Monday Monthly Mentions – February 2022: Mum’s Birthday, Booster Jab, New Laptop and Expired Film

Time for Tulips: Full bloom for my Mum’s birthday
  • 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?
Thanks Melissa for these!! Stocked and ready to go
  • 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.

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: Never a Grey Day – Canon EOS 500n (UV Filter) with Lomography Earl Grey

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.

The famous self-portrait

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.

Inspecting the vegetables

Earl Grey is definitely my cup of tea!!

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

Film Friday: Lomography Color Negative 100 in 120

For today’s (delayed) Film Friday, I selected Lomography Color Negative 100 in 120.

I purchased a pack of Lomo CN 100 a couple months ago from Analogue Wonderland. It certainly hasn’t been the first time nor the last shooting with this film. I have been buying this film for the a few years, also it was one of the first colour medium format films I had ever bought.

Originally purchased around May of this year. Currently have two rolls left as of now

I describe the Lomo CN 100 as ‘the film for the Holga’, which is the absolute truth, having shot with it time and time again – results varying from shaky to vivid and bold colours.

I have used the Lomo on other medium formats too, from an Agfa Isolette folding camera to a Yashica TLR. The colour and quality varies from camera to camera, as some have manual settings and some don’t have the simplest of functions.

The Lomography often comes in a pack of three in both 35mm and 120, however you can buy a single roll from some retailers. I bought the Lomo CN 100 in a pack of three as I have always done. It’s probably one of cheapest colour medium format films in the market, also worth the money and great value – certainly not going to break the bank.

I would certainly highly recommend buying this Lomography film for beginners of 120 format. Perfect for daylight and sunny shooting, especially if using a Holga either taped or untapped, or even for pinhole photography.

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: Living Lubitel Life – Lubitel 166b with Lomography CN 400

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting a roll of Lomography Color Negative 400 on a Lubitel 166b.

Earlier this year I bought a Soviet-era TLR camera from eBay, the Lubitel 166b for under £50. Described in the film photography community as the ‘cheapest TLR’ in the market. Thankfully there are many of them floating on eBay, or similar selling sites, normally sold anywhere between £30 to £80 depending on the camera’s condition.

There’s also a modernised version of the Lubitel 166b, which Lomography had recreated and is sold via their official website. It’s made out of plastic and possibly lighter in weight compared to the original one, also the price tag is higher at £289.

The Lubitel camera was challenging to start with, since it differs slightly from other TLR’s. Loading the film was straight forward, a similar setup to loading in any medium format camera; turning the knob until you see ‘1’ through the small red window.

Manually focusing wasn’t easy, the viewfinder and I didn’t see eye to eye (pun intended). Not to mention, the little magnifying glass, which took a lot of patience to use. I am sure it will take some time and practice along the way eventually.

The shutter speed and aperture is manual, of course. Sans lightmeter as per usual, I had to figure out what shutter speed to set it at for shooting on an overcast day in late March. The ISO/ASA dial on the side of the TLR is technically redundant and has no significant use, so I doubt it would have affected the outcome from the film.

The chosen film was the Lomography Color Negative 400 (or simply Lomo CN 400 for short). It was the only high speed 120 film in colour I had in my stash at the time, so I thought it be would great to test the camera with that particular roll.

I stayed locally to test drive the Lubitel 166b, shooting mostly mundane stuff such as anything that caught my eye. While out, I realised the camera couldn’t fit properly in its leather case properly, so I had to put it in my tote bag, being extra careful while wandering out and making sure it didn’t drop.

After finishing the roll, I had it processed and as usual I scanned the negatives at home. I only picked nine frames out of the 12 from the negative, with many of them coming out OK despite shooting the Lubitel for the first time. The exposure wasn’t the best, the speed could have been set at 1/100 or below. The focusing wasn’t the greatest either, which I may need to improve on this.

The best shot from Lomo film was possibly of the gravestone. Not exactly sharp in focus, but I felt it was the strongest with the exposure on point, as well as the depth of field.

Graveyard Shift Snap: My personal favourites without even trying

My time with the Lubitel is far from over, despite the initial results, I’m hopeful that I will be able to master my way around the camera.

Luckily enough, I did give the Lubitel a second chance but this time shooting with a black and white roll quite recently. Hopefully this will be all unveiled in a future Tried and Tested Thursday…

Take care and stay safe

Film Friday: Lomography Potsdam Kino in 35mm and 120

For today’s Film Friday, I selected Lomography Potsdam Kino in both 35mm and 120.

Lomography had unveiled its first film of 2019, the Potsdam Kino in 35mm and 120. The Berlin Kino was only released the previous year, which was only in 35mm at the time.

I have a few Potsdam’s: the remaining rolls I have left, might order more at some point

My memory is slightly foggy on how I ordered the film, but it was either March or April of 2019 when I pre-ordered the Potsdam Kino in the two formats from the official Lomography website. I believed the film came all the way from Austria, where the company is based.

There were five rolls of the two formats. Lomography rarely sells single rolls, probably on the odd occasion. There are a few photographic retailers that sell Lomo film in singles, including Potsdam, such as Parallax and Analogue Wonderland.

The Potsdam Kino is a black and white film with an ISO of 100, added with fine grain and smoothness – just like most low speed films. The Lomo website described Potsdam as being ‘inspired by the New German Cinema sweeping through Europe in the 1960s’. Rolls were created from what was made to shoot cine film by a company in Germany.

Picture Potsdam Perfect: A few examples on the film packaging

Luckily, Potsdam does exactly what it says on the tin by producing ‘gorgeous grayscale pictures’, having shot 120 and 35mm around the streets of East London. The outcome came out quite good with the film producing sharp and deep tones. Makes a difference, especially shooting with colour filters, like I did when using my trusty Canon EOS 500n with a red filter on a wide angle lens.

The 120 film almost produced similar results to the 35mm, when shooting with a Yashica 635 TLR camera (sans filter). I played around with the TLR’s focusing, shutter speeds and aperture until I was satisfied to fire.

For the 35mm Potsdam roll, there is no DX coding. Like the Lomo Babylon and Fantome films, it is recommended to use a manual setting camera and set the ISO manually. Although I have used the Potsdam before on an Olympus Mju 1, which is a simple Point and Shoot with very limited controls and settings. Regardless, the photos came out ok after processing and scanning.

The 120 roll should be smooth sailing, which can possibly be used on any medium format camera out there; from Hassleblads, vintage box cameras to Holga’s. It’s worth noting that results may vary from each camera, but there’s no harm in trying a roll or two.

Take care and stay safe

Film Friday: Lomography Color Negative 400 in 35mm (Expired)

For today’s Film Friday, I selected Lomography Color Negative 400 in 35mm, which only expired quite recently in February of this year!!

I had planned on taking two packs of Lomo CN 400 with me to NYC, but changed my mind at the very last minute

I originally bought three packs from The Photography Show back in March 2019. The Lomo Store had a stall set up there, selling films, accessories and cameras at discounted prices.

This hasn’t been my first Lomo experience at the yearly convention, I went there back in 2017 and bought a variety of Lomo film in ISOs of 100, 400 and 800 – some in 35mm and 120.

I haven’t bought much Lomo film recently, I only have the expired packs of 35mm in 400 and 100 ISO in a drawer, just waiting for its eventual use. As well as a fridge of limited edition watermarked rolls.

I did however have two expired rolls in 400, recently shot with. Both expired in February 2020, both used in February of this year!! Loaded on two different manual cameras, an Olympus XA2 and Canonet 28 – I might do a possible Tried and Tested Thursday of the outcome soon.

Maybe use them a year later in February 2022?

Lomography CN 400 is my choice of colour film for almost everything – even at its speed, it’s standard and versatile for both day and night shots of any photographic style.

The great thing about Lomography film is that most of them come in packs of three rolls, which is reasonably price. Although Analogue Wonderland does stock single rolls in both 35mm and 120, for those who prefer buying them individually.

Lomography CN 400 is definitely the film to add as part of the collection, plus it’s worth the shooting experience whether you’re a beginner, enthusiast or professional. Also great for experimenting around on various cameras, from SLR’s, pinholes, toy cameras to basic Point and Shoot’s.

It’s endless!!

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: Colourful Cinque Terre – Canon EOS 500n with Lomography CN 100

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting a roll of Lomography Color Negative 100 on my Canon EOS 500n.

Another travel Throwback Thursday from April 2018 in Italy. I had been travelling through Nice in Southern France for a few days, then headed to La Spezia in Northern Italy (via Genoa), where I would spend some time there before heading home.

Cinque Terre (translated as ‘five towns’ in Italian) is the coastal area of towns in Liguria, also not too far from La Spezia. I went to all five towns within a couple of days by train, exploring them at my own pace; starting from Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and ending in Monterosso (also known as Monterosso Al Mare). 

As usual, I was geared up with my camera and rolls of film for my Italian adventure.

I had already done a Tried and Tested Thursday of Cinque Terre last year, on Ilford HP5 with the Jessops brand Yellow Filter – on the same Canon EOS 500n camera. For the colour film, I shot all the towns on the Lomography CN 100.

Like my trip to Nice, I had the Lomo CN 100 as one of my colour films of choice. I was shooting with other colour film brands, such as Kodak and Agfaphoto (aka the famous ‘Poundland Film’). The Lomography film was very predominant in my film travel collection.

Unlike the trip to Nice, the results from Cinque Terre varied after processing and scanning. There were a few hits and misses with the Lomography film, although colour darkroom printing was slightly better, since I had full control on settings and colour balance.

Plus the Cinque Terre scans weren’t the same as the Nice ones, in particular when I had shot in Promenade des Anglais. The Nice beach shots had a pastel feel to them, almost washed out in light blues and light pinks. The Cinque Terre shots weren’t on par with the pastel colours, some did have a vintage postcard feel to them especially the colourful houses.

The Lomography brand is a mixed bag in the film community with some either loving or hating them. I do like the Lomography films, there are some I would like to shoot with many times again. I played it safe with the colour films, mainly the 100 or 400. The latter has been my go-to since purchasing from the brand back in 2017, but I didn’t take any with me to France and Italy. Despite the 400 ISO film being popular for being all purpose and versatile, I was a little concerned if some shots would have come out very overexposed due to the bright daytime shooting.

The Canon EOS 500n was my camera of choice for the holiday. I used the wide angle lens that came with the camera, 28mm – 80mm, which is great for landscapes and travel photography. I had placed an UV filter on top of the lens whenever shooting colour film, only to prevent dust and haze.

The Manarola Money Shot

Whenever using the Canon film SLR, I always set it on Programme Mode. Similar to Auto or Automatic, often on many DSLR and SLR cameras, even a few digital compacts. Programme differs from Automatic; Programme enables settings change such as ISO, aperture, but exposure is automatically set. Whereas Automatic, is well automatic. I rarely use the other options on the dial, like Manual or Shutter – maybe I should by now…

I do think there’s some room for improvement, which does include a possible revisit to Cinque Terre in the near future. Film choice for next time, potentially warmer with good consistent colour quality, like Kodak Gold or Kodak Portra 400. I used both films before on bright days, the outcome came out brilliant once after scanning, plus darkroom printing on glossy paper. Possibly changing up the camera gear a bit, consider trying out a manual setting camera – Olympus Trip 35 or Minolta X700, both decent and a good way to test out its manual functions. Or maybe I should stick to my loyalty with Canon? Another manual camera to bring along with me, the Canon Canonet 28 – once I get that fixed.

Making Map decisions in Monteresso

Take care and stay safe

Film Friday: Lomography Babylon Kino 13 in 35mm

For today’s Film Friday, I selected Lomography Babylon Kino 13 in 35mm.

A couple weeks back, I had Lomography Fantome Kino as a Film Friday. That film was released at the same time as Babylon last year. Slightly a speed higher at 13 than Fantome, but still low and slow.

I’m convinced to do portraits this year – due to the sample image used

Like Fantome, it’s highly recommended that a fast lens is used, also a manual camera for exposure and control. I have a few manual cameras knocking around, but my Canon EOS 500n is most likely better to shoot with, as the ISO can be as low as six. Plus, I can attach a fast prime lens, the 50mm 1.8.

I haven’t shot the film as of yet, I will at some point, especially as it is getting brighter and spring is around the corner. Longer days will be expected, also it will be an advantage for available natural light.

I do have plans on developing the film myself at home. I will be using Ilford Ilfosol 3, which apparently is good for ‘gray tones’, according to the Lomo website, adding it will bring a ‘more gloomy and dramatic aesthetic’.

The Lomography website has photo samples from Babylon tested out by photographers. Even comparing results from various developers, including the mentioned Ilfosol 3 and a few other well known brands. This gives an insight on what to expect from this film.

The Darkroom has all six Lomography black and white films compared, even the Fantome and Babylon. Thanks to the slide feature, it is so much easier to see the comparisons of the same photos in different tones and contrasts.

Babylon will definitely be brilliant!!

Take care and stay safe

Film Friday: Lomography Fantôme Kino 8 in 35mm

For today’s Film Friday, I selected Lomography Fantôme Kino 8 in 35mm.

Last year Lomography unveiled two new black and white films, Fantôme Kino and Babylon Kino. Both very low speeds of 8 and 13, respectively. They were available to pre-order from the official Lomography website for either a pack of five or ten 35mm rolls. They sold at other photographic retailers soon afterwards.

A great sample picture to use on the packaging, hopefully it will convince me to do portraits this year

Today, I am concentrating on the Fantôme film. I bought a single roll from Analogue Wonderland some months ago, but I am yet to use it. Some inspiration is needed on what I can shoot with it.

The Lomography website stated the film is ‘perfect’ for pinhole cameras and ‘gritty’ street photography. Both things I would like to try out, especially pinhole photography as it would be great to get out of my comfort zone by experimenting around with it.

What about the low ISO of 8? This roll is most likely not to be DX coded, so would work fairly better on manual cameras, one that can go below to 8 ISO. Thankfully my Canon EOS 500n goes as low as 6.

It is also advised that a fast lens is better to use, since it can compensate for the low film speed. A lens with an aperture between f1.4 to f2.8 is highly recommended. I do fortunately have a prime lens, a Canon 50mm with an aperture of f1.8 which does come in handy, plus it is as low and fast as you can get!!

I’m considering developing this film myself. I did some research to find the developing times for the Fantôme; some developing times and dilutions are not all the same, depending on what developer is used. Lomography did suggest a few well known developers, plus making a note on the possible outcomes after processing. I was thinking of buying Ilford Ilfosol 3, as it is reasonably priced and great for beginners. Lomography said Fantôme would produce a ‘good contrast and impressive shadow detail’ from that particular developer.

Since I have nothing to show from the film, the Lomography website did showcase a range of examples from other photographers, who were lucky enough to test out the film before its release. Many of the results from Fantôme did vary, with many photographers experimenting with the film, trying out different styles and techniques.

This film is probably going to be the starting point for me to test out my skills on manual cameras at last…

Take care and stay safe