Film Friday: Kodak Trix in 35mm (Expired)

For today’s Film Friday, I selected Kodak Trix in 35mm, which expired in January 2020.

I originally bought the ten remaining rolls from AllPhotos Ltd. via its eBay shop in January 2020, the same month of expiry. The film has been unused, and quietly residing in the infamous ex-kitchen drawer since.

Outta drawer for a quick photoshoot: the ten expired rolls of Trix I currently have

I have been shooting Kodak Trix for years, as it has always been the film I would use for street or architecture photography. Its punchy yet subtle grain is the ultimate icing on the cake, thanks to the film’s speed of 400. The tones and contrasts are great: the black tones being deep, especially the shadows. The Trix is a perfect choice for making prints in the darkroom, which I have done a few times before.

Trix is great to use on colour filters, in particular the red filter. I love using that colour filter, which often produces sharp and deep contrasts, mainly on blue skies and clouds. Having used both the Trix and red filter, it can achieve crisp and high quality results, very rarely disappoints.

On my bike: Kodak Trix with Red Filter – Canon EOS 500n (I think the film was in date when taken)

Kodak Trix is also Point and Shoot friendly, having shot with it on my Olympus Mju 1 camera was a breeze. No fussing around with the settings or playing around with various apertures, both the film and camera was a suitable combination for simple shooting. The outcome from the Mju 1 was proven to be successful, still achieving the punchy subtle look.

As there aren’t really many significant changes when shooting expired Black and White film, I can only assume it will come out as similar as it was in date, as I have shot many before in both 35mm and 120. There weren’t any signs of shifting in tones or contrasts from them, unlike some expired colour film where it is noticeable.

Who knows? Trix might be up to its ‘tricks’, and surprise me…

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: What to Do With My Film?

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday is a bit different today, I will be talking about the film that hasn’t been processed yet.

The start of 2022 has been a bit lukewarm, still in a pandemic with some uncertainties and some determination.

A Mixed Bag: Film from last year, waiting for its eventual processing date

2021 wasn’t a huge year for film, especially those I had shot with. In fact, I probably processed less film than the previous years, from the pre-Covid era of 2019 and 2018. Although last year, I did buy a few more cameras, including the Olympus Trip and a vintage Kodak Brownie. The novelty soon wore off, then from there I haven’t done much film photography as much as I wanted to.

I have bags and containers of film in my room, hoping to get processed at some point. In a separate container, I have around four Black and White 35mm rolls, which I would like to develop myself at home. Though I still need to buy the processing kit, including the developer and the essential equipment.

Unopened film, ready for an upcoming shoot? Plus an empty FP4 box and a few sneaky other 35mm’s

My motivation throughout last year has been up and down. There were times when I had very little inspiration to do almost everything; I was severely burned out from the long shifts at work, one of the main factors. All I wanted to do after work was to sleep and then eat, even on the rare days off. I had ideas in my head, but they were hardly materialised onto paper. I had chances to do so many things and activities, but they never happened.

For me film is like that. Finding the motivation to pick up the camera, or even scan a few negatives, or search for ideas and inspiration online. Sometimes I would look at my growing film collection in the drawer – admire it, then shut it back up again and again.

From Drawer to Plastic Container: B&W rolls I’m shooting with, then (attempt to) develop myself at home

2021 was also the year I bought less film. It wasn’t until towards the end of December, I began to make big film orders during and after the Christmas period. This gave me the chance to get hold of some Kodak film before the prices went up. The price hike has made me reconsider my interest in film, whether it’s worth buying more whenever possible, or completely going digital? Maybe that should be a topic for another post.

Usually with these Tried and Tested posts, there would be an end result or a solution. Technically there are a few suggestions, I can think of: probably get my film and negatives organised, figure out a plan or system on what I want to do with them – for example, get them developed, printed or scanned. I’m sure there are some rolls that don’t need to be developed ASAP, or negatives that I don’t want to be scanned, although I’m often curious to see the potential outcome.

Whatever I eventually decide, I’ll make sure that I stick to the plan, keeping everything consistent and structured. I really want to continue film photography this year, also trying out other things. Losing inspiration and motivation isn’t the best feeling ever, and often at times it can drag you down.

As repetitive as it may sound, let’s hope 2022 will be a fairer and kinder year for us all…

Take care and stay safe

Monday Monthly Mentions – January 2022: Welcome to 2022, Kodak High Prices, Metro Moments and Plans For the Future

Way to Start into the New Year: Shot on Instax Monochrome (expired January 2020) with Fuji Instax Mini 8
  • Legendary actress and comedian Betty White has sadly passed away at 99, on New Year’s Eve. She was a few weeks short turning 100. She had a very long career in acting, well known for her role in Golden Girls, as well as being a supporter and activist of LGBT+ rights and animal welfare. May she rest in peace.
  • 2022 has started, already a Bank Holiday after a long weekend of celebrations into the new year. Many people, including myself, kept the ‘celebrating’ low key. In fact, I was in bed before midnight, then got up shortly afterwards. I had been working all week, and I was yearning for was a decent rest and some sleep.
New Year’s Day was a chance to take some snaps of the empty streets in the local area
  • Kodak Jumpin’ Up In Price Again: Old news-ish, as it was initially reported late last year; Kodak had announced another price rise in their film starting from January, so this month. Not to mention, it was very hard to buy certain Kodak films, such as Portra 400 in 35mm – which sold out on eBay, Analogue Wonderland and Parallax, perhaps a few other retailers. It’s no surprise that the panic buy started before the upcoming big price hike.
  • The Exhibitions Must Go On: There are a few shows and exhibitions I would like to see soon, including ‘Amy: Beyond the Stage’ at the Design Museum, an exhibition dedicated to the late singer Amy Winehouse. Also the Helen Levitt show at the Photographers’ Gallery, which I heard about via Twitter. I didn’t go to many art exhibitions or shows in 2021, hopefully this year I might be able to go to as many as possible.
  • My Plans for 2022 (Kinda, still in progress): Well most likely to be better than 2021. There are quite a lot of things I would like to accomplish by this year, both career and creativity wise. With Select/21 under my belt, I want to have my fingers in several pies by focusing on my photography again; finally developing my own film, creating zines and photo books, and also doing more projects/series. Plus I would like to do more writing, revisit a few storyline outlines and plans; maybe complete that short story from five years ago!! Maybe be super fluent in Spanish!!

It’s early days yet, but I am hoping 2022 will be the best year yet to come, once and for all…

Happy New Year!!

Take care and stay safe

Story Time Sunday: Boxing Day Bash

It has been a long while since my last Story Time Sunday post. I initially set out to publish them every month, although had them planned out in my notebook, they didn’t materialise or go beyond any further.

Today’s Story Time Sunday is festive themed, as this happened on Boxing Day 2019 – the day after Christmas. This particular day was the last time we had a family get together, as around the corner the whole world would change drastically.

Pre-Dinner Snacks and Drinks: Half eaten Celebrations Box, wine, ginger beer and a random bottle of water

Boxing Day gatherings were a bit of a family tradition, on my maternal side would go around my Aunty’s house on that day (or New Year’s Eve). Usually we would have a feast of food and drink, also desserts. Not to mention, some people do dancing and play Caribbean music.

Usually my mum and I would go around. My dad drives us there, then goes back home. He rarely joins us, he probably stayed for less than ten minutes. Normally these get together’s were a smallish affair, consisting of a few cousins and my uncle. The maternal side of the family is very big, so it would be unlikely for all of them to cram inside the barely big living room.

I very rarely see my extended family members as many of them live in different parts of the country, with very few living in London. I’m lucky if see them once or twice a year.

This was the last time I was with them in one place. I would see my cousin Abigail again months later in the summer, after the lockdown restrictions slowly eased. Other than that, Boxing Day 2019 was the last major event of that year.

I did manage to capture the fun on camera. I brought along my Olympus Mju 1, plus a Yashica 635, that I was borrowing. Both loaded with Ilford Delta 3200 in their formats, suitable for the low lighting – all thanks to high speed. Sadly the 120 roll didn’t come out as good, which resulted in me not scanning the negatives.

Like this year and the previous, we didn’t have our usual get together, mainly due to the pandemic. So instead, myself and most family members had a low key Christmas, by having a peaceful and quiet time at home.

Hopefully in 2022, we can finally celebrate big with the whole family there – just to make up for lost time. Then again, who knows what will happen? What does the future hold? Maybe keep our fingers crossed in the meantime…

I hope everyone had a good Christmas.

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: Bold and Bright Brixton – Agfa Isolette I with Kodak Ektachrome 100

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting Kodak Ektachrome on an Agfa Isolette I.

This is my most recent developed shots, only from a couple months ago. It was the first time shooting Ektachrome on my Agfa Isolette, as I had two remaining rolls left in the fridge (near to expiry) and I wanted to try them out on this camera.

I was shooting in Brixton Market, mainly around the fruit stalls on Electric Avenue, as well as going through the indoor market nearby.

I have recently been inspired by still life paintings from the Dutch Golden Age and the Renaissance, focusing on both detail and structure of everyday objects and items, such as fruit, flowers and vases. Brixton Market might not be near to capturing anything in Renaissance style, however shooting fruit stalls was an opportunity to ‘modernise’ the look, especially with slide film like Ektachrome to produce vibrant and bright colours.

I’m certainly no stranger to Kodak Ektachrome since I’ve used it before on two medium format cameras, with one manual. Plus I did feature the film as two Film Friday’s, prior to shooting both 120 and 35mm. I had confidence that Ektachrome would be great to use on another manual camera again, this time round with the Agfa Isolette.

Like previously with the same film on another camera, Yashica 635, I had no light meter. So for the Isolette I trusted myself to get the exposures right, although I didn’t make a note of what shutter speed and aperture used; I am sure that the speed was at least not above 1/200, with the aperture being anywhere between f5.6 to f8 – with the former being for shooting fruit stalls, since it was daylight outside. There were a few overexposed shots, also some underexposed ones but it wasn’t that major. I did manage to scan most frames from the negatives.

I was very proud with the outcome after processing and eventual home scanning. The colours came out good, better than expected, even when I had initially placed the negatives onto the lightbox before scanning – I knew the results would not disappoint.

Most of my slide films are normally processed at AG Photolab, based in Birmingham. I have mentioned them on my blog before. They have a good turnaround time, not to mention reasonably priced from £5.49 per roll 35mm or 120. There are options of having negative scans or photo prints.

I was probably excited to see the Ektachrome negs more than the other slides I had processed

I haven’t done a lot of  film photography this year, whether I pick up my camera(s) once or twice a month, it’s such a great feeling to get back into the groove of what I love doing again.

I hope in 2022 I can explore and do more film photography.

Take care, stay safe and have a Happy Christmas!!

(Belated) Monday Monthly Mentions – December 2021: Belated Posts, Holidays, Birthdays and Select 21

Before I start this post, I would like to send my condolences to the families and friends of both John Whitmore and Boris Pfaffenzeller, who sadly passed away last month. They were both photographers, very active in the film photography community, talented at their craft and Twitter friends of mine. May they rest in eternal peace.

I would also like to pay my respects to American fashion designer, Virgil Abloh, who sadly passed away last month after a battle with cancer. Abloh was the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear, as well as founding his own label Off-White back in 2012. May he rest in eternal peace, my thoughts are with his family and friends.

Lake Lugano from top of Monte San Salvatore
  • I haven’t been blogging as much since September, quite unusual although I wanted to do a few posts the following month but never got around to. I have been so busy with work, plus most of my rare down time was mainly recovering from work during my days off. Don’t worry, I will try to attempt to blog as much as I can before the end of 2021.
  • Turning 30 and Swiss Birthday Trip: I officially turned 30 back in September, so to celebrate my milestone birthday I went on a solo trip to Switzerland; travelling through to Lugano, then Lucerne and ending in Zurich. On my actual birthday I went to Burgenstock, however it was raining heavily throughout the day. Also I didn’t get to go on the famous Hammetschwand Elevator, due to my on/off fear of heights, however I did manage to see a beautiful view of Lake Lucerne. The next day the weather was slightly better, I went to Mount Pilatus via cable car to the top, although I didn’t reach the highest peak. I must say it was definitely a memorable experience, something I would do again in the future. And of course, I did capture all this on film!!
  • For the last couple of months, I haven’t done much film photography. There were times when I wanted inspiration and motivation to pick up my camera(s), but many ideas and plans were thrown out the window. I do have quite a lot of film that needs to be developed at some point, maybe in the new year…
  • Not all motivation isn’t lost, I went to the darkroom for the first time in over a year, over a month ago. First session was in October, when I used the colour enlarger. It did take some time to get used to it, thankfully with some help I managed to make a few prints. The next session I was printing in Black and White, which was a breeze as I was confident in what I was doing. Many of my prints came out good, although I need to improve in some areas.
  • Good news to end this year: Select 21 is finally here!! After a year of delays, the show is on the road – with yours truly exhibiting the famous Petrol Station Series, alongside with other photographers and their work. I am so proud of this achievement, after all the drama and stress throughout the last year. If you are interested in seeing Select 21, booking is essential via Eventbrite and it’s free. Show ends on Friday 21st January 2022.
The hard work has finally paid off after a year of delays and stress

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: My Birthday on Top of The Mountain – Olympus XA2 with Kodak Ektar (Expired)

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting an expired Kodak Ektar on an Olympus XA2.

Today is my birthday and to celebrate, this post is a Throwback of my trip to Mount Rigi in Switzerland. Last year, I posted about my experience going to the mountain, providing photos from my phone. Today’s entry will be photos from my film camera.

The Hills (and a lot more) of Mount Rigi as I head down

Last September I went on a 12 day solo trip to Switzerland, starting from Zurich through to Lucerne and ending in Geneva. I did spend the day in Lugano, sadly it wasn’t enough time to explore the city.

I did bring my Olympus XA2, which I had only for a few weeks at this point. Also I brought along ten rolls of Kodak Ektar – all expired in August 2019, originally purchased a year before from AllPhotosLtd. This gave me the chance to test drive the camera properly while away, since I was confident using it and knowing my way around the settings and functions.

For my day trip I only took one roll with me, I did manage to shoot most of the exposures during my time high up in the mountain. Although, I did take a quick stop at Weggis to take a few photos of Lake Lucerne before going back to take the next boat enroute to Vitznau.

From Vitznau, I took the funicular all the way up to Rigi Kulm. I was even using my camera for my journey up, capturing the views despite feeling so anxious of panicking. Thankfully the ride wasn’t too long and I arrived at the highest peak before I knew it!

Of course, being at the top had its advantages from a photographer’s perspective; endless mountains that go for miles, plus surrounding scenery. The Olympus XA2 had the landscape mode that enabled it to shoot wide angle shots, which was a huge plus as well as on how lightweight the camera was to carry.

You’re never short of a lake in Switzerland; on the left hand side there is Lake Zug

The film itself was Kodak Ektar that had expired a year prior. The quality from expired colour film can differ depending on what condition it has been kept in, in some cases there could be little or no colour shift.

The Lookouters: Ektar works its colourful magic here

After processing the expired Ektar, I was happy with the results. In fact, I was satisfied with them overall. Despite the film’s expiry, the colour quality was still the same as if it was in date – the saturation was there, as well as the bold and smooth tones. Both the greens and blues stood out the most in every shot.

A Picture Perfect Postcard from Rigi
Not only Funiculars have Fun: There are trains that go up and down the Rigi as well

The scans from Mount Rigi are certainly worth printing out in the near future. They have so much potential, as much as I have repeated my desire to go back to the darkroom and start printing in colour again.

XXXXX’s as Fences (or barriers): Over on the other side is Lake Zug

I believe these shots can go above and beyond, perhaps produce a zine or a photobook.

I am so pleased with the overall outcome. Probably my best work I had scanned of 2020. There is no need for any improvements or further tweaks or changes, they are simply the chef’s kiss over and over!!

The Little House on Mount Rigi: One of the most liked uploads on my Instagram. At the time of writing, there are currently over 130 likes

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: Kino In The City – Canon EOS 500n (Orange Filter) with Lomography Berlin Kino

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting a roll of Lomography Berlin Kino on the Canon EOS 500n with the 50mm 1.8 lens and orange filter.

In late March of this year, I went walking through London’s Square Mile, making my way round to Brick Lane and then ending in Hackney. Cameras on tow, for the occasion on the rare off days where I can relax and take my time at my own pace.

Suits You Fine… I had to start off the entry with this photo. It’s among my personal favourite’s

My day out was photographing the tall buildings, the new and the ones that are slowly developing. It had been a while since I made my last appearance in the City, and it wasn’t a surprise to see some shops had closed down during the pandemic. It was very unusual to see a completely deserted Leadenhall Market, whereas pre-Covid it would have been a struggle to barge through the suit-clad workers, who were outside the pubs and bars during lunch breaks.

Capturing London’s quiet mood was a must, especially in black and white. Picking up my Canon EOS 500n, then attaching my favourite 50mm lens with the sweet large aperture of 1.8 was a match made in street photography heaven.

The choice of film was the Lomography Berlin Kino. It was my second attempt shooting after the first round came out disastrous, mostly due to it being shot on a Point and Shoot. Those types of films don’t have a DX code, hence why it works better on manual setting cameras where the speed can be changed.

Berlin Kino was inspired by the New German Cinema scene during the 1960s, with the film being extracted and produced from the original cine stock. The results bring a softness and timeless quality, ranging from the grain to tones. Perhaps the same could be said to the other Lomo films that are part of the Kino collection, such as the Potsdam and the newly released Fantome and Babylon, which were all featured as Film Friday’s.

The overall outcome came out punchy, yet very sharp in tones and shadows, mostly from the buildings and shop window displays. The Berlin Kino works well for both street and architectural photography, similar to Kodak Trix or Ilford HP5. The film was shot at the box speed of 400.

The prime lens and orange filter also did wonders, contributing to the result’s quality. Normally I wouldn’t consider using a prime lens for architectural shots, however I achieved what I had wanted; the close up and fine detail from each shot, even with the window fragmented reflections, which are the strongest.

My inspiration and influence is from Eugene Atget, a French photographer of the 20th Century. He had often documented the streets of Paris with his large format camera, capturing Parisian architecture and design, shop fronts, people or anything interesting that caught his eye. I highly recommend checking out his work if you haven’t. I would suggest reading this post ‘The empty streets (and parks)’, where it summarises Atget’s work and career, on the V&A website.

I slowly ended the last few exposures at the Conservatory Archives, a plant shop located in Lower Clapton, Hackney. I briefly went around the shop, carefully taking shots of the surrounding plants making sure I captured every detail and pattern. The prime lens’ auto mode no longer works properly, so I have to try my best with manual focusing.

The Sink-ful of Plants and the table too: Shot at the Conservatory Archives in Lower Clapton, Hackney

Regardless of that minor problem, I am very pleased with the outcome. I would definitely use Berlin Kino again for street photography, or perhaps venture out in another genre or style.

Take care and stay safe

Monday Monthly Mentions – September 2021: Second Dose, Turning Thirty, Famous Photographers, Historical Images of Seasides and Loving Languages

Wanted to add a picture to accompany today’s post. It’s a piece titled ‘Still Life of Flowers’ (1614) painted by Ambrosius Bosschaert during the Dutch Golden Age (Image source: Wikipedia)
  • I had my second dose a couple weeks ago. I am all set and finally protected!! The good news is that I have overcome my long term fear of needles. At least that’s over and done with for now…
  • I faced another challenge: having my tooth extracted. This particular tooth had cavities and was cracked, so I made the decision to have it taken out after going back and forth to the dentist. The alternative was to have it filled in, but it would be very pricey.
  • Also I will be 30 next week. Yes, I will be hitting an important milestone in my life. To think that I was 19 over a decade ago, about to start university. For my birthday, I will be going away to celebrate in style. Posts are going to be in a queue this week and the next while away.
  • The Canal Zones: Britain’s Canals and Waterways, including the famous one going through Stratford’s Olympic Park behind Westfield Shopping Centre, which is semi-local to me by a bus ride.
  • Looks like the famous Hackney graffiti pub (aka the former Lord Napier Star) is ‘back’, but for how long?
  • Oh to be at the seaside… Feeling nostalgic? There’s a slideshow with historical snaps of various beaches across the world, from the US, to the UK, France and Italy. Most very well known, including Coney Island in New York and Blackpool in England.
  • A Romantic Language Comparison: French vs. Italian and their similarities. While they are part of the Romance language family, I often consider Italian being closer to Spanish than it is to French. The pronunciation is somewhat similar to each other, I do agree with the article published. I wanted to learn Italian initially, however as suggested by a native speaker it was better to do Spanish first and then eventually learn Italian afterwards as it would become easier for me to understand. I can confirm that has been the case after all these years!!

Take care and stay safe

Film Friday: Kodak Colorplus in 35mm

For today’s Film Friday, I selected Kodak Colorplus in 35mm.

Colorplus is the cheapest colour film in the market ever, as well as Kodak’s cheapest best sellers. Despite the price hikes in both 2020 and 2021, the Colorplus is still the consumer brand film that is very popular internationally.

Fantastic Four: Still not used at the time of writing, but will be very soon…

Sadly film production has slowed down in recent times, even during the pandemic. I was very lucky to have bought four rolls of Colorplus from Parallax over a year ago, most likely before Covid 19. I think I did buy them at £3.95 per roll, before the price bumped up again.

I have been buying Colorplus for a few years, usually buying ten or more rolls at a time since it was widely available and great value for money. Reasonably priced for both the beginner and professional film photographers.

The colour quality is superb with the contrasts and tones not being too saturated, yet it still provides bright and bold colours. The Colorplus film has fine grain, which is very subtle and natural all thanks to its ISO of 200 – suitable for daylight shooting. Surprisingly enough, it’s good also for night photography, as long as there are sources of light around (i.e street lights or artificial lighting). I did try this before and the results came out warmer and soft with late evening shots I had taken in Seville. I recommend trying this out at its original box speed rather than pushing.

The availability of Colorplus is quite limited with them being out of stock on Parallax and Analogue Wonderland, to name a few also others. Selling sites such as eBay currently sell them listed almost twice the price for a single roll of 36 exposures. 24 exposure rolls tend to be cheaper, although they are a little hard to come by.

Early Evening Sunset in Nice: Shot on Canon EOS 500n

Hopefully, we aren’t going to wait any longer for Colorplus to be restocked in the near future…

Take care and stay safe