In Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter there was a shop with a large display of scissors in its window. I particularly liked this chicken-shaped pair to be used for snipping the top off a boiled egg.

FILM - Scissors

Olympus OM-10, Cimko 28mm f/2.8 & Ilford HP5+.

Taken on 17 June 2019


Disposable fun

A forum I frequent has been running a disposable camera challenge where each participant can enter up to three photos taken with a single-use camera. I didn’t have a disposable laying around, so I bought myself an Ilford XP2 model especially to take part ( I had planned on getting the HP5+ variant, but the shop didn’t have them).

I’ve used it on three occasions – in Sheffield on the day I bought it; in London when visiting for a work meeting; and in Sheffield again this weekend just passed.

The camera itself is (or was – it’s been destroyed presumably when the film was developed) a very lightweight piece of kit with a snazzy red and white striped design. It feels like it would smash into a million pieces if dropped on a hard surface. Feature-wise, it has a viewfinder, lens (30mm f/9), flash activation button, shutter button, and a film-advance wheel. And that’s your lot.

In operation there’s not much to do other than frame the shot through the basic optical viewfinder, click the shutter, and wind on to the next frame. The frame counter is reversed so you can see how many shots remain. The flash is advisable for dim conditions – I took several frames in what appeared to be decent light in St. Pancras railway station and they’re all pretty much useless.

In terms of the results produced, they’re pretty much as you’d expect from a disposable camera with a plastic lens – soft at the edges, but with acceptable sharpness in the centre of the images. Of the 28 frames I eked out of the roll I probably have half-a-dozen that I like, several more that are ok, but nothing to write home about, and the rest are underexposed or just badly composed – I think I had a bit of a tendency to ‘snap’ images with this camera rather than taking my time to find better pictures with it. That said, I’m really happy with the first two of the five shots I’ve posted here today, and the others aren’t bad either.

I can’t honestly say I’ll bother with a disposable camera again – even if the competition is run anew in future – especially given the other good cameras I have, but it was a good experience nonetheless.

So, here are five of the photos I took with the camera.

This one is my fave of the bunch. It’s not a sharp as it might have been had I used a different camera / lens, but I’m really happy with the result. This was taken at the Barbican Centre in London

FILM - There's no such word as Barbican't

Another one I really like. It’s mostly negative space, but I think it works well. This is Blast Lane near Sheffield city centre.

FILM - Blast Lane subframe

This golden taxi sits atop the cab firm’s offices on Abbeydale Road in Sheffield.

FILM - Taxi

The lens on the camera had a tendency to flare in certain conditions, here rendering the figure with a ghost-like haze.

FILM - Barbican ghost

And finally, another shot from Blast Lane where a dmaged bicycle lay (I presume) abandoned next to the tunnel.

FILM - Buckled

Anyone else gone the lo-fi disposable route?

Ilford XP2 single use camera.

Taken in April and June 2019


A stallkeeper prepares produce on this stall in Mercado de la Boqueria in Barcelona.

I guess, following on from my picture a few days ago, that this is another shot that might have benefited from being in colour, but the black and white still works well because of the contrast, I feel. Plus I do have some other shots of similar stalls taken on Protra 400, but I’m waiting for those to be processed.

From looking at this photograph it would be easy to assume that the market had only just opened, or was not very busy, but it is in fact a very rare moment when there weren’t dozens of shoppers and tourists milling around in front of my lens (and I cropped it a bit too!).

FILM - Meat

Olympus OM-10, Cimko 28mm f/2.8 & Ilford HP5+.

Taken on 17 June 2019

Somewhere in Barcelona

I’m not sure of the precise location of this shot – it was taken as my wife and I wandered the narrow streets off Barcelona’s “La Rambla”, and was probably in the Gothic Quarter somewhere. It’s a shot that made me glad of the 28mm lens I had attached to the camera.

FILM - Somewhere in Barcelona

Olympus OM-10, Cimko 28mm f/2.8 & Ilford HP5+.

Taken on 17 June 2019

Colour in black and white

Here’s a photo of a couple of chilled fruit drinks that my wife and I enjoyed in a cafe / bar on the first day of our short break in Barcelona. The drinks were extremely pleasant on a hot day, and consisted of a fruit cocktail enlivened with ice-cubes and frozen fruit. It made for a colourful display.

My first choice was to take a shot on the Portra 400 that was in my Z135 as this would have picked up the colours in the liquid and, especially, the reds, purples and oranges of the berries and mango pieces. However, try as I might, I just couldn’t get a composition I was happy with using the camera – although it has a macro mode, it didn’t frame the scene well, and shooting wider at the camera’s minimum focus range led to far too much of the surroundings getting into the shot.

So, I took the shot with the OM-10 and 28mm lens I had attached (in the interests of travelling light and not annoying myself with the urge to switch lenses all the time, the 28mm was all I took for the SLR, and it turned out to be a pretty good choice of focal length for the streets of Barcelona). The 28mm lens in question is a Cimko model that allows close macro focussing, so I was able to get in nice and tight even with the wide-angle of view, and the f/2.8 maximum aperture meant I could get enough light in the slightly shaded position we were in. The only real issue with using the OM-10 was the fact that I’d loaded it with HP5+, so I had to forego the lovely colours on show and hope for the sense of cold refreshing beverages to still shine through in B&W.

I love black and white film, but colour film does have the advantage of being easily convertible to monochrome if required, whereas (short of fancy techniques to combine three images shot using red, green and blue filters) black and white film is pretty much what-you-see-is-what-you-get.

I’m not sure if it’s a better shot in B&W, but it still works pretty well, and was “interesting” enough to get into Flickr Explore yesterday. I’m happy with it though and, given I take photos for myself, that’s what matters I suppose. 🙂

Anyone else had a similar conundrum with colourful scenes and black and white film?

FILM - Chilled

Olympus OM-10, Cimko 28mm f/2.8 & Ilford HP5+.

Taken on 16 June 2019

Chequerboard face

A chequerboard-faced figure looms from a shop doorway.

I couldn’t help but think of the scene in T2: Judgement Day where the T-1000 terminator, having disguised itself as some chequered linoleum, rises up and kills the security guard as he purchases his coffee from a vending machine in the secure hospital where Sarah Connor is being held…

FILM - Chequerboard face

Olympus OM-10, Cimko 28mm f/2.8 & Ilford HP5+.

Taken on 16 June 2019

Stars & Stripes

At the eastern end of the Occulus transport hub / shopping mall atrium at the World Trade Center hangs this large US flag. At first I wondered if it was back to front, but on looking it up I learned that this is the correct way for it to be hung in a vertical orientation. My knowledge of the world has expanded a little.

I took many photos in the Occulus, both on film and digital, and it’s a very photogenic place. It is also surprisingly difficult to get pleasing photos of people in the atrium as it’s tricky to get the composition and placement of individuals just how you want them before someone walks in or out of the frame, breaking the harmony of the shot.

FILM - Stars and Stripes

Canon Sure Shot Z135  & Kodak Portra 400.

Taken on 26 May 2019