Christmas gift ideas for the film photographer in your life

Christmas. It looms upon us, with the inevitability of a massive wet kiss from a distant relative. Like a Christmas Pudding set on fire by someone too drunk to be left in charge of a lighter, it fills many of us with dread.

But friends, it needn’t be that way. At least not if you are a film photography devotee, or you know one. I’ve put together a list of things I’d really like to receive, and I’m sure loads of fellow filmies would too. Enjoy!

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New gallery page!

Just a quick update – I’ve recently tweaked my blog settings to (hopefully) make it run a bit faster. Self-hosted WordPress can be a bit of a pig to configure properly – much like Windows, it’ll run on anything, but not necessarily well. After following a few guides, I’ve changed a few caching settings and it all seems to be holding up well.

I’ve also added a new Gallery page – after hearing about the imminent demise of free Flickr, I’ve decided to bring my albums and galleries onto my own hosting, using a combination of Google Photos and the Photonic plugin.

Let me know what you think, and bear with me while I fix any old broken image links!

This week’s photographic failures

It’s been an interesting time for analogue photography recently. There has been success, with Ektachrome being re-released by Kodak and finally hitting shelves over here in the UK. The Chroma 4×5 camera has been reaching its backers (including me, yay!) after a successful Kickstarter campaign, to universal glee. New film stocks are emerging all the time, from small boutique brands. It can seem like film photography is getting into its stride again… and then, there came the Yashica Y35.

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Updates and a new arrival (no, not that kind)

Hello photography pals! Apologies for the blog silence for the past few weeks (er, months…). Life has dealt me a few rough hands recently (deaths, upheaval due to moving house twice in 6 months, illness, the list goes on). All this has meant I’ve not had the time or inclination to take many photos, and when I did, they got lost in the post when I sent them off (I’m still angry at myself for that one – always use sturdy envelopes!). However, I seem to be coming out the other side of it all now, and wanted to share a few updates!

I’ve just had my first article published on Casual Photophile, which you can read here, and I’m really excited to be working with them more often in future! Having an incentive to keep writing is helping too – I’m already thinking up new topics to explore. My articles on Casual Photophile will be based around alternative processes, odd film stocks, and DIY or unusual cameras.

I’m also due to receive my long-awaited Chroma camera very soon! Steve has sent me some teaser photos, and I really can’t wait to have it in my hands next week! I’ll be experimenting with the pinhole lens for a while, as I don’t have any large format lenses, but I’m really excited to start the learning curve of large format. Watch this space!

Six-month Solargraph

A Solargraph is a looooong exposure image, taken using a pinhole camera that’s been left somewhere for upwards of a month at least. Using photographic paper instead of film to effectively burn the path of the sun into the paper, it traces the arc of the light as it passes through the sky. With an exposure time of 6 months, you can see how the sun’s path changes over the months, hopefully capturing some scenery in the background too.

I’ve been lucky enough to live near Pensford Viaduct in Somerset for the past couple of years, and thought it’d make the ideal backdrop (well, foreground, technically) for a solargraph.

Solargraph Oct 17 - June 18-1-2

This is my 6-month exposure, set up in October 2017, and taken down in April 2018. You can see the viaduct in the background (smaller than I imagined!) and our garden fence in the foreground. There has been some darkening and bubbling (water damage maybe?) in the middle of the image, but other than that I think it’s fared very well!

To make my solargraph, I used an empty Illy coffee tin (one of the small 125g ones), and punched a tiny hole in one side, about halfway up, with a nail and some sandpaper. In a dark bag, I slipped in a small sheet of photographic paper (around 10cm x 14cm, emulsion side in of course) and taped the lid on with black gaffer tape. I was careful to make sure the edges of the paper didn’t overlap the pinhole. After the applicatin for some more tape, I affixed my camera to the drainpipe outside the kitchen window, and left it.

After taking it down, the only thing to do was scan the photo, using a normal flatbed scanner. No fixing is required, as the image is effectively burnt into the paper. It comes out looking a bit brown and pale, but once you invert it, import into Lightroom and play about with the contrast quite a lot, you get a useable image!

If you want to have a go at your own solargraph, I’ve heard great things about the Solarcan (I’ve even backed it on Kickstarter, so I’ll have to think up another cool place to leave the next one).

Blue Moon: Cyanotype Inspiration

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you’ll know I like alternative processes. Something about cyanotypes has really grabbed my interest recently – something about the ability to print on anything porous, something about the fact it uses the sun to fix the image, it’s a process I keep thinking about.

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Bristol Suspension Bridge

Fuji Superia 800 Spring-3

An experimental roll of Fuji Superia 800 in the Cosina PM-1, at night. I think I underestimated the exposure times, I could have used a bit longer. The film is also VERY grainy, which I’m not keen on.

I’d like to go back to the suspension bridge (when it’s warmer!) with some slower, finer-grain film, and see how that turns out. I need to do a bit of research on reciprocity too, or pick a film that doesn’t suffer from reciprocity failure too much. Black and white would be really nice too – any suggestions welcome!

Whitlingham Marshes on FP4+

A couple of weeks ago I went to visit a lovely friend of mine, Tom, at his place in Norwich. We’re frequent photo buddies, and have been going out together to point glass at things for years. The blistering cold and imminent snow didn’t put us off, and we took a muddy trek to Whitlingham Marshes, 10 minutes from his house.

Continue reading Whitlingham Marshes on FP4+