It was my mum’s birthday last week Monday, on the 31st January. I bought her a bouquet of tulips, also a nice birthday card. She did eventually get more flowers, cards plus some cake and a bottle of Prosecco. Sadly we didn’t go out to celebrate as I was working. Maybe soon, as I could make it up for my mum.
I got my third (and hopefully last) vaccine last month. I had the Booster, like the first one it was Pfizer. I would soon learn that my second dose was AstraZeneca, hence why I had a reaction to it shortly afterwards.
Melissa, my friend on WordPress – also Twitter and Instagram, mailed me some expired film from a few weeks back: Fuji C200 and Lomography Purple Monochrome in 120. It has been a loooong time since shooting with those films and it would be nice to experiment with them. Possibly they could be on the next Tried and Tested Thursday post?
I finally bought a new laptop for the first time in a decade. It is a HP Pavilion, pre-installed with Windows 11, Microsoft Office, Cloud and security. It’s lightweight to carry, in comparison to the other previous laptops I’ve had. My Macbook Pro had been playing up recently, as it was slowing down and an upgrade was necessary. At the moment, I am using both laptops. To cut a long story short: my Macbook has the scanner installed, printer and Photoshop CS5, so I am not letting it go just yet.
Select 21 was a wrap!! It ended last month on a high. A couple weeks ago, there was an artists’ talk through Zoom with the participating artists, minus one who had Covid. This gave us the chance to showcase our exhibiting work and talk in depth about it. I said my piece on the Petrol Station Series, which I am proud of til this day. Of course, I was all over the place with nerves. After going through delays and setbacks for over a year, Select 21 was a success met with many positive feedback and praise.
I went on a hiking trip on Saturday with a Meetup group called Outdooraholics. It was my second outing with them. We went to Lullingstone Castle and Country Park, although initially started from the town of Otford in Kent, soon making our way there – it was a ten mile walk (or 16 kilometres). We went across fields, hills and woods, even horses. I will be hiking with the group again this Saturday in Guildford, going through the North Downs and River Wey.
For today’s Film Friday, I selected Fuji Pro 400h in 35mm.
In early 2021, Fuji had announced that they were discontinuing Fuji Pro 400h in both 35mm and 120. I did a Film Friday in June on the 120 film. Despite its unexpected axing, the medium format is still selling at some online photographic retailers, at its standard retail price.
Sadly the same can’t be said for the 35mm, which is now gone forever… unless you go on eBay or similar sites, where they are selling a single roll from £20 (or even twice the price).
I did manage to buy a few rolls last year. My intention wasn’t buying them for keepsakes, I did want to put them into great use one day.
Fuji Pro 400h has a decent speed of 400, quite the standard ISO for general shooting – a good all rounder. The film has been recommended for wedding or portrait photography, due to the colour quality and fine grain.
I tested out two Pro 400h rolls while on holiday To Switzerland around six months ago. I went to Burgenstock and Pilatus, two famous mountains. I had shot the film on the Olympus XA2 camera.
My aim was to do landscape photography from the highest peak, on and from the mountains. The outcome came out good after processing and scanning, although they would have been better as darkroom prints.
Most Fuji colour films produce vivid greens, due to the layers and often have the finest colour quality with its tones and contrasts. Like the Pro 400h, scans of the mountains were highlights and examples from the results.
I have two 400h rolls left in the fridge: one expired from last August, something I did deliberately, and another still in date. Hopefully, I will shoot them both for the final time very soon…
For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting a roll of Lomography Earl Grey on a Canon EOS 500n with the 50mm 1.8 lens and UV filter.
Lomography once had a small selection of Black and White film, Earl Grey and Lady Grey; with an ISO of 100 and 400, respectively. Fast forward to now, Lomo has a wide variety to choose from, such as the Kino film range, including Potsdam, Berlin, Fantome and Babylon.
Earl Grey was probably the last original Lomo Black and White film I shot with, which was a few years back – during the pre-colour filter period. Also this was around the time I had purchased the Epson V550, and I was in the learning process of working my way around negative scanning.
I took to the streets with the Lomo film already loaded in my Canon SLR. I began shooting down the local market, then afterwards going to another destination by bus but unfortunately my camera’s battery died. Perfect timing… NOT!!
Not all bad news, the outcome was the icing on a sweet and delicious cake. The deep black tones are the main highlight from this film, due to its low speed which is an advantage. Both the lens and filter were a contributing factor; the aperture was set at f1.8, something I often do whenever using this lens. It’s great for capturing sharpness and detail from the main subject, especially when up close.
Earl Grey clearly didn’t disappoint. I think it is ideal for street or portrait photography, mainly for the contrasts and tones, as it can produce soft and smooth results.
I would love to use this film again in the future, maybe on another camera (preferably manual setting as most Lomo films are non DX coded). Luckily enough, I do have a single roll, possibly expired from a while ago.
For today’s Story Time Sunday, I will be sharing my family trip to St Kitts and Nevis in 2006.
To coincide with my mum’s birthday, which is on the 31st January, I decided to share some snaps from our trip away. The original photos were shot on digital, however I couldn’t find the disc where the images are on, instead I scanned the available prints. There were a lot, many not in organised order and many not making the final cut for this post. Note: not all photos were taken by me, some were by other family members or individuals, so they are credited as ‘Williams Family’.
It was January 2006, the Christmas holidays were over and it was still winter. I was 14, in Year 9 and in secondary school. The exact dates escape me, however I believe it was sometime in mid January when we flew out to Nevis. Some members of my maternal family came along, which mainly consisted of one aunty, a few uncles and some cousins. It was my first time ever going on a plane – yes, I can remember that experience very vividly as we took a connecting flight from Antigua to Nevis.
My cousins and I had never been to St Kitts and Nevis before. My mum hadn’t been back since 1981, around twenty five years ago at that point. Most likely my other relatives, including aunts and uncles, hadn’t returned back in a long time either.
This trip was very important for all of us; we learnt more about our family history and heritage, plus it was a chance for to meet extended and distant relatives while we were on the island. We briefly went to the town where my mum and her siblings grew up, who were primarily raised by their grandmother, unfortunately the house was no longer there. We soon went to the slightly bigger neighbouring island of St Kitts only for the day, which is famous for its Brimstone Hill Fortress – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Going to the Caribbean was a culture shock for my cousins and I, as we grew up in the United Kingdom, mainly in cities and were very fortunate to have access and resources to education and living. In our parents’ time, it was completely different; they didn’t have much growing up, but they worked very hard to provide for themselves and survive during tough times.
Some family members stayed in various places around Nevis: my mum, aunt and one cousin and I stayed at a distant relative’s house. We were often woken up by a cockerel almost every morning. My uncles and other cousins (one uncle had taken three of his four daughters along) stayed elsewhere on the island. We didn’t hang around much, I was probably with my mum and aunt for the majority of the holiday.
The two weeks were slightly slow. It was an advantage as I wasn’t really missing school or any lessons, although I was possibly behind with all my schoolwork but I didn’t care. My dad was left behind in London, however he did book a flight to Florida a week later to visit relatives.
We managed to have a birthday dinner for my mum’s 50th, nearly the whole family was there including other relatives from the island. We went to a Caribbean restaurant somewhere in town. I do believe we had gone to the same place around a day or two before.
Once we left Nevis, we went on another connecting flight through Antigua and then flew back into Gatwick. Back to the London life, although my uncles and some cousins went straight back to Leeds after landing.
I eventually went back to school the following week, so it was back to business and ‘normality’ for me. This break was well needed; it was absolute hell at school and I couldn’t wait to get away from it all.
Recently, my mum has expressed her desire to return back to Nevis, since it has been sixteen years. Other family members have since gone a few times, pre-pandemic and doing the same amount of exploring like we did.
Maybe one day, my mum’s dream will be fulfilled to finally go back to the motherland… once everything has eased completely…
Note: Tonight’s post came later than expected due to technical difficulties. My sincere apologies
For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting an expired roll of Kodak Pro Image on a Canon Z135.
A match made in heaven with a simple Point and Shoot and an expired Kodak roll. What could possibly go wrong? Well nothing much, apart from the fact it took me a long while to scan the negatives, which I did happen to do yesterday before writing this blog post longhand. Thankfully the process didn’t take too long.
This was the first time shooting the Pro Image on the Canon Z135. My second time would be later on in 2021, when away in Bognor Regis, although the film was pushed to a stop from 100 to 200.
For shooting, I went around my local area to a couple of parks and walked through a few quiet residential streets. Normally if I have no or little inspiration whenever out with the camera, I would take photos of random things and see where it goes from there. Sometimes it would take me a while to get the film(s) developed or scanned, depending whether I want to see the outcome.
I had used Pro Image before on my Canon EOS 500n SLR, mainly for street shots and candids. The film came from the same original five pack, expired in January 2020 and bought from Analogue Wonderland. I wanted to test out the Pro Image on a smaller, simple and sufficient camera like the Canon Z135 to see if there were any comparisons between the SLR.
As expected, some expired film can vary in results, especially colour. Fortunately there were no significant changes or shift in the frames after both processing and scanning; the consistency was the same and smooth, particularly both colour and tones. This film is suited for daylight photography due to its low speed, although I’m guessing it’s possible to chance it with night or low light shooting – I have done this before, with good enough results.
Kodak Pro Image goes hand-in-hand for both street and nature photography, despite this film is mainly for shooting portraits. Pro Image can certainly deliver the goods, plus it caters to wider photographic genres and styles. Not to mention, it’s very useful on Point and Shoot cameras, and film SLR’s, or a Holga (only if a 35mm adapter is used).
For now, I have two remaining rolls left in the drawer, waiting to be inside another camera again. Maybe another manual setting camera…
For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting a roll of expired Fuji Superia Xtra 800 on the Olympus Mju 1.
The Superia 800 was originally a Film Friday in late 2020, an eBay buy plus expired nearly fifteen years ago. Not to mention, this particular Superia (also the 400 ISO) has now been discontinued by Fujifilm, it is nowhere to be seen through online retailers, with the chance of possibly floating on eBay or similar sites.
My initial plan was to shoot the Superia on my Canonet 28, however the camera’s highest ISO was up to 400. Not all hope was lost, as I would use the same camera for another film, on the same day. So instead I used the Superia on the Olympus Mju 1, a slightly modern camera with automatic settings.
I tested the film at the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington, London. At the time, it had recently been reopened to the public after lockdowns slowly eased in the United Kingdom.
To take advantage of the film’s high speed and grain, I captured a few low light shots in the main part of the museum, mostly the sculptures and statues, some wrapped in plastic. I did use flash in one shot, although I believe it isn’t necessary, and hardly use it. I was confident the outcome from the film would be similar to Kodak Portra 800 or the Lomo CN 800.
Oh, I was very wrong!!
As predicted, expired film can often produce surprising results, depending on how long it has been expired or what condition it has been kept in, especially where stored.
It was difficult to tell if there was a significant amount of colour shift; most frames didn’t come out that well after both processing and scanning. The ones shot in low light didn’t result fairly either, however the stained glass shots were decent enough, all thanks to the LED backlighting.
My time with both film and camera was far from over. After the museum trip, I decided to walk through the local market as it was closing for the day. I began photographing a few shop fronts and market stalls, quite visible and clearer from the negative scanning – a completely whole different comparison to the museum scans, and this is on the same roll!! Yet again, flash wasn’t really necessary, as the built in flash is very bright for night shooting.
The expired Superia wasn’t to my liking, to be honest. I’m glad I got the results and scanned them, since I didn’t want to put them aside or to waste for no reason. I was curious to see its potential outcome, which was certainly not the best of the bunch.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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…
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.
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…