Monday Monthly Mentions – May 2023: My Return from Tenerife and What Next?

How it Started in Tenerife: A view of Santa Cruz from Palmetum, a lovely botanical garden

It has been a month since I returned back to London from Tenerife. The three months went quicker than I had expected, however it was a wonderful experience to live abroad, away from home and my usual surroundings.

  • My first week was in Santa Cruz, in the north of Tenerife. Sadly the weather wasn’t the best as it was raining on some days, which was unusual on probably the driest island in the world plus it is not too far from Africa.
I spent five days in Santa Cruz, where I stayed at a hotel very close to the port (nearby this sign)
  • My second week I stayed in Adeje until the very end, with the exception of going to Puerto de la Cruz for five days towards the end of February. While on my short break, I did fall ill with a possible stomach bug. I did make a full-ish recovery and was able to go to the famous Loro Parque zoo.
  • I was primarily based in Adeje, where I attended the local language school, SMS Spanish School. I stayed with a host called Ana, who is originally from Argentina but has lived in Tenerife for over twenty years. She also has two Siamese cats Lola and Sasha, who are mother and daughter, respectively.
Cats Chillin’: Lola (left) and Sasha (right). They are absolutely adorable!!
  • Communicating in Spanish did have its challenges, sometimes I would pronounce words wrong or not in order. I did a few refreshers in some classes, focusing on the preterite and imperfect verbs, also learning the past perfect and future tenses. Not going to lie, some classes were incredibly overwhelming and I walked out on one. I did feel embarrassed, however my teacher and classmates were very understanding. Fortunately in my last week at the school, I did have one-to-one lessons with my teacher, and went through certain verbs again.
  • During the weekend or sometimes after class, I would take the bus (aka ‘guagua’, as it is known locally) and explore around or in the surrounding areas of Adeje. I often went to Fañabé beach or Los Cristianos. I did go to other places along the coast like Costa del Silencio and Playa San Juan. It was quite relaxing to go out for afternoon wanders until the early evening, and it was an advantage since I had my cameras with me.
The Real Costa of Adeje: I found myself down Costa Adeje frequently, sometimes walking along by the beach towards Fañabé
JMW Turner come to life in Los Cristianos: Sunsets were beautifully in Tenerife, normally they would set from 7pm (or a few minutes before) and gradually get darker
  • Speaking of photography, I used the Fuji Xe1 more than film. Unfortunately, there were specs of dust and particles on the camera sensor and I did attempt to clean it myself. The good news is it has been professionally cleaned in London at the time of typing this. Yet I have the tedious task of getting rid of the unwanted sports on photos during the editing process.

Film was a walk in the park. I only took the Olympus XA2 and ten rolls of Kodak Trix 400 (expired). Yes, a Film Friday feature from last year. It probably took me a week to finish one roll, although towards the end, I completed two in a day as I went on a couple of day trips to La Gomera, a small nearby island on the weekend, then Mount Teide and a few other small towns on the following Monday.

Shooting film wasn’t so much as a task like before when I used to take 20 to 30 rolls for a week’s trip or less, with a mixture of different film brands and emulsions. For Tenerife, I decided to ‘cut down’ on the film for the ten-ish weeks I was there and thank goodness I made that decision; processing will be an easier task, as well as producing prints.

  • I flew back into London a month ago, just in time for Easter. My flight was slightly delayed, also a bit chaotic when boarding but overall the journey was smooth. When I arrived back, it was raining heavily unsurprisingly – typical British weather not compared to the very warm weather back in Tenerife.
Just landed: it was wet and rainy back in London, no surprise there

I did promise myself I shall return back to Tenerife in the near future, most likely next year and possibly for a shorter period. At the moment, I have to see how things go…

  • Post-Tenerife Blues and what am I doing?:

Nothing much. Kinda.

Since being back, I have been catching up with a few friends, as well as doing some job hunting so I can fill in some time until I go back to work in October.

I want to focus on photography, especially improving on digital photography and finally getting my way around Affinity, despite downloading it last year.

I didn’t manage to do any craft projects in Tenerife with the cards and watercolour paints. I will still use the materials in the future, maybe for something else.

Not forgetting, home developing. I have the Ilford developer, but not the processing equipment such as the tank, fix and wetting agent. It has been one of my main aims to do for a long while, hopefully I will get around to doing it very soon.

Outside of photography and creativity, I really, really want to take care of my mental health and wellbeing a bit more. I find myself casually neglecting it time and time again, even though I go to therapy, I still have to work on myself by getting the right tools and resources.

New hair, who’s this?: I managed to get my hair braided while in Tenerife (since has been taken out). Here’s a rare photo of me, taken by a German tourist on a boat trip to Masca

For now, I can do things at my own pace without feeling the pressure.

Take care and stay safe

(Belated) Monday Monthly Mentions – January 2023: Belated New Year, Blogging Plans and Other Interests

Happy Belated New Year everyone!! Over a week into 2023, it still feels strange as last year went by quickly.

Here is the lowdown:

  • I am currently on a career break from work (or a sabbatical), now until September. I return back to work in October. So in the meantime, I will be keeping myself busy during those nine months
  • Tenerife Times: Well the good news is that I am going to Tenerife next week, not for a holiday but three months to do a Spanish immersion course. I enrolled at a language school down South in the coastal area, however I start the following week.

I had been planning to do a Spanish immersion abroad since last summer, although I was already attending classes in London. I have been learning Spanish on-and-off for nearly a decade. My main goal for 2023 is to hopefully improve and be fluent in the language. This could enable me to learn other Romance languages, such as Italian, French and Portuguese as Spanish is similar to them.

Also I am planning to do a photography based project during my Tenerife stay. So keep your eyes out for updates…

  • Same Blog, Some Possible Changes: The blog will be going through a few ‘changes’ in this year. First one is Film Friday; my plan is to start the feature later than scheduled, most likely in March. The good news is that I had already written out the list of films for the fortnightly posts, with some I may have to purchase after I come back from Tenerife. Film Friday was dry in 2022, and I am considering retiring it when the year ends due to the cost of film. While it’s popular, sometimes film is not always widely available with them getting discontinued and stock shortages.

Tried and Tested Thursday will remain, I will still post entries as much as possible – so advanced apologies if there are a lack of them in the coming months. I would like to discuss other things apart from film and photography, maybe trying out something creative or experimenting with other art mediums, or talk about other topics not necessarily related to creativity.

Story Time Sundays? The rare occurrence. The only feature that doesn’t discuss really anything photography related, with the last post being in January 2022. My plan is to do at least six or seven posts this year, fortunately I have got one written longhand it just needs to get typed up. The story times unleash the true me of rambling, however I do plan on cutting the entry length down a tad bit.

Monday Monthly Mentions? Still here with the same format: exhibitions, photography, art, life, news and personal anecdotes. I will most likely have to cut down the length of each entry.

  • Other Interests Beyond Photography: The main advantage of taking time off from work is to pursue other interests or explore new ones. I would like to focus on writing, including blogging and maybe send some written pieces to competitions or submissions. I wrote story outlines, mind maps and plans in 2022, as well as revisiting a few previous planned ideas. Hopefully something will get materialised or published this year.

I want to concentrate on arts and crafts, mainly scrapbooking, plus getting back into painting again, but start off simple with watercolours or acrylics. I bought some arty bits from Hobby Craft and The Works, some I will take with me to Tenerife to do my photography project.

The Real Art Attack Mode: Prepping for my upcoming photography/crafts project

Also I really want to explore the great outdoors of the United Kingdom. I signed up for a few walks and hikes through Meetup groups. I planned to stay within the Southeastern region for now, mainly around the home counties of Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Kent. There might be a chance that I will go beyond or towards the southwest like Sussex or Hampshire. It would be great to discover some hidden gems.

Before I end this post, I would like to share a couple of rare photos of myself, which were taken on the weekend by my dear friend Sally. The camera shy photographer in her habitat, clutching onto her Cath Kidston purse about to pay for the bill!!

Take care and stay safe

Film Friday: Ilford Multigrade Resin Coated Papers

For today’s final Film Friday of 2022, I selected Ilford printing photographic paper, but there is a slight difference: I chose three packs of paper in two different sizes.

It has been a few years since I last bought any Ilford paper. As I am returning back to the darkroom, I thought it would be a great idea to stock up on some.

The Prime Suspects, all for a purpose: My recent buys from Parallax Coop in Brixton

The Ilford papers are all Multigrade Resin Coated (or MGRC for short): Portfolio in glossy – 3⅞ x 5⅞ inches; Warmtone in glossy – 5 x 7 inches, and finally Deluxe in pearl – 5 x 7 inches. Ilford had recently updated and improved their printing papers for the first time in years.

I decided to break the bank by buying the Portfolio papers, however the unique 3⅞ x 5⅞ inch size was my original choice; I initially wanted 4 x 6 inches, however Parallax didn’t have it in stock at the time. The size purchased is known as the ‘postcard size’, ironically on the back of the papers had the postcard layout with lines to write the address and a box to place the stamp on.

I doubt the dent would affect the papers. The box does feel heavier than expected even though its small size

I went through the sample print swatches at Parallax when I came across the Portfolio paper. I was curious to see what it was like, plus I wanted to try other Ilford papers even if it included going over my budget. The Portfolio did draw me in because it produces deep black tones since it was glossy, also it would be useful to produce high quality prints for exhibitions or public displays. I will have to do a few tests with the pack at some point in the near future. Fortunately it comes in a pack of one hundred, which will probably last me for quite a while.

The Warmtone paper has been my ‘go-to’ for printing for the last couple of years. I bought it in both pearl and gloss, mostly in the 8 x 10 inch size. The paper has a ‘warm’ tint when used for printing, almost reminds me of using an orange filter. Printing with this paper in gloss, the finish is smooth especially the deep tones and shadows. Weirdly enough the Warmtone paper doesn’t come in Satin, but something similarish semi-matte in fibre based.

Warmtone Ways: 5 x 7 inch paper is the way forward, I find it easier to print with and ideal for travel photography, capturing the finer details

Last but not least, the Deluxe in pearl. One of the first darkroom papers that I ever used when I began darkroom printing at university back in 2012. It was my usual printing paper, in sizes 8 x 10 and 5 x 7 inches; sometimes 25, 50 or 100 papers in a pack.

Slightly cheaper than getting the 100 pack, just a spare in case of emergencies

For ole times sake, I decided to purchase a 25 pack in pearl – the new edition, 5 x 7 inches. I don’t think I will open them just yet, not until I finish the old original pack first – yes, there are still a few papers left when I did feel the black carbon bag. There might be a difference in quality with both the original and updated papers. Worth doing my own Tried and Tested with them.

Fun fact: the original paper marked ‘£7.42’ was bought from Silverprint, when they were in London around circa 2012-2013. So now the price has hiked, selling a pack of 25 for £11.51 from Parallax

That’s it!! I haven’t done a Film Friday for months, I thought I would post my final entry this year with something different to film and technically darkroom printing is similar. It’s good to share and explore other elements of photography.

I would like to wish all my readers and everyone a Happy New Year!!

Take care and stay safe in 2023

Tried and Tested Thursday: What to Do With My Film? (Part 2)

Note: I initially wrote this entry in September (by hand), so some things were changed

For today’s final Tried and Tested Thursday of 2022, I will be talking about film again, the ones I am yet to get processed.

Back in January, I posted an entry about shooting film, as well as my aim to get them developed at some point.

Washi tape and food bags holding it together: my film lives rent free in the plastic drawers of my bedroom. The following photos were originally shot in September

The bad news is that some are still in that mail bag, some in ice cream tubs and others in the Japan Camera Hunter cases. It looks like that processing everything asap will take longer than expected.

The good news is that I’m gradually picking up my camera(s) again. I’m mainly focusing on 120 film, especially the Holga since I don’t really have to fuss around with it that much: simply load the film and take twelve exposures, then develop the roll(s) and probably scan at least 70% of the frames from the negatives.

The other good news is that I’m actually saving a bit more money by not buying as much film than I used to. There was a time when I did buy quite a lot, Kodak in particular. Then over the last few years there have been so many price hikes, notably and not surprisingly Kodak and Fuji. I often mention the prices going up on here, which certainly has affected my relationship with film photography; is it really worth buying film anymore? Are there any alternatives such as going back to digital?

Fragile Film: the mailbag used for storing my growing collection of undeveloped film

2022 has been ‘lukewarm’, similarly like last year in terms of creativity and motivation. As I haven’t been shooting film a lot, I was able to pursue other interests like writing, hiking, badminton and language learning. On occasion, I tried fitting photography in between my other hobbies whenever possible.

Sometimes I have photography ideas in my head when I am out and about, however I soon regret not taking my camera with me. So the best option is to use my Samsung phone as a camera, although it does take decent enough photos it doesn’t have the same ‘feel’ as film.

At this moment, I still have to organise and decide which rolls I would like to get developed. It might be a chore to do. I’m positive that at least 90% of them will be processed in the new year, however it might take slightly longer to go through them. I know that I have a lot from 2021-2022, notably from my holidays to Malta and Portugal.

Gathering dust on the Hunter Cases: Black case with rolls shot in Malta, and white case rolls shot in Portugal

The 35mm rolls in the ice cream tub will be developed at home, as they are all black and white and it will be easier to do with a little help from Ilfosol 3 added with extra patience, which is severely needed.

So what’s the solution? It will definitely take a while to go through the films. I might have to dedicate a few weeks of me-time to see what rolls of film I would like to have developed, scanned or possibly printed in the darkroom. Closely inspect them one by one perhaps, that could certainly be beneficial.

Thankfully I am not particularly fussed. It would be nice to see the end results after developing, something that I really like about film is the anticipation and potential outcome – good or bad.

Either way, it is entirely up to me. Time will tell whatever happens along the way…

Take care and stay safe

Monday Monthly Mentions – December 2022: My Absence (again), Future Plans and Everything Else

Hello there, I hope everyone had a good Christmas!!

Obviously it has been a while since I last posted, as proven I have been notably absent on here. A LOT happened during my time away, so here is the ‘low down’:

  • September was my birthday. I turned 31 and this time I was at home, by that I mean not abroad on holiday like the previous couple years.
Bitscoff Birthday: Sri knew that I love Bitscoff biscuits. This was truly the icing on the cake – pun intended

It was a lovely birthday weekend celebrating with friends and family. Friday was my actual birthday, so I went to the local pub with three co-workers where we had drinks and food. One other co-worker’s birthday was a couple days after mine (can’t remember) – it was a double celebration!! My colleague Sri got me a custom made fresh cream Bitscoff cake from Paul’s Bakery in Ilford (note: my name is spelt wrong, very common. I am so used to it). That was very nice and kind of her, and the cake was very delicious and filling. I also ordered pizzas for the other co-workers, who were working the evening shift.

Saturday, I went to Cambridge with my good friend Sally, only for the day. I took my digital camera Fuji Xe1 for a test drive, which I will talk about a little later in this post.

We went around the town, exploring the universities, churches, streets and the river. The weather was lovely on that day, just chilling and taking it easy.

Sunday, I went to a steak restaurant with my parents, our ‘usual’ in Woodford Green, Miller & Carter. Highly recommended for steak lovers!! I love a good ole juicy steak and I had been yearning for it for a while. There aren’t many decent steak houses around where I live.

Sunday Steak Meal: To finish off the birthday weekend on a delicious high

Anyway, I did enjoy my birthday weekend. It felt lowkey, something I am comfortable with as I am getting older. The fanfare and fuss doesn’t bother me that much anymore.

  • Going digital: I am officially a very proud owner of a Fuji Xe1 camera. I bought the pancake lens first from eBay, then with a little help via Photofusion I got the camera body (another eBay purchase by ‘proxy’), which I got on my birthday!! Gave it a test drive the next day in Cambridge, as I was very eager.

It is a slow process going back to digital, I still try to use it as much as possible. Including fairly recently when I went to Bologna last month.

Fuji-tastic!! First time in years buying a digital camera, that happened to be second hand
  • Third is a charm: Yes, I went on my third and final holiday of this year, which was to Bologna in Italy. I stayed there for a week, however I travelled to other places in the Northern region such as Ferrara, Florence and Ravenna. During that week, on Saturday I went on a long walk to the famous church Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca (or simply ‘San Luca’), that is on top of a hill. I was very lucky to have seen it a distance away from my B&B room.
To San Luca and Beyond: The walk to there was worth it, only 5 miles approx. from my B&B

Of course, I ate quite a lot of Italian food, mostly the regional cuisine. Not only pizza, I also tried out various dishes such as cappellacci, lasagne alla bolognese and others I forgot the names of. Thankfully I met up with a friend, who is Italian, that had great knowledge of the regional food. Not forgetting, I had a refreshing glass of Aperol Spritz!!

  • Photography Plans? What’s going on with that?: You tell me!! Seriously, photography for me this year has been slightly lukewarm.

I haven’t bought much film this year, and I still got quite a lot stashed away, most of them in date. Plus I haven’t shot as much film like the previous year, only shooting whenever necessary, which is becoming rare. On average, I probably shot at least three to four films per month. If travelling, I would take ten rolls depending on the duration. Recently, I took four Rollei rolls when I went to Italy.

Film is getting expensive with the prices always hiking up, in particular Kodak – a brand I love, especially the colour films. Sadly buying Kodak will soon become an occasional thing.

Motivation and time has also been a contributing factor to a lukewarm year. I am probably going to use the same old excuse that work takes up my time, and it does, plus I get burnout easily. I have so many ideas in my head, yet they don’t always materialise.

So the only time I shoot film is on the available day(s) off. Sometimes I have to plan out what I would like to shoot, even if it is down the local area.

I’m hoping to do more photography in 2023, both film and digital. Not only that, work on my editing skills and practise. I would also like to develop my own film, slightly long overdue I must admit. It will definitely happen for sure, since I have the Ilford Developer although I need to get the full developing kit and accessories.

  • Back to Blogging?: I have two more entries to post before the end of 2022. Other than that, my aim is to blog more frequently again in 2023. Still the same-ish weekly features and content, although there might be a few small changes in the coming months.

So far, I made an outline of the blog, mainly the dates of posting. I did some post ideas for Tried and Tested Thursdays; I already wrote a list for Film Friday. All that’s left is to actually write out longhand drafts, then go over and then type them out. Oh, not forgetting to publish them here!!

Like photography, blogging has been ‘lukewarm’. I initially had post plans to write up, then my Macbook was on its last legs. Then the case of my Epson scanner: unfortunately it is not compatible with my Windows laptop unless I download VueScan. I really need to dedicate a time next year doing the whole set up, afterwards going through the negatives that need to be scanned. That will be a long process.

  • Future?: This year has its ups and downs, certainly it has opened my eyes wide to life, especially as I am getting older, which has put a perspective on many things.

Photography aside, I am glad 2022 was less stressful than both 2020 and 2021. Although we are still in a pandemic, things are slowly easing and gradually going back to ‘normal’. I am guessing it is far from over.

Thankfully, I was able to reconnect, discover, learn and explore this year. I am lucky that I had those chances and opportunities.

Let’s hope 2023 will bring us all happiness, positivity and health!!

Happy New Year

Take care and stay safe

Monday Monthly Mentions – September 2022: My Absence, Comeback, Photography and What’s Next…

Not the namesake himself, Raphael as I initially thought: it’s a portrait of Bindo Altoviti, an Italian banker painted by the famous Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, better known as Raphael (Image source: Wikipedia)

This is a slightly different Monthly Mentions as I have been absent from blogging for a while. Here’s the lowdown:

  • The last time I posted here was back in May. I haven’t even logged back into my WordPress account during that time
  • My absence has been noticeable on my social media platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram. I haven’t posted on Instagram since February, or Twitter for sometime. Normally I would take hiatuses for a few weeks, in the same vein as blogging, however this particular ‘break’ has been longer than expected
  • Issues with software: Probably the most ‘lousy’ yet valid excuse I could come up with. I did blame my scanner or software related issues for my delay from a previous post, which was very true. Well, it turned out that the Epson V550 isn’t compatible on my Windows 11 laptop, so I most likely have to download VueScan to resolve the issue (highly recommended too). All this technical stuff is overwhelming, but I am sure I will figure something out one day…
  • Also I did download Affinity a few months back, and to this day I hardly use it. I wanted to download an editing programme, mainly for watermarking my images, editing and cropping photos for blog posts. Plus I could dabble around with the software, experimenting with a variety of features and tools.
  • Which brings me to… Photography. What’s happening with that? Where to start and where to end?

I have to admit, I haven’t done much film photography recently. In fact, I only use my film cameras when I go on group hikes or occasionally, such as going around the streets of London.

At the moment, most of my undeveloped film rolls are in a plastic mail bag, while the rolls from the two holidays of this year, Malta and Portugal, are still in the Japan Camera Hunter cases.

Thankfully, I am still interested in film and photography. It’s just finding the dedicated time to pick up a camera (or two), photograph, go darkroom, develop and scan. I am hoping to go back to the darkroom at some point this year; get back to scratch and start printing again.

I must say the upside from not doing much photography is not buying film. I cannot remember the last time I bought film, maybe a few months ago – certainly this year, but it has been a while. The prices keep hiking up, a major put off for me. So for now, I am gradually working through the films that I currently have in my collection until they are gone for good.

  • The blog and its current state: At the beginning of this year, I had nearly planned out Photographic Jannine: feature posts, like Film Friday; potential Tried and Tested Thursday posts, also a few Story Time Sundays (the last one was in January). In life, stuff happens all thanks to the ‘technical issues’, mentioned earlier. Not only that, sometimes it was the motivation to write up posts at the last minute, at times not reading over what I wrote. It soon became a chore and I was like ‘f**k it! Why bother!’ My advanced apologies for the language.

I had so many ideas for 2022, mainly projects and series. I had wanted to emulate the success from the Petrol Station Series, which I regard as my best work to date. I had another project in the pipeline too; it initially started off slowly, however now it is on an indefinite pause. I am not even sure if it’ll ever continue soon.

‘Saint Catherine of Alexandria Artist’ by Raphael (circa 1507-1509): I have recently been inspired by Italian Renaissance paintings, as I went to a Raphael exhibition in London a couple months back
  • So what’s the future? Simple answer is: I don’t know. I don’t know what the future is for this blog. My absence from it has been so long that I enjoyed pursuing other interests, mostly outside of photography.

In my head I would like to post regularly from this month and beyond, although realistically it just depends on my mood or motivation. Planning and drafting blog posts for weeks ahead can be daunting, since I have to keep on top of things. I guess it can be done, if I have the right mindset and drive.

A few post features might be put on hold until the new year, however I will see how everything pans out from here.

For now, I need to focus on both my wellbeing and health.

I would like to wish everyone the best and a huge thank you to my followers and readers. I really appreciate the love, kindness and support!!

Take care and stay safe

(A Very Belated) Monday Monthly Mentions – May 2022: Algarve in April, African Photography Showcase, Where are the Good Scanners? and Best Cameras for Travel

Advanced apologies for missing Monday Monthly Mentions from a couple weeks ago. I came back from my holiday a few days prior, I was still in ‘holiday mode’ and I didn’t have time to draft up an entry. Also there were a few technical difficulties, which now have been resolved.

Before I start today’s post, I wanted to share some sad news of Sharon Harris’ passing. Although she died in October, I only found out about this last month through my Facebook feed. I managed to get in contact with her family member, which did confirm the news. I hadn’t been on social media much, pretty much dipping in and out every once in a while.

I originally met Sharon in Zurich 2020. Weirdly enough we were on the same flight, only seats apart and stayed at the same hostel – even in the same room, opposite bunk beds.

Sharon was a journalist for the Glamorgan Star and lived in Cardiff. Like me, she was an avid traveller, except she travelled around the world many times, visiting many countries and continents. We spoke about places we had visited and experiences, even Eastenders at one point. We did keep in touch afterwards, although we would never see each other again in person.

As mentioned, I hadn’t been on social media much and finding out about Sharon’s death was an absolute shock.

May Sharon Harris Rest In Peace. My thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues

  • April Algarve: A few weeks after my trip to Malta, I went away to the Algarve in the south of Portugal. I began my journey from Faro and ending in Lagos (in Portugal), then flying out from Faro. I went away for over a week, exploring different towns and places each day. The weather was mostly nice, hot and warm despite it raining heavily probably twice.
Written in the sand: I wrote my name in the sand at the beach in Sagres

As usual, I took my film cameras with me. However a huge faux pas, I didn’t even realise until I went back to my hostel that there was no film loaded in the Olympus XA2. I spent the whole day in Sagres shooting without any film, but not all was lost. I took some photos on both my Olympus Mju 1 and phone. A sigh of relief, although I was initially devastated.

  • Analogue in Algarve: On the subject of film, I went to a small photography museum in Tavira, Casa Fotografia Andrade. A photographic studio run by the Andrade family for generations to the present day. Worth a visit, learning the early stages and history of photography in Portugal. Only a five Euro fee to enter and stay as long as you like. I did buy a photobook from the museum shop as a souvenir, with photographs that were seen on display.
A Photographic Souvenir from the museum
  • Wonderful Winehouse: I went to the ‘Amy: Beyond the Stage’ exhibition at the Design Museum at last!! It was closing the same week, and thankfully I did manage to buy a ticket right in time.  A lovely and moving tribute to Amy Winehouse, who was gone too soon. The exhibition was an eye opener; from a young talented girl from North London to a global superstar, who battled her demons in the public eye. It was great to see Amy’s legacy still living on through the exhibition, as well as a foundation set up in her name, supporting and helping young people from addictions and providing programmes.
  • Showcasing, Emerging and Growing: Doyle Wham is an art gallery in Shoreditch that displays and celebrates works by African photographers. Founded by a Royal College of Art graduate and a museums/heritage scholar, their aim was to showcase the African artistic scene and narrative. There’s an upcoming exhibition at the gallery from South African photographer Trevor Shuurman, ‘Life Through The Lens’, opens from 13th May to 2nd July
  • Food Photography for Thought: Karen Thomas is a London based food photographer, who has worked with a variety of well known brands such as McDonald’s, Costa and Marks & Spencers. She began learning photography from her father, also a photographer. Then experimented in the darkroom while at secondary school. After graduating from university, Thomas would be freelancing and photographing cars. Let’s say food was her passion and the rest is history…
  • Dude, where’s my film scanner? Or at least the good ones? An interesting question that is asked in Amateur Photographer. I want to know the answer too. I have an Epson V550, originally bought from Argos in 2017. I am yet to set it up on my new laptop, which will be a mission to do as I am uncertain it’ll be compatible with Windows 11 (originally installed on my Macbook Pro). The scanner is very good and reliable, still working and looks near enough in mint condition
  • Camera Can Travel: Lastly, going digital? Check. Travelling? Check. Digital Camera World has listed cameras perfect to pack for holidays, brands ranging from Olympus to Nikon

Take care and stay safe

Film Friday: Ilford Ortho Plus in 120

For today’s Film Friday, I selected Ilford Ortho Plus in 120.

Ilford released Ortho Plus (or Ortho 80, as I call it) in late 2019 in 35mm, 120 and sheet film. The same year around the same time, Ilford had unveiled a new range of photographic papers for darkroom printing, Multigrade RC Deluxe.

It’s Ortho comes in 120: A recent purchase for round two

Ortho Plus has been described as a film suitable for landscape photography, all thanks to its ‘blue and green sensitivity’. On the Ilford website it stated, the Ortho’s emulsion sensitivity can enable the film ‘to be handled in deep red safelight conditions making processing and inspection easier.’

Ortho Plus produces fine grain and sharpness – a plus side for film photographers, who are hoping to achieve the smoothest results, especially when making prints in the darkroom.

The film’s box speed is rated at 80, which is ideal for daylight shooting or for sources of natural light. There are options of shooting below the ISO, such as 40 for tungsten shooting. Mostly suitable for cameras with manual settings or controls, although pushing or pulling could be possible when processing.

Having bought the films in 35mm and 120, I thought I could give them a  test run. The latter I shot on my Holga, earlier last year down Epping Forest.

The results were good, however there were unwanted spots on the frames after processing. This was most likely a bad batch from production, and this isn’t the first time either. Ilford did make a statement on this issue as well, acknowledging this issue when it initially happened.

The unwanted spots were a let down, however had it not been there, the outcome would have been better quality wise.

At the time of shooting, which was in February 2021, the weather was overcast during the day. The tones and shadows were darker, despite not taping the Holga – from what I can remember.

I did buy another roll of Ortho in 120 some months ago, and I’m hoping to give another spin. Maybe this roll could be the better batch? Possibly I could try it on another medium format camera soon…

Off Hunting: Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge in Chingford

Happy Good Friday and Easter!!

Take care and stay safe

Monday Monthly Mentions – April 2022: Malta in March, Blog Absence, New Cinestill Film, Another Film Price Hike, Over 3000 Undeveloped Rolls and Home Printing

Malta Memories: Taking a photo of the Maltese flag and also flag of the Maltese Cross was a hard task, especially when it’s windy
  • Hello there, it has been a while since my last blog update. My absence/hiatus was longer than expected due to a few technical difficulties (with old Macbook) and time commitments – just to cut a long story short. It has been over two months since I bought my new laptop, so far I’m enjoying it although I have to install new editing software and the Epson scanner. I’m hoping to post regularly again here soon.
  • Malta in March: I finally did it! After two years of delays and cancellations, I made it to Malta last month. I spent just a week on the small island, where the weather started off nice, then it got windy and rainy days later. Sadly my trip to the neighbouring island of Gozo was disappointing due to the non-stop rain and wind. So my plans of exploring the island before flying home were doomed from the get-go. Thankfully prior to the bad weather, I did manage to go to Mdina, Rabat, Valletta and Sliema (where I was staying). I would definitely revisit in the near future, possibly next summer when it gets warmer.
  • Speaking of Malta: The country’s landscapes captured by Inigo Taylor are beautifully captured in monochrome, with the fine detail of the plants, fauna, clouds and surroundings. It gives it a timeless classic feel to each shot. He is based in Malta, as well as doing editorial work he is also a wedding photographer. I recommend checking out his website.
  • New Cinestill around the Corner: Cinestill is launching a new colour film in both 35mm and 120, called 400Dynamic. It is a daylight balanced film with a speed of 400, providing saturated colours added with ‘rich, warm skin tones’. The speed can be pushed from its box speed from 200 up to 3200, which is good news for all manual setting camera lovers. I will certainly be buying and trying.
  • Kodak Comeback: On the subject of new film, Kodak Gold in 120 made its comeback, with it now being widely available to buy at most photographic retailers. This five pack will not break the bank as it has been described as being ‘cheaper’ than Ektar and Portra at a quarter of the price. The medium format Gold still achieves the same results as the 35mm, which is all good news.
  • Not really news, as predicted – in my head: Fujifilm is increasing the film prices from this month up to 60%. Yes, another huge price hike, are we really surprised? Not really…
  • Printing at Home: ‘Is it worth it?’ That’s the question. Dave Kai Piper explains the benefits of digital home printing, giving a detailed lowdown on how this method can improve creativity and workflow. Plus providing useful information on printers and inks used to produce great quality prints.
  • Over 3000 undeveloped rolls of Rock and Roll Historic Moments: Photographer Charles Daniels had been shooting rock stars since the 1960s, famous names such as Jimi Hendrix, Rod Stewart and the Rolling Stones – and that is only to name a few, trust me there is more!! Over the years, Daniels has amassed 3200 rolls of undeveloped film. Luckily, there are plans on having them processed all thanks to donations through GoFundme. The article is very interesting, explaining Daniels’ background and career, certainly worth a read!!

Take care and stay safe

Film Friday: Invisible Film in 35mm

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

This roll of ‘film’ is clearly invisible, which you cannot see but you can still shoot with it. It has no film speed, also exposures are limitless – basically continuous shooting. So you don’t have to worry about running out of film.

The Invisible Film comes in a canister like most film

This Invisible Film is both colour and Black and White. Sounds strange doesn’t it? I guarantee that it could possibly be done.

When it comes to developing: don’t even bother, there’s no need. The negatives will come out invisible anyway. Disappointing I know…

Sadly, the Invisible Film is not widely available at any photographic retailers, and I doubt it in the near future.

I haven’t even shot this film either, maybe because it’s April’s Fools and chances are very thin.

Take care and stay safe