November, 2011 browsing by month


London day trip: Nov/2011 part 2

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Here’s the second batch of images from my day trip to London on 19th November 2011. Quite a few of these images centre around a used book market that I came across on my walk along the Thames from Westminster bridge to Tate Modern. I’m not sure which bridge this was under but the light was fantastic. I made some candid shots which is very unusual for me because I prefer to ask people’s permission and have eye contact with the camera but a lot of people were so engaged with browsing the books that I found it very photogenic.

[Tech info:] Mamiya C330f camera with Kodak Tri-X 400 film. Processed in Ilford DD-X (1+4) for 8mins, 20c.

cool looking guy with Ray Ban sunglasses

Listen all y'all it's a sabotage. This guy looked so cool and reminded me of the Beastie Boys music video for Sabotage.

A man browsing for books

Book browsing. I like the retro look of this guy.

Looking at a book cover

Don't judge a book by its cover.

This guy approached me to ask about the camera I was using. He's a film director studying 3D movie making and he wondered whether I was using a 3D camera because of the twin lenses. We had a great conversation about stereography and movie making. A very cool guy.

Books for sale

Books for sale.

The previous frame on the roll to this was a candid shot I made of this couple looking at poetry books but after they saw my twin lens reflex camera we got chatting about it and I decided to make a more regular portrait of them. They were a lovely couple and after I made this shot Adrian offered to make one of me (see below).

A portrait of me made by Adrian (above). Not quite in focus but a gallant first time effort with a strange camera :-)


London day trip: Nov/2011 part 1

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

These images are all from a day trip to London that I made last weekend. I went to visit some photography exhibitions including the Taylor Wessing portrait winners at the National Portrait Gallery. I entered two prints but didn’t get shortlisted out of the 6,000+ entries. Looking at the 60 shortlisted portraits I noticed only two were black & white. Both of my entries were black & white so perhaps that reduced my chances? The weather was nice all day and the light was fantastic for photography. People seemed to be in a good mood and a number of people came up to me to ask about the film camera I was using, something I am always happy to talk about.

On this day trip I shot more film than on any previous visit to London. I will break the images down to multiple posts as I make my way through scanning the film.

[Tech info:] Kodak Portra 400 film in a Mamiya C330 medium format camera. Processed and scanned by me.

People walking towards the London Eye

Into the light. I love the long shadows in this shot. You can see the London Eye in the background.

A man playing bagpipes, London

Bagpipes, Westminster bridge. This man's jacket and tie was well co-ordinated with the colour of the bridge.

Ice-cream seller

Ice-cream van, Westminster bridge. With the nice weather this man was quite busy. I ended up holding up foot traffic to get this shot.

Scouts eating lunch

Lunch break.

Freestyle football skills

Freestyle football. I like the reaction of the man on the right.


Breakdancer. When photographing tall people with a camera using a waist level finder the images tend to be on the unflattering side.

Wooden horse

Joseph the horse. I was drawn to the bright colours of these horses in the sunlight.

This gentleman came up to me to say that he learnt photography back in the 1970's on the same camera that I was using. He still has some lovely film cameras but sadly doesn't use them any more because digital is so convenient. What a shame.

Lady with red hair

This lady's red hair caught my eye as she was browsing secondhand books under one of the bridges along the Thames. The was amazing under there and I could have easily spent all day there.


Painting with light

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Here’s something a little different from my usual street portraits. I bought this large format 5×4 camera brand new in 1990 and it’s still going strong. Whenever I used to take it out around Oxford it would always draw a crowd of people that thought it was a hundred years old. This image was made in total darkness and ‘painted light’ with a Mini Maglite torch that I focussed down to a small spot of light. It was total guess work as to what the exposure needed to be but it turned out great.

[Tech info:] Speed Graphic 5×4 camera, 127mm lens at f8 on Fuji FP100-C pack film.

Wista field 5x4 camera

Wista field 5x4 camera.

POSH: The Oxford Union, Debating Chamber

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

This morning I spent a few hours photographing the dress rehearsal of a new play called ‘POSH’ which is being staged at the Oxford Union Debating Chamber, a fantastic building dating back to 1823. The cast and crew were really nice to work with and I photographed what I could without being too intrusive. I didn’t have time to stay to the end but what I did see was really very good. The show runs from 21 – 25th November, more details are on the website:

I approached the team putting on this production after I saw their website written in chalk outlines of bodies on the pavements of Oxford city centre. A clever marketing campaign that certainly got my attention. I really enjoyed working with this team and would really like to do more of this kind of documenting of goings on in the city.

Cast members from 'Posh'

Cast members from 'Posh'

Drinking club.

A member of the cast. This shot was made on Fuji instant pack film and seems to have lost detail in the shadows. I did make some exposures on Tri-X film and I'll post them when I've processed them as a comparison.

A cast member in character.

Lunch hour session: Oxford

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

These shots are all from the first roll through a Pentax 67 medium format camera that I recently got. I’ve been having some random issues with my other Pentax 67 so I decided to pick up a second body that can be a spare and also for when I want to shoot colour and b&w at the same time. The weather for the past week has been day after day of heavy cloud that has felt very oppressive. The light level has hardly been brighter than 4pm on a winter day. All of these shots bar one were shot during the same lunch hour on the brightest day in over a week.

[Tech info:] Pentax 67, 105mm lens, loaded with New Kodak Portra 400. Processed and scanned by me.

Oxford students relaxing in the sun

Oxford students relaxing in the sun. I really like the autumnal colours in this shot.

Building work at St. Mary's Tower

Building work at St. Mary's Tower. The stonework is beginning to crumble on this old tower so it's in desperate need of repair before a chunk falls on someone.

Plebs' College poster

Plebs' College is back.

Vicar's bike

Vicar's bike. I love this bike and can't help photographing it whenever I come across it. It belongs to a vicar and looks 100 years old.

Private sign on rusty railings

Private sign.

Rusty spiral staircase

Rusty spiral staircase near the Turf Tavern.

Mayfair bike.

Mayfair bike. I love the retro look of this bike, especially the chrome chain guard.

TV camera crew  filming a documentary

TV camera crew filming a documentary. That's a big HD camera.


From the archive: Yosemite

Friday, November 11th, 2011

This is one of my all time favourite images that I made during a trip to the states back in (I think) 1993. This shot is from Yosemite National Park, somewhere along the Tioga Pass. Every year the Tioga Pass is closed for the winter because the snow fall is so heavy it’s not possible to safely travel along it. This shot was made on the day before it was to be closed off. Unfortunately this scan doesn’t do the original justice because when  you view the original transparency on a lightbox the colours and clarity in the image have to be seen to be believed.

[Tech info:] Wista Field 5×4 camera, 90mm lens, Fuji Velvia 50 film rated at ISO64 and pushed 1 stop in processing.

Lone tree in Yosemite National Park

Lone tree, Yosemite National Park.

From the archive: Oxford

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Recently it occurred to me that so far I’ve only posted film images made on negative films, either colour or b&w. My archive of film photography mostly consists of transparencies (slides) stretching back to the late 80’s. From the late 80’s to early 90’s I used to work in a photo lab that specialised in processing E6 slide films by hand so I got free processing and discount film. I’ve got so much material that if I continue to create new images at the rate I’ve been doing recently I will probably never have enough time to scan it all.

After seeing one of my contacts on Flickr get excited about shooting some slide film I thought I’d dig something out of my archive. The image below is from the early 90’s and is a view from the top of Magdalen Tower looking up the HIgh Street towards Carfax.

[Tech info:] Wista 5×4 large format camera loaded with Fuji Velvia 50 film. I used to rate Velvia at ISO64 and then push process it 1 stop.


Oxford dreaming spires

Oxford dreaming spires.

Lunch hour session: Oxford

Monday, November 7th, 2011

These images are from earlier in the summer. I’m slowly working my way through a huge backlog of film. The weather is really grim at the moment which is preventing me from creating any new images so if this is the start of things to come I might actually get a chance to catch up with my scanning. All of these images are from the same roll of Kodak Ektar 100 which I was testing out for possibly the first time.

[Tech info:] Mamiya C330f loaded with Kodak Ektar 100. Processed and scanned by me.

Impressive hair do

Impressive hair do. I chatted with this girl about photography. She shoots film. I encouraged her to try processing her own. I think she was visiting from North America. A very pleasant girl.

Tall guy

I seem to remember that this guy was rather tall. I like his sunglasses. Outside the Sheldonian Theatre.

Italian tourists

Italian tourists. There was a 4th person belonging to this group but she didn't want to be in the shot. I wonder what she'll think when she sees this.

smartly dressed student

Brown and black. Just as I was on my way back to my office I noticed this girl locking her bike so I waited until she had finished before asking her to stop for a shot. I like how her shoes match her retro shoulder bag.

old car

They don't make 'em like they used to.

If you go down to the woods today

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

Some images from the end of the summer that were made in a wood near my house. I was accompanied by my friend and work colleague Martin because he knows this place very well and it’s easy to get lost in there. The first image here of the sunrise was the second trip we made. The first trip as the sun was going down one evening was to have a scout around so that when we decided to revisit the wood at sunrise we would know exactly where to go. Our preparation paid off because a couple of weeks later we went back to the wood on a chilly Sunday morning for the sunrise and the light was magical (first image below).

[Tech info:] Mamiya RZ67 loaded with Kodak Portra 160 and 400 film. The sunrise image was made on Portra 400, the others on 160. Processed and scanned by me.

Sunrise through the trees

Sunrise through the trees

Leaves are beginning to turn.

Evening light.

Smooth bark.