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.






People on Phones


The Hoff – Rolls 17 and 18. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

So two more rolls for The Hoff to share with you.

The first roll for this write up (roll 17) was Ilford HP5 Plus. This roll sat in The Hoff for nearly 8 week’s before completing it. I decided to rate it at 320. I like HP5 pushed but when shooting ‘normally’ I tend to prefer it rated at 320. For the few shots where I also used an orange filter I adjusted the exposure to 200 to compensate.

So why did the roll take so long. Partly it was the same reasons that affect us all. Finding the time, everyday stuff taking precedent and not having the opportunities to shoot. I also think however that I went through a bit of a phase of ‘is The Hoff the right camera for me’ as I found myself taking out my Olympus OM cameras with me. To explain, when I had the opportunities to go out shooting, I picked the lighter, faster and no requirement for a light meter camera. During this period I also contemplated if medium format film really was for me and should I stick to 35mm. This roll really became my wall I needed to breakthrough. I did eventually by forcing myself to take the camera with me one lunchtime at work to finish the roll with the view that if I didn’t feel it then I would need to make an honest decision about keeping the camera. I enjoyed it again and that was helped by the fact external non-photography reasons were falling away. I also reminded myself that this was a possible lifetime camera, there was no rush or pressure to shoot it regularly or indeed always take it with me as I have other cameras that may be more appropriate for the day’s shooting I was planning. I broke through the wall and The Hoff remains.

Here are a few images from that roll. Some scans adjusted in Snapseed.

By now you may be wondering why I have Christmas in the title well let’s move on to roll 18. We were taking the kids to see the Christmas lights in London and I happened to have a roll of Cinestill 800T in 120 so I figured why not load The Hoff and take it with me. I really like the Cinestill film, the 50D is also fantastic. I prefer to rate it at 500 (based on the Kodak Vision 500T) that is derived from. For those of you familiar with London, or any city centre for that matter, at night with street lights, shop lights and car lights, trying to meter to get the Christmas lights right is no mean feat. So to be honest I didn’t even try. I went with my gut, set the camera to wide open (2.8) and slow shutter 1/60. This was based on experience shooting Cinestill at night previously, trying to capture specific lit areas of the frame.

See what you think, scans adjusted in Snapseed

The Hoff – Rolls 5&6 oh man not again

My continuing journey in learning the ways of my Hasselblad 200fcw.

This update, as the sun was out, I thought I would try a couple of rolls of slide film in The Hoff. Those of you that know me well know I am a big fan of slide film for colour work.

I thought as it was a special occasion, for my first slide films in The Hoff I would go for two special films. Fujifilm Provia 400X a sadly discontinued but absolutely fabulous film in 120 format (for some reason I’m not such a fan of it in 35mm) and a roll from 1995 of Kodak Ektachrome 200 that I knew had been well stored from new.

I loaded the Provia 400X first and spent two lunchtimes walking around the City of London taking what I consider the best 12 images I had ever composed. When I finished the roll I unloaded it and…….


But still best 12 images ever and no one can prove me wrong.

Note: I plan to rescue this roll by re-rolling it back in dark bag, Provia 400X is too good to waste.

You may recall from a previous update I said I should get a lens hood. I found one on eBay for a really good price as it had a small dent and some scratches which didn’t bother me

I looked up that it was for an 80mm lens and it arrived nice and quickly. I took the camera out to put the lens hood on and…..


Note: I haven’t had time to research into this yet, but will hopefully let you know in the next update what I did wrong.

Anyway I am not one to dwell on failure and like to get up and start again. So I loaded the roll of Kodak Ektachrome 200.

A little side note I like to use a polarising filter when shooting slide film. Not for every shot but it can really make the colours pop. Try Velvia 50 with a polarising filter and E6 process and you will see what I mean.

The very nice man who sold me this camera (Hi Mike) gave me the B60-67mm adapter so I could use 67mm filters on The Hoff.

So out I ventured again and guess what


So excited was I a put another roll of Fujifilm Provia 400X in and went out again.

Thus before sharing some images with you there are two more things I wanted to mention.

Aside from the mishaps is there anything else I have learnt about The Hoff this time. Well actually there is. Don’t wind the shutter crank on until you are ready to press the shutter. Basically compose your image fully first as once you wind the crank and the shutter is ready, the view through the viewfinder is much much darker so it is much more difficult to compose. This was a change in process for me compared to how I shoot my 35mm camera.

Secondly, I purchased a 2nd A12 back so now I can shot two different types of film at the same location.

Enough from me now, here are a few images from both the Kodak and Fuji rolls


Sometimes with a roll of film I like to challenge myself with a theme. Thus recently I loaded the Fuji GA645 with a roll of Fujifilm Velvia 100 and set myself the challenge of the theme of Orange. So please see below for the images. Processed E6 by SilverPan Film Lab (in the UK) and scans tweaked in Snapseed.

All images from the same roll, except the chairs one.

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….’

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 !


A lighthouse in London, you say!

At work we run a little photography club where a group of us get together and after work go on a walk with our cameras.  Generally it’s a nice slow paced stroll where we learn from each other in what we are trying to shoot but mainly we get to shoot with out friends and family rolling their eyes and telling us to hurry up.

I thought I would share with you the walk from the other week.  The plan was to go to an area in East London known as Trinity Wharf, the draw being that the wharf has London’s only Lighthouse.

The Wharf itself is now an arts centre with lots of street art, sculpture as well as space with working artists.  The lighthouse itself I believe is no longer in use, but was originally used to test lighthouse equipment and also train lighthouse keepers.

I will now take you on the walk with pictures and commentary. All the pictures were taking using an Olympus OM1n, 28mm Zuiko lens and loaded with Fuji Press 800 film, a film I had not tried before.

I took 800 film as all our walks take place in the evening and I wanted to be prepared for the fading light.

We meet at East India Dock station.  This station is on the Dockland Light Railway and is in the East of London, near the north bank of the river Thames.  We walked along the Thames path heading east.

The first view was the O2.  This is an entertainment, concert and sports venue.  It was originally built as the Millennium Dome as part of London’s millennium celebrations.  It was not very well received by many at the time and was known as a bit of a white elephant but architecturally it is impressive.   However over the last few years as the O2 it has become recognised as one of London’s best known entertainment venues.


The line and dots you see in the third picture above is the cable car crossing linking the north bank with the O2 which is south of the river, but more on that later.

From here we continued along the Thames past some derelict warehouses and across the East India Dock Basin.

The train you see in the third picture below is the Dockland Light Railway I mentioned above


As mentioned previously the area has a lot of street art and sculptures below are a couple of examples.  Yes that is a tree in a London taxi.

R1-05851-017AR1-05851-020AR1-05851-023AFrom here we headed into Trinity Wharf to see the Lighthouse. Unfortunately we were a bit late (it was around 7:15pm) and the Wharf gates were closing so although we walked in the security guard quickly stopped us and explained we had to leave as otherwise we would not be able to get out again.

A little nod to this guard, he was extremely polite, gave us the normal opening hours, a leaflet guide and told us who to contact for photography tours.  Thus I only managed a snatched picture of said lighthouse,oh well.


Thus we turned back and headed towards and through Canning Town.   A little note about this area for context.  Canning Town was built up in and around the old working docks of the Thames and the sugar refineries.  It was always known for its its working class roots as well as an area where poverty was prevalent.  There is a lot of regeneration happening here now.  You will be told there are lots of improved housing for the local community but all I could see were flats being built at around £500k for a one or two bedroom apartment for people who work nearby in Canary Wharf or City of London along with the generic coffee shops such is the way of London now.  The pictures below show some of the new flats as well as the regenerated station and surrounding area. As you can see it is still a work in progress.




Now remember the cable cars I mentioned earlier, well we decided that would be the next stop.  The light was fading fast so we had to rush but I think we caught it in time.


I hope you enjoyed our little walk.

Matt Parry made me do it

Those of you that follow me on Twitter (@givemeabiscuit) will know I own a Holga 120n camera.  You will then also know I hold no love for this camera and that is an understatement.

You may also know I really enjoy shooting slide film and that I personally only like slide film processed in E6 chemicals AS IT’S MEANT TO BE.

I am not a fan of having slide film cross processed in C41 chemicals.  To set the record straight here I have nothing against those that cross process it and who enjoy the unpredictable colour shifts they get from it.  I will jokingly tease them for it and give you a good old British frown for doing that to slide film but ultimately each to their own there is no wrong or right (except cross processing slide film, that’s clearly wrong).

Slide film shot through a Holga is not the easiest as you only have basic control so you really need the right light for the day.

Thus when I did a little film swap on Twitter with Matt Parry (@mparry1234) we challenged each other to shoot one of the films in a certain way.  Matt went straight in for my Achilles Heel.  Shoot a roll of expired Provia 100f in a Holga and have it proceesed in C41 chemicals.  So below are the images, most are as scanned and I make no further comment or opinion.



London at night

I thought I would share my experiences shooting film at night for the first time.

I ran a little twitter poll as I couldn’t decide if I should start with black & white film or colour film.  Twitter picked B&W and it was highly recommended I start with Fuji Acros 100 for night and long exposure. So thank you everyone for that.

I mention long exposure as that was always my aim for a number of reasons. I prefer the sharpness long exposure can give over and above using a high ISO film.  The areas I had planned to shoot in are also tourist areas so I knew I would need to blur out people in certain places with a longer exposure.  My ever evolving photography style is based around calm and relaxed so long exposure works for me in that respect also.

My equipment for the evening was as follows:

  • Olympus OM1
  • 50mm & 28mm Zuiko lenses
  • Cable release
  • Tripod
  • One roll of Fuji Neopan Acros 100
  • Fujifilm XT1 camera

You will notice no mention of a light meter. I am a lazy bastard photographer and normally meter using the OM1 camera meter, I cannot be bothered carrying more than I need or indeed having to take lots of readings with a meter before taking a shot.  The laziness also includes not taking some photos as I can’t be arsed to kneel down to get the right perspective, anyway I digress.

I knew I would need some help with getting the right exposure so for this I took my Fuji XT1 digital camera.

I got to the area around sunset but then waited for an hour or so, my logic being I wanted the sky to be dark so I could get as black as sky as possible.  A bit of context, London, like most cities is full of night lights and light pollution.  The sky at night can quite often by a murky brown haze and not look particularly great.

Another bit of context, I do research what I’m trying to do but am also guilty of making things up as they sound right in my head, you may notice that in this piece.

You will be pleased to know I don’t plan on talking about reciprocity as you can google all about it.  All I will say is my understanding told me I am fine for up to 120seconds with Acros and from previous digital experience knew that would be plenty.

So the first thing I did was set up the XT1 to work out how long I would need. I set the ISO to 100 and the aperture to F20 and view to black & white. Why F20, again my logic, I wanted longer exposures to blur out people and also to get sharper images.  With a bit of trial and error I settled up at 15secs as a good time.  The image below is from the digital camera at F20, ISO 100 and 15 secs.


I used this timing as a reference for all the shots taken that night adjusting where I felt I might need to due to differences in the lights.

Now I did openly say I think I underexposed every image I took that night and was expecting pitch black nothing basically.  That really wasn’t me trying to be humble but because I truly believed I had made many mistakes that night I list some of them below

  •  My reference aperture was F20, yet I used F22 on the 28mm lens and F16 on the 50mm lens
  • I planned on bracketing every shot one over and one under in terms of time, i.e. 10secs, 15secs and 20 secs. Yet did 5secs, 10secs and 15secs for no particular reason
  • The digital camera stayed in my bag I didn’t make any further readings

Thus on one 36 roll I took 3 shots each composition, thus 12 images to end up with.

I send my films to a lab so can’t give you any developing times or scan settings (note as mentioned I’m lazy) but when the scans came back I was very pleased that I had got images.  I am going to stop wittering now and show you a set of images, they are self explanatory.  The tweaks I made in Snapseed were shadows, highlights and contrast (inc curves contrast).

Side note I am totally fine with digital editing of film photos, I got over myself a while ago trying to be too purist.  I do agree however adjustments should be subtle and similar to darkroom edits, hence there are no unicorns or rainbows in my images below.


F16 5 secs, 10 secs & 15secs, no adjustments


Final image below I choose the 10 secs exposure and made adjustments in Snapseed.


The below is to show you some of the difficulties I experienced. One is an iPhone shot of the scence the other the film image at 5 secs.  The issue being that buildings are very well lit so getting the exposure balance right across the scence is difficult in some set ups. For me the tower is too bright and no editing is really going to change that.

This next one again shows how bright the lights are, so I really should have gone for a much shorter exposure.

5secs, no adjustments



The first one is f22 at 10secs.  Below it is the 5 sec exposure adjusted and cropped.  Basically over 5 secs and it was getting too bright.


The first one below is 16secs as you can see the film is picking reflection from somewhere and it’s showing in the sky.   The second one is 8 secs and adjusted in Snapseed.


The below are 10,15,20 secs and then my adjusted scan using the 15 second exposure.


Below is 8,15 & 20 seconds and then my adjustments using the 8 second exposure


So overall it was a successful night, there was luck involved and I have been advised going two stops under with Acros is good.  I hope you have found this useful, next week I’m trying colour slide film in the same location!