duncan (@silverpanlab)

– Impermanent suggested by Duncan Waldron (@ozalba)

– Glass suggested by Duncan Waldron (@ozalba)

– People on phones suggested by Matthew (@Twinlensreflux)

I loaded my Olympus OM1n with a roll of Ferrania P30 and headed out. I had no real planned route and thought I would see how it went. I was also careful not to try and shoot all of one theme and then all of another in a sequence but just be sure I got them all over the time. I had fun doing it and it was great to be challenged and think outside of my normal safe photography. I struggled with sandwiches and eventually had to throw in the towel with that one. The results were not important to me, this whole exercise was about trying to interpret themes and along the way it also taught me that maybe I take them to literally and I need to think more conceptually. Anyway enough words here are the results. Btw I needed more than one lunchtime to finish the roll, a combination of the sandwich theme and failing light meant I had to go out for a second time.

Shadows



Lines

Sandwiches

Impermanent

Glass

People on Phones

Ooh Wheels- Kodak E100 Ektachrome

A few weeks back a town near us had an Italian festival and part of that (aside from the food and drink) there would be a display of Italian supercars and other car nationalities too. The weather was to be good, so I figured what a great opportunity to finally try a couple of rolls of the new Kodak E100, Ektachrome slide film.

This is not designed to be a film review and I have posted warts and all shots, but I thought it would be interesting for me and hopefully you to talk through my thoughts during the day shooting these cars.

Thus setting out the easiest decision was which camera. My OM1 was still halfway through a roll of Ilford HP5, so I took my relatively new to me Olympus OM2n. I did not want to carry a lot and I like simplicity thus I only took one extra lens. In the past shooting cars I had good success with the 50mm lens so obviously that wasn’t the one I picked. No, I decided to take the 28mm which I knew deep down in my soul would be too wide for crowded places and also my 100mm as you can get a different point of view with it. I regretted not swapping the 28 for the 50 for most of the day.

I started with the 28 on the camera and I don’t know about you, but it takes me a few shots to get warmed up. I think this is for two reasons, one being that it takes me a few shots to get into the swing of what I am shooting, almost practice shots. Even though I have no screen on the camera you get a sense pretty quickly what works and what doesn’t. Secondly, being there on my own amongst crowds I also feel a bit self conscious walking round taking shots like I’m some kind of photographer and feel (for no reason at all) that I’m being looked at by those with their phone cameras having fun with a ‘who does he think he is David Bailey.’

Quick note. All shots were at box speed, with a circular polarising filter on the camera. Some have been tweaked in Snapseed ( the ones I liked) the rest as per the scan. Oh yes, importantly all developed in E6 #SayNoToXpro chemistry.

So here are the first practice shots, as you will see I really had no idea yet what I wanted to capture.

Pretty boring eh, like I said test shots. I was also struggling with crowds at this point so I put the 100mm lens on to try something different.

That all felt better, I was starting to warm up and at this point it’s normally where I slip back into rushing again because I was excited and getting in the mode.

Aaaaaaaaand I was right, I started thinking more about the lens I was using rather than the image. More meh shots ensued.

I call this next set, ‘standing in a crowd waiting for the event to start and as I have a camera in my hand I should take a shot’. I should have shown patience instead.

After giving myself a telling off, I reminded myself that car details can be interesting.

‘Ooh wheels’. Not sure why I thought it would work as I have taken these shots before and was never really inspired by them.

‘Oh look you can see the engines.’ To be fair to myself, better composed and focused these could have been ok.

Again gave myself a bit of a talking too and then tried again with a lovely Porsche

‘Obligatory side shot’

‘Back in the swing of things and concentrating’

Then I tried to get a shot representing Porsche past and present, one close focus, one further. These haven’t really worked but it was worth a try. More patience and thought as well as considered lens choice next time.

‘Ooh wheels.’ FFS man what are you doing

After a short pulling myself together session, I tried concentrating again

Better and then…… ‘ooh wheels’. Dude!!

Concentrate again

‘Ooh Wheels.’ What is wrong with me (answers on a postcard, not in the comments)

Concentrates again

I tried a couple more through the windows shots but they didn’t really work

and a couple of more lined up shots that are OK

It then got to that point in the day when it was time for a drink before heading home. It was then the curse of 36 exposures struck. I was on my second roll and there were about 6 exposures left. So what else was a boy to do but

Dog

Wine

Pigeon

Dog

Flowers

So what is the point/learning of this post.

Well firstly, I am very impressed with the new Kodak E100. I still need to learn to pick my moments better and not get caught up in the excitement. For a while now I have been at peace with the fact I should not expect 36 ‘winners’. Experimenting is fine and good, trying new compositions is important as long as you learn from them. To stop wasting the last few frames on a roll of 36, I mean a Pigeon!! Mainly and overall STOP TAKING PICTURES OF WHEELS.

New York Snow Storm

I was working in New York recently and got caught up in the first snow storm of their season. The traffic was at gridlock and the subway rammed with people trying to get home. Thus I did what any self respecting Brit would do. I enjoyed happy hour (3hrs) in a bar to pass the time. Whilst sitting in the bar I suddenly thought, I don’t know when I will be back in the city, let alone when it is covered in snow. Thus I decided to sacrifice the last 4 exposures that were left in my camera and load a roll of Ilford Photo HP5 and shoot it in the snow on my way back to my hotel.

Thus here are the results of my walk. Ilford Photo HP5 shoot at 3200 and thus pushed 3 stops in development. Olympus OM1n.

E6 cars

I have not posted a blog in a few months due to being very busy so I aim to start posting regularly again.

I took my trusty Olympus OM1n to an American car show recently and shot a roll of Velvia 50 and a roll of Provia 100F. Below are some of my favourite images of the cars on show. Hope you enjoy viewing them.

Let’s get lunch

I was kindly sent a bunch of Kodak Vision films from @Dizd (Dizzy Cow on twitter). Some 250D and some 50D. I am a big fan of these Vision films especially when they are processed in their native chemicals ECN-2. Nik and Trick in the UK sell the developing kits for this.

I finally had a chance to try a roll a week or so ago, so I wanted to shoot one as practice. All shots are taken on an Olympus OM1n loaded with Kodak Vision 250D developed in ECN-2.

A little side note before sharing the images. Every single roll of film I shoot I see as a practice roll, even if I am going for a specific project. It’s all about learning for the next roll and the next roll and so on. I am never disappointed if I get things wrong in a roll, I am only disappointed if I don’t learn from it. With film photography I firmly believe I will be practising for years and years to come and thus only the last photo I ever take before putting my camera down will be ‘The Shot’

Anyway all this talk has made me hungry, what shall we have for lunch?

First try with Rollei Ortho 25

I purchased this film on a whim as it was sitting staring at me in a shop. I quite often like to try a current film stock that I have not shot before.

At ISO 25 it had been sitting in my draw at work for a number of months due to London’s grey rainy days coupled with the fact I was feeling too lazy to drag along a tripod.

So last Friday I knew I had sometime free time at lunchtime and the weather was particularly bright so I thought I would finally give it a go. The challenge I had was that I needed to finish all 36 exposures that lunchtime as I was out that evening with the camera and it needed to be loaded with a film for night shooting (Kodak Vision 500T in case you were interested)

Thus out I ventured. The camera was the Olympus OM1n with either the 50mm 1.8 or 28mm 2.8 being used for shots. There was no filter for the reason that at ISO 25 I needed all the light I could get. All shots are handheld with the OM and unless I specifically want blur I don’t tend to shoot under speeds of 1/60 without a tripod.

I really like the results I got with this film, it reminds a bit of the Washi S but with a bit more control. I will definitely shoot some more of this including in 120. One interesting thing to note is that this was Rollei Ortho 25, there is a Rollei Ortho 25 Plus also, which through my completely unscientific research and assumptions I think is a newer version.

Anyway enough of my wittering, here are some of the images (lab developed and scanned, some tweaks in Snapseed).

This building is near my office, here is an interesting fact (for some) it was recently used for filming the latest Mission Impossible film and is the one Tom Cruise damaged his ankle on jumping across the roof. He was back here the other weekend filming those scenes again.

Then I ventured further along Victoria Embankment

From here I went to the gardens at the Inns of the courts to capture the trees

And finally I stopped at the Dragon, this particular marker is where you cross from the City of Westminster into the City of London (I may be wrong in my specific description here). The Dragon markers are dotted across the City of London (this is the business district in London) and face out from the City so you know when you are entering the City of London.

It was also my signal, time to head back to the office.

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 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 https://ntphotoworks.com/ 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.