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).

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+

DIY Pinhole Camera: The Great Pinholio

Pinhole cameras are something I’ve seen lots of photographers use, often to fantastic effect. Making great use of motion blurs, people moving, and the exaggerated wide angle that often accompanies the simplest of cameras. Surprisingly, I’ve never tried my hand at it, but I’ve been seeing so many interesting images created using pinhole cameras (for example, Moni’s Blatherskite blog – some great images produced while wheeling a camera around on a trolley in a library) that I thought I had to give it a go.

Continue reading DIY Pinhole Camera: The Great Pinholio

Kodak Tri-X 400 by the sea

For the last couple of years, me and a dozen close friends go on a weekend break just after New Year, to catch up, drink too much and eat a massive roast dinner in a big house. This year, we decided to visit Foreland Point Lighthouse and stay in the Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage there! It was windy, cold and rainy – ideal weather for visiting somewhere on the edge of a cliff!

Continue reading Kodak Tri-X 400 by the sea

Colour shifts: Experimenting with Lomochrome Purple

Lomochrome Purple is a psychedelic film stock from Lomography, based on Kodak Aerochrome. The colour shifts are controlled (I use the term loosely) by changing the ISO you shoot it at – set it as a 50 or 100 ISO, and you’ll end up with a redder hue to your greens, or at 400 for a more indigo look.

Continue reading Colour shifts: Experimenting with Lomochrome Purple

The Peak District on Ilford Pan 100

Last month we took a trip with some friends to a tiny camping barn in the Peak District, for a 30th birthday celebration. Lots of laughs were had, new friends made, and I struggled to work through a roll of film. Not for any particular reason, I just couldn’t find anything that looked as good through the viewfinder as I expected.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I finally developed the roll of Ilford Pan 100 yesterday, (in Rodinal, 1+25, 9 minutes). The Pan 100 was a gift from the Emulsive Secret Santa last year, and I’d not used it before. It gives a wide range of tones, some fantastic sharpness and deep, lovely blacks. I’ll definitely be buying another couple of rolls!