35mm · Film photography · Photography

Stan’s little escapade

I’ve been talking about the current pandemic over the last few days but I don’t really have anything to say about it today – I’ve avoided the news for the most part, and the only things that have really brought it to mind have been the things I saw while out for a walk before lunch (nothing very extraordinary, but maybe I’ll cover them in a future blog when I have the photos I took developed).

Instead I’ll tell a short tale of Stan, our cat, and what happened to him yesterday…

Stan lets himself in and out of the house when he chooses through a cat-flap and, while he goes out a lot, he’s usually making his presence known throughout the day (generally folloing us into the kitchen and begging for treats or, if it’s meal-time, nipping at my feet for attention). Yesterday afternoon howerver he was nowhere to be seen. Even after his usual mealtime there was no sign of him and, as it began to get dark, I had pangs of worry. Shouting him and shaking his treat box didn’t elicit a response.

My thoughts were that he’d either seen something interesting (maybe a mouse or an insect or something) and was now waiting patiently somewhere for his opportunity to snare it. Another alternative was that he’d gotten himself trapped somewhere. There is always the additional concern that he might be struck by a car when he’s out but, to my knowledge, his territory doesn’t reach across the road beside our house and, if it did, the current coronavirus situation means that traffic is very much reduced anyway.

Thinking he could be trapped, my first idea was to check the garage. He enjoys going in there – I think he knows he’s not supposed to and so will dart in as the door is opened if the opportunity presents itself. It was possible he’d slipped in unnoticed and gotten himself locked in. However, there was no sign when I checked.

After about another hour of him not appearing, I racked my memory to think when I’d last seen him and remembered that it was when I’d returned home after my supermarket trip – he’d been sat on the doorstep as I unloaded the bags and then, after not coming in when I’d finished, I closed the door, shutting him outside.

And then another thing struck me. About five minutes after unpacking the groceries, my wife had told me I’d left the hatch-back open on the car, so I went outside and closed it,

Could it be that he’d poked his inquisitive little nose into the car while it was opened and then gotten locked in? Why yes. Yes it could!

I went back outside and opened the boot whereupon he instantly leapt, gazelle-like, out of his prison, eliciting a loud bark of relieved laughter from me. Thankfully he wasn’t any the worse for wear (and, equally importantly, hadn’t needed the toilet while trapped!).

It’s always a worry when a cat doesn’t come home when expected, and always a big relief when they turn up safely. I will add a boot-check in future when we unload the shopping.

I maybe also need to take some more photos of him that I can easily post on the blog if required – apart from loads of Instax pictures, I think this is the only film shot I have of him (and it was the end of the roll!).

FILM - Sofa cat

Olympus 35 RC & Eastman Double-X.

Taken on 13 September 2019

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Looking out to sea

Looking out to sea seems to be an enduring calling to many people when visiting the coast, certainly in the UK, but also, I suspect, around the globe. Every seaside resort I’ve ever visited has benches and shelters along the promenade, along harbour walls, and atop cliffs and promontories, for the purpose of providing somewhere to rest while looking at the ocean beyond. Coin-operated telescopes provide the means of a close-up inspection, should something interesting be present on the water. There are car-parks designed in a such a way as to provide access to the view without leaving the comfort of the vehicle (and in the UK, given our tendency to inclement weather, this is perhaps wise).

I remember as a child visiting the beach with my grandparents in the rain. We would just sit in the car, eat sandwiches, drink pop or hot drinks from a thermos-flask, and watch the tide come in or retreat. If the weather was favourable, we’d get to venture onto the sand with our granddad, while grandma remained in the car, often with the aim of building a sandcastle that we could then subsequently watch be destroyed by the incoming waves while we sat back in the car. The castle fallen, and night beginning to fall, we’d return to the caravan for cocoa and bed.

There’s definitely a draw to looking at the sea, even on a calm day. Something about being at the edge of the world and imagining what might lie beyond some distant horizon (usually Denmark in our case, given the east coast of England was generally our destination of choice). Often times it’s older people who seem to do this the most. Perhaps the sea offers a glimpse of something else, something poignant, something nostalgic. Or maybe they just need a sit down more than the young.

FILM - Together

Olympus 35RC & Eastman Double-X.

Taken on 13 September 2019

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Ice cream

The ice cream stand on Mablethorpe promenade. It has a satisfyingly wide range of choices, including those oyster-shell wafers filled with soft-serve that always look really nice, but which I’ve never once had in my entire time on this Earth. I did buy an ice cream, a 99, but it was from another shop.

Also in shot is a ubiquitous seaside sight – the giant ice cream cone! 🙂

Anyway, the lady in the photo’s stripey top has come out nicely on the Double-X. Although the blacks look pretty deep, there’s still detail in there when you look closely.

Sadly, this was the last of my Secret Santa supply of this film, so I’ll need to buy some more.

FILM - Ice Cream Stand

Olympus 35RC & Eastman Double-X.

Taken on 13 September 2019

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Seaside steps

FILM - Beach steps

This is the view looking north from the Lincolnshire seaside resort of Mablethorpe. There is a small promentory at this point on the shore above the outfall from The Cut, a drain that takes water from the surrounding low-lying countryside – mostly agricultural land – and this section of steps leading down to the beach is at the easternmost point.

The steps form part of an extensive system of coastal defenses that were built and strengthened following the devastating North Sea Flood that occurred in 1953. This winter storm hit on the night of Saturday 31 January and, coupled with a high spring tide, resulted in a storm surge of over 5 metres above the average sea level in some areas. Large areas of low-lying coastal land were deluged in the countries bordering the North Sea, particularly The Netherlands, where 1,836 deaths were recorded. Although loss of life was less severe in England and Scotland, there was still a tragic loss of 336 people. The flood waters reached as far as 2 miles inland in places and forced the evacuation of over 30,000 people from their homes.

The photograph below shows the outfall where The Cut enters the North Sea. This area is submerged at high tide.

FILM - At low tide

Olympus 35RC & Eastman Double-X.

Taken on 13 September 2019

35mm · Film photography · Photography


Amongst the various vintage and classic vehicles at the Lincoln steam rally were a couple of Invacars, which immediately caused a pang of nostalgia because I haven’t seen one for a long time. The Invacar was a fairly commonplace sight when I was a child back in the 70s and 80s with it’s distinctive 3-wheeler shape and uniform colour (they were all the same shade of ice-blue), but they haven’t been seen on the roads in any great numbers for a long time now. They tended (in my experience) to be referred to as Invalid Carriages, rather than Invacars, or (in the politically incorrect schoolyards that existed 1970s and 80s) by somewhat harsher and more unfavourable terms that I’ll not repeat here.

FILM - Invacar

The background of this distinctive little vehicle begins shortly after WWII when a fellow named Bert Greeves built a vehicle around a motorcycle converted for full manual control for use by a paralysed cousin. As there were many people living with disability following injuries sustained during the recent conflict, a commecial opportunity was spotted and government help was sought. The result was Invacar Ltd. and the cars were distributed to disabled drivers by the Ministry of Pensions up until the late 1970s when the contract ended.

The single-seater cars originally had a small engine, but a later upgrade resulted in far more power and it is reported that this gave a top speed of over 80mph. Despite the rakish angle of the passenger compartment, I doubt that this was the best idea and was likely akin to strapping a rocket engine to a paper airplane. I can only imagine the thrill (terror!) that would be induced in experiencing this speed in such a tiny, fibreglass-bodied Invacar. I believe they also had a tendency to catch fire on occasion too!

FILM - Invacar-2

Over time, as motability schemes were introduced that allowed people with disabilities to adapt regular vehicles for their use, so the need for these small cars fell away. In 2003, all the remaining Invacars still owned by the government were recalled and scrapped as they could no longer meet road safety regulations, although vehicles still in private ownership are still allowed to be used on the road apparently.

I had a roll of B&W film in the camera when I came across the car (actually there were two, but this “well loved” model was better placed and more interesting of the two for photographs) so I can’t show the distinctive shade of blue on here, but there will be many other photos around online should you choose to go looking.

FILM - Invacar-3

Nikon F80, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 & Eastman Double-X.

Taken on 17 August 2019

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Car parts

While I can’t honestly say that I have much more than a passing interest in cars – whether they be classic or contemporary – as a photographer I nontheless recognise their appeal. I know when I photograph an interesting car that it’s something that’s going to look pretty cool as a picture. So here are three more car pictures (or fragments of cars, at least) captured on beautiful Eastman Double-X.

FILM - Triumph

FILM - Humber

FILM - Mirrors

Nikon F80, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 & Eastman Double-X.

Taken on 17 August 2019

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Eastman Double-X

I was very lucky last Christmas to receive a generous gift from my Emulsive Secret Santa. Included in the box were a number of rolls of film, a camera strap, and a pin badge. Also in the box was a lovely Kodak Retinette IIa camera along with a very nice letter from my kind benefactor.

The film included two rolls of Eastman Double-X and I was very happy about that. Unfortunately, I think my happiness at receiving it also made me very cautious about shooting it. I felt that I didn’t want to waste the film on everyday snaps and that I should use it at a worthy location or occasion.

I’ve come to realise that this is probably not the best thing to do. I was given some great film and instead of getting out and taking some great pictures I was instead hoarding it away like Gollum with the One Ring. Last weekend I visited the steam and vintage rally at Lincoln and as I was packing my bag, grabbed a couple of rolls of HP5+ – my go-to black and white film – before I realised that I should shoot some of the Double-X. After all, the rally would have a load of vintage vehicles and that a classic black-and-white cinema film might make them look really great, so I grabbed a roll and popped it in the bag.

I shot a couple of rolls of 135 colour film first (I shot a LOT of film on the day – for me at least – 2 rolls of 120 and 3-and-a-half of 135. It has been quite expensive getting it all processed!). Then I dropped in the Eastman Double-X and got to work with that, getting through the whole 24 exposures.

After getting the film processed, the negatives looked vey contrasty and I initially feared that I might get almost two-tone images with blown highlights and crushed blacks, but upon seeing the scans emerge, there was actually plenty of detail across the whole range. They were still very contrasty but, hey, if anyone likes contrasty photos, it’s me! It’s certainly a classy looking film, and the way the the higlights show halos (due to the anti-halation layer being removed from the film I presume) is nice too.

Anyway, I’ve not uploaded all of them to Flickr yet, but here are three from the roll…

FILM - Nice little motor

FILM - High voltage

FILM - Dodge

Nikon F80, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 & Eastman Double-X.

Taken on 17 August 2019