RSS Feed

‘personal’ Category

  1. B&W Developing Course

    April 23, 2018 by Daniel

    This past weekend I did something a little different, especially for such a sunny day. A lot of the process of learning about film photography this past couple of months has been about different process is, that it’s more impressionistic but also you can have as much control as you would with digital, it’s just different how that control is applied and the results are much more an idea of what you think they’ll be in your head than apparent right in front of you. It’s much more important I think to have a mental model of what is happening as you go along than with digital.

    So part of what I wanted to do was learn how to process my own film. Now once you start telling people you are shooting film many people have a fond story about when they used to do it years ago, or sending their films off or taking them to the chemists. People seem to have very vague memories now of what is involved though.
    As to the why I want to try it? For the same reason as learning about how beer is made I suppose?
    So I started looking for places to learn it, thinking they would be abundant, like the beer tours I suppose but to my surprise not many were offering workshops. I do think it’s something that may start to crop up more in future though as more people want to take control of their own photos, of the whole process and be hands on with it.

    After a bit of research I found Lightbox Darkroom about 60 miles away from me in The Wirral. The course looked like exactly what I wanted to learn about. So I paid up and excitedly jumped in my car.

    I arrived about an hour early… I’d allowed for weekday traffic but it was a Saturday… Oh well time for a quick wander and a coffee.

    The course was split into two. The morning for developing our film and the afternoon for printing contact sheets and a print of a selected frame.

    Untitled

    Some things surprise people about developing the film, what you can do in the light and dark for example. We practiced with some spare film how to get it onto a reel which when you do it for real you do in a lightproof bag. It’s a little like tying your shoelaces in the dark, against the clock (if the bag heats up too much the film can start to get a bit “sticky”). I’d brought along 35mm and 120 format, I started with the 35mm which I found pretty easy to get onto the reel and into the tank but later I had much more trouble with the 120.

    We went quickly through the chemicals needed and plugged in the details into a very slick Massive Dev Chart app which handles the timing for you.


    So, there’s three main chemicals, we went over quantities and which ones can be resued. Developer (I used MICROPHEN), Stop (ILFOSTOP) and Fixer (RAPID FIXER) and then open the tank and it goes into the sink with a running tap over it. After this a little bit of wetting agent (Fotonal Wetting Agent) and hang up the film to dry.
    The app is good at telling you when to agitate the tank, but you need to watch out for modifying the times according to the temperature of the chemicals.

    I think this part mostly likely is what I’ll start with doing at home. A complete darkroom set up is not necessary apart from access to water really.

    He had a nice cupboard set up for drying which looked quite handy for impatient people like me!

    Untitled

    The other guy on the course and I then went for lunch, it’d been about 3 hours up to this point (which had flown by!). It was a short walk to the beach so we sat and ate their discussing our respective photographic journeys.

    UntitledUntitled

    For the afternoon session we started off with cutting up our negatives into strips and then making a contact sheet for them. Quite satisfying really to get an image out so quickly. From that we learn to process of using the enlarger controls and developing the paper. This is where actual darkness (albeit with a safe light) is required!

    UntitledUntitled

    From there we chose a shot we wanted to get a print of and went through experimenting with the exposure and contrast, using test strips to gauge the result we wanted and dodging and burning. It was very easy to see how you can get very engrossed in this part and lose many hours!
    Untitled

    Overall I had a fantastic day and would recommend Martin to anyone who is interested in learning this kind of thing. He was a great teacher and had lots of experience, being a graphic designer by trade.

    Now I’m looking at Film scanners and development tanks… (I already know of an enlarger I can get hold of…)


  2. More Adventures in Film

    April 23, 2018 by Daniel

    I’ve gotten a bit behind in writing up about rolls of film, I sent off the biggest batch yet on April 4th of three rolls of 120 from the Diana and 1 roll of B&W 35mm from the Holga – the first roll through it.

    000032

    Overall I was really pleased with the results from the Holga, it seems much easier to get things right than with the Diana. From loading the film through to just things like focus. Aperture is a little more limited. But I like the look. It certainly helped I think to have an ‘event’ – a friends birthday – to takes pictures of.

    From the Diana things again a little mixed. I’m happy with a couple of the shots.

    000002

    Diana: Roll 6, Roll 7, Roll 8
    Holga: Roll 1

    Currently in the mix shooting wise: I shot B&W 2x35mm (1 Holga, 1 Zenit TTL) + B&W 1×120 for a developing course (more to come on that in a post), a colour 35mm Holga and a colour 35mm that was in a Centon DF-300 (copy of a Minolta X-300) that my Dad was given at an auction sale. There were about 4 pictures on the roll when I found it so I’ve shot the rest and we’ll see how they go! I’m fully expecting the film to be expired so who knows if it’s usable, but might be interesting. I quite like the camera and it came with 3 lenses which are very nice. It’s got a nice meter in it, which I am learning to appreciate given the Lomography cameras.


  3. Diana Roll 5 & Sprocket Rocket Roll 1

    March 29, 2018 by Daniel

    Roll 5 is a couple from George’s birthday party and a couple from the day of his actual 6th birthday. Again, not many have come back from this roll. I think it was ISO100 so I’m guessing they just haven’t come out at all? For indoors it seems the flash would be needed and only work quite closeup. You can see from the Sprocket Rocket shots below how the flash as not really helped the indoor party shots, creating a fuzzy haze that takes a fair bit of correction to see what’s going on properly.

    The sprocket rocket camera has such a wide-angle view that it makes you think quite differently what kind of thing you want to take pictures of. I’d seen some great examples of people but landscapes always seem to be something I like to pick up. At work there’s some great views and they are changing with the building work all of the time so I guess it’s nice to capture this moment in time. You can see lots of cranes at work but also the activity of the trains.

    First roll out of the sprocket, I quite liked using 35mm film and I may, ahem, have picked up a ‘normal’ 35mm camera (a Holga) – the film seems a lot more easily gotten hold of (not that 120 is that difficult with Amazon) but processing is half the price too.

    It’s still frustrating not getting back as many images as you think you’ve got but I guess that’s just the shift to analogue, what you have in your mind and just plain forgetting the settings are wrong sometimes. Certainly the setting of the bowling alley was no good with the 100ISO film.

    000003
    000005
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/dnisbet/tags/srroll1
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/dnisbet/tags/dfplusroll5


  4. Roll 4 George’s Party

    March 26, 2018 by Daniel

    I wrote and discarded a post about George’s party already. Overall I had a lovely weekend. It had some difficult parts to it, but life is a rollercoaster. Photography wise, here’s the roll from the Diana camera. I’m very glad I asked for the flash to be brought up for it from that there London, the Diana needs lots of light it seems and a wintry Bolton suffers much more from low light than the many summery pics you see online from Diana cameras. I’ve got two other rolls that I was using from that week that are being developed and I took a bunch of digital shots too. But let’s talk about this one.

    Obviously focus is a bit of an issue. I’d basically tried to just keep it on the middle settings, but it seems to me that when you’re taking pictures of kids you usually want to get in quite close and then they’ll do something silly. Kids move very quickly too so you just kind of have to press the shutter without thinking too much about composition.

    I am enjoying the ‘imperfect’ nature of the pictures out of the camera. I’ve probably said it before but it’s good to get something more impressionistic. The one of my sister is probably the closest to a ‘normal’ picture I’ve gotten out of it and I guess that’s situational possibly too – sat in my living room talking.

    The other thing I like is how the pictures look old, despite being brand new. It could easily be a party in the 1980’s I think. Modern cameras do a lot of unseen work to get the best out of situations, the Diana leaves you no room to hide.

     

    Also there’s a double exposure in there of Florence. It was unintentional. I forgot to wind it on, but I like how it came out. There’s more (intentional this time) of those coming.

     

    I’m starting to think about techniques more. Lighting, etc not just getting the basic settings right (just hoping that I can get a usable image has been a learning experience!) It’s a lot easier to test stuff out with a phone camera and then see how it goes with the film.

    Coming soon also are some black & whites from the party and George’s actual birthday bowling trip and the wide angle sprocket rocket pictures. It fits way more on a roll, 17, so it took longer to finish.


  5. Roll 2 & 3

    March 15, 2018 by Daniel

    OK, two more rolls.

    Roll 2 didn’t go well. I have no idea why, I was incredibly disappointed with it. But I just got back roll 3 and I’m hooked again. I’m wondering whether this batch of colour 400 iso I have is bad or something (or I have figured out loading/unloading the film better now?)

     

    In the end only got 2 shots from roll 2, the colour one here being the only usable one. 11 came back from the Black & White Ilford film I got. I’ve got another roll but in a lower ISO so I’ve bought a flash because George’s party is coming up and I reckon it’d be needed for indoors.

    I’ve got one more roll of the colour film, I’m not holding high hopes for it but I’ll try it out anyways. Perhaps I’ll just go for a walk and take some landscapes with it.

     

    Still, i’ll eke these ones out over on Instagram. Roll 3 was taken over a visit back to my parents last weekend. We went to the Space Centre and Sudbury Hall. There’s more detailed notes about them on my flickr feed.


  6. Roll 1

    March 8, 2018 by Daniel

    I got the roll back.

    I’m eking them out over on Instagram, but here’s the 9 together that I got back (of, I thought, 12 shots) on the 120 roll of film. I got sent the link to download these a couple of days ago and then yesterday received the prints I ordered. I think they may have tweaked the scans a little bit for me, the prints were really dark and so I think I’ve learnt that I need waaay more light, or to go and buy the Flash unit for my Diana camera.

    I really don’t know what happened with the rainbow effect. How that came to be! It does make them look atmospheric and you know what I don’t think I mind that much that the sibjects are that bit harder to make out. Makes it much more impressionistic.

    The one that came out best quality wise is the bottom right, outside the crematorium after the remembrance service for Mamgu. It was a cold day but the sun came out and was quite bright.

    I have no idea what happened to the shot I took of my friend James on his own outside Town Hall, or the one with Hannah & Nick and their friends Jamie & Mark in the Ohh Deer shop.

    I just got an email that the processing company has received my second roll. So a little bit more waiting to see that one. Lot’s more George & Florence shots on that but again I worry they will be too dark, lessons learned from roll 1 not sunk in yet as I hadn’t seen those images yet.

     

    I’ve been reading up on what my next digital camera might be. I’d like something I can share lenses with though.


  7. Starting Lomography

    February 28, 2018 by Daniel

    I’ve been trying out taking pictures on Film again. It’s not something I’ve done since I was using my mums old camera when I was a child I think (something similar to this Kodak one I think!) .

    Kodak - Ektra 200 camera

    Kodak – Ektra 200 camera

    As a tech kind of person I’ve just always used digital it seemed native to me.
    So why go back to film? To analogue? We’ve clearly rejected it for most uses and on the whole that’s the right thing I think.
    And hey, I’ve not got the roll back yet so who knows if it was worth it, but I think that’s kind of the appeal of it.

    diana camera

    Diana F+

    You click the shutter and you’ve no idea how the image is going to come out, no doubt that comes with experience but really you won’t know until it’s been developed.
    The whole thing of learning to be patient is perhaps the point of it. The camera I bought has a viewfinder, but it’s not like a SLR or a cameraphone that I’m used to where what you see is what the lens sees too. It just has fixed focus, I’m not sure if the apeture I’ve selected for most of the shots is correct. I had to make a choice about what ISO to put in. These are all decisions on digital that you can change your mind about in a second, or take it with the wrong setting and just take another after correcting it!
    So my hope from it is merely that it produces some interesting images that I wouldn’t get from digital, happy accidents (to start with anyways). To teach me patience and imagination of what the image will be when it comes back to me.

    The camera I bought takes 120 film, which I’ve never used before. I sent off a roll this morning for developing which is pretty exciting! I may decide in future to get the 35mm back for my Diana camera, which is a little more flexible then if I do end up getting other 35mm cameras.

    I do intend to eventually buy a new digital camera (I’d like to try a mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera, it’d be cool to try some of the lomography lenses on it too). But for now, this feels like a good avenue for experimentation.


  8. Separation

    October 2, 2017 by Daniel

    Oh hello long neglected blog?

    Remember when everyone and their dog had a blog? I guess it’s all about facebook and twitter now. No fiddling with host settings. Oh well, the world moves on I suppose.

    Ok ok stop avoiding it, what is this post about Daniel? Well, over on that there facebook I took a deep breath and admitted something publicly which I’d been avoiding for a while. I guess it was an open secret that many knew. But to confirm it? Well. It needed to be done. It was time. I need support from people and for that they need to know. I need them not to be surprised or to understand if they spot things I’m doing or something.

    Here’s something it’s taken me a while to be ready to say on here. My situation has changed as some people know already and I think now it’s better if it’s acknowledged rather than left unsaid by me.

    Kate and I have separated. We’re figuring stuff out as to how this works. We were together a long time so it’s going to take a while to adjust.

    I’ve moved out to somewhere not too far from the kids who remain as important to me as ever and are the bright shining stars in my life.

    Can I just ask, we both don’t want anyone to “take sides”. It’s between us and we both need the support of our friends and family. We don’t want the he said she said, the drama or for you to fight one of our corners. We just want your support. I assure you the friendships and love we had from you whilst we were a couple is just as valid and wanted as now we are apart.

    So that’s it really.

    I’ve moved out and now have the kids with me for a couple of nights a week. 2017 eh.


  9. Protest March

    February 6, 2017 by Daniel

    Had a really good weekend. Felt like the whole family had a good time and maybe we helped make a small difference in the world too.

    On Saturday there was a protest planned to do with the US President Trump’s ‘Ban’ on immigrants from a few Middle-east countries. Kate and I wanted to take the kids along. The Presidency is something we’ve obviously been discussing lots in our house over the past few months and we thought it was a good opportunity to show the kids about something much bigger than ourselves.

    We had a fun day planned, we went bowling first at All Star Lanes (which Florence won!), had a lovely meal at Almost Famous and then headed over to the protest and managed to meet up with our friends, the Stones (Kate had made her and Florence matching hats which the Stones had on too.

    There was some inspirational speeches and then we marched up Cross St, left on St Mary’s Gate, down Deansgate and then back to Albert Square via John Dalton St. It was so strange chanting and walking down these huge roads in the middle of a Saturday. George was on my shoulders the whole time and I think his favourite chant was ‘You can’t build a wall, your hands are too small’.

    I think it will be the first march of many to come during this Presidency. The President’s actions have consequences, ones wider than many people think. There’s plenty of comments on twitter from people saying ‘Do these people know they are in Manchester?’ Yes of course we know, but this isn’t about ourselves- we’re just doing what we can.


  10. Swimming 

    January 10, 2017 by Daniel

    George moved up to the next class in Swimming this term, the third class. It’s great to see him doing well at it – albeit this class is a little late in the day for him – 6.30pm (we usually go upstairs for bath etc at 7!) but at least I’m home from work to watch. 

    This was the first class: got in at deep end with one round float on each arm, swam to shallow and took off floats. The rest of it was starting to learn front crawl using one of those rectangular shaped floats any swimmer knows well. He looked so much smaller than the rest of his class. I’m not sure of their ages but I’m sure they are at least a year perhaps more. It was funny because in his last class he was always very quick but in this one, they are all much more speedy. 

    His hair got in his eyes a lot and I think he swallowed a lot of water (head up!).