Friday, 30 December 2011

A Holiday from Holiday

  For the first time since i left work last Friday i managed to get away from the family days out to do a quick hour of shooting.  I met up with one of my shooting pals Paul and we headed to Lytham/St Annes beach.  It was windy.  Extremely windy.  Tripod use was out of the question.  We headed down onto the beach hoping to head for the remains of the old pier but alas the tide was further in than i have ever seen it so we had to shoot from afar.  After spending some time messing with assembling my Bronica i finally got some shots in.  The tide was coming in at a ridiculously rapid pace and by the time i had setup my gear and eyed the shot in on my waist level finder i was stood in water.  Metering was a nightmare so i just used my instincts and shot.  I was a bit worried as the strong wind was battering our cameras with sand particles and blowing our gear bags all over the place.  We persevered regardless and shortly moved further up the coast where a flock of birds was sat on the water quite close to shore.  The local dogs chasing them proved to create some nice photo opportunities.

  Shortly thereafter i spotted a partially filled plastic bottle dumped on the sand which caught my eye so i snapped it.  It turned out to be one of the best shots on the negative.

  Our final stop was a little further up the coast where the waves were now smashing against the sea defences.  I sacrificed dryness to snap a few quick shots of the spray coming over the wall.

  The results were a bit hit-and-miss on the developed negative and some shots took a bit of work to get a decent image of but all in all i think they came out ok.  It was nice to be out in some extreme weather shooting on instinct rather than taking my time over each shot and meticulously recording every detail.

Thursday, 22 December 2011


  Dont go hiking in a blizzard.  I booked a Friday off work to go for a hike in the Lake District mountains with a friend i hadnt seen for ages.  Unfortunately Friday was the day the snow decided to hit hard.  We decided to risk it and head out anyway which turned out to be a good decision as once we got past Lancaster the snow eased and the skies cleared.

  We decided to head to Loughrigg as it is a relatively low fell and an easier walk.  We had only walked a quarter of a mile or so before the path opened up onto a lake with a distant mountain reflected perfectly in its glassy water.  This was definitely a shot to be taken.  We then kept following the path as it began to descend towards the summit.  Whilst the valleys were clear the peaks were snow capped and just as we got to the summit the sun started evaporating the snow creating a glorious mist.  The views were astounding.  We took a break and had some food  whilst we stood and took in the horizon.  Landscape spread out for miles, rolling hills and blue waters surrounding us.  I took as many shots as i could before we began our descent down some icy steps to the car park.

  The walk only took us a few hours and was around 5 miles in total but it was thoroughly enjoyable.  It is so satisfying to be in a beautiful country with a great friend.

Friday, 2 December 2011


  Although the afternoon had turned a bit grey and dreary (after a gloriously sunny morning) i headed out to do some shooting.  I had last minute booked the afternoon off work and wanted to head to my newly found favourite shooting location of Roddlesworth in Tockholes, Lancashire.  Roddlesworth is an area of beautiful woodland with paths leading throughout and even venturing by reservoirs and a small stream with numerous waterfalls of various sizes.This makes for a photographic utopia!  I only had an hour or so to shoot before sunset by the time i got there but it was nice to wander round the many trails and be among the beauty, taking my time shooting.

  I developed the film immediately when i got home.  the negative didn't turn out the best but i'm getting better at measuring my exposures and shooting accordingly.  I have every intention of returning to Roddlesworth as soon as i can, hopefully with some sun this time!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

SQ-A First Roll - Derwent Water

  Although i have posted shots from my Bronica already the shots below are from my first roll with my SQ-A.  The only reason they haven't been posted earlier is that i have only just got the chemicals in to develop them.

  My wife and i decided to head up to Maryport in the Lake District very last minute one Friday evening a month or two ago.  We had friends up there who said we could stay over and the plan was to get to Derwent Water near Keswick before dawn to catch some sunrise shots over the water.  Sure enough after 4 hours sleep there we were on the lakeside waiting for the sky to brighten.  It was a joy to use my SQ-A for the first time and i cant wait to get back up that way again for some more shots.  Tiring but fulfilling.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Large Small Things

  After much 'um'ing and 'ah'ing i decided not to get a macro lens but fork out the vast sum of £11 for a set of close-up filters for my Bronica SQ-A.  While i can focus up to half a metre with my lenses i have always been keen to get that little bit closer.  I wasn't sure how sharp these filters (lenses to picky people) would be so i thought id run a test roll of black and white through the camera to see.  Armed with my £3 Ikea lamp and a huge reflector from ebay i setup my tripod.

  And i was rather pleasantly surprised.  Whilst a little blurry in places due to my own focusing error i really like how the shots came out.  It was fun to play with such a narrow depth of field, and the depth of field preview switch on my lenses was invaluable to say the least.  Im hoping to use the filters lots, especially for close ups in portraits.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Party Night

  Old friends visiting is always a good excuse to go out on the town.  7 of us headed into town to our local live band venue to see some bands and get a few drinks.  I decided to bring my Polaroid 600 as i thought it would be nice to get some shots of us all together.  The music was good, if not to everyones taste (after a middle-of-the-road rock band finished their set a thrash band started playing)!

  We left shortly after and headed to the off licence (via a cash machine which nearly ate my card) and then into the centre.

  We ended up at Glovers which is not my kind of place but served the vimto/fruit pastille cocktails that the girls wanted.  Not long after we decided to head back to my house for fun and games.

  We ended up staying up until 4am playing hide and seek and blind mans buff.  Quite a few people collided or had their shirts accidentally ripped mid-game but its was all part of the fun.  Then it was off to bed for us all (dont ever try to inflate a double airbed using your own lung power) ready to spend sunday tired and sleepy.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Lazy Day

  After a hectic Saturday the unexpected weather on Sunday made it clear that a relaxing trip to the park was in order.  My wife and i packed up a few bits of photography gear and headed off to our favourite park.  It covers a huge area and has a small forest with a lovely stream adjoining it.  There is also a miniature train that offers rides at certain times of the year, an arts centre, a mini golf course and a playground.. We only had a short wander as we were tired and had to get some shopping done before Tesco closed.  I decided to shoot some polaroids as, to be honest, i couldnt really be bothered with anything more technical.  My wife got a bit excited using our new cokin polarising filter and was snapping away at some reeds in a pond.  I found it was nice just to be out in the gorgeous weather with her, enjoying the surrounding nature and lazily shooting my Polaroid.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

My City

  I  suddenly found myself with a free evening as my wife had been reminded of a tea party she was meant to attend after work.  As its winter and the night comes ever earlier i decided to do one of my favourite things which is wander around the city in the dark with my ipod on and my camera in hand.  It's not as scary as you might think, i have never been hassled my yobs or anything so as long as im careful i can seem to avoid harm.

  I loaded my Bronica SQ-A with some Ilford FP4+ and headed out to some of my usual spots.  For some unknown reason i am always drawn to car parks at night.  I just love the contrast you can get shooting on the different floors, and if you make it to the roof theres always something to shoot. Whilst wandering round the Fish Market car park i stumbled on a police car parked up in a corner with a snoozing officer inside.  I wonder what he thought when i pulled a huge black cube out of my bag and mounted it on a tripod...

  After spending some time in the car parks i wandered the streets for a bit.  One enjoyable experiment to do is have your earphones in but without music playing.  Its amazing what people say when they think you cant hear them.

   Just around the corner from the Fish Market car park is the fish market loading bay where all the fish is taken off the lorries daily and put on display in the market.  I had never shot here before but though id check it out.  I quite liked it in there apart from the smell and a ridiculous amount of litter strewn all over the floor.  I took a shot looking along the loading bay and then got down onto the floor to try out the f2.8 aperture on my lens.

   When i got home i realised i hade made a slight error as Ilford FP4+ (an iso 125 film) cant really be pushed to 400 iso using Rodinal.  So after some research i decided to stand develop for 2 hours at 1:125 and hopefully id get useable negatives.  And above are the results, no alterations in the scanner or photoshop or anything like that.  I love how they have come out.  Maybe not the best pictures in the world but i love the tones and i love the high contrast.  I may stick to stand developing all my black and white films in the future.

  So next time you find yourself with a free evening why not head out onto the streets and see what you can find.  Contact me when you have something, id love to see your results.