Photography – my local, my style

The Time Traveller

The Empire Strikes Back

This follows on from my last post, in which I discuss Eric Kim’s excellent blog post: How to be Happy in All Circumstances in Photography.  Eric didn’t just discuss happiness in relationship to Gear constraints.  He also discusses happiness in photography, in relation to other constraints such as location and available time.

We don’t all live in a Mecca of Street Photography, such as New York.  I’ve been guilty of this one myself.  I live in the sticks, the provinces.  Crap end of the English Fens.  Not exactly urban decay.  And yet, what an idiot that makes me.  Who said that Street needs to be urban big-city?  When I open my eyes, I’m living on the edge of a small town that has clearly seen better, more lucrative times, when it was a port on the Wash.  In addition to the local decay, the town is full of local English characters, blending nicely next to crowds of recent immigrants from across the European Union.  I have tonnes of local material, who needs New York?  I can capture history, I can try to capture the feeling and atmosphere of small town provincial Eastern England.

The point is to enjoy doing this.  To make photography fun, hopefully sometimes creative or aesthetic, but also to have fun.  Some people might feel the need to buy the latest Canikon fullframe DSLR, complete with a suitcase of lenses, and of course, a whopping big Canikon emblazoned camera back pack.  But do they really have more fun than I do with my battered 50p Olympus XA2 pocket camera and home developed b/w film?

This is kind of leading me to that other sought after thing – personal style.  I feel that a lot of people miss out on this point. They are often subconsciously directed by the media, to produce the same sort of images as each other.  Shiny, sharp, beautiful colours.  Heavy post process software manipulation – you can see where many follow the same guides and tutorials from the same magazines and websites.  Maybe I’m being unfair to criticise this school of photography.  Perhaps because I am such an untidy, messy, archaic person in Life – this messiness and imperfection shows in my photography.  I simply can not be bothered with creating the perfect still photography.

So that is my style – as I am.  Messy, politically conscious, interested in people, and of course tight fisted.  All photographs on this post taken with the battered 50p Olympus XA2 pocket camera and bathroom developed b/w 35mm film.

Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II

Kent Earthquake felt in East Anglia

Olympus XA2 50p camera project. Ilford HP5+ b/w film. Developed in Kodak D76 stock. V500 scanned.

Our intrepid reporter phones in the tight fisted report.  The 4.2 magnitude tremors of the Kent Earthquake yesterday were felt far and wide.  Causing damage to structures as far away as Cambridgeshire.  Either that or some drunk managed to back his car into this Wisbech telephone box.

The fun that you can have with a little XA2 35mm film compact camera.

Film, 35mm, and scans, Landscape and buildings, Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II, The East English Fens of East Anglia

Back to Tight Fisted Basics with a 50p Camera

Capture the Sunset. Olympus XA2 compact 35mm film camera, loaded with AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 film from Poundland.

I’m really enjoying the dark room learning curve at the moment, but I still have plenty of cheapskate colour 35mm film from Poundland, which I take to a local independent commercial processor to run through his mini-lab.  He presently charges me £2.50 for developing negs only – no printing.

I’ve used so many car boot sale cameras over ther past year, but it might surprise people, that if I had to choose just one to keep, it would by my lovely little Olympus XA2 compact zone focus camera, that I purchased for 50p at a car boot sale.  It is such a fun camera – great for street fun – capturing odd moments or sights.  Discreet, small, quiet.  Close and open the clam shell lens cover and it defaults to a medium zone focus.  It’s not such a bad camera for the countryside neither.  Here are two photos that I’ve recently ‘snapped’ with the Olympus XA2!

Balloon over Fenland Skies. Olympus XA2 and Poundland film. Some post neg scan touch up using Gimp 2.8 open source software.

Click on either image to view a Flickr set that I’m proud of – Poundland film in a 50p camera.

Models and themed photoshoots, Portrait, Sony DSLR A200 and Sony DT 50mm F/1.8mm SAM prime lens, The East English Fens of East Anglia

Fields of Barley

Children of the Corn. Portrait of a girl in a barley field. Sony A200 DSLR camera. Sony DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM lens.

In the Barley Field with Mum. Sony DSLR, as above photo.

The barley was so beautiful near to ours, that it had to be used for a piece of photography yesterday evening.


Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II, Rants and discussions, The East English Fens of East Anglia

Colour Test on Poundland AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 35mm film

Fenland Fields. Olympus XA2 compact camera. AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 35mm film from Poundland

I’m no bloody expert.  Piss off to a proper review if that’s what you are looking for.  The above photo is a scanned negative of AgfaPhoto (Agfa) Vista Plus 200 35mm film from Poundland.  Rumoured to be a rebrand of a variant of Fujifilm C200 on the great Internet.  My review?  Looks bloody alright to me for a quid per film.  Taken using an Olympus XA2 compact zone focus camera, set to ‘landscape’.  This camera cost me 50p (75 US cents) in a recent car boot sale (sort of a collective front yard sale, that we enjoy on our side of the puddle).  I’m a cheapskate mean bastard aren’t I?  The photo still looks good though don’t you think?  Stuff that up your full frame Canikon DSLR!

Film, 35mm, and scans, Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II, The East English Fens of East Anglia

Cheapskate Photography

How we use to do it. Olympus XA2 camera. AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 35mm film. Scanned negative.

Not a great photo, and I suspect Nita wont like it, but I’m using this as an example of the quality of ultra low budget photography.  The camera cost me 50p (GBP £0.50).  The film cost me a quid (GBP £1.00).  With film cost and development, it works out 8p per exposure.  There you go, a 50p camera, and 8p photos.  Can you do it cheaper?  What do you think of the colours and rendering?  All of this in a World of photography where the consumer is brainwashed by multinational companies to spend and spend on must-have cutting edge technology and accessories.  You don’t need that to make good photography (not that the above image is a particular good example, with Nita squinting in the sun).

It’s also a good example from the Olympus XA2 zone focus compact camera, and from the AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 35mm negative film from Poundland.  Only post scan enhancement was a touch up of dust and hair using the Heal tool on Gimp 2.8 free open source software.

The Olympus XA2 ande the tight fisted photographer. Taken with a Sony DSLR.

Film, 35mm, and scans, Yashica AW Mini - 50p camera project

The 50p Camera Project – Early results

The Axe Murder Schoolgirl. Yashica AW Mini compact camera. AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 35mm film from Poundland

To recap the Project – I’m to attempt to make a half decent Flickr Photo Gallery, using a Yashica AW Mini 35mm compact camera, that I bought from a car boot sale for 50p, loaded only with discount film (AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200) from the Poundland store.  This is discount ultra low budget photography!


The Rat Run Home. As above – Yashica AW Mini and Poundland film.

I’m allowed to scan the negatives, and to post scan edit the digital images using free-to-download Open Source image editing software, in the form of Gimp 2.8.

The Irrigation Reel Drum. As above. Yashica AW Mini and Poundland film.

This camera dates to around 1991, and is a typical cheap black plastic 35mm film autofocus compact pocket camera of that period.  It is not one of the fancy T-series of Yashica compacts, it does not feature a Carl Zeiss lens.

Thomas Clarkson Monument, Wisbech. As above. Yashica AW Mini and Poundland film.

I’m not really getting enough time for my photography lately.  Too much work, not enough play.

Sony A200 DSLR and Sony DT 35mm F/1.8 SAM prime lens


Witch. Sony DSLR A200. Sony AF DT 35mm F/1.8 SAM lens. UFRaw and Gimp 2.8 post process open source software.

If you travel through the East Anglian Fens of England – take care.  Should you encounter a lone stranger, avoid their glance.  Do not cross her.  The witches of the Fens are of the dark variety.  Keep to the path.  Pray to your god.

Be wary of the Fens. As above.


Monochrome, Sony A200 DSLR and Sony DT 35mm F/1.8 SAM prime lens, The East English Fens of East Anglia, Witchcraft and Horror

Will-o’ the Wisp

Will-o’ the wisp. Spirit of the Fens. Sony DSLR A200. Sony AF DT 35mm SAM F/1.8 lens, b&w conversion using channel mixer in open source UFRaw.

Will o (or Willow) the Wisp, is a legendary spirit of the Fens and marshes of Eastern England.  I kind of felt that this photo taken by Laddus Drove echoes that spirit.  The silhouette of a Mawkins (East Anglian for a scarecrow), appears in the fog, guarding over the drainage ditch.  Scary things happen in the Fens of East Anglia.  It’s foggy.  Stick to the path, and avoid the Wisp.