and scans, Film, 35mm, and scans, photography, Uncategorized

Shoe Box Photography


I’m investigating snapshot photography, what it really means, and it’s value as a school of photography.  I visited my mother today, and nothing to do with this blog or investigation, but suddenly, the magic shoe box of old family photographs was pushed onto my lap.

I always loved browsing through these old photographs.  It seems a shame, that we print far less in the Age of Digital, and that future generations will miss out on this magic.

These photographs were shot on a roll film (120) camera, with narrow frames, that allowed more photographs to be captured.  However, they were printed from the negatives direct onto Ilford paper with no enlargement.  Tiny little prints.  They would have been taken during the mid 1950s.

The top photo is of my parents themselves.  A snapshot or a portrait?  My father was dressed up to the nines.  Apparently at that age, he did like to doll up though, so it may not have been a special event.  Funny, because later in life, he’d as often as not be found in a pair of work overalls.

The composition and framing are cracking.  It may have been my mother’s sister Gladys taking the photograph – using a box camera top viewer.  Not the easiest viewer to use – but look at the composition.  The trees, field, road edge line up perfectly, with the couple right of centre.  Happy accident or did the photographer, with no training from Digital Photography magazine, just know what looked best?

The bottom photo is of my mother’s sister, Gladys, with her fiancé Kenny at Great Yarmouth.  The two couples were having fun taking photographs of each other.  What is the camera that Gladys is holding?  It looks like a simple box camera.  Photography was bringing them joy and happiness, that is what serious photographers today often miss out on.  Snapshot photography was fun, but also recorded moments – the Kodak Moment sometimes.

The more that I look into it, the more that I respect snapshot photography.

Film Dark Room

Developing a 50 year old Found Film

From an old film camera. Kodak Brownie 44A. Kodak Verichrome Pan 127 film. Developed in ID-11

Another 50 year old film neg. Kodak Brownie 44A. Kodak Verichrome Pan 127 film. Developed in ID-11

The above two images were amongst eight exposures on an old 127 roll of Kodak Verichrome an, that I found still loaded in an old kodak Brownie 44A camera.  The camera was manufactured in England between 1959 and 1965.  I’m told that the top image was: “Southern Railway out of Waterloo this is “FRENCH LINE” Merchant Navy Class Loco No.35019″ and that this engine was scrapped late 1965.  This suggests that the film had been inside the camera at exposure 10, for around fifty years, before I rolled it on, took it out, and developed it.

The camera below – with it’s original box that I bought it in at a recent car boot sale for a couple of quid.

The Kodak Brownie 44A camera that contained the 50 year old found film. Taken with Sony A200 DSLR.


Cameras and equipment, Rants and discussions, Sony DSLR A200 and Sony DT 50mm F/1.8mm SAM prime lens

The Learning Curve

T L R. Lubitel 166B medium format TLR Camera from the USSR. Taken with Sony A200 DSLR camera and Sony DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM lens. B&W conversion via free open source UFRaw.

Funny how different amateurs take different paths into photography.  I mean, judging by the multitudes of digital photography magazines on the newsagent shelf, for most, it’s all about the latest Canon or Nikon D-SLR, reviews on the latest gear, tutorials on how to use Adobe software, HD video, GPS capability, brand name camera bags, and you-must-buy accessories, etc.  The emphasis is on becoming a ‘pro photographer’.  Someone with a big full frame Canikon DSLR, and battery grip, snapping away at young models in a fully equipped studio.

Not all of us are drawn into such a market-centric style of photography.   Some of us just enjoy capturing light, even by a variety of forms – digital and chemical.  We like to develop our skills, learn new techniques, look at other people’s photographic expressions.  Some of us even enjoy doing that with old equipment.  Cameras with soul.  Cameras where you have to decide on aperture, shutter speed, range, focus, etc.

I call it the Salt n’shake factor. I need to explain that.  When I was a small boy, here in England, packets of potato crisps (Americans call them chips) came in one flavour.  Natural fried potato flavour.  However, a little packet of salt would be included.  You opened the crisp packet, fished out the salt sachet  and shook it into the crisps.  Then you’d shake the bag to disperse the salt.  These were later replaced with Ready Salted, Cheese & Onion, and even Salt & vinegar flavours.  No need to salt them – it was done already.  Years later though, the food processor revived the Salt n’ Shake variety!  Why?  Because they realised that people enjoyed the food more when they had to do something to it.  Photography is like that.  We enjoy challenges.  Taking a clear sharp image with a digital point & shoot is great, but it’s so much more rewarding if the photograph has had effort, thought, and know how poured into it.  To be honest, it usually shows.

Hence the challenge of using old and cheapskate film photography equipment.  Digital photography is great – I use it frequently.  It provides instant imagery.  But for fun and rewards, film photography using cheap old camera from car boot sales – waiting for film to be developed, setting the camera exposure controls – unbeatable.

Where are our magazines?

Pentax K110D DSLR and SMC Pentax-M 50mm F/1.7 prime lens, The East English Fens of East Anglia, Witchcraft and Horror

More Horror in the Fens

Human Bones

Human remains in the village grave yard. Pentax K110D D-SLR and SMC Pentax 50mm F1.7 lens.

We were foraging in the village church yard.  Elm has a beautiful medieval parish church.  Then Nita picked this up and asked me what it was from.  I replied that it was part of a human pelvis. She shrieked and dropped it, muttering something about catching the Black Death.  Old church yards like this have been used to bury the dead for many centuries.  Animals disturb the bones and bring them to the surface occasionally.  Still, her reaction made me laugh.  Now we’ve found human bones!

Models and themed photoshoots, Pentax K110D DSLR and SMC Pentax-M 50mm F/1.7 prime lens, Portrait

Old lens on a DSLR. Top quality DoF for £25

My lovely partner Nita, taken using a Pentax K110D D-SLR, fitted with an old manual focus Pentax-M 50mm F1.8 prime lens

I used my favourite lens here.  My trusty old Pentax-M 50mm F1.8.  It’s the old kit lens supplied with Pentax cameras thirty years ago.  I’m not a camera brand fanboy, but credit to Pentax for producing DSLR cameras that are so backwards compatible to old lens.  I paid £25 for this lens.  Takes beautiful shallow DoF.  Indeed, I use the same model lens on both my Pentax DSLR and my Pentax 35mm film SLR cameras.

A bit of post processing on this one courtesey of Gimp.