Tag Archives: film

ArcTanGent Festival – The best fun you can have in a field!

Been a little while since my last proper post, been a rather hectic summer with work and photos and school holidays and everything. I know, no excuse at all! Still…

So…

Last weekend it was the first incarnation of a wonderful little festival called ArcTanGent, run by the same people that do the 2000 Trees Festival. Myself and a group of randoms went down to listen to many bands that I like, and many that I’d heard good things about (often through the Echoes and Dust blog), but for me, mainly to celebrate a good friend’s 40th year on this planet 🙂

Particularly due to the last mentioned point, I fully expected to get somewhat messy during some points of the weekend, and so I decided to leave the beloved DSLR at home (mainly for the fear of losing it in a field somewhere near Bristol…) and take a couple of film cameras with me instead. My reasoning being that if I broke them/lost them/submerged them/gave them away while drunk I’d only have to pay about £50 to get some fairly decent replacements.

So, I boldly strode into the breach armed only with my trusty Olympus OM 10 and Pentax P30, one roll of Fuji Velvia 50, one roll of Pan F 50, one roll of XP2 Super 400 and a random roll of Boots Gold ISO 200. So a rather mixed bag, just the way I like it!

Suffice to say that the Festival was a storming success! I think that during the whole weekend there was only one or two bands that didn’t catch my imagination. The vast and overwhelming majority were absolutely stunning! The stand out acts for me personally were And So I Watch You From Afar who blew both my brain and my eardrums to bits, Future of the Left, who were incredibly noisily brilliant, Manchester’s own Cleft and Charlie Barnes, Bristol’s awesome ANTA, and the rather unexpected and leftfield brilliance of SJ Esau.

If you want to hear more about the music, I’ll leave most of that wordy goodness to those folks at Echoes and Dust who are far more competent wordsmiths than I, so click this link if you want to hear all about it…

What I will do though, is leave you with the best of the photos from those four films that I want through from Thursday to Saturday. Do go listen to some of that music if you’re interested in noisy guitars and intricately played excellence. You might even like it so much you want to buy some!

P.S. The  people wrestling were doing it for fun, not fight… just to be clear…

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Posted in Blog, Events, Festivals, Film Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Looks like it was the 1960s

One of the things that I do really like about film photography, and have consistently found, no matter what type of camera I seem to be using, is the way that you can make it look like photos have been taken in a different decade, or different century even!

This seems to happen in a more pronounced way in black and white photography, and for some reason, especially so in the last film I shot. There’s pictures of the Archimedes statue at The University of Manchester (the bit that used to be UMIST, for those old enough to remember…), bits of Victoria Baths, the destruction of the BBC building on Oxford Road in Manchester and some of Levenshulme and Longsight. All of them, pretty much without exclusion look like they were taken several decades ago.

Take a look, see what you think…

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All were shot with a Pentax P30

Posted in Blog, Film Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Pentax & the 28mm wide

Weirdly enough, all of the photos that I seem to have taken with the film SLR so far seem to have been with a 50mm prime, so I was thinking about changing it up a little and seeing what I could do with something a bit different. So, I was talking to a guy at work and it turned out he had a load of old Pentax film kit that her didn’t use any more, but he had no camera body to go with it.

Sooooo, I had a quick trip to e(vil)bay and picked myself up a nice little P30N body for less than a tenner.
Which promptly didnt work, the mirror raised once and never returned…

 

Bugger.

 

So… I eventually went to The Real Camera Company (who are brilliant by the way!), paid a little bit more (but only a little bit!), and got a fully working body complete with instructions and an expired colour film, leaving me all ready to shoot 🙂
And so, I loaded the film, stuck the newly acquired 28mm f2.8 prime (equivalent to roughly 18mm on a crop sensor DSLR) on and shot away.

The wide angle does give a completely different perspective and as it’s so far removed from a “normal” view that we humans and our damp orbs generally percieve that it’s a little different to think through framing. There were a good few shots on this film where there was nothing at all interesting in the foreground, still I got a few that I’m happy with and above all it’s forced me to think differently again about what I’m doing and forced me a little out of my decidedly “normal” view of the world.

Take a look and do feel free to let me know what you think!

 

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Posted in Blog, Film Photography Also tagged , , , , , , |

The First Film of 2013

Well, obviously not the first of anyone’s films, just the first of mine. Shot on my lovely OM10 on a roll of Boots ISO 400 colour.
There’s a nice range of shots though, from a good few outings showing the varied states of terrible/good weather we seem to be having over the last couple of months (I am in Manchester, what can you expect?!).
Still, very happy with some of the shots, definitely a couple of keepers in there!

Hope that the Christmas and New Year break treated you all well, hope you like the photos and watch this space for more (especially as I’ve also just picked up a Pentax P30)…

All the best!

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Posted in Blog, Film Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , |

A little something to round off the year…

No particular one subject for this post really, 2012 has been a very busy year indeed, so I thought that I’d go through the best that I’d shot of the year and choose roughly 20 or so to sum it all up. Of course, being me, I completely failed to choose 20 photos, so here’s just over 60 (digital and film from a variety of cameras…) that sum up 2012 for me…

They’re not necessarily all tack sharp, but for me, every one of them says something about that moment, portraying the atmosphere; the fun; just the stuff that was happening around me over the course of the year.

After all, in 2012, we’ve had another child, a loft conversion, the other child’s grown a year older, I’ve been to loads of pretty damned awesome gigs, met some bonkers people and spent a lot of time with a lot of good friends and my brilliant family. A pretty busy year all in all!

Thank you 2012, you’ve been great, now, bring on 2013!

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Of course the other thing that happened was Movember, when I shaved off my usual Mo to grow another. I only got the first 18 days of stop MOtion (sorry) growth, but I reckon that was enough, so here’s a little special treat(?) for you all!

The first 18 days of (re)growing my mo!

18 days of mo growth is enough for anyone!

Have a great Christmas and New Year and I’ll see you all in 2013!

Posted in Blog, Digital Photography, Film Photography, Opinions Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Lou and the Llamas and the Levy Jamboree!


Levy Jamboree Flyer
Been a little while since I last posted, very remiss of me I know…

So I thought I’d catch you up with a little something that’s going on as part of the Levenshulme Festival this year, The Levy Jamboree.

It’s a little gig on Friday the 9th of November at the Klondyke club in Levenshulme , organised by Lou Armer who organises the Levy Uke Up that I’ve mentioned previously on here, and featuring all local artists. Weirdly enough, I’ll actually be playing the banjolele as part of the Levy Uke Up (as will my better half on her uke) so do feel free to come and heckle, it would be lovely to see you!

Conveniently enough, Lou’s band, Lou and the Llamas (although you could have guessed that, right?) played their first gig a week and a bit ago and I shot a few frames of film while I was there. I’ve just got them back and well, now seems like the perfect time to share. All of the Black and white shots were taken with an Olympus OM10 on 35mm Ilford XP2 Super 400 and the lone colour shot was taken on a 1920s (I think) Voightlander 6×9 folding camera on Portra Pro 160 VC.

If you do come down on Friday, do come early as all of the acts are good, and if you enjoy live stuff with real instruments of the more gently acoustic persuasion, you’ll be in for a right treat. It may only be the Llamas’ second gig, but they play beautifully together and create a wonderful sound. So, I’ll stop wittering on now and let the photos speak for themselves.

Enjoy your week and maybe see you on Friday? I’ll be frantically practising till then!

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Posted in Blog, Film Photography, Gigs Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

An accidental panorama

A Birthday Panorama

12 exposures, some of them multiples in the space of about 9 or so…

 

 

 

 

So kids, this is what happens when you don’t pay attention to your camera settings!

It was a friend’s birthday last week, so I thought that I’d take the Holga along, of course I’d got the single frame setting on the thing wrong and it was showing me numbers for 16 frames per roll. I had the 12 frame per roll mask in place. Oops…

Still, I got it developed, asked the lab not to cut the roll for me, so as well as their attempts at getting individual frames (see below…) I could also put it on the flat bed scanner at home and get it in its entirety! The whole panorama scanned direct from the negative at 2400 dpi was just over 60,000 (yes, that’s right, 60,000!) pixels wide. So, not a small file… You can click here to view a version on Flickr that’s roughly 30 times smaller than that and still not viewable all at once on a normal monitor…

All good fun though 🙂

 

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Posted in Blog, Film Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , |

A Voightlander visits the Gower

My late 1920's Voightlander Bessa

My late 1920’s Voightlander Bessa folding camera.

Just a quick post this time, just to say hello after being away for a week or so in South Wales. It’s the first time that any of us had been to the Gower peninsula, and you know what, it’s an absolutely gorgeous part of the world. Stunning scenery, just a shame we couldn’t say the same for the weather. It was, at least, warm all of the time. It was, however, windy and windless and scorching sunshine and cloudy and foggy and light rain and torrential rain and thunder and lightning… So, a typical summer in the good old British Isles…

Anyhow, I took a couple of film cameras with me, the first being a 1920’s Voightlander Bessa folding medium format camera. It takes 6x9cm negatives on medium format 120 roll film and I can honestly say that it’s the most difficult camera that I’ve used so far.

You see the little square bit to the top right of the lens in the picture? That’s the (tiny!) viewfinder… It’s also distance scale focusing (I love distance scale focusing…). Still it is medium format, it’s got a nice 11cm f4.5 Anastigmat Voigtar lens and should in theory be capable of taking 8 very lovely 6×9 pictures per roll. Yes. Eight.

Not much chance to get things wrong then…

Although to be fair, I did get seven well exposed negatives out of eight from the roll of Ilford XP5 (B&W) that I loaded it with, and from the couple that were in focus, you can certainly get some stunning quality from it. It was, however, incredibly difficult to get accurate focus with. The lens takes a full (very stiff) turn to go from 3 feet to infinity focus and at around £2 per picture for develop and scan, when compared with the success rate, it could get rather expensive…

Still here are the 7 shots from it taken over the course of a very lovely week in the Gower. It was wonderful to get away from it all for a little while 🙂

Wood turningThe Gower Heritage CentreThe Mumbles beachThe mumblesPort EynonThe MumblesThe view from the campsite.

 

My Olympus OM10 SLR

My Olympus OM10 SLR

The second camera I took with me was an Olympus OM 10 with a Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f1.8 lens.

The OM10 is a complete contrast to the Voightlander. It’s very simple to use and even has in built metering and manual focus that you can check through the viewfinder. All the mod cons!

This has got to be the easiest film camera I’ve used so far (apart from the no control point and shoots) and is an absolute joy to use. Manual focus is generally quite easy as well due to the large viewfinder and focus confirmation point. So here are a few of the shots from that as well. B&W shots are on Ilford XP2 Super 400 and the colour ones are Kodak Ultramax 400.

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Posted in Blog, Film Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Are two lenses better than one?

My mint condition Seagull 4B-I TLR

My mint condition Seagull 4B-I TLR

Well, as I go on holiday tomorrow down to the Gower Peninsula, I thought that I’d post a very quick blog before I go and soak up some of that lovely south Wales sunshine (I hope!) and leave you to your own devices for a week or so.

Now I’m not one for broad sweeping definitive and ill considered statements, so I thought I’d address a nice simple question, are two lenses better than one?

Specifically, Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) vs. Single Lens Reflex (SLR).

Discuss…

 

So far I’ve put two rolls of film through the Seagull. This camera came to me in mint condition with only one film ever put through it, and that was still in the camera! Apparently, this was bought new in the 1960s and never used, unfortunately, the film that was in it had degraded so much that there were no pictures on it at all, just fog.

I have to say, I’m not sure why it wasn’t used, the viewfinder ( a 6×6 square of ground glass with a magnifier) is beautifully bright, clear and easy to focus with, as long as it’s light. Of course, the first film I shot with this was in the dark, in a club, of several bands… Got some wonderful multiple exposures but this was before I’d found the magnifier, so I wasn’t having a brilliant time focusing… A few examples of that film are below, some shots of Salford band Trojan Horse, one of Rapid Pig, and one from outside the gig of a dude with an awesome afro…

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The second film that I shot was a little more varied and in situations with considerably more light! These shots cam out very sharp indeed in the focused zone, and gorgeously smooth in the fall away to distance. Take a look at the shots below for film number 2…

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So, are two lenses better than one? In short, I really can’t answer that.

The quality of picture is so different from medium format to 35mm film that it kind of renders my observations irrelevant as I’ve never shot a medium format SLR (anyone have a spare?…). The depth of field that you can get when using wide apertures on medium format is so beautifully narrow and the out of focus areas so smooth, the colour that the Portra Pro 160 imparts to the images are all just stunning and not really something I can compare to 35mm or digital in any meaningful way.

At the end of the day, a TLR is just a slightly different way of taking the photos, it seems to be the format that you use that makes the difference, be it digital or analog. Each to their own.

Now, if someone would just give me a Hasselblad or a Bronica, I could start making proper comparisons…

Posted in Blog, Film Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Zorki 4 and the unfocused ukelele invasion

Another brick of a russian rangefinder, the Zorki 4, complete with a Jupiter 8, 50mm F2 lens.

Another brick of a russian rangefinder, the Zorki 4, complete with a Jupiter 8, 50mm F2 lens.

I may well have mentioned that ebay is a very dangerous place to be in a previous post. Especially when you’ve just got into film cameras and you’re all excited and fresh faced and everthing on there is just SO DAMNED CHEAP!

Ahem.

Aaaaaanyhow… One of my recent purchases (for less than a tenner I hasten to add…) was a Zorki 4. The name itself sounds like something from a different planet, but in reality, it’s a slightly (but only slightly) more polished version of the Fed cameras of the same era and is essentially a Leica copy. Which, knowing the reputation of Leica, is a very good thing indeed!

So, this lovely shiny brick came to the door beatifully packaged in the customary cardboard box and as much bubble wrap as humanly possible. I unwrapped it and it was such a thing of beauty that I had to find an instruction manual on the internet, figure out how to load a film and then shoot some test shots…

This camera handles beautifully. It’s heavy, yes, but the Jupiter 8 has a wonderfully smooth continuous aperture adjustment and the focus is wonderful on it. Again, smooth as… as a very smooth thing at any rate, metaphors seem to have escaped me tonight. The rangefinder, like the Fed 2 was a little off vertically, but after the results from the Fed 2, I wasn’t deterred at all.

So I’d taken a few shots around Levenshulme taking in the local delights such as the bit underneath the tracks at the Levy train station, bits of the Antiques Village, the fence keeping you out of the derelict shop sites on the A6 and some others, when I realised that we were all going to the Levy Uke Up at POD, so I thought that I take a few shots there as well and see what happened.

If you’re wondering what the Uke up is all about, it’s a bunch of very lovely people with very small guitars getting together to play some tunes, sing some songs, drink some beer and eat some food. It makes for a rather lovely way to finish of a Sunday evening and ready you for the week. This was the first one I’d attended, and it would seem that I now need to get my wife (and myself) a ukelele. So it goes…

Finally got the film back from processing and it seems that the rangefinder might be somewhat in need of adjustment. Either that, or I was consistently missing focus by quite some distance, though that isn’t beyond the bounds of possibility by any means. I will be taking the Zorki (and the Fed…) to get properly calibrated at some point soon. I’m still quite chuffed with the photos even if I was a little surprised at the point of focus in some of them… As usual, there’s a few shots below from this roll, with a few more on my Facebook page for good measure, feel free to let me know what you think 🙂

 

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