Yesterday whilst I was out and about I managed to pick up a 1980 Olympus Trip compact film camera. It was really cheap and in beautiful condition. I didn’t know if it was going to work properly, but things were looking promising. So, today, I popped into Poundland picked up a roll of Agfa Vista 200 (several rolls actually…). Then I walked over to Salisbury Photo Centre (all of 5 minutes away). On the way, I just pointed the camera at anything to take some shots. My main aim was (a) to see if the camera exposes OK, (b) that it focuses as required and (c) there are no light leaks. In the space of five minutes I had taken the required 24 shots. I handed the film in, then picked it up a couple of hours later. All the images came out fine. Here are a few images from that short walk with the camera. Even during that five minute walk it was a fun little camera to use. Definitely one to keep in the bag for snapshots!
In the last few weeks, I have been shooting film again (hence the lack of daily posts). I have been really enjoying it, the experience is lovely – you just take the shot and move on, forget about it. I would like to process the films myself. I have all the kit to do it myself, but I don’t the inclination time. So, I will rely on my local photography centre.
So, in the spirit of things, I am going to spend the next month just using one camera (Leica M7), one lens (35mm) and one film type (Cinestill 800T rated at ISO 500).
What I will do is shoot it, bag it up and wait until the end of the month to get it processed in one hit. I’ll post up anything decent!
Most of my photography is done using a 50mm lens in Salisbury. So, to make it more of a challenge, I am just going to shoot with a wide-angle 35mm. It is not a length that I use much, so that’ll be interesting for me.
Finally, my usual style is reasonably (I hope!) well composed, clean and simple images. For the next month, I am going to get messier and try out a different tack. I’m going to try and be more Jun Abe rather than Bresson. We’ll see how that goes, it’s going to be painful for me. However, it’s a good thing to get out of your comfort zone. Don’t expect any Alex Webb quality shots, I’m not that good at complexity in imagery!
Changing your sensor
Recently, I have been shooting a lot of digital and it has been fun. I do like the ‘clean’ look of a monochrome digital image. I have been slimming my photography kit down, getting rid of cameras that I don’t use often enough to justify keeping them. I don’t like the idea of having cameras sitting in a box collecting dust. If I am not using them, then hopefully someone else will. The only exception to this is my large format. I don’t use it enough, but this a camera for life for me.
I had been thinking about a digital rangefinder, as I like this style of shooting. I had one before (a Leica M9-P), but I sold it after a year. It would get noisy very quickly as you moved off the base ISO. Mainly though, I just didn’t like the feel of it. I didn’t really care about the crappy LCD screen on the back, but it just didn’t feel as solid or tough as the film cameras. Also, even though relative to other manufacturers’ Leica’s hold their value, they still suffer massively from digital rot. Any digital bought now is just a door-stop in waiting. My 1958 Leica M3 (out on loan to a friend) is still going strong.
The other thing that I have ‘realised’ more recently with film, is that if you want to change the ‘sensor’ you just load a different type of film. Hence, this new project. Whilst the film market has shrunk since I first started photography when I was a teenager, there are still a lot of films about (and slowly increasing again with the recent release of Bellamy Hunt’s Japan Camera Hunter film (Street pan JCH400), Film Ferrania’s P30 monochrome cinema still film, Cinestill medium format, and the upcoming re-release of Kodak Ektachrome (like others, I hope for the return of Kodachrome (unlikely, I know)).
There are some pretty interesting films out there like Rollei Redbird, Adox Colour Implosion, Infrared, bulk cinema films, as well as as a whole bunch of more common films that I have not tied (e.g. Kodak Ektar (on order)). So, I figured I might as well expand my photographic horizons and give them a go!
Yes, there haven’t been many posts recently – blame me film for that! I have been exclusively shooting film (Ilford HP5+ and Fuji Acros 100) for the last week. It’s been great, but not good for the blog. Good news is that a lot of film is going in to be processed tomorrow. Bad news is that it will be about a week before I get it back.
I am (slowly) putting together an ibook of the night photography that I have done in Salisbury over the last couple of years. I will post a link to it up when it is done. I am just debating in my tiny mind about adding a multi-media time lapse or video element to it. If people have any thoughts, feel free to comment.
In the meantime, here is an image that I took after I left the Anti-Trump protest in Downing Street that evening.
I have done a spontaneous quick trip to London this evening. There were some people in the city centre holding a vigil for the refugee children that are not currently being accepted into our country at the present time.
These are some of the photographs from last night’s run out with Cinestill. The first roll I put through was not very successful. This time, I downrated the film to 500 ISO (instead of 800) and did some more post processing with Lightroom after scanning the image. The details are improved and there is a little less digital noise in the colours. I scanned with an Epson v850 scanner, but it only has the standard software. I also have a Plustek 8200Ai scanner (out on loan to a friend) with Silverfast HDR, which has much better hardware / software for scanning such dense negatives. I will rescan some of the images at a later date to see if I can improve them. At the moment though, I think I will pop another roll into a camera!