35mm, Film, 35mm, and scans, Uncategorized, Yashica T2

Losing wind

New World

I tried doing something different.  I tried to give the home developed b/w film a rest, and to concentrate on using up some Poundland C41 colour 35mm film in the Yashica T2.

I don’t like it.  I don’t like the results.  That, combined with the winter light, work pressure, and lack of travel, has killed my photography.  I don’t like the results.  I’m finding myself looking at and appreciating more b/w film than ever.  I lost something.  I’m not going to abandon the Yashica T2 yet, but I’m abandoning the C41.  More Shanghai, Tmax, and Rollei film is on the way.  I miss my medium format as well.  The Bronica SQ-A is a great system camera – I want to use it again.

I’m not happy with my recent foray into C41 35mm.  I need to sniff fixer again.  All that it has taught me is to appreciate the beauty of b/w film photography more.

Above photo taken on the Yashica T2 and Poundland film in Norwich.

Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II


Olympus XA2 compact camera. AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 film from Poundland. Scanned with V500.

I haven’t shown a lot of it on this blog of recent.  I do prefer b/w photography, but at the same time, I am the tight fisted photographer, and I still have plenty of Poundland film (AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200) in my freezer.  I tried C41 home processing, I did have some success, but I didn’t really enjoy it, not enough to learn how to keep C41 chemistry well.  The nearest photolab is not only incredibly expensive, but on my last film, totally botched up the colour.  I’ve even resorted to cross processing C41 film in b/w process and chemistry a few times.

Still, I recently thought I’d try again.  My faithful Olympus XA2 from the 50p Camera Project kept looking at me from the camera shelf.  So in went a cassette of Poundland film – that Ilford can be so expensive.  It was in there a few weeks or so, I didn’t use it to take any particularly good photos, just snapshots here and there.  I like the above result – it fitted my mood post general election about the future of minimal government – our parish council certainly provides it.  I have a very dystopian view of the future, perhaps I’m getting old.

Anyway, after I used up the 35mm film, I took it to a photolab in Kings Lynn, that I hadn’t used before.  Not a chain, but an independent.  They charged £2.50 for film process only, but had my film dried, cut into strips, and properly packaged in less than a hour!  Colours look good (of course, my scanner will have an effect), and they are clean.  Really pleased.  They did point out that the quick process was a result of their minilab being hot when i walked in, and I got lucky – but it looks like I’ve got a new photolab resource.

Now, that works out at a cost of £3.50 of film / development for 36 exposures.  I don’t think that at the moment, I could get b/w that cheap.  Other than cross processing.  Better get some of that Poundland film out of the freezer.

Dogs and animals, Internet, Monochrome, Rants and discussions, Zenza Bronica SQ-A

New Flickrites – what not to post


The dog that drinks Mexican beer. A distinguished dog on the streets of Norwich. Bronica SQ-A camera. Zenzanon PS 80mm f/2.8 lens. Ilford HP5 Plus medium format film. Home developed in R09.

I said in yesterday’s post, I still consider myself to be a very much a novice, and I’m perfectly happy to be an amateur photographer.  I have no pretences of professional status.  I prefer to climb around in power station boilers than photographing poxy weddings.  But that is my choice.  So what’s provoked this post about even more novice photographers on Flickr?

I’ve had a popular week on the old Flickr website.  Six of my meagre, poorly exposed and scanned photographs (or rather their digitalised representations), have made it into that mysterious Explore category.  Subsequently lots of misguided new Flickrites have started to Follow my Flickr persona.  And a few more experienced members I might add – perhaps in order to chuckle at my attempts to produce images.  Thing is, I do try to be a good community member, and therefore I check out every new follower, and their photostreams, and usually pay the compliment back.  Subsequently I’ve been exposed to more than usual, lets call it,  fresh talent.

Some of it is genuinely good, and in the majority of cases, I can find an image or two that I’m happy to Fave and add to my highly valued (I’m serious here) Flickr Favourites stream.  Now, there are some bloody good images in there to share company with, by Flickr photographers and artists with far more skill than mine.  However, having scanned through so many new Flickrite’s streams so much lately, I’d like here to lay down some guidelines as to what I would not add to my valued favourites stream.

  1. HDR.  Ok, sometimes, if done correctly with a number of independent exposures, sometimes it works.  Personally though I think it too often looks fake and awful.  In fact I loath most of it.  It’s done too often, too much, too badly.  It’s a trend that will go away.  Just like mullet hairstyles.  Future generations will snigger and date an HDR photo to our period.  Well that’s my opinion anyway.
  2. Colour splash.  Another trend that is struggling to die away.  Again, it was cool for five minutes.  Hands up, I’ve done it in the not so distant past.  But open your eyes, does it make a dour photo any better?  In same cases, its utterly horrible.  Pale grey faced models with badly colour splashed dresses.  Ugh.
  3. An extension of 1 and 2.  People should be forced to take tests and have a licence before being allowed to use post process software.  So many badly chopped up, messed up, photocrap images!  Back off of the software.
  4. Subject.  A common Entry Level failing.  Does the photo have a subject?  Is it interesting?  A car park is rarely interesting. Don’t e-publish photos of car parks, uninteresting foliage, grass, etc.  Ok, I’ll admit, I’m sure you’ll find plenty of dross in my photostream.  But please!
  5. Imagination.  It’s my number one problem.  I don’t have enough of it.  Neither do many other novices.

Ok, enough moaning.  Just please understand that photography is not only a way of Life, but also a journey.  Peace to you.


Film Dark Room, Film, 35mm, and scans, Pentax ME Super 35mm film SLR

It’s about technique.

Arrrgh, Geee, Beee. Pentax ME Super camera. SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7 lens. AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 35mm film from Poundland. Developed in Rollei Digibase C-41 chemistry. Stitched together post negative scan with open source Gimp software.

Another day of nothing to do but demolish Poundland 35mm film.  Actually, it really is getting easier with practice.  I had a technique that worked yesterday.  Even managed to avoid running into the kitchen screaming “I need the kettle now!  I need temperature!!”.  No spilling of jugs of developer.  No chemicals poured into wrong containers (I’ve carefully numbered my storage drums and measuring jugs to match now).  Now I understand it (until some swot corrects me), the critical 38 C temeperature only really applies to the developing stage – so as long as I pre-soak in water at 38C (or slightly above), and develop at 38 C -/+ 0.3 tolerance, then I don’t need to worry too much about lower temperatures (30 C to 38 C) for all of the following baths – and I can use the water that I heat my jugs of chemicals in, for rinse.  The three scanned Poundland film negatives in this post, were all taken in the Pentax ME Super, using 35mm Poundland film (AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200), and were developed in Rollei Digibase chemistry.  The top image has been stitched from three exposures, post digital scan, using the free open source Gimp software package.  All taken in the last few days and quickly processed at home.

Colour test. As above image.

This will probably be my last post for a week or so, as my ISP wants paying and they are going to have to wait.  Maybe I should rename this blog The Broke Photographer.  Will catch up at the end of the month.  Take care.

I tell yer. I left my hard hat in here! As top image.

Film Dark Room, Film, 35mm, and scans, Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II

C-41 Process and Me.

The General Cemetery. Wisbech. Olympus XA2 compact camera. AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 35mm film from Poundland. Developed in Rollei Digibase C-41 chemistry.

For crying out loud.  I really do not like this C-41 process game, and it does not like me.  However, I’m sticking with it, but it is fighting me back.  Ok confession time.  First attempt.  Screwed up totally, although sort of salvaged a few sprocket hole images.  I’ve posted on that one before, so I wont go into detail.  Second attempt.  I accidentally poured some used bleacher into the fixer storage drum.  I’ve checked with the swots on an analog forum – the verdict is that it’ll gradually degrade and to use it ASAP.  I did however pretty well process a 24 exposure of 35mm, although it wasn’t a very good shoot.  I took it in my 50p Olympus XA2, and it included the above image, of the chapel of rest, in the disused General Cemetery in Wisbech.

Third attempt – just now.  I processed two 35mm films in the Paterson tank together.  Too early to say how they’ll turn out, I’ll see tomorrow.  However, I accidentally dropped 600 ml of precious C-41 developer to waste.  I wanted this stuff to last 6 – 8 months, but it isn’t looking good.

Maybe I’m just too much of a rush-about klutz to process my own C-41 colour film.  Too much worrying about temperature, too many jugs.  It’s certainly another learning curve.

Film Dark Room, Film, 35mm, and scans, Lubitel 166B

Chaos Colour

Upwell Church and the Well Stream, Norfolk. Taken with Lomo Lubitel 166B camera. AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 35mm film, developed in Rollei Digibase C-41 kit.

Well that was a cock up.  Ok, not all of it.  Let me start from the beginning.

The plan was to go crazy, and to load a Poundland 35mm film onto the 120 spindles of a Lomo Lubitel 166B camera, expose it in a day, then develop it using the Rollei Digibase C-41 chemistry kit.  My first ever attempt at C-41 colour film development.  A fun project.

The Lubitel 166B is a TLR (twin lens reflex) camera, built in the Lomo factory of the former USSR during the early 1980s.  It is designed to use 120 medium format roll film, exposing it in 12 frames of 6 cm by 6 cm squares.  It is an entirely manual camera, with no light meter.  They were mass produced in the former Soviet Union as a medium format camera for the masses – but with full exposure controls.  I bought mine at a car boot sale in Cambridgeshire for two quid (GBP £2.00).

I’ve already shot several rolls of Ilford b/w 120 roll film in it, and I’ve been pleased with it, although the Bronica SQ-A has replaced it as my number one medium format film camera.

I placed the camera in my film changing bag, with two empty 120 spindles, a small pair of scissors, and a 35mm cassette of Poundland film.  Later Lubitel’s have been fitted with masks for using 35 mm film – but the 166B was exclusively 120.  I rolled out the film from the 135 cassette, snipped it off, then rolled it back onto the middle of the 120 spindle.  Simple.  No masks or complications so far. I then fitted the spindle into the Lubitel, fed the end of the film into the second spindle, and then pulled it across – fitting the top spindle into the camera (all of this was done in the safe confines of my film changing bag).    I had already taped the red window over in case of light leak.  Shut the back, took out the Lubitel loaded with 35 mm.

In the field, I exposed the film using my usual Sunny F16 Rule of manual guess-timate settings.  I wound the film advance two full rotations between frames.  It turned out to be generous.  Next time I’ll use one and a half rotations, and should get an extra few exposures to my film.  I felt the 135 film release from the bottom spindle on my last exposure.

So far, it had gone very well.  The film had exposed quite well, although some wasted film between frames.  The Lubitel had performed well, and as expected, the whole width of the film, either side of sprocket holes had exposed, to give that sprocket holed

Leverington Church Spire. As above.

film look so beloved of the Lomo school of photography.

Then disaster struck.  I decided to rush into my first ever C-41 film development using the Rollei Digibase C-41 kit.  I did everything wrong.  I tried developing at a high temperature that I couldn’t sustain.  I mucked up solutions.  Last second realised that I hadn’t got a stopwatch in the house.  I dropped my beloved developing log book in water, losing my notes.  It turned into chaos.

I learned lessons, and I wont make certain mistakes again.  I’m not giving up with the C-41 colour film developing yet.  Indeed, I’m determined to do it better.  All of that lovely Poundland film demands it.  I was also quite pleased qith the Lubitel on 35mm.

More patience next time.  I’ll also try to C-41 develop at lower more sustainable temperatures.

This is partly what amateur photography should be about.  Challenges, learning, and improving.

Film Dark Room

Bad Man! Stop that Cross Processing!

Bad Man. Olympus Trip 35 camera. AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 C-41 film cross processed with Ilford B/W chemistry.

Sorry about that.  In future I’ll try to develop my Poundland film, and any other C-41 films (quite fancy trying some 120 medium format C-41) in full glorious colour!  I ordered the mini Rollei Digibase C-41 developer 500 ml  kit in the evening.  It arrived at my door mid morning the next day!  Well done to FirstCall Photographic.  It’s so cute that I don’t want to break the seal.  I already wish that I’d gone for the five litre Super Maxi size kit, but this will do for a tester.  Now I need a bunch of used 35mm colour films!  I have nearly forty AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 36 exposure 200 films from Poundland in hoard.  I just need to find something to photo.  I’m afraid inspiration is a bit short lately.

I took a quick snap with a DSLR of my new Rollei C-41 kit just now, and slotted it into my previous post below.  It seemed more appropriate for that post.

Film Dark Room, Film, 35mm, and scans, Zenza Bronica SQ-A

Cheap C-41 colour negative film developing

My cute little Rollei Digibase C-41 kit. Taken with Sony A200 DSLR

What a plonker!  In my last post my maths went to hell.  It works out much cheaper than I initially calculated, to develop C41 film using the Rollei Digibase kits.  The larger the chemistry kit, the cheaper that it is.  However, I’ve just ordered a small kit for now, to test the water with.  With this 500 ml kit, if I successfully develop 10 films using it, it works our to £2.70 per film (including the cost of delivery).  If proven successful, then I’ll order the 5 litre kit next.  I’ve calculated, that for  the 100 films that it is supposed to develop (100-110), and including delivery of the kit, the cost per film would be 49p per film.  Yes, that’s GBP £0.49 for a 36 exposure 35 mm film.  If true, that is outstanding value!  On a 36 exposure AgfaPhoto Vista Plus film from Poundland, that adds up to a film price + developing cost of 4p per exposure on colour film.  Wow.

Ok, you are perfectly justified to argue that digital costs nothing per exposure, except for a few milliamps of power.  That’s perfectly true.  However, it misses the point that shooting with film is challenging and fun (as can be digital).  In addition, there are the negatives.  Stored in binders, they are future proof hardware copies of your photography.  Digital doesn’t offer that.  I’ve recently been reading that for this reason, negative film images are being sort for time capsules.  No issues with binary code or digital compression formats in the future, if you archive in film.

So, next adventure – developing colour negative film!

Monochrome, Portrait, Rants and discussions, Zenza Bronica SQ-A

Colour Filters on B&W Film Photography

Portrait with a Wall. Zenza Bronica SQ-A. Bronica PS 80mm f/2.8 lens. Yellow filter. Ilford HP5+. Developed in ID-11

Two things spoil this portrait a little for me.  1) A little soft on Anita’s face.  2) Her face appears blanched out.  I mentioned in a previous post that I had purchased some ridiculously cheap 67mm colour filters on Ebay.  I had the yellow filter fitted for the above photo.

Ok, now for a confession time.  I’m a beginner at photography.  Have been for forty years.  What I really mean by that, is for thirty five years I only took snap shots using point & click cameras – mainly film.  Only over the past five or six years have I become more enthusiastic about both technology and technique.  I became more enthusiastic while using digital cameras – digital bridge cameras, then DSLRs.  I learned about the Exposure Triangle using digital cameras and online.  Now I’m trying to learn about Monochrome, and I’m not sure how far that I can transport my digital know how to medium format film.

If I want to produce a digital b&w image, then as with colour – I shoot in full colour RAW mode.  I then like to use UFRaw (my free Open Source software package), to generate b&w .jpeg images, by using it’s Channel Mixer, and moving the RGB sliders to produce a desirable monochrome output.  How I saw it, it’s rather like using adjustable colour filters AFTER taking the photo.  Sliding more towards RED channel, lightens anything red to almost a white.  Blanches out skin to remove imperfections.  darkens blue to for example, create a dark sky (if it was blue!).  Slide towards GREEN lightens up green – vegetation becomes luminescence.  Slide towards BLUE – good for mist, but also increases details in a face – such as wrinkles.  Good for emphasising an aged face.

Moving to film, I thought that I had it sussed.  I purchased an orange filter to fit my Pentax ME Super 50mm lens.  Pretty much as I suspected.  It lightened up skin (or at least Caucasian skin), gave more character  a sky, seemed a good general photography choice on monochrome film.

Ok, its early days.  but I’m not so sure on my colour filters.  The yellow filter blanches out Caucasian skin more than I expected, sometimes giving it an overexposed look.  The red filter disappointed.  I’ve seen wonderful landscapes using red filters to make almost black skies with puffy white clouds highlighted.  I’m not getting that.

I wonder if my failure to get the results so far are down to a) my lousy exposure (I am mainly guessing using the Sunny F16 Rule), b) my lousy developing (I am cheapskate by diluting stock to water at a ratio of 1:3), c) digital scanning.  Could auto backlight modes be kicking in too … automatically?

Anyone else trying to learn?

Film, 35mm, and scans, Internet, Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II

The Great Flickr Upgrade 2013 etc.

Cambridgeshire Orchards. Olympus XA2. Agfaphoto Vista Plus 200 35mm film.

Pump it Up. Olympus XA2. Agfaphoto Vista Plus 200 35mm film

Man in Funny Hat. Olympus XA2. Agfaphoto Vista Plus 200 35mm film

A little selection of recent photographs captured with my cute little Olympus XA2.  Fits so nice in my handbag.  Hang on, I’m a bloke!  These images captured in glorious cheapo Poundland colour, via the quid a time AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 films, on my 50p Olympus XA2 zone focus.

Other news – what the fook has happened to Flickr.  I don’t think I’d mind the changes too much except that I can’t see them half the time due to server hang ups.  Maybe it’s just to my ISP or part of the World, but since the great 2013 Flickr upgrade sneaked up, the already unreliable feed has become horrendous.  A few days after I celebrated my eight year subscription with them as well.  Happy friggin’ birthday Tight Fisted bastard.  Fook you and your lousy cheapskate photos.