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Oxford: celebrating the end of exams

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

There is a long standing tradition for Oxford university students to celebrate the end of exams (aka trashing) by spraying champagne and throwing various food stuff on whichever friend has just finished their exams. I first came across this in the early 1990’s and in my archives I have a great series of pictures of an unsuspecting student as he is followed down Queen’s Lane by his friends with Tesco carrier bags full of food and little by little he is covered with all manner of things as he made his way to the Kings Arms pub for a celebratory drink. Back then the Kings Arms seemed to be the place for students to go after exiting the Examination Schools so it was fairly easy to make some great pictures but now things seem to be different and it’s not so easy to know where the trashing might take place.

I spent a few weeks hoping I would come across some trashing in my lunch hour photo walks into town but unfortunately I didn’t have much luck until this particular day when I came across this group of students waiting around the corner of Brasenose Lane for their friend to come along. It was perfect timing and I happened to have the perfect camera and lens for it. Everything happened so quickly that I only managed to make these five frames but I’m very pleased with how they turned out and that I managed to avoid getting covered in the food that was being thrown around.

[Tech info:] Pentax 67 with 55mm lens, loaded with Ilford Delta 400, processed in Ilford DD-X 1+4.

Oxford university students celebrating the end of exams

Getting trashed after exams

Photo shoot: testing with Tamsin

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

I recently bought a batch of expired film which I have no idea about how they’ve been previously stored so I decided to test some out to see how well they worked. In this test I was using Kodak Tri-X 400 which expired in 2002 and 2004. Fortunately Tamsin was happy to help out for the testing but it started to rain just as I was loading the first roll of film so I rattled through the film at quite a pace. Also in this test I was using a lens that I haven’t used an awful lot – a 165mm/2.8 Pentax 6×7 which I found out is very difficult to hand hold steady at f2.8 and 1/125th shutter speed which resulted in quite a few out of focus shots (not shown here). I also shot a roll of Agfa colour film that expired in 1996 which I’m very curious to see the results from.

[Tech info:] Pentax 6×7, 105mm/2.4 and 165mm/2.8 lenses, loaded with Kodak Tri-X 400 film, processed in Kodak XTOL 1:1.


Photo shoot: Sarah

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

This set of images is from a lunch hour photo shoot I had with Sarah recently. At this time of year the midday sun is not very flattering for portraits so I have to work extra hard to find pockets of light where the quality is nice. Having a location where there are walls to bounce the light around can help and fortunately I have such a location not too far from my office. I previously posted some Fujiroids from this shoot but the colour of the light at this time of day is not very nice which is why I shot more black & white film.
Sarah was really great to work with and I’m very pleased with how these turned out, especially the large format shots on the bottom row.

[Tech info:] Top two rows: Pentax 6×7, 165mm and 135mm lenses, loaded with Kodak TMAX 400 (expired) film. Bottom row: Speed Graphic 5×4, Ektar 203mm and Dallmeyer 12 inch lenses on Ilford HP5 film. All processed in Kodak HC110 1+31.

Oxford: Helen, window light experiments part 2

Friday, January 4th, 2013

A new year and I’ve yet to do any photography thanks to the gloomy weather we’ve been having. At least it gives me an opportunity to carry on working through my backlog from last year. Here are some film shots from my most recent shoot with Helen. I love the quality of the light in these and hope to do more. It’s completely different to shooting outside. For the first time I had a digital camera with me on this particular shoot for comparison and you can see some of those shots here. I also shot some colour film but I’m stock piling my colour film so that I can process more of it in one go with fresh chemicals so those will follow later in the year. It’s exciting to wait to see my images.

[Tech info:] Pentax 67, 105/2.4 lens loaded with Kodak TMAX 400 @ ISO1600 processed in Kodak HC110 (1+31) for 7:30.

Comparison of film and digital


Photo shoot: Kristina

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

You might recognise Kristina from some of my Oxford Fashion Week images because that’s where I first met her. I made these shots during a short photo shoot in my lunch break. The light was very flat on a cold overcast day. Kristina’s outfit certainly wouldn’t have been my first choice as being particularly photogenic but sometimes as a photographer you have to work with what you’re given. The light bouncing off of the white jumper was so bright compared to everything else in the scene but the film and processing has kept it under control nicely. I semi-stand developed this film which tends to retain highlight and shadow detail incredibly well.

[Tech info:] Pentax 67, 105mm/f2.4 lens, Kodak Tri-X film processed in Rodinal 1:100 for 1 hour (semi-stand).


Photo shoot: Helen – from white to black

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

Some photo shoots can start off with with trying to plan every last detail, others have the room to breath and experiment to see what happens. This photo shoot falls in the latter. Helen sent me an image for inspiration and from there I decided I would only use black & white film and I took along four different cameras to experiment with (3 medium format and a 35mm). On the day Helen brought various outfits but I think it was a coincidence that we only ended up using black and white clothing. The images have a feeling of going from light to dark which was perfect as we raced against the fading sun. This is a story of a girl who’s man ‘did her wrong’. It was a fun shoot and I hope to do more of these.

[Tech info:] I used the following cameras, Pentax 67 with 105/f2.4 lens, Mamiya C330f with 80/f2.8 lens and a Mamiya M645 1000S with 80/f1.9 lens.  Film used was Kodak Tri-X and Fuji Acros 100. All of these shots were processed in Rodinal 1:50 (Acros for 10:00, the Tri-X for 13:30).

Oxford Wheels Project: The end of an era – part 2

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Here are the second set of images I made at the Meadow Lane skate ramps on the last day before they were demolished to make way for a bigger and better concrete skatepark.

As of last week the ramps have been demolished and work has begun on the new design. After being tipped off about the demolition day I cycled over there after finishing work to make some shots of the demolition site but I got there a few minutes too late and the van full of builders drove past me as I cycled along Meadow Lane. Doh! There were no holes in the fence big enough to poke my lens through so unfortunately I don’t have any images of it but if you can imagine a big pile of plywood that’s what it looked like.

[Tech info:] Pentax 67, 105mm lens loaded with Fuji Acros 100 film, processed in Kodak HC110 (dilution b).

The next generation

In conversation


Captive audience

Original skater

Final shot


Oxford Wheels Project: The end of an era

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

On the last day of the current Meadow Lane ramps I went along to make some portraits of whoever was down there skating and riding for the last time before the ramps get demolished to make way for a brand new concrete skatepark. Along with lots of people I didn’t know there was a familiar and friendly face, BMX rider Alex Leech. Alex and I went to school together between the ages of 5 and 13. I hadn’t seen Alex is quite some years and it was so nice to bump into him and see that he was still riding a BMX, something he’s been doing since the 70’s. I’ve got some more portraits from the day but I haven’t finished the roll of film yet. I hope to document the building of the new skatepark as much as possible.

You can see my previous photography from the Meadow Lane ramps here.

[Tech info: Pentax 67 and 105mm lens, loaded with Fuji Acros 100, processed in Rodinal 1:50 for 13:30.

Alex Leech

Alex and family


I had a great chat with this guy about photography.

I can't remember if this guy was skating

Waiting in line


Test shoot: Helen part 2

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

During my second test shoot with Helen I was able to test out a number of different rolls of film. The shots below are all from the same roll (with this particular camera I only get 10 shots on a roll). This was towards the end of the shoot and we decided to change things up a bit by making use of a nearby tree. Helen showed her excellent climbing skills, barefoot! It was tricky to find a comfortable spot in such a cramped space but I think Helen did a great job. The film I used here is Kodak BW CN which is sadly no longer made. I bought some expired rolls from a photographer who was having a clear out. The advantage was that you could have the film processed at any regular photo lab because it requires colour film chemistry even though it’s a black & white film. This is only the second roll I’ve used of my batch and I really like it so far.

[Tech info:] Pentax 6×7, Kodak BW CN (expired 2009). Processed and scanned by me.

Branching out.


Lean back.

Perched on the edge.

Eye contact.

Looking at the horizon.

Last frame.

Oxford: Summer 8’s 2011 (part V)

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Here are some images from the colour films that I shot during Summer VIII’s 2011. The delay in posting these was because of the expense of posting one or two rolls away for developing. It’s much more economical to send off a batch of film but as I mostly use b&w film it’s taken me a while to use up enough rolls of colour for a batch.

In the coming weeks I intend to start developing my own colour film so look forward to seeing some of my results. I have the chemicals ready, I just need some spare time. More colour images from Summer VIII’s coming soon.

[Tech info:] Camera: Pentax 67, film: Kodak Ektar 100.

Cheer leaders practicing

Cheer leader practice. Between two of the college boathouses I noticed this group of cheer leaders practicing. It looked quite bizarre with all of the rowing going on behind me.

Alice in Wonderland cast

Curiouser and curiouser

watching the rowing


Photographer using a Nikon F90X camera

Another film photographer. I had an enjoyable chat about film photography with this photographer. The camera was in mint condition and had belonged to his mother. I still own and use the previous model that I bought in 1992.

Cup cake stall

Cup cakes for sale.

Oxford: Street portraits

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011


These images were made a number of weeks ago but it took me longer than I expected to get through the Summer 8’s images so I apologise if you’re included in one of these shots and have been checking to see if your image has been posted 🙂

[Tech info]: Pentax 67

Man with curly moustache

This man had a great look but I couldn't get far enough back to get him all in for a full length because there was a wall behind me.

A couple on Broad street

Broad street.

Brasenose lane

This builder was working in Radcliffe Square and was heckling me as I was photographing someone else so I asked him if he wanted to be photographed and he agreed.

A student smoking

I quite liked this guy's russian looking t-shirt

Jay, I thought she had a cool look. We had a brief chat about photography and portrait competitions. A very pleasant girl that I hope to run into again around town some time.

Oxford: Summer 8’s 2011 (part II)

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Here’s part 2 of my images from the Oxford university colleges rowing competition.
If you’re in any of these images please leave a comment. As I don’t generally take any contact details from the people I photograph I never know who has actually managed to see their portrait or if they liked it. There’s a Facebook like button at the bottom of the page if you prefer to click that. Thanks.

There are still more to come.

[Tech info]: Camera used, Pentax 6×7 with Fuji Acros 100 film, developed in HC110 (dilution H, 1:63) for 7mins.


Boat race uniform

Boat race uniform

Formal boat race uniform

Formal boat race uniform

Max (from The Big Bang restaurant) & friend

Max (from The Big Bang restaurant) & friend


Standing in the shade

This man was sheltering from the blazing sun in the shade of a boathouse

Burgers and PIMMS for sale

Burgers and PIMMS for sale