Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Sun on the Beach

  After a grim day at work i decided to cheer my wife up by taking an impromptu trip to St Anne's Beach near Blackpool.  Quite conveniently i had just been delivered a box of film a few days earlier and decided to make the most of this opportunity to shoot a roll.  We loaded up the car and half an hour laer we were stood on the shore.

  Those who have been to this part of the coast will understand that sometimes its quite a walk before you actually get to the sea.  Off we set anyway and in twenty minutes or so we were within spitting distance of the waves.  We found a spot we liked and dropped our gear.  With forty-five minutes or so to kill before the sun truly set we spent some time spying out some angles to shoot from and playing 2-person tig.  Its amazing how entertaining jumping over puddles and running on the beach can be!

  Unfortunately the sunset wasnt as epic as we had hoped as some clouds set in, blocking a lot of the light.  Still, we shot what we could and then called it a night.  But thats the good thing about sunsets, each one is different; i anticipate a return soon to capture the next one.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Instant Gratification

  There is something altogether awesome about taking a photo and having it shoot out the front of your camera almost immediately.

  I bought a polaroid 1000 Instant camera about 3 weeks ago forma  local antique warehouse for a mere £7 pounds.  It came complete with bag and Q-Light flash and i felt that the risk of it not working was worth the cost.  I got some film off ebay (impossible project PX70 Push!) and loaded it up.  WHIRRR!! It ground into life and i was ready to start taking my first shots.  

  I had spent the days up to delivery of my film scouring forums online about the best way to shoot this film.  From what i read i gathered it was quite temperamental and so i prepared myself for some bad shots.  I got snapping and although the colours weren't exactly what i hoped for, i still think i got some decent shots.

   Cant wait to get my hands on some more film now and refine my technique.  I hear you can use 600 film as well with a slight modification to the camera; maybe ill look into it.

Monday, 18 July 2011

And the Streets Run Red...

  Last Sunday saw some of the heaviest rain we have had in a long time.  I woke up unintentionally early and couldn't get back to sleep.  My wife was still soundly asleep beside me, undisturbed by the heavy patting of the rain against the partially open window by our bed.  After playing around on my phone for a while i decided to just get up and walk into town to take some street shots of people in the rain.  I grabbed my Lubitel and decided to opt for a roll of the Lomography redscale xr 50-200 film.  I have attempted to use this film twice before; the first time the photos came out a kind of sickly yellow colour, the second time i developed it myself and it came out blank, but i decided to give it another try anyway and hope for the best.

  My walk into the town centre is via a rather nice park.  In one part of it there is a long tree-lined path which is very photogenic.  Two elderly men were out having a run together down this path.  SNAP.  I carried on into town pondering where to head to and eventually ended up in a large open flagged area outside the museum.  A family rushed by fervently grasping their brollies, trying to shield themselves from this unprecedented shower.  SNAP.  An elderly couple saunter by unperturbed by the downpour.  SNAP.  I decide to head towards the market.  Two strangers pass each other by, brollies held firmly above their heads.  SNAP.

  I carry on like this for an hour or so before decided to head home.  Just before i reach the entrance to the park i catch the reflection of the tall buildings across the road in a roadside puddle.  I crouch down just as a car passes.  SNAP.  My roll finished i hurry home and push through the door, removing my soaking jacket and hanging it on the coatstand.  I decide to be gentlemanly and wake my wife up with breakfast in bed.  We sit and chat for a while then i decide to get my developing gear heated up.  A few hours later and my negative is hanging from the shower rail waiting to dry.  Upon holding it up to the light i can see the development has been patchy and some of the shots arent going to look very good.  Something has gone wrong with my developing.  But never mind, we live and learn i guess.  Still, it gets frustrating when this happens, but at least i should have some salvageable shots from the roll.

  One day ill get some redscale that comes out perfectly.  But for now the streets run red, and i've got work to do.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Decayed, Derelict and Abandoned

  I dont know why but i love abandoned buildings.  Many an hour has been spent poring over books and websites dedicated to the decayed and abandoned.  A book called Abandoned Places by Henk van Rensberge contains some of the greatest pictures of abandoned places i have ever seen.  To think these buildings once were a hive of activity with people milling about to and fro, but now are left alone to fall into dereliction and decrepity. 

  I am fortunate in that one of the most famous asylums in the country is just outside my city.  Whittingham Mental Asylum.  A huge complex of buildings shut off from the rest of the world, slowly collapsing and succumbing to the prying hands of vegetation.  I have visited only once and only the outside, but look around online and you will find some truly amazing photographs from this wonderful place.

  Also near me is an abandoned power station.  You can walk right into this one and explore the rooms and halls that once echoed with the sounds of industry.  This place is a popular fly tipping destnation and people have dumped many lots of strange things here.  Mostly sofas, which i find fun to shoot with different film/camera combinations.

  Being from Lancashire there are also lots of abandoned mills.  One in particular in Bamber Bridge draws me to it, its exterior being red brick and boarded windows; yet still it catches the eye and begs to be photographed.

  Perhaps its the solitude i feel when im in these places, or maybe the sharp dash up my spine whenever i hear a sound echoing round those empty rooms.  Whatever it is i dont think ill ever stop being drawn to these places.  There are still many many more on my list to visit and i may never get to them all.  But i can try.  And should the mood strike, so can you...

Saturday, 9 July 2011

The Ghosts of Industry Past

  Very last minute my wife decided to go to London for a close friends hen meal, suddenly leaving me with a whole day free to entertain myself.  I had a few errands to run including picking up a parcel about twenty minutes drive away.  So I packed up the car and put in a camera and some film just in case and started driving.  Whilst trundling along strumming my fingers lightly on the steering wheel in time to the CD playing through the car speakers I suddenly realised that directly en-route to the parcel depot was an abandoned mill I had been meaning to visit for some time!  Upon arrival at the depot I hastily rummaged through my bags to see if I had packed some black and white film and my light meter.  Thank goodness i had!  So off i went in search of a road leading to the mill.

After a bit of searching (both on-road and on-line) I pulled up outside.  Not wanting to cause suspicion I parked a little further down the road and walked up.  The mill was surrounded by a large fence but fortunately at one point someone had cut a gaping hole into it which I could just walk through.

  I tend to get a little on edge when going to places like this.  Both of  locals seeing me and thinking i'm up to no good and so calling the police, or delinquents who hang around these kinds of places causing mischief.  But fortunately I ran into neither.  I rather fancied trying to get inside but couldn't see any obvious way in so and I didn't want to do any climbing as i was wearing my favorite jeans.  So I decided to just keep outside and see what i could find to shoot.  Fortunately an abandoned shopping trolley proved a worthy subject, as did a traffic barrier which is strange really as I only shot it to finish off the roll of film.

  As i was developing the negatives i was really hoping they would come out ok.  Fortunately my Diana camera didn't let me down and I got some shots that i'm really happy with.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


  I am very fortunate in that I live about ten minutes walk from a park bound by a large river which leads directly to the city centre.  This is my route to work (when its dry enough to walk) and a convenient shortcut to the town shops. But on the hot humid days we have been experiencing lately its also a great place to take an evening stroll with a mandolin, a wife, some cider and a camera...

  Now go find a park near you and get snapping...

Portraits of Jessica

  I mostly shoot objects and things, its very rare that the portrait mood strikes.  Although saying that, one of my best shots is a portait!  A few nights ago my wife and i decided to use the spare room as temporary studio and try some portraiture using my recently acquired Lubitel 166B.  I decided black and white would work best and due to lighting conditions i loaded my Lubitel with some 3200 iso Ilford Delta Pro (rated at 6400 iso).  I also decided to use a red filter to maximise contrast.  And then it was just a case of moving the lamp and making Jess change outfit every so often.

  As you can see they came out a little funny.  I developed in Rodinal with a 1:25 mix but i think the problem was with the reel i had loaded my film onto.  Its seems as though parts of the film were touching so the developer couldnt penetrate all areas it.  But i dont know, i quite like how some of them came out. 

  I want to shoot some more photos like this, using this film.  I like the large grain, contrast and 'old-look' of these shots.  Hopefully next time i will get a better development.