35mm · Film photography · Photography

Concrete columns and the way to Hancock & Lant

Sandwiched between the River Don and Blonk Street is the I Quarter (formerly Hancock & Lant) Tower. I’m not sure where the I Quarter name comes from – maybe the developers? – but Hancock and Lant was a furniture store established in the 1930s that used to have its showroom in the same location. They moved address at some point to, I believe, Queen’s Road, but I’m not sure if they are still trading.

The access to the store was via a very narrow road that ran between the building and the river, with a small area where, if you were lucky, you could find a parking space. I say road, but that doesn’t really illustrate just how narrow it was for vehicles, and there was always the fear of getting trapped down there as there was no way that anything other than a bicycle would have been able to squeeze past any othe vehicle. Today’s photographs show this location, although it is no longer accessible from this end by motor vehicles due to the concrete support columns of the I Quarter building.


Olympus OM-2n, Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f/1.8 & Ilford HP5+. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9mins 20° .

Taken on 6 March 2022

35mm · Film photography · Photography

The entrance to the Spider Bridge

I guess that, if you’re afraid of arachnids, the Spider Bridge might not sound all that appealing. There are a couple of huge spiders there too, lurking in the shadows above the walkway (out of shot), but they’re made of metal and don’t actually move about all that much (unless they sense fear!!!). There are probably hundreds of other, normal spiders on the structure too, as there are on pretty much any structure, but they won’t harm anyone and will probably remain completely unnoticed unless you go loooking for them.

The Spider Bridge forms a part of the Five Weirs Walk in Sheffield, carrying the footpath along a suspended section – which looks like it’s hung by thick strands of web – under the arches of a disused railway viaduct with the dark waters of the River Don flowing beneath. When there has been heavy rainfall, and the river is in spate, I expect that walking this bridge might be quite an exciting experience!

Entrance to the spider bridge

Olympus OM-2n, Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f/1.8 & Ilford HP5+. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9mins 20° .

Taken on 6 March 2022

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Almost beneath a bridge

This is the same bridge that featured in yesterday’s post (and also the post about Retropan 320 the day before).

This is my favourite of the three pictures – the wider angle and format shows more of the bridge’s structure than the 6×6 Yashicamat photo did, plus the people in the shot are well placed in the frame, have well timed gait, and also similar hairstyles, all of which contribute I think.

Under the iron bridge

Olympus XA3 & Ilford HP5+. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9mins 20° .

Taken on 26 February 2022

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Beneath a bridge

I’m pretty happy with how this picture turned out. It was a spur-of-the-moment effort quickly taken when I spotted the girders and their reflections as I walked beneath this bridge over the River Aire in Leeds.

Apart from framing the photo as I wanted, my only real concern was that there might be some camera shake due to lack of light and my inability to control shutter speed or aperture on the little Olympus XA3. There was a railing just out of frame and so I leant on that to give a little extra stability. I was happy to see that the shot came out well, and better than I actually anticipated.

Under the bridge

Olympus XA3 & Ilford HP5+. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9mins 20° .

Taken on 26 February 2022

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

First time with Fomapan Retropan 320

A while back – last year I think, although it could have been 2020 – I got in touch with the film manufacturer Fomapan. I’d had some issues with a batch of Fomapan 100 that I’d bought which was resulting in a lot of small white speckles on the scanned negatives. This wasn’t dust, but some problem with the film that was becoming apparent when it was developed. A bit of reasearch online produced a number of other reports of the same probleM, some with the same batch number as the rolls I had, so I got in touch with the company to ask if they could do anything to help.

Concrete and sky

They provided some instructions on how the issue with the problem batch might be addressed, and confirmed that there had been an issue with some rolls of the film that had been produced. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any luck after following the special instructions and the next roll still showed the same speckles, albeit slightly lessened. In addition, Fomapan also sent me a few rolls of film to recompense me for my troubles, some Fomapan 400, and also a roll of Retropan 320.

To the top

I’d never shot Retropan before so was curious as to what it might produce. Unfortunately, thanks to the pandemic and various lockdowns, the film languished in the freezer for quite some time, awaiting its day in the sun. That day came a few weeks ago when I took a trip to Leeds for the day with my wife and her sister. They hit the shops while I went off to make photos (and also visit the Royal Armouries museum). I burdened myself with choice on the day, having three film cameras, plus my little Ricoh digital compact. The film cameras included the Yashicamat 124g (with the Retropan), my Olympus XA3 (with some HP5+), and the newly acquired RETO Ultrawide & Slim (with some Agfa Vista Plus 200 – some of the shots which have already been seen here on the blog recently).

Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen

I wasn’t massively enthused about shooting the Retropan, even though trying a new film usually means at least some excitement is to be had. Most of the photos I’d seen online from other people had a bit of a flat look about them, which isn’t something I tend to favour. I also looked into what speed to shoot the film at, having had issues with underexposure when shooting other Foma films at box speed in the past. The general concensus was to overexpose it by at least a stop, with one person suggesting that 80asa was the sweet spot. In the end I opted to shoot it at 125asa and develop it normally.

City centre graveyard trees

The experience of shooting the film went without hitch, and developing was likewise straightforward. The film felt quite thin, but went onto the spiral without any problem. As with other Foma films, I pre-washed it before developing and got the usual witches brew of green liquid when I poured the rinsing water away.

Iron bridge

The photos are actually quite nice. Not the look I tend to go for, but there’s something there in the tonality that I find quite pleasing. There’s lots of grain present, but also good detail, and using my usual post-processing settings as a starting point soon got the scans where I was happy with them.

Street art, or river art?

So, would I buy a roll with my own money and shoot it again? Honestly, probably not. I’d go for one of the other Foma line instead. But I wouldn’t turn down a roll that came my way for free. 🙂

River Aire

Yashicamat 124G & Fomapan Retropan 320. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 10mins 20° .

Taken on 26 February 2022

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Milk float

I had a longer post planned today about my experience with a film stock I’ve not used before but, as time is ticking on and I have that chilled out Friday feeling, I think it will have to wait until the weekend.

Instead one of my shorter form posts, this time with another of the RETO Ultrawide & Slim pictures from my first test roll.

When I was young most people would have their milk delivered by a vehicle similar to this. Electric powered milk floats whirring around the early morning streets, crates of glass milk bottles clinking about on the back, stopping for the white-coated “milkie” to deliver each home’s order to the doorstep where it would wait to be fetched inside. Sometimes, on cold days, the milk would freeze and the foil tops would be pushed off the bottles by the expanding ice. Sometimes greedy birds would peck at the foil to get at the rich cream at the neck of the bottle (none of the homogenised stuff that we get today back then).

Ongar Dairy Group

Reto Ultrawide & Slim & Agfa Vista Plus 200. Lab developed.

Taken on 6 March 2022

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Goodbye OM-1. Hello OM-1N.

My Olympus OM-1 camera has suffered an annoying fault for a while now. After firing the shutter the mirror will sometimes lock up. Advancing the film drops it back down but the shutter remains locked and the only way to release it is to advance the film a second time (which shouldn’t be possible with the OM-1). When this second stroke of the advance lever takes place the camera also fires the shutter. After this it can be used normally again for the next shot. The problem means that every other shot is wasted – or mostly wasted as the problem tended to be intermittent.

Fot no real reason at all, I decided to look at the camera again today (without a film in it) and discovered that the issue now occurs on ever shot taken. I like the OM-1 – it was the first SLR I bough when I got back into shooting film cameras again – so I decided it would be worth trying to get it fixed. As the person who I’ve used for repairs and CLAs in the past has now retired, I tried a local repair shop that I’ve heard works on analogue cameras.

Upon phoning the shop, the guy there was quick to tell me that the repair would be costly and that I’d be better off using digital cameras. Rather than slam the phone down in disgust (:)) I explained that I enjoy the experience of using film cameras and that I’m not unaware of the issues that come with using vintage gear. He then mentioned that he’d had a box of stuff come into the workshop, including an OM-1 camera, which he would let me have for £40 sold-as-seen. £40 is a good price for an OM-1 these days so I headed over to the shop to take a look, figuring I could always turn it down if it looked like it might not be working properly. As it turned out, the camera appeared to be working as expected, including the meter, and was in great cosmetic condition so, after chatting with the guy for a while, I headed home with the camera – an OM-1N to replace the OM-1.

The camera probably needs new seals fitting, and it’s missing the hotshoe. I’d though that I could just swap over the hotshoe from my OM-1 (they just screw on and off with a thumbwheel), but it wouldn’t fit and it turns out that the design must have been slightly revised between models. Still, I’ve not once used the hotshoe on the OM-1, so I won’t miss it, and I’m more bothered by the empty screwhole on the top of the camera than any loss of functionality.

The other difference is that this replacement is expecting the original 1.3v mercury battery to power the meter accurately, whereas my OM-1 had been converted to meter properly using readily available 1.5v batteries. This means that I’ll either have to get it converted, or adapt zinc-air hearing aid batteries instead (I could use Wein cells, but these are much more expensive than the hearing aid cells). It’s a bit of a faff, but nothing insurmountable though.

I’ll get the seals replaces when I get the chance and then take it out for a test run.

Today’s picture is from back in 2018, when I took my original OM-1 with me on holiday to Sorrento, Italy.

FILM - American bar

Olympus OM-1,  Zuiko 28mm f/3.5 & Kodak Ektar.

Taken on 24 August 2018

35mm · Film photography · Photography

34 plugs and some new (old) film

I discovered that someone had a few rolls of expired film available free of charge today, so I took up their offer to take it off their hands. It involved an hour driving to the other side of the city and back during my lunch-break, but it was a nice day and good to get out of the house and away from my desk. The lady with the film told me that it had been in the fridge since it was bought and it’s only the fact that the fridge broke down that they remembered it was there. It’s been there a while as the one roll with an expiry on the packaging is dated 2005. The other two rolls are in un-dated wrappers but I’m assuming a similar vintage. Given its storage, I might even be tempted to shoot a roll at box speed to see how it fares.

The dated roll is Tudor branded 200asa colour negative with 24 exposures, Tudor being a company that re-packaged films rather than manufacturing their own I believe. I’ve not opened the box yet, but when I come to shoot it I’ll look up the DX code to see if I can find out who manufactured it originally – possibly Fuji though.

The other two rolls are Truprint FG+, another 200asa film, and again with 24 exposures. Truprint was a mail-order photo lab and rolls of their film would be supplied with the returned prints. Although I don’t know for sure, I believe that the film might be rebranded Ferrania FG+.

As I’m taking about expired film, here’s a photo made on out of date Superia 100 at the Lincoln Steam Rally three years ago. I’m not sure if there are actually 34 plugs in this tin…

FILM - Still a spark of life?

Nikon F70, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF-D & Fuji Superia 100 (expired 2007).

Taken on 29 October 2017

35mm · Film photography · Photography

It wasn’t me (in Truckee)…

It wasn’t me who took this picture. It’s a scan of one of the hundreds of 35mm slides I’ve picked up at auctions and other places over the past few years. Despite it not being mine I think it’s worth making photos like this available to be seen, if just for the historical and social interest they offer.

This photo depicts Donner Pass Road in Truckee, California, USA. You can see the same location on Google StreetView here. The slide is un-dated but I’m assuming that it was probably shot sometime in the 80s or 90s – perhaps one of my American readers can spot tell-tale signs in the shape of the cars and trucks present?

I had no idea of the location from first glance BTW. It’s only the fact that, from looking closely at the scan, there’s a sign for Truckee Mall in the background.

I really enjoy looking at old slides such as this, seeing the view through someone else’s eyes, wondering what it was about the scene that made them press the shutter, and wondering who they were, what they were doing there, and where they are now.

The latter question is always somewhat sad to consider as I expect, in many cases, that the photographer is no longer with us and this is the reason that the slides are now in my posession. Either they had no one to pass their old photographs on to, or perhaps their next-of-kin just didn’t feel the attachment to keep hold of them, and so they drifted off in a stream of stuff to be sold and wondered at. I wonder if this will happen to my photographs when I’m gone?

Anyway, here is someone’s view of Donner Pass Road photographed at some undisclosed point in time. Whoever you were, I like your picture.


Kodachrome slide. Un-dated. Original photographer unknown.