Travels with my Camera – March 2019

In my last post, I mentioned that I’d put a roll of film through an old Russian FED2 and that I’d got all excited and lashed out £25 on an equally old Voigtlander camera with a broken light meter.  Well, I’ve had the films developed now and I have to say, I am truly stunned.  Firstly, every single shot was well exposed but best of all, the clarity of the pictures means that those old manual lenses really can cut the mustard, even by today’s standards.

I’m going to pop a selection of the shots I took with the FED2 up first.  These are some family pictures I took during the Christmas period.  I took them using Ilford Delta 400 and I will concede that I’ve actually added a bit of contrasty shadow as they were a touch bland for my taste.  Other than the little extra shadow and some cropping to tidy up the compositions, they are ‘Au Naturel’:

Having conquered my fear of using a film camera without a light meter I decided it was time to try out the Voigtlander.  At this stage, I still hadn’t had the film from the FED2 developed but I was feeling positive and convinced myself that it was going to be fine.

The first film I put through was a Lomo colour negative 400.  I chose this film for two reasons.  Number one, I liked the way the film captured the shots – the results of the first film I took on the Leica R4 (see the previous post) were exactly what I was looking for in film photography. Number two, because I could get the film developed super quickly at my local Boots.  I  really, really wanted to know if this camera was going to work and if my exposure setting calculations were on the money.

Eventually, once I’d exposed the whole roll, I whizzed into town and in my excitement, I virtually threw the film at the assistant on the photographic desk! Here’s some of what came back in an hour from Boots:

How excited was I?  Every shot was well exposed but better still, the way in which the Lomo 400 handled the saturation and contrast levels was evident too. Emboldened by this particular success I loaded a roll of Ilford FP4 into the Voigtlander and headed off for a day out in Liverpool. Without thinking about what I was doing, instinctively I guess, I set the ISO on the Voigtlander to 200. Even though it was forecast to be sunny, I was ever the skeptic and figured that 200 was more likely to be appropriate.  Silly me! Remember the non-functioning light meter?  I was going to have to work out the exposure for every shot – I could have set the light meter at 3200 for all the good it would have done – dummy! So, a little wiser for my realisation, I spent the day wandering the northern city and had a ball. Would you believe it? These shots came out as well. I am now feeling like an expert at guessing exposure settings, albeit with the guidelines of the Sunny 16 Rule and a truly handy iPhone app…

Here are a handful of shots from my day in Liverpool:

Just before Christmas, I went into a camera shop down the road from the office and grabbed a couple of rolls of film to try. One of these films was Kodak Ektar 100.  The young guy behind the counter recommended it, saying it was his go-to film – recommendation indeed. We’ve had some pretty lousy weather for the last 6 weeks or so and then suddenly, two weekends ago, the sun came out and bathed us all in unseasonal light and warmth.  Not one to miss an opportunity, I loaded the Ektar 100 into the Leica and headed out.  Our first stop was Greve de Lecq beach.  The tide was out and the beach was overrun with people enjoying the sun. After GdL we made for St Aubin. My favourite eatery on the island is here and perched on a pretty harbour to boot.  Lunch was fab as expected and so was the walk around the harbour afterwards. Needless to say, there were plenty of opportunities for snapping shots and this time I didn’t have to worry about working out exposure settings!

I’m not sure I like the saturation with this film.  In fact, I toned it down a notch when I processed the TIFF’s I got back from the developers. Apparently, this is a Kodak negative film version of Velvia 50.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t but either way, I’m obviously more of a muted colours man. Having said that, I do like the colours in the picture of Olive taking the weight off.

This has been the second episode of ‘Travels with my Camera’ and I expect there to be many more to come. So, it seems film is definitely not dead. Perhaps this is the time to believe in film and dig out those old cameras hiding away in your attic.

Remember, if you are a fan of analogue photography and have something to say, speak up, I’m listening. 

Happy snapping!

Travels with my Camera

Given that I’m not on the water so much these days and I’m not one to let the grass grow under my feet, I’ve gone back to another of my passions, photography.

I dabbled with digital for a decade. There’s no denying the fun I’ve had and I have definitely learned a lot about taking pictures – I dread to think how many thousand shots I’ve taken over the last ten years. However, I cut my photographic teeth taking pictures on film so that’s where I’m going to play. I recently became the proud owner of a Leica R4 SLR camera with the most gorgeous Leica 50mm lens on the front. I also, having immediately put a few rolls through the Leica and been totally bitten by the bug, lashed out the princely sum of £24 to buy a vintage Voigtlander Vito CLR (made in the early ’60s). The light meter doesn’t work but then the roll of film I put through a friends Russian FED2 from a similar vintage was exposed using luck, the Sunny 16 Rule and an iPhone light meter app – I haven’t processed that film yet…

Without further ado, here’s a small selection of the shots from those first few rolls:

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I’m really pleased with how these have come out, especially as it’s been such a long time since I picked up a film camera.

For years now, articles online, debates in magazines, and insistent fellow photographers have all been telling me that there is something indescribably lovely about pictures taken on film. It’s true, just look at the warmth and depth in the picture of the sheep above.  I can’t put my finger on it but there is a difference.

This has been the first episode of ‘Travels with my Camera’ and I expect there will be many more to come (I’ve got two rolls of exposed film ready to be processed right now)! Happy snapping and if you are a fan of analogue photography and have something to say, speak up, I’m listening.