The Sound of Sussex – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

If you follow my blog posts you will see I am a bit of a fan of the Washi S film. This is a black & white sound recording film that I really enjoy using but can leave me with mixed results. So far all the rolls I have shot have been 35mm so I was very pleased to see it was also available in 120.

I was staying at hotel in the Sussex countryside for a weekend away with the family so thought I would give it a try there. I loaded the film in my Fuji GA645 and placed an orange filter on the front. All my previous Washi rolls have also been shot with an orange filter.

Let’s get right to the point these are mainly really bad. I have analysed why and believe the Fuji was not the right camera to use for this film. Ok hang before you say a bad workman always blames their tools, let me explain. Previous Washi film shots I have taken were using my Olympus OM1n. With this camera I could meter through the lens and point the camera at various different parts of the scene and then adjust accordingly. With Washi S it can really blow the highlights if you are not careful and conversely if you are too respectful of the highlights all you will get is really dark areas elsewhere.

I did not use a handheld meter with the Fuji and left it to its own metering, I firmly think this film needs to be shot in a camera with full manual settings and use the TTL metering or a handheld meter. I won’t go into all the different types of metering as quite frankly I am a real novice with this and would just be making things up, I just know through practice and experience with my OM1n how the film works for me.

I will try some more Washi S in 120 but this time in the Zeiss Ikon Nettar with my iPhone light meter. Let’s see if it improves. Anyway enough talking now here are the images.

The negative as I thought you may be interested, shot on top of an iPad, hence the funny patterns

The good:

The Bad:

And the Ugly (although love the clouds in these):

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.  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 Sound of Brighton

If you follow this blog you may have seen my previous blog, The Sound of London.

This is where I shot a roll of Washi S one bright winter’s lunchtime.  As a recap this is an ISO 50 film that is used normally for sound recording.  I got surprisingly good results from that roll.  My plan was to try it in different locations and ‘record’ the sound of that city.  The film is a super high contrast film with pure blacks & whites and not too much in between

I used the same set-up i.e. my Olympus OM1n with an orange filter on the lens and based on the last set of results metered the same which was through the OM’s meter and pretty much as registered.

A quick note, I share this, as I get most of my film knowledge from those who put information out there and sharing information helps us all. Thus I hope this and my previous post helps those that want to shoot this film.

This post is based on the lab scans and at time of writing I haven’t seen the negatives yet, however I have no doubt the lab scans are accurate.

So how did I get on………really not good at all.  Looking through the images, it was very bright day, compared to the previous roll, the sun was much more exposed and the one thing I didn’t really account for was also that the water reflects the sun light.  So what did that give me for some shots, here you go, you may need sunglasses.


As you can see totally blown and bright white spaces.  No amounting of editing is going to rescue these.

It was the same in the actual town. So did I get anything I liked. Actually yes, but I have to be honest these are very much personal taste, they are not technically good but this film is not about technical perfection.  That said I present to you The Sound of Brighton warts and all.




Sounds like London

I thought I would share with you my experience of shooting a slightly different film.

I am normally very much a standard film person but now and again like to try something just to see what it is like.

Thus I bought myself a roll of Washi S film in 35mm.  Washi are, I believe a French outfit specialising in photographic materials and best known for their Washi paper.  The S film is an ISO 50 film normally used for sound recording (yes this was news to me, film specifically to record sound).

So I loaded it into my trusty Olympus OM1 and headed out in London. I also used an orange filter.

I looked on the internet to see what others had shot on this film and saw that it was quite high contrast Black & White.  It was a bright day and lunchtime when I went out so I was hoping to take advantage of the hard light and shadows.

36 exposures later off went the film to the lab.  I received a call from them the next day explaining that the negatives were very different to what they normally see and their scanners were having a hard job picking up the images, but credit to them they did a great job.  Below is a picture of the negatives so you can see.


Below is also an example of the difference a stop in exposure can make.  With the Olympus you meter through the camera and I shot this film at the correct exposure level according to the camera.  The odd shot I did bracket and below is an example of one stop difference (aperture not speed) it is quite a marked difference.

So anyway enough of the rambling, below are some of my favourite from the roll.  I will probably shot this film again as a treat or if I have a special project in mind but mainly what it made me think is how much I enjoy Black & White film and must get back to shooting more of it