Archive for May, 2014

The Soul of the FA Cup with a Fuji X-Pro1 and 60mm Macro.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2014 by yammerman

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We have had a glorious few days in this part of South Wales, the first burst of summer.  It coincided with my annual gathering for the Cup Final, a ritual I keep in homage to those far off days in the 70’s when the family gathered to watch the finale of the football season. Teams would leave hotels on coaches, men in terrible suits would walk nervously onto the pitch and a titanic struggle would ensue for that most romantic of silverware.

It was a big day with some big games now etched in the memory.  The fancy dans of  Chelsea v the cloggers of Leeds; the miracle of Jim Montgomery’s save to win the Cup for SunderlandCharlie George’s sizzling winner  for Arsenal in the week I bought a Liverpool bag; and Bobby Stokes, Roger Osborne and Alan Taylor becoming folklore.  In the eighties, it was Coventry winning; Ricky Villa’s goal for Spurs; while Smith had to score for Brighton; and, of course, the Crazy gang of Wimbledon toppled  Liverpool.

With the arrival of the nineties, the Cup lost its lustre as the filthy lucre of the Premiership became more important than the glory of the Cup.  Teams playing weakened sides in order that they might cling on to the gravy train at the top table.  The early rounds are still marvelous, the big boys having yet to come up with a way of ruining Third Round day.

You might be able to see what’s been gained by looking at the balance sheets of a dozen clubs but what’s been lost is something unquantifiable and invisible to the bean counters.  These days it’s either two rich clubs suddenly getting interested for the Final or a lucky minnow that generally gets trounced.  Well done to Wigan for ripping up that script last year.  This year it was Arsenal v Hull and we all knew how that was going to end.

The last few years the kick-off has been moved from three to five pm, no doubt after a financial analysis of advertising rates suggested a richer revenue stream in emerging markets. These are hollow men without imagination who think, Premiership B teams playing in the lower leagues is the way forward.  I rather hope one day the plug gets pulled on the money in football and sanity will be restored, but I’ll be long gone before that point is reached. The recent Richard Scudamore  sexist remark scandal tells you all you need to know about the attitude and mind set of those in charge of football in this country.

If you haven’t yet watched the game, spoiler alert for a brief ten minutes where Hull could do no wrong and scored two goals but, inevitably, Arsenal came back to win 3-2 for their first silverware in nine years.  For supporters of lower league clubs like myself, the idea of a nine year wait for an FA Cup doesn’t seem much of a hardship at all.  I’ll still be back next year, if only as it happens around my birthday and guests feel obliged to bring me presents.  It’s a ritual I still enjoy, even if the game has turned into a generally less than memorable side show.

Oh, and I did some pictures as the last shaft of light arrowed across the garden.  Then I sucked the life out of them in Lightroom as a homage to the vampires of football leaving just a faint glimmer of the beauty that once existed.

 

Double Exposure with a Nikon F3

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2014 by yammerman

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Still in my on-going familiarisation process with the Nikon F3, so I thought it wise to have a look at the manual to ensure I was its master.  I was prompted by the fact that I couldn’t find the self-timer which I was convinced it must possess.  My assumption proved correct as the movement of a lever by the shutter dial does the trick.  I noticed that I could also achieve double exposures with the use of another small switch by the shutter button.   This aroused my curiosity with the possibilities.

This week I set about my annual ritual of oiling the garden furniture which means placing the chairs in two rows in the garden.  Rows of empty seats are familiar to me from my days in no-hoper bands, playing to an indifferent public; so  it occurred to me I could perhaps use these in conjunction with my new found understanding of the Nikon F3 to create some images.

To this end I set about what is recorded in the selection of snaps below.  It’s best not to indulge in too much analysis of what on earth I was thinking, though professional psychologists might enjoy holidays in five star luxury on the fees they might accrue from seeking an explanation.

It is said you should become familiar with just one type of film so, ignoring that advice, I’m on my third different film this week. This time it was Rollei Retro 100 in Rodinal at 20 degrees for 10 minutes.  That’s over 20% knocked off the recommended time but it seems to work for me just fine.  All shot with Nikon 60mm.

 

Tweaked in Lightroom 4 for no other reason than I can.

 

Light Found in a Bin with a Nikon F3 and 60mm Macro.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2014 by yammerman

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I’m tidying the darkroom/studio in my attic  the night after I’ve seen ‘Looking for Light‘  the quite splendid documentary on the life and work of Observer photographer Jane Bown. I’m thinking about the huge 35mm prints up on the screen and the Olympus OM-1 sitting in a bag somewhere amongst the pile of old cameras I’ve acquired  over the last few years.  I’m feeling inspired by the images I’ve seen and the slight grain I could see in the prints leaves me itching for the smell of fixer and the gurgle of water.  But the rain hammers on the roof  and I must clear enough space so that my brain can function before I shoot anymore film.

I plod on and then as I throw redundant packaging and old guitar strings into the bin, I see the roll of film I’d processed on Sunday and grumpily thrown there when I’d discovered my own stupidity manifest as a light leak. I remember an image in the viewfinder of a  plant standing tall and a twisting piece of metal looking like a cobra about to strike. I surveyed the roll and discover that image and several others have escaped the full eviscerating effect of their accidental exposure to light. ‘There you are’  Jane Bown used to say after wandering around her subjects till she found the person she was seeking for her portrait and I mumbled  the same as an incantation to the gods of photography.  They are not perfect as the gatecrashing light seeps in one side of the images but I like them well enough that I’m glad I gave then a second chance before the oblivion of landfill. I found twelve images I could rescue and after scanning choose the four below as worthy of posting.

I love a happy ending though it’s back to the tidying for me now.

 

A Few Shots with a Nikon F3 and 60mm Macro

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2014 by yammerman

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Further use of the Nikon F3  using the 60mm Macro, which has always been a favourite for both film and digital.  A stroll to the pier and then some macro in the garden. It was all going so well until I discovered the back of the camera opened as I rewound the second roll. Give light a second and it does it worst to those grains of silver. A  deep sigh then processed and found to be ruined so straight in the bin. Naturally the second had the award winning images on so that was a damn shame. Here is the best of the first roll.

Shot with  Ilford FP4 at 125 processed in Rodinal/Adonal 1 to 50 for 12 minutes at 21 degrees.

Training for a Marathon with a Nikon F3 and 18mm f2.8 Lens

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2014 by yammerman

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I’m in training for a marathon; not the 26 mile torture that involves the human body searching for a wall to hit, but the photographic kind. The Cardiff Photo Marathon has been going since 2004 and I try to take part as often as I’m able. The rules require 12 photos in 12 hours on 12 topics supplied 4 at a time throughout the day. Sounds easy enough but it is in fact a grueling test of both your physical and creative stamina.

It was switched to digital a few years back which meant the loss of the delayed gratification that comes with using film.  There are no weeks of excitement now, waiting for the exhibition to see what on earth you captured on your precious roll of film. At the end of a long day, you now know if you have got photographic gold or a series of ‘What was I thinking?’ moments. I realised last time that deleting as I went along was a mistake, because by keeping all your ideas for each topic in chronological order you can then edit the set with a retrospective view on the whole day.  There is nothing wrong with that but it’s quite a different challenge than when you use film. The truth is, I imagine, that plenty of people were taking digital snaps to see how their film idea was going to work……I sure did once or twice.

This year I noticed they were allowing 50 people to use film and in a purist moment of madness, I volunteered for this option.  Since then, I’ve been slightly panicking about what kind of hair shirt I’ve just pulled on. Choosing a camera is exercising me; should I take the easy option of a modern AF or old school manual.  To this end I’ve been shooting with my trusty old Nikon F3HP to see if it can hold up to the challenge. This did not start well and it pains me to confess the first roll didn’t load correctly and, unspotted by me, was failing to wind.  Imagine my horror when I realised this after an hour of purposeful photographic art … oh, how I chuckled.

Chastened by this disaster, I considered abandoning old school in favour of a Nikon F80 but thought I’d probably learnt my lesson and persisted.  This time I made sure I loaded the film correctly in the F3 and selected a Nikon 18mm lens to wander around the Cardiff Barrage.  I’m really not used to shooting this wide and had no idea what to expect which I guess is half the fun.

The viewfinder on the F3 is huge and uncluttered like a HD TV stuck to your eyeball.  That is a great advantage compared to looking at a digital LCD on a sunny day. I did occasionally forget I’d moved the exposure compensation dial and using 18mm as your field of vision increases the danger of tripping over stuff, but not for nothing was this camera a classic.  It feels solid and comfortable while all the controls fall easily to hand.  It was a dull old day and frankly the Barrage has very little new to offer me, but I managed two rolls of HP5 with ease.  By the end, I was warming to the idea of rocking up at the Millennium Centre with this rather lovely machine.

I processed in Ilford HC at 20 degrees   1 to 31 dilution for 6 minutes.  It’s the first time that I’ve used this developer for a while and it always seems stronger than I expect, resulting in over-processed negatives –  not so great for scanning.  It all gets a bit grainy for my tastes, so I’ll probably increase the dilution next time.  A tweak in Lightroom 4, with some Antique preset, and I’m done.