Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

International Harvester

After yesterday’s Chevy photos, I’ll continue a mini-theme of classic American vehicles, this time an International Harvester pick-up truck. Which I think is an L-Series, but which I am again willing to be corrected on. I believe the tow-truck, Mater, in the Cars movies was based in part on an International Harvester.

Like yesterday’s Chevy, this was photographed on my trip to Mablethorpe. While the Chevy is a permanent feature at the garage where I made the photo, this truck was just parked on the verge on a bend in the road not too far from my destination, so I pulled over and took a few quick shots.

International

Zeiss Mess-Ikonta 524/16 & Kodak Portra 400. Grain2Pixel conversion.

Taken on 11 September 2020

35mm · Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Chevy Sedan Delivery

I made a few pictures of this vintage Chevy on the way to Mablethorpe the other week, some with my Canon Sure Shot Z135, and some with my Zeiss-Mess-Ikonta 524/16. I photographed the same car before when I passed by last year, using the Zeiss on that occasion too, but with some Ektar (and in bright sunshine). The conditions this year were more subdued, the same layer of thin, high cloud that would be present most of the day, obscuring the sun so that much of of the light was diffused, removing much of the contrast. Despite this, I still like how both these images turned out.

I think the car is a Chevy Townsman from the early 50s, but I’m happy to be corrected by someone more knowlegeable about such things.

EDIT: I’ve been informed my fellow blogger, Jim Grey, that it’s actually a Chevrolet Sedan Delivery. Thank you Jim.

Chevy
This is the Z135 shot, taken on Kodak Gold 200, scanned on my Plustek 8100 as a linear tiff and then converted with Photoshop and Grain2Pixel.
Chevrolet Townsman
And this is the Zeiss shot, this time taken on Kodak Portra 400, scanned on my Epson V550 as a linear tiff and converted with Photoshop and Grain2Pixel.

Taken on 11 September 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Wellies

On the day I started my street-portraits project, I parked my car on a street close to the city centre. My intent had been to use all twelve frames of the Portra 400 for the photographs of strangers I planned to make. However the first thing I saw was this corner cafe and I made a photo of it before I even came close to asking a person for their picture.

I’m wondering if a “corner shops” project might also be fun to do too. It has benefits of not being as stressful to pursue as asking people for their portraits, plus it has that social history angle of recording structures at a moment in time. I always enjoy looking at photographs of how things used to be and this will be my own small addition to the genre.

Obviously, most photographs I make that have recogniseable locations or contemporary objects in the frame do this to some extent anyway, but most of those are made randomly as a result of my particular eye for subject, not part of a more focussed project.

If I do pursue this, it will be concurrent with the street-portraits project, which I fully intend to complete.

Anyway, here’s the sort of thing I would envisage as part of the project…

Wellies

Yashica Mat 124G & Kodak Portra 400.

Taken on 11 July 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

One hundred people who I don’t know #1-9

This post contains my first set of portraits for my “One-hundred people who I don’t know” project which I first posted about here.

The aim of the project is to make one-hundred portraits, each subject being a person I don’t know, using the same camera and film for consistency of results (and also to allow me to see how I develop and, hopefully, improve through the course of the project).

The camera chosen is my Yashica Mat 124G TLR, and I will be using Kodak Portra 400 film.

My first outing took place last weekend and I was quite nervous about the endeavour. I’m far from an extrovert person and I was concerned as to how people might react when a stranger asked them if he could make their portrait, but the outing resulted in my asking fourteen people, eleven of whom kindly agreed, which I count as a resounding success!

Of the eleven photos, nine of them turned out successfuully enough to form part of the project. Some of these nine are not perfect – the fault of myself for missing focus or firing the shutter at the wrong time to get the picture I’d envisaged – but not so much that I won’t include them. It may be that I set myself stricter technical standards in future, but for now I’m happy with what I achieved.

The two shots that didn’t make the cut were more noticeably out of focus. Again, my fault, not the subjects. My apologies to both!

So, in chronological order, here we go…

#1 – This was the second person I asked on the day but the first to say yes. I like the backdrop of the photo as it does a good job of isolating the person in the frame. I wish I’d gotten his face-mask a little more in frame – a little detail that places the picture in time.

One-hundred people who I don't know #1

#2 – The third person I asked and the second to agree to take part. She was friendly when asked, replying “Well, you don’t know me!” when I explained my aim of photographing one-hundred strangers. She left her mask in place, which I don’t mind at all. As per my comment on the photo above, it’s a good marker of the times we’re currently going through.

One-hundred people who I don't know #2

#3 – This guy was the sixth person asked, although the fifth person I’d photographed as the previous shot was one of those that didn’t quite work out. Spotting the guy’s cameras, I thought that he might be more inclined to let me photograph him, and I was right. He chatted a little about my camera as he has one the same. He also gave me his business card and I’d intended to send him a copy of his photo but I managed to lose the card somewhere. If you’re reading this, my apologies!

One-hundred people who I don't know #3

#4 – The seventh person asked (and the first in an unbroken run of six people who all agreed to participate – everyone else I asked on the day in fact). I felt a little guilty as he was listening to music on a pair of ear-buds that I didn’t notice until he removed one when I asked if I could take his picture.

One-hundred people who I don't know #4

#5 – The first of two street musicians whose portraits I made. I did wonder if these should count for the project – although they were both asked if I could make a picture, and they’re both people I don’t know, the fact that they’re probably photographed by lots of people amde me wonder if this was a bit of a cheat on my part. But, hey, it’s my project so street performers are in (as long as I ask their permission to make a portrait).

One-hundred people who I don't know #5

#6 – This chap was stood outside the entrance to a department store and, while I didn’t ask, I wondered if he might have been waiting for his partner to emerge. He allowed me to make the photograh, but presented me with a profile view. I like this shot a lot – it’s one of the few that show a nice fall-off in depth of field, and it also has the sharpest focus on the subject of all the images I made. I like the profile view too.

One-hundred people who I don't know #6

#7 – I spotted this woman carrying the potted plant and instantly thought that she would make for a nice portrait. The plant would provide an added bit of story to the photograph. I wasn’t, however, willing to ask her to stand still with the heavy-looking plant while I made the picture, and thought I would have to miss the opportunity. So I was quite pleased when she stopped to have a breather by perching the plant atop a roadside bollard as it gave me a chance to ask if she’d take part. I wish I’d made the photo when she was looking towards me, but I’m still very happy with the result. She was the only person on the day who asked if I would be publishing the photos anywhere, so I gave her the address of the blog. If you’re reading this, thank you once more. I really appreciate your letting me make the picture.

One-hundred people who I don't know #7

#8 – Another person who I suspect might have been waiting for his other-half to emerge from a nearby shop. I quite like the central positioning on this one. Because of social-distancing rules, it was difficult to get head-and-shoulders type shots using the Yashica Mat’s fixed 80mm lens, and I’ve ended up with a variety of different stlyes. These compositional choices are things that I hope I will become more proficient with over time.

One-hundred people who I don't know #8

#9 – Another favourite from the set, and the second street musician portrait. I like the sense of action in the picture, as well as the framing of the man and his reflection in the door panels behind him. It’s not completely in focus on his face if you zoom right in, but not so much as to be detrimental to the photograph.

One-hundred people who I don't know #9

The two shots where I missed the mark were of a girl running an ice-cream van. She had a beaming smils and I’m disappointed the photo was a little out of focus. The second was the last person I photographed on the day, another photographer who was walking the length of the city-centre with his camera – a Nikon F5 I think.

All things considered, I think I did ok on this initial outing. I have a lot to learn, but at least I now know that many people are happy to let a stranger make their portrait, which was perhaps the biggest hurdle for me to overcome.

More to come as the project continues!

Yashica Mat 124G & Kodak Portra 400.

Taken on 11 July 2020

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

Mablethorpe Rock

A couple of shots of Mablethorpe Rock, a shop that has been there as long as I can remember (or perhaps mis-remember).

Rock is one of those great British seaside traditions that is still going strong today –  although, personally, I don’t really like the stuff – it’s overly sweet, sticky, and feels like it will rot the teeth right out of my head as soon as I touch it.

For those not in the know, rock is basically sticks of boiled sugar. It traditionally has the name of the resort you buy it from cleverly running through the length of the stick – something that is done by adding pieces of different coloured sugar to form the individual letters during the manufacturing process while the substance is still soft and malleable – as can be seen in this film from 1957. As well as sticks, you will also find it shaped into all manner of other things – a cooked English breakfast formed out of pure sugar and served on a paper plate is another firm favourite.

Rock comes in a variety of flavours, but plain sugary-sweet, and peppermint are probably the best sellers. The fruit flavoured ones are best in my opinion (if forced to choose), but you can now find all manner of exotic varieties, including such culinary horrors as Tikka Masala flavour!

My favourite part about receiving a stick of rock – it was a traditional gift brought back when someone had been on holiday – was the little black and white photo of the resort that would be inside the clear plastic wrapper. Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, these photos are now in colour.

As you can see from the bottom picture, the shop also sells ice cream, so I had one of those instead.

FILM - Mablethorpe Rock

FILM - In a seaside town

Olympus 35 RC & Kodak Portra 400.

Taken on 13 September 2019

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Oddly appealing

Sometimes I make photographs that I like for obvious reasons. Maybe it’s the composition, the light, the subject, place or whatever. Sometimes though, I make a photograph that I like for reasons that I can’t quite put my finger on. Obviously there must have been something about the scene that caused me to take the image in the first place – these aren’t just random, shot from the hip accidents.

Todays photo is one such picture. I like it a lot but can’t put my finger on the precise reason(s) why. I guess it could be the way the scene is lit – there are plenty of shadows in the scene, but they’ve been lent a subtlety by the white painted gable-end of the house acting as a giant reflector and this has created some nice lighting. Maybe it’s the colours – it’s got a bit of that blue and orange thing going on, which is nice. The composition is ok – the tree in the background is nicely placed and the green pops in the scene. Or maybe it’s just little details – the satellite dish, the plants in the window, the garden shed with the barely-visible bins in front of it, or the flag.

Or maybe it’s just a combination of all these things that appeal specifically to me and my brain just said “Yep! That’s a nice photo!” and so I clicked the shutter.

It’s one of those images that I suspect many others won’t really take to, but it fires some circuits in me, and I’m even wondering what it would look like as a print.

FILM - White gable

Olympus 35 RC & Kodak Portra 400.

Taken on 13 September 2019

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Painting (a part of) the town red

It was mid-morning when I took this photograph and the fish and chip shop had not yet opened for business (although there was a man off shot to the right who appeared to be making preparations to do so). Prior to opening some maintenance was taking place, giving rise to the gloriously saturated red doors in the image. These reds, along with the morning light (and subsequent shadows) and the lone painter busy at work, are what attacted me to make the photograph.

FILM - Painting the town red

Olympus 35 RC & Kodak Portra 400.

Taken on 13 September 2019

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Chalets

These chalets sit along the promenade, just south of Mablethorpe town centre and behind Queen’s Park – which is where I stood to take this photo. It’s almost the same spot where I made the photo of the crazy golf course that I posted about a few days back, which is behind where I was stood when I took this shot.

I’ve got an older, digital photo of these chalets on my Flickr stream too – that one shot on my Nikon D3200 and 18-55mm kit lens back in September 2015.

I shot this whole roll of Portra 400 at 200asa and really like the way it’s handled the tones, with lovely cornflower blue skies while still keeping a good deal of pop in the primary colours.

FILM - One side water. One side park

Olympus 35 RC & Kodak Portra 400.

Taken on 13 September 2019