Monday, 26 January 2015

Pushing Fomapan 200 to 800

I'm not a huge fan of Fomapan 200. Whenever I use it I'm always disappointed by the amount of grain and something in its sharpness. To be honest I don't know if that last part is the film but regardless, we don't always click. But I am not the most well off of people at the minute and it is a pretty cheap option. The problem is that I want to experiment with a certain type of photography without having the film or funds with which to purchase said film available to do so. So I have to improvise. A week or two ago I had an ideaas to what to do with the couple of rolls of Foma 200 that I had kicking around. I thought it might be fun to have a go at pushing them to 800. A quick scour of the internet revealed that it is't something people have tried that often and there seemed to be no fixed agreement as to how it should be done so I decided to go for it and just see what happened.

I was expecting a high grain negative similar to that which you might get from Delta 3200 or similar speed films. I was also expecting it to not really work. With that in mind I blew through a roll of 24 exposures pretty quickly and figured out that in DDX 1:9 it needed to be developed for 20 minutes. That seemed scarily long but the rough calculations from the Massive Development Chart seemed to suggest it so like a wimp I let BadCatt bite the bullet for me and develop the film. This is how it turned out.

Self Portrait, Minolta X-300 with Fomapan 200 pushed to 800. 

I'm incredibly pleased with the results. This is definitely how all future rolls of Foma 200 will be shot. What is interesting is that actually the grain isn't that much more pronounced shooting this way than at 200 and the faster speed film will be much more versatile and suited to the kind of shots I want to take in black and white.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

I'm in a Band

Zenit E (including its sexy light leak) Fomapan 200, home developed in DDX

Phil from my band The Wingless Heron  rehearsing this past summer. 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Colourising Old Family Photos

I recently tried my hand at using Photoshop to colourise a couple of old photos including this one of my grandparents on their wedding day. It's a really interesting thing to do but very time consuming. Each individual section of colour has to be produced separately whilst also keeping an eye on the overall scheme of the image. It's not something I'd like to do a lot of, I'd go crazy if I tried. It is however a pretty interesting thing to try once or twice. I decided to give it a go after stumbling across an article on this person. Who can also be found on Instagram. I have no idea how they can do it on a regular basis. I can only assume they have a much better (read larger) computer screen than mine to work on. Anyway, without further ado, here is my attempt.

                            Carla and Philip on their wedding day.     Before   and   after colourisation. 

Tuesday, 13 January 2015


Did I mention recently how much I love Ektar 100? The colours it has managed to produce for this shot are just beautiful. It also gives that dreamlike quality which isn't blur but makes everything look cinematic and almost like it's been colourised. Speaking of, I tried my hand at colouring a couple of old b&w images in photoshop the other week. I'll have to post them up here.

I didn't really mean to take this image, I think I was intending on having a head but this is much better. One day I might learn how to control these things more but for now I'll just let photos like this pleasantly surprise me. It makes me think of suburban housewives or the flat colour of certain types of advertising campaigns.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Being the Model

Recently I've begun to use myself more in photos. It's not something I've ever really thought to try before. I don't take a lot of selfies. I'm not particularly interested in me as a photographic subject. I am however interested in women as subjects. The photos I want to take would involve female models and I don't have the money to pay or willing female friends and so if I want to achieve a look I am interested in that means I have to use myself. The downside is that either I have to get BadCatt to help me take the photos or I'm relying on positioning myself right within the limits of my 10 second self timer. Which seems to work with varying degrees of success. What I think I need to do is set up the shot, work out where I need to be, take some prep photos with my iPhone on self timer and then take the actual shot when I've marked out exactly where I should be. These are thoughts for the future though.

For now I'd like to share two photos taken yesterday with my Minolta X-300 loaded with Ektar 100 (I'm in love with this film.) I tried to map out roughly where I should sit using the floor tiles and the stars on the wall as a guide. My camera, attached to the tripod was sitting on an ironing board and I could only half see through the viewfinder to take the photos. Hence a little bit of serendipity came into play with how these ended up looking but I'm not complaining. Sometimes you need that luck. 

Minolta X-300, Ektar 100, f 5.6 1/2 (I think)

Minolta X-300, Ektar 100, f 5.6 1/2 (I think)

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Wrong Camera Again

This photo was taken on my iPhone 4S just before Christmas. I wish it had been taken on my Minolta but then didn't bring it with me. As always, a mistake. Have I mentioned how you should always carry a camera around with you? A proper and satisfying one. Imagine with me how this might have looked on Ektar 100. Sigh.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Trains, Tracks and Stations Obsession

This photo was taken on my way back from Bristol with BadCatt at a station which was just too aesthetically right not to photograph. It's not perfect but all the photographic elements I appreciate are there. Night time, a station, complex industrial backdrop, interesting colour palette and a lone person.

Minolta X-300, Ektar 100, 1/2 at f4 (I think)

Saturday, 3 January 2015

New Year Neglect

I've really neglected this blog for a while now. Sorry! It's basically a mixture between not having money to shoot any film, the standard thing of just forgetting to update and the cold weather coming along which always makes me more apathetic. Anyway, happy new year to anyone who stumbles over here and on to the post.

I wanted to talk today about one of the main problems I have found with shooting film. Namely, not having the right tools on me for capturing a specific photo. I have a couple of cameras that I use on a regular ish basis, the Minolta X-300 and my Reader's Digest Panoramic being the main two. Normally I'll go on a walk with one or the other and just concentrate on taking the photos that are right for the specific camera. Sometimes though, I am presented with a photo opportunity that is just so perfect for the camera that I happen to have left at home. Disappointing bastard! A few weeks ago this situation presented itself to such a degree I'm still kicking myself now over the missed opportunity. I had to take a parcel to the post office so I'd gone down there armed with a roll of Fompan 200 in my panoramic camera. As I was standing at the level crossing waiting for a train to come, a photo presented itself that would have looked beautiful on my Minolta which was loaded with Ektar 100. Instead I had to settle for taking a couple of colour shots on my iphone 4s and a few panoramas that I had no real faith in.

iPhone 4s

The thing is that the iPhone picture is quite adequate small. It captures perfectly how the scene looked, the woman's coat and the sign above her are the perfect shade of red. It all works. But if you were to try to make it much bigger than this, all quality would immediately be lost. Now imagine the same shot but on the Ektar 100 with its lovely colours and fine grain. As for the cropped panoramic image I got. Well black and white completely fails to capture anything interesting. It is all there but it is colour that I am after. Did I mention how I'm still pissed about this?

I'm hoping that this year will be different though. I've decided that I need to learn more about the technical aspects of taking a photograph and concentrate less on lomographic results. As such I've decided that after I've got through the rolls of film that are in my Zenit E, the Smena 8M and my Holga 120N, I will just concentrate on using the Minolta X-300. As long as nothing breaks on it. I will try this for a whole year. Looking at the technical capabilities of the camera and my own ideas as a photographer. It's about time I stopped taking snapshots and concentrated on taking some interesting images which fit my photographic aesthetic. I've a few more catch up posts to get around to at some point and then it's on to the Minolta and an attempt to become a better photographer.