Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Out with the Holga part 2

Another set of Holga 120N pictures to follow on from yesterday’s blog post. They include two views of the pavillion in Endcliffe Park, the Trinity United Reform Church (a brutalist design just across the road from the park), and a climbing frame in the middle of the park.

The house by the park
Pavillion
Brutalist church
Climbing frame

Holga 120N & Fomapan 100. Adox Adonal 1+25 4mins @ 20°.

Taken on 10 April 2022

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Out with the Holga part 1

On the day I tried out my first roll of the new Kodak Gold 120 variant, shot with my Yashicamat, I also took the Holga with me. I still had a couple of rolls of the “bad batch” Fomapan 100 (the one that liberally sprinkles little white specks on the resulting pictures), and it seems a good fit to shoot it with the Holga as, while I don’t want to use faulty film with the camera, it is great at covering up such defects due to its uniquely rendered images. I also have quite a stash of film at present and aim to try and get through some of it this year.

This was the first time I’d used the Holga in over a year – the last time was for some snowy shots back in January 2021 – and it’s easy to forget how much I like the pictures it produces. While this roll didn’t produce twelve bangers, I still got several I was happy with, and so I’ll post them here today and tomorrow.

I developed the roll in some of my remaining trial bottle of Adox Adonal (Rodinal in all but name) and used a 1+24 dilution which gave a pleasingly short 4 minute developing time. I’m pretty happy with the way they’ve turned out.

Corner plot
Communicate
Behind the pollarded trees

Holga 120N & Fomapan 100. Adox Adonal 1+25 4mins @ 20°.

Taken on 10 April 2022

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Silver birch re-scan

The photo in today’s post is a few years old – it was taken on a cold, but bright, February day back in 2018 on the edge of the moorland near Surprise View in the Peak District national park. I don’t think I’ve published this picture online anywhere before now.

I re-scanned it, and the rest of the photos on the roll, yesterday, using Vuescan to make a linear RAW DNG file and then Negative Lab Pro for the conversion in Lightroom.

Now I understand how to use NLP properly (or at least much better – there are still a bunch of controls and sliders that I stay away from!), I’m very pleased with the ease of getting colours that I’m happy with almost straight out of the box. I still tweak things a little, first using NLPs controls, and then maybe some minor tweaks in Lightroom itself (usually adding a little clarity and sharpness), but there has been none of the annoying mental gymnastics where I can’t decide if the colours are “off” in some hard to define way.

Obviously, colours are subjective, whether it be someone sat at home trying to get what they think Portra or whatever film stock they’ve used to look “right”, or a technician in a photo-lab making adjustments in the Noritsu software (or whatever it is they use) on the behalf of the photographer. So far, Negative Lab Pro has given me colours that feel correct with very little faff on my part, and for this I am thankful. I love black and white photography, but this new found ability to get results I’m happy with from C41 film is making me want to shoot more of the stuff (and re-scan some of the photos where I had less than satisfactory results in the past). It’s just a shame I need to sell a kidney to afford colour film these days!

Silver birch and quarry scree

Zeiss Mess-Ikonta 524/16 & Kodak Portra 400. Lab developed. Home scanned and converted with Negative Lab Pro.

Taken on 7 February 2018

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

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Holgacolor

I like my Holga camera. I find, despite its lo-fi credentials – plastic lens, single shutter speed, being built like a cheap toy etc. – that it can produce some sublime photographs when used to its strengths. It’s notable in my case though, that this generally tends to be where black-and-whitefilm is concerned. While I’ve probably not shot enough colour film with the camera for this to be a fair comparison, I’ve found my non-B&W results to be less impressive.

Holgacolor-6
Holgacolor-4

For this roll, it probably doesn’t help that it’s an expired film with some colour shifts (albeit nothing too bad), and one that I had some trouble scanning to my satisfaction to boot. It might also be argued that the images I made are not my best from a compositional point-of-view either – I’m not sure I was seeking to get the best from the roll, rather than just using it up.

Holgacolor-5
Holgacolor-3

Whatever the case, I don’t think these work as well as they might have done in B&W. I don’t hate them, but the feel a bit “meh” at the same time. I’ll leave it up to anyone who reads this to make up their own minds on the matter.

A plastic piece of junk?
Beauty is more than skin deep
I think you might find

Holgacolor-2
Holgacolor

Holga 120N & Fujifilm Superia 100 (expired 2008).

Taken on 17 July 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

As wide as the Wicker Arches

The Wicker Arches is a railway viaduct on the edge of Sheffield city centre. It was built in 1848 and the 41-arches span the Don Valley. Most of the arches are now blocked, with various businesses occupying the spaces, but the main arch across the Wicker, with decorative pedestrian arches to either side, remains a busy route into the city, and Effingham Road also passes beneath the viaduct further east. The arch beneath which the River Don passes now forms part of the Five Weirs Walk with the route taking the form of a suspended metal walkway named the Spider Bridge (it’s even decorated with large silver arachnids with illuminated eyes).

Passenger rail services across the viaduct ceased in 1970 when Sheffield Victoria Station, which was situated atop the viaduct, closed, and all rail traffic had stopped by the 1980s.

The phrase “as wide as the Wicker Arches” has been regularly used by people in Sheffield to denote someone who was a bit crafty or a smartarse.

When I was cheeky
“Wide as the Wicker Arches!”
Would come my mum’s cry

As wide as the Wicker Arches

Zeiss Mess-Ikonta 524/16 & Ilford HP5+. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9mins @ 20°.

Taken on 9 May 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

The remains of the Farfield Inn

Another victim in the declining pub trade in the UK, the Farfield Inn stands at the western end of Neepsend Lane at the bottom of Hillfoot Road, not far from the busy route that is Penistone Road. There used to be pigeon lofts on the steep hillside along this stretch but those, like the Farfield Inn, have fallen into dereliction, their skeletal remains vaguely apparent in the brush that has grown to take their place.

“Fancy a nice pint?”
Would once have been said by those
Who visited here

Abandoned hostelries
Abandoned hostelries

Zeiss Mess-Ikonta 524/16 & Ilford HP5+. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9mins @ 20°.

Taken on 9 May 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Finding a Ford Capri

Finding old cars here in the UK isn’t easy, at least outside of car shows and museums. The MOT system means that most vehicles get sent for scrap before they gain too much age; the cost of keeping them road-worthy a barrier to long-term posession. Add to this the large-scale scrappage schemes that were brought into place when the use of leaded petrol was outlawed a few decades ago and the number of older-model vehicles is low. So, when I come across something like this Ford Capri parked on a street-corner, a photograph or two is almost obligatory.

The Capri was introduced as a Eurpopean equivalent of the Mustang apparently and it, along with the mark III Ford Cortina, always give me a sense of their being our versions of the American fastbacks and muscle cars.

Sometimes you can find
Old treasures left to be seen
On our street corners

Home of a professional?

Zeiss Mess-Ikonta 524/16 & Ilford HP5+. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9mins @ 20°.

Taken on 9 May 2021