Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Missing the warmth – shooting orthochromatic

I bought a roll of Ilford Ortho Plus film, oh, well over a year ago and it’s been sat in the fridge ever since. Until about four weeks ago that is, when I loaded it for an abortive trip where I forgot a vital piece of equipment. So, after we’d had all thge renovations and decorating done, I managed to get a day to go out and make some photographs. As is my luck, the weather was mostly less than ideal on the day – the dreary slab of overcast that tends to sap my enthusiasm. But it was a chance to go out, so I took it.

I decided to head out to Clumber Park, a National Trust property about 15 miles away, near the town of Worksop. It’s a place I’ve been many times, and somewhere I like to go to see some autumn colour. Alas though, I think I pretty much missed the best of the colour this year – or at least the days that would have highlighted it at it’s best. I packed the Yashicamat along with a somewhat ambitious five rolls of film (including the already loaded Ortho Plus). Unlike the previous time I’d taken out the Yashicamat with this roll of film loaded, this time I took my tripod!

Folly across the water

I wandered around the park for a few hours, eventually shooting the full roll of Ortho Plus and also a roll of HP5+ before heading home. I developed Ortho Plus the following day (the HP5+ roll is still sat waiting for me to get around to it) and noticed some very dense looking negatives. I’m not sure if this is normal or, perhaps more likely, due to the fact that my Massive Dev Chart app managed to reset part way through the development meaning I had to quickly try and get back on track on the fly. While I think I was still pretty close with the timings, I was probably at least 10-15 seconds out. Maybe this impacted the process.

I scanned the roll and was pretty disappointed with the results. Not only were the results dark and drab looking, there also seemed to be quite a lot of veil flare on a number of the frames. This might be because, despite remembering the tripod, I still forgot the lens hood for the camera. I’ve noticed similar flaring from the Yashicamat on other occasions, although it’s not consistent and I often get full rolls where it doesn’t appear at all (whether the lens hood is attached or not).

Someplace to sit

The other reason for my disappointment probably stems from my ignorance of using orthochromatic film. I think I got it muddled up and thought the trees in the shots would look quite lively. In actual fact, the film doesn’t register reds and other warm tones, reducing them to dark grays and blacks instead. This meant that, while the autumn colour wasn’t at its best, there was still enough of it present to make my photos look pretty sombre.

All-in-all it wasn’t what I’d hoped for but, as I say, it’s my ignorance at fault here. I’ll maybe try a roll of the film again at some point, I just don’t think I’ll be in a hurry to do so.


Yashica Mat 124G & Ilford Ortho Plus 80 . Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 10.5 mins @ 20°.

Taken on 6 November 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Maybe not as magical as I’d have liked…

I thought I’d take the time today to post the picture I’ve entered for the “magical” theme in the photo contest I’m taking part in. It fits the theme, certainly, although in a rather literal way, but it’s probably not the picture I’d have hoped to get under different circumstances. As I said yesterday, I was up against the ticking clock with the deadline for entries on the 30 November. As I’ve not been in any sort of mood for doing any photography over the past two weeks, it was very much a last minute dash to get something in before closing.

I had though about going inside the shop and perhaps picking up some props to photograph at home as a still-life or something, but they were closed yesterday (it’s normally opened on Saturdays I believe, but there was a sign on the door apologising because they were having some new flooring fitted). So my only option was a shot of the shop from the outside. The weather was very gloomy due to the snowy and stormy conditions we’ve been having, so the light wasn’t great, but on the plus side, the billboard on the side of the shop fitted the theme perfectly too, so that little bit of synchronicity was welcomed.

All-in-all I could have done better in different circumstances, but it is what it is and certainly better than dropping out of the contest. I still want to win it for Stan! 🙂

Magick. Just magic

Yashica Mat 124G & Ilford HP5+ (@800asa). Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 10mins @ 20°.

Taken on 27 November 2021


Finding some magic?

As I mentioned the other day, I needed to get a photograph that met the “magical” theme for the film photography contest that I’ve been taking part in this year. So today, I went out and made a few pictures that I hope will allow me to enter something suitable. They’re a pretty literal take on the theme, but I’ve not had the time or (mostly) the inclination over the past couple of weeks to do anything else. Anyway, I hopefully have three photos to choose from – I’ll try and get them developed tomorrow in order to meet the deadline on Tuesday.

The weather has so far been pretty awful this weekend. The UK is being battered by storm Arwen, which has brought strong winds, cold temperatures, and lots of rain and snow. Some parts of the country have been reporting gusts of up to 100mph and, sadly, there have been some deaths as a result of the conditions. We woke this morning to lower winds than we had overnight, but with a coating of slushy snow. Had it not been for my need to get a photo for the competition I’d have been very likely to have stayed tucked up in the house where it is nice and warm.

At the last minute I decided that I’d wear my hiking boots while out. My wife and son were heading into town, so I got a lift from them and was dropped off at the location for my picture-taking. As soon as I left the car my feet were submerged in inches of cold, waterlogged slush. Had I worn my trainers then my feet would have been soaked and frozen within a matter of minutes I think, so I was grateful for my boots. This was my first trip out with a camera since we lost Stan a couple of weeks ago and, if I’m honest, my mind wasn’t fully on the task. Nontheless, I still shot 11 of the 12 frames of medium format film in the camera, and will use the final frame tomorrow – possibly a portrait of my dad if the weather isn’t too bad and he visits in the morning. If my dad doesn’t visit, then I might photogrph my backup prop for the photo contest instead – a £2.99 Harry Potter eraser that I bought from Blackwell’s bookshop. I think most of the photos on the roll will be quite mundane, although one is of a big flock of pigeons perched atop tram power cables which I’m quite interested to see.

My son (who came into town with us) was supposed to have had his second Covid vaccination this morning but we received a message saying the appointment had been cancelled – presumably due to the bad weather – so we’ve had to re-book that for a couple of weeks time.

Another photo of Stan to close off the blog. This was his idea of helping me get on with work by trying to fall asleep in my arms. Love him.

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Knife Angel

This somewhat unnerving sculpture is the Knife Angel. It’s officially known as the National Monument Against Violence and Aggression. Apart from its head and hands, its body and wings are formed from thousands of knives that have been handed in as part of weapon amnesty programmes.

Towering above
An angel formed out of knives
Sending a message

Behold the Knife Angel

Olympus XA3 & Ilford HP5+ (@800asa). Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 10mins @ 20°

Taken on 25 October 2021

Photography · Film photography · 35mm

Up to Chesterfield town hall

The frontage of Chesterfield town hall is attractive and makes for a good photographic subject. While Sheffield town hall is a very nice building, the fact it is surrounded on three sides by roads and buildings means that finding a good vantage-point to see it at its best is more difficult. Chesterfield on the other hand has a large expanse of park in front of the building, with a path lading up to the main entrance of the building. There’s a road with a lot of car parking spaces directly in front, but these are obscured by the rise of the hill and the stone steps at the top.

I’ve posted photographs of the building before, here.

With ornate columns
Shining bright in the sunshine
A sight to behold

Chesterfield town hall

Olympus XA3 & Ilford HP5+ (@800asa). Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 10mins @ 20°

Taken on 25 October 2021

35mm · Film photography · Photography


It’s not that often that I cee circuses, so when I drove past this one in a field beside the road I took the first opportunity I could to turn the car around and go back and grab a couple of pictures.

Above the hedges
Looms the shape of a big-top
Circus is in town


Olympus XA3 & Ilford HP5+ (@800asa). Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 10mins @ 20°

Taken on 22 October 2021

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Bolsover castle

This viewpoint of Bolsover castle is always striking to behold, I think, and there was clearly good reason to place the castle in this location given it’s commanding position above the valley below. The castle dates to the 12th century and was built by Henry II and further extended in the 15th and 16th centuries.

M1 motorway
Runs like a river below
Bolsover castle

Bolsover castle

Olympus XA3 & Ilford HP5+ (@800asa). Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 10mins @ 20°

Taken on 22 October 2021