35mm · Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Day 365 – Twelve favourite photos from 2019

My initial plan for today’s post was to publish 12 photos that were taken this year but which haven’t featured in the blog, but on second thoughts I’ve decided to take the more traditional route. There might still be some that never appeared here before though – I tend to upload more stuff to Flickr than gets featured here – so aren’t you the lucky ones. 🙂

Today also marks the 365th consecutive blog post of the year – a target I attempted once before but which fell through when other events in my life took precedence. Not every blog was written on the day it was posted – in situations where I’ve been away from home I’ve pre-written blogs and then scheduled them to automatically publish (or made them live from my phone). Because of the way I link my photos from Flickr, I’ve found it’s a complete PITA to try and write and publish from mobile devices.

Anyway… Before I get on to the pictures, I just want to take the time to thank all who’ve viewed, interacted or commented on my blog over the year and to wish everyone a happy new year.

So, the photos…

January – This tree sits on the moors just south of Sheffield and is just a few metres from the roadside. It’s distictive shape made for an easy composition. Sadly the tree has now suffered damage – the last time I passed all that remained was the trunk as the upper branches have been broken off. 😦

FILM - In a lonely place (35mm)

Nikon F80, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 AF & Fomapan 400. Taken on 20 January 2019

February – Eyes in the back of his head? One of the tenets of street photography is to be prepared and ready to catch that decisive moment when it occurs. Sadly, this is rarely the case for me and I’ve missed loads of potentially nice shots due to fumbling with the camera. This was one of the times I didn’t.

FILM - He's got eyes in the back of his head

Olympus 35 RC & JCH Streetpan 400. Taken on 15 February 2019

March – Portraiture is not something I have much of an interest in, particularly studio portraits (although I do enjoy looking at environmental portraits), so when an opportunity arose to photograph some models at the local camera club I wasn’t sure whether I’d enjoy it or not. While I can’t say it ignited any desire to take more portraits, I was very pleased with my results, one of which is below. It isn’t prefect (the creased backdrop lets it down a little), but the way the Sigma 105mm lens and the Kodak P3200 rendered the images is lovely.

FILM - WPS Model Session-2

Nikon F80, Sigma 105mm f/2.8 OS HSM & Kodak Tmax P3200. Taken on 19 March 2019

April – A gate on a public footpath through Edale in the northern Peak District National Park. I think this photo has a certain charm to it, there’s a sense of mystery as to where the path leads and what might be beyond the gate. This is from the penultimate roll of film through my Yashica Mat 124G last year. I shall have to rectify this situation and shoot with the camera again post haste!

FILM - A path near Edale

Yashica Mat 124 G & Fomapan 100. Taken on 20 April 2019

May – During May I visited New York with my family. It’s the second time I’ve visited (and I’d love to return – although I think my wife would prefer somewhere else in the US if we get across the Atlantic again) – I could have spent all day, every day just walking the streets taking photos. It was a family trip though, so I grabbed whatever I could. This is just a view down 7th Avenue after a rain shower, but it screams New York to me.

FILM - 7th Avenue

Canon Sure Shot Z135 & Ilford HP5+. Taken on 28 May 2019

June – A box of pre-owned pool balls on a stall at the Sheffield Steam Rally. I think I might have said at the time that colour would have been a more obvious choice here, but I love the contrast given by the HP5+.

FILM - Balls

Nikon F80, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 D & Ilford HP5+. Taken on 30 June 2019

July – The beach at Scarborough. My wife and I took a trip to the seaside and I shot a roll-and-a-half of film during the day. This is just a snap of the beach, the people enjoying themselves there, and some yachts in the sea beyond, but it has a nice “Martin Parr” feel to it that I like. It was also an opportunity to test the little Pentax Espio compact that I’d bought for £1 a fortnight before.

FILM - On the beach

Pentax Espio 140M & Fuji Superia 100 (expired 2008). Taken on 13 July 2019

August – Taken at the Lincoln Steam Rally – the first time I’d attended this event, but it was huge and I hope to go again in 2020. I shot four rolls of film on the day, but this Ektar shot of a vintage truck is a favourite. The almost 70-year-old Zeiss Mess-Ikonta continues to impress with it’s superbly sharp lens.

FILM - ERF

Zeiss Mess-Ikonta 524/16 & Kodak Ektar. Taken on 17 August 2019

September – A day trip to my childhood seaside haunt: Mablethorpe. It’s a place I’m always drawn back to, even though I’m always slightly disappointed that it hasn’t remained frozen in time as I remember it from when I was a child. Another day where several rolls of film were shot (including three botched rolls through my Holga because I had it set to bulb mode!). I’ve many photos from the day that I like, but this is the one that always springs to mind when I think back.

FILM - Water dragon

Olympus 35 RC & Kodak Portra 400. Taken on 13 September 2019

October – I took a trip to Doncaster racecourse with my dad, and this is one of the photos from the day. The weather was awful, with heavy rain all day, but oftentimes bad weather makes for good photos.

FILM - A day at the races

Olympus OM-1, Zuiko 75-150mm f/4 & Ilford HP5+. Taken on 25 October 2019

November – This shot is potentially my favourite of the whole year. The simple but beautiful charms of the Holga coupled with a wonderfully foggy day made for some amazing photographic opportunities.

FILM - The path untaken

Holga 120N & Kodak Tmax 400. Taken on 30 November 2019

December – December is a little difficult as, as I type this, I have three rolls of film waiting to be processed still and there might be a showstopper on there (or possibly not), but this image that I took just before Christmas on a lunchtime walk is definitely worthy of the spot. It’s another Holga 120N image, but cropped to a 4×3 ratio (the bottom of the frame has a river in it, but it didn’t add a lot to the overall image and the landscape crop works much better. The way the Holga renders out-of-focus details is wonderful, and almost impressionistic in style.

FILM - Breaking through

Holga 120N & Kodak Tmax 400. Taken on 18 December 2019

So there you have it. Twelve favourite shots from 2019. As with any list like this it’s subjective, and if I were to do it again tomorrow several of the selections might change, but for now it will do.

One final word – I’ll proof read it later, so apologies in advance for any typos or grammatical goofs. 🙂

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Via Marina Grande

This is a photo I took in Sorrento, Italy back in August 2018. The image was on a roll of Ektar that had been left in my OM-1 and forgotten about. For various reasons I didn’t use the OM-1 for several months after the trip to Italy and I ony realised the film was still inside when I opened the camera back!

While a few frames were lost or suffered light leaks, most of the images were ok, including this one – a shot of Via Marina Grande, a narrow street that descends to the old marina.

FILM - The way to the old harbour

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

Taken on 24 August 2018

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Golden balloon

Back in August I visited Renishaw Hall, a local stately home. The main reason for my visit was to take some photographs in the Italianate gardens for a photo comp I’m involved with. My photo did pretty badly, as it turned out, so from that point of view the visit (and £8 entrance fee) was a bit of a waste of time, but I still enjoyed the day and it might be nice to visit again when the autumn colours are in better evidence.

Anyway, I took some other photos during the visit, including shooting half a roll of Ektar. For some reason, several of the Ektar shots are very contrasty with little shadow detail – looking almost like underexposed slide film – but some came out ok, including this one.

FILM - Golden chairs Golden balloon

Zeiss Mess-Ikonta 524/16 & Kodak Ektar.

Taken on 26 August 2019

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

American classic

The route I took on my day trip to Mablethorpe the other week takes me through South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, and then Lincolnshire. I take the same route (as much as is possible) that my granddad used to drive when he and my grandma took us all to their caravan as children. It’s a bit of a ritual and I’d feel like I’d somehow betrayed the memories if I took any short-cuts. A couple of the towns the journey passes now have bypasses (Worksop and Louth), but I still stick to the original “proper” route, even though it adds time. Doing otherwise would remove a bit of the nostalgia that the trip always generates (plus, while the roads through Worksop are not especially scenic, the town of Louth in Lincolnshire is lovely and taking the bypass would be a downright shame).

Another village along the way is Glentham. It looks a nice enough place, although I’ve never ventured of the main road that cuts through it. At the eastern edge of the village is a garage that I’ve noticed before but never stopped to photograph. There is an interesting set of vintage petrol pumps in the window. On this occasion, there was also a lovely bit of Americana in the shape of a vintage Chevy station wagon / truck . I’d love to tell you precisely what the model is but, alas, I didn’t take the details. Some Googling points towards it being a Styleline though. Happy to be corrected on this!

The morning sunlight on the car, garage, and the pumps was lovely, so I took a u-turn the first chance I got and turned around to get the picture.

It feels somehow fitting to photograph the car with a 1950s camera.

FILM - American classic

Zeiss Mess-Ikonta 524/16 & Kodak Ektar.

Taken on 13 September 2019

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

ERF

For a 65 year old camera (or for any age camera for that matter), my pocketable Zeiss Mess-Ikonta is a great little medium-format machine. It produces lovely sharp photographs. The uncoupled rangefinder serves to slow you down a little – spur of the moment shooting is not the forte of this camera (unless you’re shooting in steady light and at a set focal distance / aperture that removes the need to change settings) – but I really don’t care when it allows me to make pictures like this.

FILM - ERF

Zeiss Mess-Ikonta 524/16 & Kodak Ektar.

Taken on 17 August 2019

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Flower display

I got my OM-1 off the shelf the other week thinking that I haven’t used it for a while (since my holiday in Sorrento last summer, in fact) so I fired off a couple of shots just playing around and noticed that the mirror was staying up when the shutter was fired. I decided to investigate and discovered a partially used roll of Ektar still in the camera! Shutting the back as fast as possible, I quickly realised that this was the roll that I thought had gone missing at some point, clearly having forgotten that I’d loaded it on holiday and taken a few shots.

I decided that, given that the holiday shots were probably ruined, I might as well finish off the roll and see if I could resolve the shutter / mirror business. The same problem kept occuring intermittently, so I was sure that I was losing multiple frames – I’d have to wind on twice before the shutter would cock again – and expected them all to be blank.

What I actually ended up with was several frames that are badly out of focus where the camera had mis-fired in some fashion. All the other frames were ok, and even the holiday snaps hadn’t suffered much in the way of light-leak damage from the opened back (although most of them are nothing to write home about anyway). After removing the roll of film, I test fired the camera at multiple speeds, but couldn’t get it to re-occur. Loading a test film caused it to happen once or twice, but nothing like as much as before.

So I now have a roll of expired film in the camera to test it out properly. So far, fingers crossed, it’s been fine (12 shots in). Maybe the camera was sulking due to my inattention? 🙂

Here’s one of the shots from the roll of last year’s Ektar.

FILM - Trough display

Olympus OM-1, F.Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 & Kodak Ektar.

Taken 3 August 2019

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Just do it

You can’t fail to be struck by the advertising hoardings in Times Square, whether it be the high-tech animated electronic boards, or the more traditional versions like in today’s photo.

I’m a little disappointed with the roll of Ektar I shot in NYC – not due to the film itself (the colours are glorious), but because of my results. Apart from a couple, all the shots (including the one here) show at least some minor signs of softness. I know the camera is capable of sharp images, so this is down to camera shake or DOF blurring when using wider apertures. Although it wasn’t badly lit on the day I shot the roll, the light meter app on my phone was giving somewhat long exposure times when I metered the shots, so I was shooting with longer shutter speeds and / or wider apertures than I’d have liked. As this was a family trip, not a photography expedition, I was also taking less time than I would have liked to compose and take many shots, which probably exacerbated things too.

I wish I’d have taken my Sekonic L-208 meter with me instead of relying on the phone app. The phone app is normally ok, but on this occasion seemed to be giving me somewhat variable results even when readings were taken in similar conditions. I think the L-208 would have been a more reliable companion.

FILM - Just do it

Zeiss Mess-Ikonta 524/16 & Kodak Ektar.

Taken on 27 May 2019

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Chubby’s

This takeaway restaurant has been a feature in Sheffield city centre for a few decades now, and it made for a nice subject for a nighttime shot. I like the glowing colours of the lights and the way they illuminate the street outside. I think it might have been improved had someone been sitting at the window seats, but I still like it empty nontheless – it adds a sense of mystery I suppose.

FILM - Chubbys

Yashica Mat 124 G & Kodak Ektar.

Taken on 25 April 2019

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

All Saints Chapel, Steetley

I came upon this small chapel by accident. I’d seen a cluster of farmhouses on the map that I though might make a good photo (they didn’t, as they were behind high hedges), and this 11th century church was across the road. I wasn’t able to look inside as it was locked up, but it made for a nice photograph.

Unfortunately, as with several other shots on this roll, I’d incorrectly exposed the film due to not having the lumisphere in pace on my light meter. I though I was taking an incident reading but was actually spot metering the sky. Doh!

While I’d have preferred correctly exposed shots, I don’t think this has turned out too badly after some tinkering in Lightroom. It has a bit of a faded vintage feel to it.

FILM - All Saints Chapel

Yashica Mat 124 G & Kodak Ektar.

Taken on 22 April 2019