January, 2012

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Large format portrait: Anna & James

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Yesterday I took my 10×8 large format camera out to make this portrait. James and I used to work together around 10 years ago but now he lives and works in London. I had a feeling that James and Anna would get a kick out of seeing my 10×8 camera and I wasn’t wrong. We even caught the attention of passers by and it felt like the cars were slowing down to have a look as they drove past. As I was setting up the beast of a camera James snapped some behind the scenes shots with his iPhone 4S. Honestly, you couldn’t have chosen two cameras more different in size if you tried. One of James’ pics of my 10×8 monorail camera is below.

[Tech info:] Toyo 810G 10×8 monorail camera, Nikon 300mm lens, Adox CHS 100 film processed in Rodinal 1:50 for 10mins (20C).

Anna & James

Toyo 10x8 camera

Toyo 10x8 camera

Street portraits: paper negatives

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Yesterday I took my Speed Graphic 5×4 camera out to do some paper negative tests. There was no light for photography because the sky was heavily overcast and there was a threat of rain in the air. I was determined to make some exposures to see how the paper negatives would cope in such horrible conditions. The Speed Graphic always seems to attract attention and this occasion was no exception. I’m not surprised because it’s not every day you see someone out and about using a camera from the 1940’s.

It didn’t take too long before I found willing subjects to stand still for me. The exposure times for these was 3 seconds. The stone on the walls and the floor was a lot lighter than the dark clothing so I had to sacrifice it in the exposure. I was excited to scan these and did so in a hurry so perhaps with more time I might be able to get some more detail from these shots because there is more detail in the original paper negatives.

[Tech info]: Speed Graphic 5×4 with 203mm Ektar lens. Ilford multigrade glossy rc paper with a grade 2 filter on the camera lens.

This gentleman was very calm. When I asked him to stand very still he asked if I meant motionless. I like that word.

This guy was a cool character. He was only in Oxford for the day and was looking for interesting places to visit.

Experiments: paper negatives

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Recently I’ve been having lots of fun experimenting with using black & white paper in my large format cameras instead of film and so far I love the results. Photographing with paper is one of the earliest photographic processes dating back to the 1800’s (Google: Calotype photography) and a huge advantage over using film is being able to see what you’re doing whilst in the darkoom because you can handle the paper under a red or amber safe light. It’s also fun to develop the negatives and watch the image slowly appear in the developer which is not possible when processing film.

I’m still experimenting with this but I hope to use it for portraits soon. One slight problem is the effective speed of the paper is very slow (ISO 6) which means requiring lots of light (i.e. a sunny day) or slow exposures which requires staying very still during the exposure.

My very first paper negative shot made with a 10x8 large format camera. The detail in the original is amazing.

The 4 seconds exposure for this has resulted in the water looking very smooth.

These two models are always happy to stand in for me when I'm testing lighting. I love the quality of this image which I made in my studio with one studio flash.

group shot

Some neighbours walked past as I was photographing the weir (off to the right) so I asked them to stand still for a quick shot with my 10x8 camera. The exposure was1/2 sec.

This is a test shot made with my 5x4 Speed Graphic camera in Radcliffe square. I wanted to see how the paper reacted to contrasty sunlight.

Lunch hour session: Oxford

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Here are some images from a roll of film I used to test my handheld spot meter last autumn. The vintage Jaguar car is owned by a german couple who had driven it from Germany. I was walking back to my office when I spotted it parked on St Giles. The owners had just parked but needed change for the parking meter – they were 20p short. I didn’t have change for £1 but I did have 20p so I gave it to them in return for being able to photograph the interior. They were very flattered that I was so interested in their car, unfortunately the shadows inside and the black dashboard meant there shot was far from ideal but that’s how it goes sometimes.

[Tech info:] Camera: Mamiya C330f | Lens: 80/2.8 | Film: Fuji Acros 100

vintage jaguar car


vintage jaguar car

3.4 litres to fill this thirsty cat.

vintage jaguar interior

The owners told me that the stereo was not the original so I made sure that it didn't feature in this shot.

padlock and chain

Boatyard, Port Meadow.

brooks leather saddle

I never get tired of photographing old Brooks saddles.

Shard of light

Shard of light. I'd often see this on my way back to my office at the end of lunch break and on this occasion I decided to finally photograph it.

Test shoot: Kimberly

Monday, January 9th, 2012

With the joy of shooting on film comes the ability to have lots of different combinations of cameras, lenses, films and developers to choose from. When trying something out for the first time I often like to do a test shoot where I get to experiment a little and a model in return gets some experience and some unique images for their portfolio. These images are from a lunch break test shoot I did with Kimberly around Oxford. A great thing about shooting on film is that you don’t spend time between shots staring at a tiny LCD screen on the back of the camera inspecting a histogram to see if the exposure was correct or trying to decide on whether you like the shot you just made. With film there’s more of a flow instead of start stop, start stop. In total I think we spent 20mins for this shoot. These are just a few shots from the roll.

[Tech info:] Mamiya RZ67 with 110/2.8 lens loaded with Fuji Neopan 400 film which is a black & white film that needs processing through C41 colour negative chemistry. Processed and scanned by me.

Coffee shop window.

Turl Street.

Radcliffe Square.

Double exposure test on Fuji instant pack film (FP-3000B).

Travel: Antwerp

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

Last summer my family and I visited Antwerp for four days and then went on to Brussels for a couple more. We’d been to Brussels before but Antwerp was new to us. The weather was a mixed bag and rained quite a bit. We did lots and lots of walking around but our daughter had just turned three at the time so the amount of ground we could cover each day was limited. Something that really struck me about Antwerp was the amount of really old bicycles still in use there. Cycling is really popular and I happen to have a thing for old bikes and battered up Brookes saddles so I couldn’t help noticing them everywhere. I really enjoyed the trip and while I’m sure Antwerp isn’t a city that immediately comes to mind when planning a trip to Europe I can highly recommend a visit.

[Tech info:] Nikon F90X 35mm camera with Kodak Color Plus film (from Poundland). Processed and scanned by me.

tree graffiti carving

Sunshine and moonlight 4-ever. Tree graffiti in a park near the b&b that we stayed at.

I don't know what these are. Fungi, mushrooms, toadstools? Whatever they are there were a lot of them.

park in antwerp

This is the gorgeous park that was a short walk from the b&b that we stayed at. Two of my daughter's favourite things - construction equipment and the colour orange.

old town antwerp

Cobbled street in the old town

street car in antwerp

The street car public transport system was very easy to use and very economical with a 10 trip card.

horse and carriage

Horse and carriage for hire

Horse drawn carriage driver.

horse drawn carriage driver

Horse drawn carriage driver.

bicycles for hire antwerp

Bicycles for hire.

old bicycles

Old bicycles. I especially like the newspaper covered chain guard.

old books on shelves

Very old books in one of the oldest printing companies in the world.

segway riders

Segways for hire. Certainly a different kind of two-wheeled transport.