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Oxford: Town vs Gown Boxing 2015 – part 2

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

It was nice to see some familiar faces at this years’ Town vs Gown Boxing competition at the Oxford Union, especially some of the team from last year who had come to cheer on Oxford. Last year was my first time photographing this event and I had no idea what to expect when I arrived there. This year was very different because this time I had access all areas and I also had last years’ pictures to live up to (which can be seen here and here).

After much deliberation on which cameras and film to take with me I eventually decided that I wanted to make some portraits on medium format but the difficult part was choosing which medium format camera to take. In the end I went for my Mamiya 645 Pro TL because it’s the one that I own with the fastest lens and not only did I want a shallow depth of field but I also knew that the light levels inside the Oxford Union are fairly low. The 80/1.9 lens that I took with me is quite unforgiving when it comes to focussing it at anywhere near to wide open and the focussing screen that came in my camera (I’m not sure if it’s the standard stock screen) is very bright and clear which actually makes it more difficult to tell whether something is in focus or not so the sharpness in some of the shots below is lacking. The Mamiya 645 Pro TL is a nice camera to use but the thing I hate most about it is the shutter release travel feels like it goes on forever which can cause movement of the camera (in my experience) just before the shutter fires. I have a motor-drive for mine which came with the camera but I haven’t used it yet because once you’ve loaded the grip with AA batteries it adds quite a bit of weight to it as well as increasing the overall size.

[Tech info:] Mamiya 645 Pro TL, 80/1.9, Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ISO 1600, processed in Kodak HC110 (1+31) for 16mins.


Oxford: Twelfth Night, Oxford University Drama Society

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

If you only see one drama production this summer I can’t recommend this one enough – Twelfth Night playing in the Old Schools Quadrangle, Bodleian Library. Tomorrow (14th August) is the final date in Oxford before the production travels to London and Guildford. I was fortunate enough to photograph the opening night yesterday and I can’t even begin to say how incredible all of the performances were and what a brilliant job the entire crew has done in putting this show together and no, they’re not paying me to say this! Yesterday I only had a chance to photograph during the performance but I was so impressed with everything that I felt compelled to rush back there this evening to make some portraits before the show started. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to photograph the entire cast (my apologies to those that I missed) because they needed to warm up and we only had a few minutes before the doors opened. Thank you to everyone for being so patient with me.

[Technical info:] Mamiya RB67, 140mm macro lens, Fuji FP-100C instant pack film (expired), sliding diptych Polaroid back.

Oxford: Wish Want Wear part 2

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

During my photo shoot at the Wish Want Wear salon day at Keble College, Oxford, not only did I shoot with digital and film, I also shot some Fuji instant pack film (aka Fujiroids). Here they are below. Unfortunately I only had 5 sheets left in the pack and I didn’t take any more with me which was a real shame because these were a huge hit. Keble is such a great location and I am very much looking forward to photographing at the Keble College summer ball that is coming up next month.

[Tech info:] Mamiya RB67, 90mm lens with an Arca Swiss sliding Polaroid back that allows me to shoot two shots on each sheet.

Experiments: Semi-stand film developing

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Recently I’ve been doing a little research into semi-stand film developing and I finally felt ready to give it a try. First I needed a roll of film to process so I shot one during a lunch hour and headed over to the darkroom after work. The film expired in 2003 so I was half expecting a bit of a fail with this experiment but despite quite a heavy base fog on the film it seemed to scan quite nicely considering the age of the film.

[Tech info:] Mamiya M645 1000s, 80mm/f1.9 lens, Kodak Tri-X (expired 2003), processed in Kodak HC110 (dilution 1:119) for 1 hour with a few gentle agitations at the 30min stage. I used 6ml of HC110 syrup to make 720ml of working developer, this is what my research suggested.

Oxford: Ready for the ball

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Yesterday evening I had a fun photo shoot with some Oxford University students that were all dressed up to go to the Oriel College commemoration ball. I had photographed one of them before (Alice Pearse, far right below) at the opening night of Cabaret at Keble College a while back and it was from those images that I was contacted for this shoot (thanks Gen). It was a bit rushed towards the end as they all had to make their way over to Oriel College but I thoroughly enjoyed it. We used three different locations, Alice’s back garden, the grounds in Teddy Hall and the middle of the High Street where they were all literally stopping traffic. All of that fabric fluttering in the strong wind looked amazing. I was half expecting to be told to move along because of health and safety!

I contacted Oriel about photographing at their ball but no one replied to me. Magdalen College also had a commemoration ball happening at the same time but the President of the ball committee turned down my request for photography. Such a shame and a missed opportunity to create some great images as they only happen every three years.

These are all scans from Fujiroids (Polaroid). I also shot some film images which will follow on when I’ve had time to process and scan them.

[Tech info:] Mamiya RB67, 90mm, Fuji FP100C instant pack film.

Stopping traffic on the High Street.

In the back garden before the taxi arrived.

I like the colours of the dresses in the shade.

Teddy Hall quad.

Last shot before leaving.

Behind the scenes
One of my Flickr contacts happened to be walking past while I was photographing on the High Street and he sent me these two behind the scenes shots. We’ve never met in person and this is what he had to say: ‘When I saw a photographer last night in the middle of the road with a medium format camera I knew it just had to be you. I’m surprised the police didn’t move you on, you had traffic tailed back up to Carfax’.
Photography by Darrell Godliman.

In the middle of the High Street.

Me at work, light meter in hand.