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Travel: Barcelona around and about part 2

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Here’s another set of images I made in Barcelona last week. Before I went I was really looking forward to shooting some street portraits but I found the language barrier to be a hurdle although I was able to overcome it sometimes with hand signals. Other times I had no problems because people spoke english but overall I didn’t feel the right energy on the street to approach people. The vibe I was feeling was people seem more guarded than I’m used to Oxford or London. My theory is that people are so used to being approached by others on the street trying to sell them things or asking for money etc that they automatically ignore anyone approaching them. It’s a shame because I saw so many people I wanted to photograph but alas it was not to be.

[Tech info:] Mamiya C330f loaded with Kodak Tri-X film, processed in Rodinal (1:50) for 13:30.

X-ray film test

Monday, May 14th, 2012

This is my first test with using 10×8 inch x-ray film instead of regular black & white film. Why? Because it’s cheaper. Another benefit is that you can handle it under a red safelight in the darkroom just as you can black & white paper so you can actually see what you’re doing. This not only applies to when you’re handling and loading the film into the film holders but also when you’re processing the film. A slight downside is that the surface of the film is very fragile and prone to scratching (it’s coated with emulsion on both sides) so extreme care is needed when handling. I first became aware of this film and the ability to use it instead of regular film from fellow photographer Mat Marrash via Flickr. I have him to thank for pointing me in the right direction and there have been some other photographers on Flickr that have since demonstrated how good this x-ray film really is.

The first shot below is the Lock keeper’s cottage at Iffley. For my first test with this film I didn’t want to travel a long way with the big 10×8 camera so I decided to walk to a location not too far from my house. My hope was to not only find something of interest to photograph that wasn’t going to move but also to do a test portrait as well. I figured that Iffley Lock is never short of people passing through and I’ve always meant to make a nice shot of the Lock keeper’s cottage so that location was an easy choice.

Once I had set up the 10×8 camera by the side of the Lock it was no surprise that people kept stopping to admire it. The camera looks like it’s 100 years old but 30 would be more accurate.  After I had made a few different test shots of the cottage and one of the Lock I had two sheets of film left. Lucky for me it was then that a lady came past with her three children and they stopped to ask me about the camera I was using. After a brief chat I offered to make a test portrait and they were kind enough to oblige. I have to say that these three kids were perfect subjects to photograph because they listened to everything I explained and they were able to sit perfectly still. Someday I hope to be able to say the same about my daughter 🙂

After I finished the portrait I let the kids peek under the dark cloth while their mum sat on the bench. It was lovely to hear them shriek with laughter as they saw the image of their mum upside down on the ground glass screen. It was then that it struck me that this was probably the first time that these kids had looked through a camera like this. They’re the digital generation coming into contact with something that couldn’t be more analogue. Hopefully they’ll remember how much fun it was. My thanks to the nice lady and her kids that stopped to chat and be photographed. I hope you like the shot.

[Tech info:] Wista 10×8 with Nikon 210mm lens. X-ray film rated at ISO 100 (it probably should have been 50), processed in Rodinal 1:50 (others use 1:100) for 7mins.

Lock keeper's cottage, Iffley.

My first portrait on x-ray film. I'm pleased with how this turned out.


Lunch hour session: Oxford

Friday, April 6th, 2012

At the beginning of March I was fortunate enough to be granted permission to photograph at the Balliol College Ball but I didn’t know that the ball was even taking place until the day before! As usual I was on my lunch time photography walk around Oxford when I noticed some dodgem cars being unloaded into Balliol College on Broad Street. I stopped to shoot some pictures and got chatting with a couple of the guys. It turned out that they were a family run business that specialised in fairground rides and they mainly dealt with colleges in Oxford and Cambridge, it was then that they told me about the ball that was happening the next night at Balliol. Below are some pictures from that day and the lunch time of the following day. The end of this roll of film has shots from the beginning of the ball. It’s nice to have all of these shots on the same roll of film because it’s a nice time line for me when looking back through them.

[Tech info:] Nikon FM2 loaded with Ilford XP2 film. Processed in a Tetanol C41 kit and scanned by me.

These two guys were really fun to chat with

Unloading the dodgems

Unloading the dodgems

Dodgems controller

Setting up the dodgems in Balliol's quad

A little break from shopping, Broad Street

I love the light the comes around this side of the Sheldonian Theatre

Photographer using a Diana F Lomo camera

Another film photographer. This girl had only just got this Diana F Lomo camera.

I love this shadow and the way the light bounces around in this passageway

One of the ground crew workers currently working on the building project at the corner of Walton Street and Little Clarendon Street

One of the ground crew workers currently working on the building project at the corner of Walton Street and Little Clarendon Street

One of the ground crew workers currently working on the bulding at the corner of Walton Street and Little Clarendon Street


Experiments: Ilford P4 Surveillance film – roll 2

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Here are some shots from the second roll of Ilford P4 Surveillance that I’ve tried out so far. I think that all of the rolls that I have left from this batch will be damaged like this. The film seems quite old and may have been poorly stored but I quite like the aged look so I don’t mind too much. These shots are very different from my usual style but I very much enjoyed a more ‘shooting from the hip’ snap shot approach here.

[Tech info:] Nikon FM2, 50mm/f1.4 lens, Ilford P4 Surveillance film processed in Kodak HC-110 dilution B (1:31), 9mins at 20C.

a man eating a sandwich

A bite to eat.

Outside The Randolph.

Rim light.

Standing still, St. Giles.

A sign of Spring? Wellington Square. I pass this tree every day but this was the first time I noticed these hanging around.

Oddbins off licence, closed after 40 years on the High Street.

Walton Street building project.

Two people map reading in Oxford

Map reading.

High Street shops.

A nice old shop front on Turl Street.

I like the shape of this bike frame and the seat looks nice and comfy.

Clothing shop, Little Clarendon Street. A nice shop front.


Laundrette: Abingdon Road, Oxford

Monday, December 26th, 2011

I’ve cycled past this laundrette on my way to and from work for over 14 years but this is the first time I’ve ever set foot inside. It’s something I wanted to photograph for a long time because it seems like the sort of place that will probably get knocked down and turned into a Tesco Metro any minute but either I never got around to it or there always seemed to be a car parked out front. The car hasn’t been there for a while so I finally made a point of braving the evening winter temperatures to make a trip to photograph it.

The washing machines aren’t as retro looking as I had hoped, they’ve probably been replaced in recent years but I do like the wood panels on the walls and ceiling which look very 70’s.

Tech info: Mamiya RZ67 with Kodak Tri-X film, processed in Ilford DDX for 8mins at 20C.

Laundrette interior

Laundrette interior

Washing machine operating instructions

Washing machine operating instructions. I like the hand written painted sign.

Laundrette exterior

Laundrette exterior. The traffic was bumper to bumper so I had to wave my arms to stop the traffic long enough for the 2 second exposure.