Archive for black & white

Lost and Found

Posted in black & white, film, lost and found, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 6, 2017 by yammerman

 

 

6x7027As readers of my last blog will know, I misplaced a film during the windswept expedition to West Wales and, as a lover of a happy ending, I am pleased to report its return.

Gather round….

I went walking yesterday and took the Mamiya 7II out but didn’t take a single shot. When I left, I took a new box of spare film as I have a fear that aliens will descend from the sky suddenly or Lord Lucan will appear strolling on the promenade and I will be stuck without enough film.

On my return, as  I took the spare film from my pocket, I had one of those problem solving revelations that used to strike me quite often as a computer engineer.  I’d be trying to fix something for hours (I’d confess to days but that would make me sound completely hopeless) when suddenly inspiration would strike and the opaque would become transparent.

In this case, the moment I noticed the spare film box was open I knew what some idiot had done and that I would find the lost film inside. This is something I ordinarily never do but in extremis, like a war zone or a little wind and rain on a welsh hill, the centre cannot hold.

As I pulled the film from the box, I still couldn’t quite believe it; had I not brought the full weight of my man looking skills to bear on the search?  Had I not looked several times; would my wife not present this to a jury of my peers as evidence that I cannot find a damn thing?

A man without my moral courage might have just overlooked the whole thing, but when I processed the film in Illford HC  1/31 @20 degree for 6.5 mins I had four images I liked well enough to share.

In Rain and Sun with a Mamiya 7II

Posted in black & white, film, penarth, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2017 by yammerman

1

I made a visit to West Wales where the stereotype that it would rain the whole time was confirmed by plumes of spray on the motor-way and low cloud pressing down on the hills.  I patiently followed a cement mixer along the winding country roads for many a mile, hypnotised by its slowly turning drum as the rain continued to fall.  I’d come to visit a friend in Cardigan and mount a photo expedition with my Mamiya 7II.  We dined on Shepherd’s Pie and red wine that night; a sound preparation it turns out for the next day and a wet and windy Pentre Ifan.

The following morning, the BBC Weather app normally so unreliable proved accurate as their picture of a cloud with two drops of rain could be confirmed by a drawing back of the curtain.  But a couple of eternal optimists like our good selves were not to be discouraged by the predictions of a supercomputer and so we found ourselves leaning into the wind and rain, my Mamiya 7II wrapped in a plastic bag.

One thing I can confirm is that the ancients did not erect these stones for the purpose of shelter although, when combined with a decently placed umbrella, you can change a 120 film with reasonable speed.  Unfortunately it does appear that you lose the film you take out at this point and it has not as yet turned up.  An enquiry into who was at fault in this matter is yet to be convened.

I normally don’t wander about in the rain with a camera so that may explain why some pretty basic stuff becomes something of a challenge.  Taking the lens cap off and focusing, it turns out, are somewhat essential to photography even when you are trying to keep the damn camera dry.

The ancient gods smiled upon us for our efforts and the cloud base did lift enough that we could see the coast from our lofty position.  We then visited the beach north of the river at Parrog, where the remnant of Storm Brian had left seaweed in great quantities giving the appearance that it was making an attempt to become a land based creature.  It didn’t appear to be raining but the air was full of water, pleasantly warm while clouds hung upon the higher ground.  I imagine in summer it would prove to be rather idyllic. We breakfasted late or lunched early in the Vic North Cafe an establishment of some pedigree and highly recommended.

Then next day as I drove home the autumn sun shone, mist hung in the valleys and the mirth of the photographic gods could be heard echoing through the hills.

I still had 5 shots left in the camera and so, on my return to Penarth on a completely different kind of autumn day, I finished the roll.  I’d processed the two rolls of HP5+ in Ilford HC 1/31 @20 degrees for 6 mins before remembering there must be a third roll I’ve misplaced.  Gratification delayed for an eternity I fear and possibly the greatest images taken but never processed, I like to think.

In a radical move I tweaked them in Lightroom using a colour preset.

 

 

Walking with a Rollei B35.

Posted in black & white, film, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 21, 2017 by yammerman

rollei002

I took a Rollei B35 for a walk around Penarth. It is a small pocket camera from 1985, which is about as simple as it gets. A roll of film in a tin with a 40mm lens on the front.  Distance focusing with a simple meter. I used my first roll of Kentmere 100 film developed in  Ilford HC (1+31) for 7mins. I rather enjoyed the results.

Antique preset added in Lightroom

Nostalgia on a Roll of Rollei Retro 400S.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2015 by yammerman

Pic013 There are projects online where people take great pleasure in processing old film that has been left for years sitting in a camera or on a shelf. These are moments in time, waiting to be revealed to a world they could not have imagined.  Young girls that are now old maids, soldiers on tanks their fates as yet unknown, an analogue world pregnant with possibilities.

Then there are those so seduced by the new digital age that, though they shoot film, are actually too lazy to process it preferring the instant gratification provided by the shiny new pixel machines. Not me, of course; I would never allow 10 rolls of film to back up on the shelf for years, convinced that nothing in the viewfinder was of much interest, but merely created because the sound of a shutter clicking is rather pleasant and fondling a film camera is a delight……..well, OK, maybe.

So this is the first roll that’s been through the chemicals,  a three year old roll of Rollei Retro 400S shot while the country was awash with Olympic fever in 2012. I think you’d have to agree that these images capture the true flavour of the spirit that gripped the nation during that heady summer. It’s hard to believe such a remarkable record of nostalgia could remain unprocessed for so long.

The Massive Dev chart reckoned on 22min in Rodinal 1+50 @20degrees  but I always find those numbers too long for my setup and went with 17.5 mins.  They seem to scan a bit better when under developed like this. The only problem is the dust, which drives me nuts and which I get bored trying to clone out.

I give you eight off the roll not because they are any good but because I can. In a world with some staggeringly good photographers, I feel I could claim a niche in the ‘dullness’ movement. I just need to work up my artistic statement and then, look out, Turner Prize.

I feel duty bound to leave no film unprocessed upon my demise as I can only imagine the disappointed faces of the retronauts when they unfurl the rolls from the fix. Scanned and tweaked in Lightroom.

Exposing Penarth with a Leica MP and 35mm ASPH

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2012 by yammerman

Pier Walk064

This week, ignoring the pressing demands produced by an approaching Christmas, I ventured out for a walk to Penarth Pier.

I have been fondling my Leica MP these past months, a camera which my talents do not deserve but which my 50th birthday made possible. What better way to pass such a mile stone than to have a camera that might well be the last in the line of beautiful analogue tools produced by Leica.  The future is digital and a manual film camera in this day and age is going to go the way of the sabre-tooth tiger and the dodo. I fitted my Leica 35mm f2 ASPH which means that almost all you see through the beautiful viewfinder will appear on film.

I decided to walk to the pier in Penarth, not expecting much but the joy of hearing the shutter click. Photography is like Christmas shopping though, once you have made your first purchase the next comes much easier. I declined the road to the pier and followed the back lanes, an area I have trawled much, so was really just expecting to repeat myself.

The world though is always turning and changing so while it may be subtle, even these unloved back lanes evolve. A new garage door, a fresh lick of paint and a new graffiti tag;  all these and of course the light is never the same. It dresses the stage a little different each time and I quickly found my self in that world I see with a camera in my hand.

The camera gods played a neat trick on me as they always do, as half way down to the pier, the meter battery  ran out of juice thus removing one of Leica’s few concessions to the modern age. The rest of the shots had to be done with me guessing the exposure which after swallowing hard and grabbing hold of  ‘sunny 16’ like a drowning man I carried on.

I read that  Paul Strand said once that it takes eight to nine years to become a photographer and 2012 marks my seventh year,  so maybe I’m getting close. It is a measure of my progress that the two rolls I shot came out of Ilford HC with me unable to tell which the camera had chosen the exposure and which were mine. I confess a little jig of delight escaped me when I saw the negatives for the first time.

As for the pictures, among the dull shots of the pier (again) were also some shots of Penarth that won’t make the tourist brochure but they are in the town somewhere if you care to look.

These were  shot with FP4 with a yellow filter. Processed in Ilford HC 1+47 @ 20degrees for 9mins.

The Red Carpet Riders with an Leica M3 and Canon 50mm f1.4

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2011 by yammerman

It is the time of year for festivals and, while the lure of Glastonbury had not claimed me  I was lucky enough to be invited to Harrifest  in West Wales to see the Red Carpet Riders. So ignoring the risk of  Cynocephali, I set off for the Welsh hills.

The singer with ‘The Riders’ is Harry Rogers who puts on a mini festival in his garden/field and invites friends to party, play music and eat curry.  A stage is constructed and decorated while the like minded souls who attend create a warm convivial atmosphere. Mostly it’s of a folky nature while the Red Carpet Riders represent a more muscular heritage.

I came to see two former Airtight Garage members perform in the Riders line up and I intended to take a few snaps. I couldn’t decide between digital and film so naturally I took both.  Perverse really because you end up taking the same images with both.  The digital thing was easy on my Panasonic GF-1 and I’d posted them online by the following day.  For the film I decided to shoot Rollei 400s at 1600 and use my Leica M3 with a Canon 50mm f1.4 because it was evening and it would be dark.  Wrong on that count as it’s the middle of the summer and was still pretty light by the time I had to motor back to civilisation in Cardiff.  Leaving early I missed a few photo opportunities so if I get to come next year I may have to invest in a tent.

I saw some really good performances and felt the odd twinge to get up and have a go myself.  The Riders themselves thundered it out from a trombone assisted ‘Passenger’ to a scorching ‘Gloria’ with some fine punk classics in between.  The assembled company roared their approval.

So all day I swopped cameras, mostly favouring digital, but I was determined to get through two rolls of film if I could.  Photographing the bands was something of a problem as you couldn’t get near the stage without spoiling the whole thing, so I contented myself with shots from the back.  This produced the rather dull set of images below and I have to say that on this occasion I prefer the digital stuff by far. Still the fun of this was going to be how I developed the film and the lovely smell of fixer.

I had a dim recollection I’d shot this film at 1600 before but couldn’t really remember how I’d done it.  This is where the blog did well because, when Google seemed to be giving me a dead end, I checked my blog and low the instructions were on hand.  Last time I’d clearly found stand development times and used those again.  So in Rodinal 1+100 for 70 minutes  @ 20 degrees with a minute’s agitation to start and 10 secs half way through.  My rather inconsistent attitude to exposure meant I had a fine collection of thin and thick negs when they came out of the drum but at least I had something.  I still remember the time I processed a tank with no actual film in it.  A mistake I’m sure anyone could make …well, OK, just me I expect.

I’m not sure there’s anything I’m hugely drawn to actually print but I had a bit of fun tweaking in Lightroom.