Tried and Tested Thursday: Samsung in Seaford – Samsung A21s

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be discussing shooting on a Samsung A21s mobile phone.

Last week Wednesday, I went on a day trip by myself to Seaford in East Sussex for the first time. I was originally meant to go on the 11th November, however the government announced another lockdown would begin from Thursday 5th November until Wednesday 2nd December. Thankfully I was able to bring the trip forward at the last minute.

Worth the long walk to take this photo. My boots got muddy during the process

I bought a new phone towards the end of last month, a Samsung A21s for £149.95 from Argos. It was on special offer at the time and I had really wanted an upgrade for a while. My previous phone was also a Samsung, model A3 2017 which I bought in October 2018. The old handset was running out of space, plus the operating system was a bit outdated, so I needed a faster and efficient replacement at a reasonable price.

For the last few years, my mobile phone has been my digital camera, since I sold my Canon DSLR that I had for a long time (still have the Canon Powershot in my drawer). The phone is lighter, quicker and convenient to use at any time. Alongside with my film cameras that I have, my mobile phone has been part of my photographic life and work.

The Seaford trip was a chance to test out my new phone’s camera and its functions. I also had two film cameras with me: Minolta X-700 and Olympus XA2, both loaded with Kodak Portra 800 and Kodak Tmax 400, respectively. They were enough to shoot for the one day.

Note: the photos posted are in their original size; no cropping. It is larger in terms of file size

I took my first Samsung shot as soon as I got off the bus, just a random direction sign. I noticed afterwards there was a small vignette in the corner of the photo. It could have been from the phone case.

I started my trek walking through the Seven Sisters National Park, along Cuckmere River heading towards Cuckmere Haven, to the beach, the cliffs and finishing off at the famous Coastguard Cottages. Initially, I didn’t anticipate how long it would take for me to go around the national park, but it was worth the whole day exploring non stop for hours until it went dark.

The sky was clear and the weather was quite nicer, a little bit of a breeze here and there. I took some shots while walking along the Cuckmere on my phone, plus both film cameras. It was quite a juggle!

This isn’t Photoshopped or anything like that! The filter managed to get a reflection of the pebbles on the beach

At first I was confused on why my phone took square-ish sized photos rather than the standard full size ones. Then I realised there were options of full size photos, similar to panoramas or landscapes (or portraits) depending on what way you hold the phone.

The first few photos down the Cuckmere were shot at 3:4, then I would switch into full size once reaching near to the cliff and beach. I would go back and forth both size settings throughout the day.

Another interesting feature on the Samsung A21s that I discovered, was the camera burst mode – similar to continuous shooting or al servo found on most DSLR cameras. I had to press firmly onto the shutter button, then the phone would take three or four continuous shots. Weirdly enough, they were saved on the phone’s internal drive rather than the SD card. Even my image gallery made a GIF from one of the burst mode shots.

A timelapse GIF of my journey. I stood still when taking this, not knowing it was on burst mode til later

Afternoon came, it would gradually get darker after 4pm. The sky would soon turn into a pastel gradient mixed with blues, oranges and even a tinge of red, with the sun dipping down. This was a great opportunity to capture the sunset, although it can be tricky at times to take them; making sure the shutter and aperture are on the right settings, as well as both the exposure and composition when using a film or digital camera. With some phone cameras, the exposure settings are just contrast and brightness. I chose to go full on automatic on mine and hope for the best soon after.

The shot of the Coastguard Cottages wasn’t exactly the way I had wanted it to be, nevertheless it’ll do for now. My attention would soon turn into making my way to the nearest bus stop heading back to the city centre.

I hope the film versions come out better

I went to a fish and chip restaurant called Trawlers, not too far from the train station. I didn’t eat anything for hours, only a bag of Doritos during a short break en route to the cliff.

Highly recommend Trawlers, btw!! The cod was perfect; the batter was crispy and tasty

I had to do the obligatory snap of my dinner. The camera has a food shot mode, which is basically a filter with a focus mode, similar to a depth of field on a standard camera. Note the mid section of the photo, the chips are in focus while the surrounding subjects such as the cutlery and salt/pepper shakers are blurry. Since food photography has gained popularity all thanks to social media, my guess is Samsung, if not other phone brands, added this feature to cater (no pun indeed) to its target audience of today’s social media generation or photography enthusiasts.

My muddy boots and joggers. My mum was shocked to see me when I got back home

So am I happy with my new phone overall? Yes!! I feel satisfied with the camera, also how easy it is to use – the apps, features and navigation. I can see myself having this phone for many years to come until it is due for another upgrade, hopefully not too soon!!

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: Holding It Together at the Horniman – Holga 120 with Kodak Portra 400

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting a roll Kodak Portra 400 on the Holga 120.

For the last five years, I have been ‘trying and testing’ the Holga so many times, which had been mainly trial and error during the process however recently, the results have slowly been improving. Today’s post is an example of success happening along the way.

Last year in September I went to the Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill, South East London. I went with my friend and her youngest son. It was a day out and also an early birthday treat for me. It was our first time going there, which we had a great time. I would highly recommend anyone in the London area or beyond to visit!!

For the day out, I brought along two cameras: Canon EOS 500n and Holga 120; four films, one for the Canon (Fuji Superia 400), and three for the Holga – two rolls of Portra 400 and one Ilford HP5. I started off with the Portra. The Holga was taped initially as soon as we entered the museum to the conservatory outside.

That particular day was quite nice in terms of the weather, maybe a lower speed film would have been better, maybe Lomo CN 100 or Kodak Ektar. The colour quality overall would have been slightly different, however the exposure might have not been too bad depending on lighting conditions. I chose the Portra 400 as I thought it would be versatile in any setting, especially in low light…

Not all low light, mind you artificial lighting can be a trial and error when using film – including higher speeds from 400 upwards

That was until I loaded the second roll of Portra. The electrical black tape got tangled up as I tried to place it on the Holga again. I soon gave up and discarded the tangled tape. I didn’t care so much about light leaks coming through, I could handle that afterwards when scanning the negatives. Some photographers prefer taping their Holgas and some don’t. It’s all down to personal creative preferences.

I used the second roll in the Butterfly House. Inside was very humid in temperature and also there wasn’t much low light. My camera lenses got foggy quite quickly, and I had no lens cloth on me so I used a tissue to wipe off the moisture. I was using two cameras at the same time, or three if I count my phone. I was multitasking to the next level.

Always looking forward to the results and they didn’t disappoint. As per usual, I scanned the negatives, plus did some cropping on the Epson V550. The colour quality was amazing. The film worked very well with the natural light, especially in the Butterfly House despite the Holga not being taped at that point. The light leaks weren’t too bad and didn’t cause the negatives to be overexposed or blank in some areas.

I would print this in the darkroom. I like the greens here

I think the film and camera worked perfectly together. The greens were brilliant, also the tones and contrast were quite good exposure wise. I think Kodak Portra 400 gels well with nature photography, even in limited or low light, as it has been proven that natural light is clearly a winner.

Butterflies who lunch

I would use both the Holga and Portra 400 (also 160) again days later while on holiday to Portugal. The electric tape does not manage to tangle up during my week away – I had no spare on me, so I had to make do with the one long strip I had.

I would most likely shoot with the film again on my Holga. I have already tried and tested the film on another medium format, a TLR camera, Yashica 635 down the local marshes. The two films were expired with the overall results caming out better than I had expected. Unlike the Holga, the Yashica has a manual setting, only the aperture, the shutter and focus.

Maybe take a chance next time, not to tape the Holga and possibly rely (or trust) on the power of natural light!!

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: Easy in Eastbourne – Olympus Mju 1 with Kodak Gold 200 (Expired)

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting a roll of expired Kodak Gold 200 on a Olympus Mju 1 camera.

It was the first time in a long time since I have shot with Kodak Gold. It’s a blast from the past! This particular brand of film was very commercial and widely available in the 90’s, and I grew up with  this film as a child decades before I got into photography. Most of the photographic prints from my childhood, of myself and my family, as a few random snaps, were shot on Kodak Gold 200.

I shot this from sitting down on a wall. What caught my attention initially was the girl’s Vans shoes (on the left) as well as the skateboards

I went on a lovely day trip with my friend to Eastbourne back in August. It was the first time we both left London after months of lockdown. It was also my friend’s first time going to Eastbourne, while it wasn’t from what I was told by my mum; I went there as a child, but was too young to remember.

I brought along two Kodak Gold rolls, both expired in March of this year. The original plan was to go from Eastbourne to Seaford, to explore the Seven Sisters cliffs. We ended up staying in Eastbourne for the whole day instead, so I didn’t use the second roll which was a blessing in disguise. I wanted to cut down on shooting for shooting sake by not using too many films in one day!!

It was a nice summer’s day on a Sunday, the sky was blue and the weather was amazing. We spent the first hour walking along the beach. I had my camera in my hand, ready to take shots; they weren’t as spontaneous, it took some thought and consideration on what I wanted to shoot. My focus was to capture a typical day in Eastbourne, in the same vein as my previous trips to Southend or similar to Promenade des Anglais in Southern France; with the people’s backs turned, the landscape, skies, clouds and of course, the beach.

I managed to finish the film within a couple of hours. I wasn’t even tempted to open the second roll to resume shooting on the beach, instead took a few snaps on my phone. The shots on the film were mainly on the beach, but took a few of nearby hotels and a ferris wheel.

Got the film developed, then I would scan the negatives at home on the Epson V550. As usual with the post-production side of film photography, I very rarely edit my scans on Photoshop, only add a faint watermark in the corner on the scans. I decided to keep the image sizing consistent as well. Although I’m not exactly the master of negative scanning, I am still slowly progressing after three years since having the Epson scanner.

The results? The colour quality from the scans all seem to differ from each other, such as the sky not always consistent nor were the pebbles on the beach, despite some shots being taken moments apart. It could have been down to the emulsion of the film as it had been stored in a drawer for at least two years, and possibly impacted the film quality. That’s the magic of shooting with expired film, sometimes you can expect the unexpected. I’m just pleased with the overall outcome. It has a vintage feel to it, almost a washed out effect; it is almost like an old fashioned postcard from the seaside in the 1950s or 1960s.

I would like to produce darkroom prints in both colour and in black and white in the near future. I believe they would have potential of being slightly better than the original Eastbourne scans; I will have more control with changing the contrasts and tones on the colour enlarger. The same with black and white, it could be a little tricky at first, since it is a colour negative, but with the right  exposure, settings and photo printing paper, something good might come out of it!!

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: Last Summer in Southend-On-Sea – Canon Z135 with Lomography CN 100

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting three rolls of Lomography Color Negative 100 on the Canon Z135.

A throwback from last August down Southend. It was the first time in almost twenty years since I last been; also the first time I took the train to get there from Stratford, and the first time I had been on my own.

My day in Southend consisted of me walking along the beach, going to the pier, having fish and chips, and exploring a few surroundings areas such as Westcliff-on-Sea.

I had documented my day out with my Canon Point and Shoot, mostly around the empty beach. I wanted to create something similar to the style of Martin Parr, but with my own twist by recreating the same ‘back to the camera’ style like I had done in Nice a couple years back. The same Lomography film, different location and different camera.

The image and colour quality were a hit and miss when it came to scanning the negatives. I’m sure the darkroom prints might differ as I would have more control on changing the settings there and then. The scans weren’t too bad, they were almost similar to the Promenade des Anglais results: bold and bright pastel colours. The sky was cloudy in Southend at the time of shooting, which added some character.

I took a few snaps of beach accessories, such as buckets and spades, flip flops and plastic wind spinners. They definitely took me to my childhood growing up in the 90s.

When it came to shooting low light inside the arcades, I wasn’t too worried about the results coming out blurry or fuzzy due to possible camera shake. I was actually anticipating the outcome. I tend to avoid using film indoors unless it is higher than 200 ISO, even sometimes high ISO doesn’t work out well in low light conditions. Most of the arcade shots were blurry, but personally I quite like them especially the artificial bright lights from the games and machines.

The film itself was great to use on bright and sunny days. I have been using Lomography film for a few years and there have been a few hit and miss moments along the way. The Lomography CN 100 is probably one of my favourite films to use on my SLR and P&S cameras, although the outcome can vary. It can be a little forgiving – either negative scan or darkroom produced print, which is a rarity for me to say about colour films.

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: Brighton Rocked It – Kodak Daylight Disposable (Expired)

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting a Kodak Daylight Disposable, a rare eBay find that was expired.

Another throwback, this time from August 2016 in Brighton on a family day out. It partially ended in disaster with one relative not enjoying themselves, shocked to find out the beach was pebbles and not sand. I enjoyed my time as I had been to Brighton a few times before. It was just nice to get out of London for the day.

I was armed with my film gear alongside with my disposable, I had my trusty Canon SLR with two rolls of expired Jessops Pan film, another rare eBay find.

There are a variety of Kodak disposables in the film photography market: from the Kodak Funsaver with 39 exposures, to the Kodak Sport, a disposable suitable for mainly underwater and the beach. Then you have the Kodak Daylight disposable, which is for daylight shots as well as low light with its ISO of 800.

I had initially had photographic prints developed at my local lab, and then I would scan them on my all-in-one Canon printer and scanner. The image quality wasn’t the best, but it had to do. The prints came out a little blue, almost like tungsten, something very interesting and quite unique. They had a nostalgic feel to them by looking at the actual prints on the computer and in real time.

Last week I decided to scan the negatives from the disposable camera. The local lab often gave back the negs, and from my understanding there are some that don’t. I was curious to scan them on my Epson… but let’s say the results and image quality was slightly different. From the grain quality which was subtle, not too much coverage but the blue tint-tungsten feel was no longer there, although the nostalgic vibe was still there. Also I don’t edit my scans, apart from adding the near faint watermark. If I did edit them, I would have added some saturation onto the scans, by making them a bit brighter with some vibrance in the colours.

Like I mentioned in the beginning, the Kodak Daylight disposable is a rare find. I do think there are some floating around on eBay with prices ranging from under ten pounds or possibly higher, most likely in date or expired. If I had the chance, I would use this camera again for summer snaps on days out to the beach. Only to avoid carrying a SLR all day and hundreds rolls of film to make the trip lightweight and easier. Thankfully I have two Kodak Funsavers in the fridge, near to expiry that I am planning to use in the future.

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: Around Stoke Newington – Canon EOS 500n with Fuji Acros (Yellow Filter)

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting a roll of Fuji Acros on my Canon EOS 500n with a yellow filter.

Back in 2018, Fuji announced they were going to discontinue Acros both 35mm and 120. That same year, I had bought ten rolls of them in 35mm and a pack of five in 120 from Parallax in Brixton. Then around a year later, Fuji released Acros II in both formats; a little on the pricey side, yes, but I find it a little baffling on why the original film had discontinued in the first place…

Anyway moving on, I shot a few Acros rolls last year prior to the expiry date, which was October 2019. Including the examples used in today’s post. At the time of writing this entry, I still have some Acros film left: three in 35mm, and three in 120. I shot two rolls in both formats (past expiry) a couple months back for an upcoming series.

Last July I went on a little adventure around Clapton and Finsbury Park, then ending in Islington before going home. I had two different brands of film on me and used a yellow filter that was attached onto my lens. I had mainly used the Acros film around the Stoke Newington area with the journey initially starting from Clapton Pond through to the high street and ending on Church Street.

I was curious to test out the Acros film on the colour filters I have: orange, yellow and red. I wanted to see if there was a comparison from them used; in terms of tone and contrast, and to see if there is any significant difference from the results.

In the past prior to using filters or my Canon SLR, I only shot Acros on my Point and Shoot cameras, such as Canon Z135 and Olympus Mju 1. Results can vary from camera to camera, processing and even post-production like negative scanning or darkroom printing.

The overall outcome was good after processing and scanning the negatives at home with the Epson V550, however I am yet to print these in the darkroom.

On that day, I had focused my attention on street photography around the local area, although I briefly went to Abney Park Cemetery to take a few shots of the grave stones. I returned back to Church Street, mainly shooting store fronts or anything random like street signs. A slow speed film like Acros, which is at 100 ISO is good for bright days, especially sunny days. There are some advantages with low speed film to shoot in low light settings or night photography, something I had done a few times in the past but not with this particular film.

I have to admit, I don’t use the yellow filter as much in my black and white photography. It has been considered as being the ‘popular choice’ for beginners and quite versatile for any genre of photography. I often consider the orange filter for being versatile, which I think it can also be used for almost any style of photography from street to portraits.

The yellow filter on the Acros came out quite good, better than expected; the tones and contrasts are subtle and are on point, although there aren’t many deep blacks in the shadows. If I had set the shutter speed to 125 to 250, it would have possibly made a slight difference with the shadows; not too overexposed or underexposed, but somewhere in between.

It would be great to recreate the same street shots in the same location with the new Acros II film, and probably use the yellow filter again. It would be interesting to see if there is a major comparison between the new film and the original. I might consider that idea in the near future.

For now, I have a few remaining recently expired Acros films that I am hoping to put into great use at some point. Once they’re gone, they’re gone for good.

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: London Pride 2017 – Fujifilm Single Use Camera

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting a Fujifilm Single Use, a disposable film camera.

Another Throwback Thursday, this time it slightly coincides with London Pride which was due to be two weeks ago, but sadly was cancelled due to Covid 19. This particular throwback was at my first London Pride back in July 2017, when I went at the very last minute. Sadly I missed the parade through Regent Street, but my friend who invited me, had already seen most of the event that day.

I bought the Fujifilm disposable camera from Argos, where I bought a few many times in the past but haven’t as of recently. At the time of shooting Pride, I had this camera lying around in my room unused. I thought it would be a good idea to bring it with me – something quick and easy, alongside my Canon Powershot camera for the digital snaps.

I didn’t have a negative scanner at the time, so I sent my disposable camera to be scanned and developed at a local lab near me called Forest Photographic, where the turnaround was quite fast. In the past, I had sent a few rolls of film there to be developed into prints or scans.

I loved the results for a variety of reasons; the grain is subtle as it has a speed of 400, which is best for daylight shooting or with available light, not so great for low light even with flash. The colour quality is great, something I love about using Fuji films, especially the greens and other bold colours like red it stands out more.

My personal favourite from Pride

There were only twentyseven exposures on the Fuji disposable, so I was quite limited on what to shoot and I made sure each exposure was not wasted. Most of the shots were taken in Trafalgar Square of celebrations, the concert, people dancing and the aftermath, as everything was slowly coming to an end.

I would like to use this disposable camera again and again. It’s reasonably priced at £7.99 from Argos, during the time of writing this entry. Great for snapshots for days out, festivals, events or even street photography. The Fuji disposable is also lightweight, easier to carry around which makes the difference to carrying heavy film SLR’s all day. I know all too well on how that feels!!

This Fuji disposable camera is great for non-photographers, mainly what it is marketed towards. Fuss free, no hassle and easy to use. I highly recommend it to almost anyone to even try out a couple times!

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: Kew Gardens – Olympus Mju 1 with Kodak Ektar 100

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting Kodak Ektar 100 on my Olympus Mju 1.

Another day, another throwback, but this time it is a continuation from my trip to Kew Gardens in 2018. Last month’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I discussed shooting Colorplus there and how satisfied I was with the outcome. This post is focusing on Ektar by how different it is to Colorplus, not only the price but the film’s results and quality.

Ektar was the first film I shot upon arriving at Kew Gardens, and was also the first time shooting it on the Olympus Mju 1. That day was a chance to test out various films on my newly gifted compact camera. My journey with the film started from the gardens leading through to Palm House, then back to the gardens again.

I had shot Ektar a few times previously on my Canon SLR and Canon compact camera. There was a time I used to buy at least two 35mm rolls of them a year, but recently I have purchased more than that amount, including ten expired rolls from eBay.

Once the film was processed and scanned, I got the results I wanted; smooth and subtly saturated, especially the colour quality. I didn’t edit the scans on Photoshop nor very rarely do, apart from adding the faint watermark in the corner of each scan.

To be honest, I did like the overall results and personally I think it would be better as colour darkroom prints, it would work strongly on matte or lacklustre photo paper.

Ektar and Colorplus are two different films with different results in terms of quality. Ektar is subtly saturated, whereas Colorplus has a bright colour vibrance  – a little saturated than the former, mainly with contrast and tones. I am at a tie with both films, they are both great to use in their own way.

The greenhouse shots are a perfect example of smoothness, tone and the low ISO of 100 which has its benefits and uses especially on bright sunny days. I must note, the day at Kew Gardens started a little overcast however it got better as the day went by.

I had shot a lot of greens, something I tend to do whenever doing nature photography as I most likely to be surrounded by trees or plants. The greens were quite subtle when using this film, though not too overly saturated. Shooting nature can be a hit and miss, even when using film. When I started photography as a teenager, I was mainly shooting flowers with a small Canon digital camera, not knowing what I was doing; not completely understanding what ISO, aperture or shutter speed was back in 2009. Nevertheless, my attention was often focused on colours of flowers, most importantly how to make them stand out, which can be the same for film photography.

I would recommend Ektar for nature photography. It may be pricey for one single roll of 35mm, but is certainly worth trying out. The low ISO is great, unless you have a camera where you can change the film speed, possibly take advantage of shooting one or two stops. The results might come out interesting, you’ll never know until trying!!

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: Promenade Des Anglais – 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 camera.

Another holiday throwback from my trip to Nice back of April 2018. I was travelling through Southern France to Northern Italy for a week, mainly around Nice and Cinque Terre respectively.

I packed so much film with me that week probably around forty rolls, I began shooting for shooting sake. In retrospect, I could have brought only twenty rolls or even less with me. It would have been convenient as it would make the workflow easier and less stressful, especially with the costs of processing and finding the time to scan negatives. Thankfully that lesson was learnt when I would return back to Nice the following year.

I have been buying and shooting Lomography films since 2017, mostly colour. I am not a massive fan of their monochrome (or black and white) stock. In the past, I bought limited edition films such as the Lomography F2 400, and most recently their new Kino range Berlin and Potsdam.

I didn’t know what to expect while I was shooting with Lomography CN 100 when I went down to Promenade Des Anglais. On that day the sky was bright, I don’t think I saw a cloud in sight, and the scenery was absolutely amazing. It was all quick candid snapshots along the Promenade of people relaxing by the sea or sitting on the blue metal chairs. I originally started shooting the film from Niceville train station working my way to the beach area, close to the port.

Once I returned back to London (and then fly out again to Germany within a week), I got my films processed at Photofusion and I would eventually scan the negatives at home. Initially I wasn’t overly impressed with the Lomo results from the Promenade Des. Anglais, that wasn’t until I showed them at the Saturday Sessions at Photofusion, a once monthly get together with other photographers discussing and showing work. I didn’t produce any prints of them at this point, so the best I did was show the scans through a slideshow on my Macbook.

From there, I started to appreciate the results as I loved the pastel feel to the scans – they weren’t edited on Photoshop, only added the faint watermark on the corner. Then I became an instant fan of Lomography CN 100 and started more of the film. I began creating a mini series from my time in Nice through my Instagram, plus planned out a zine based on the scans that I was hoping to release last year however that idea fell through. There is hope in the near future to revisit.

Sometimes I go through these photos on my computer and can’t help how proud I am. They are probably one of the best I have produced to date. Since then I have made colour (even black and white) darkroom prints of them, as well as submit a few to the yearly Salon at Photofusion in late 2018.

Choosing a low speed film was the right decision, but had I selected a high speed film ranging from ISO 400 the results would have been completely different. Possibly a little washed out or overexposed, however I did bring along Ilford HP5 and Rollei Retro 400s, which are both high speed films. I guess black and white films are a little forgiving in the sense that it can be versatile and great for further processing either the darkroom or a computer editing programme.

I would repeat this for the second time when I return to Nice the following April. The same Lomography film but different camera which was the Olympus Mju 1, something a little lightweight and smaller, plus easier to carry around. Unfortunately, it didn’t meet up to the expectations from the previous success from last year. The results for me felt a little ‘flat’, however I put them into great use for posting on social media.

Lomography films can be a hit and miss, like most things in life. I think the Lomography’s strength was with the Canon SLR, also possibly being at the right place at the right time.

Later on that day I would revisit the Promenade, this time shooting with a roll of Rollei Superpan 200 with a Jessops Orange filter attached to the lens. Almost duplicating the same style, technique and concept I had done a few hours before.

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: Shitty Camera Challenge Over The Years, plus an Exclusive Interview with the founder

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday I will be talking about my participation in the Shitty Camera Challenge with my past entries, plus my plans and ideas for this month’s upcoming one. Also an exclusive interview with the genius who started this Challenge all from scratch…

The Shitty Camera Challenge started on Twitter in 2018, from there I had taken part by shooting with the ‘shittiest’ cameras I could possibly find. Nothing too fancy or high tech, something that would be regarded as ‘low quality’ or subpar. I did manage to find an old camera in the shed a couple years back, it belonged to my parents and from my understanding my dad bought it in the 90’s or possibly around the time I was born in 1991. The brand of camera is Premier Big Finder, a very simple point and shoot with basic functions. It would be the first time in almost twenty years I had used it, after putting in a couple of fresh AA batteries and a roll of film, I wanted to see if it still worked or not even if it had the best ‘shitty’ quality. Thankfully it did work out at the end.

For the second round of the Challenge in 2019, I used a Lomography Supersampler, a lightweight four lens panoramic camera. I bought this camera off eBay for ten pounds or twelve pounds, which was slightly cheaper than the retail price at £49 from the Lomography website (currently out of stock). The camera is unique and unconventional due to its lens and doesn’t require any batteries, plus all you need to do is use the ripcord and the shutter to capture the shots.

I only used this camera a couple of times, the first time with a roll of Lomography Color 400 (aka Lomo 400 or Lomo CN 400). A few random shots around London with a combination of street and nature photography.

For this current Shitty Camera Challenge, it is a ‘Quarantine Special’, and due to Covid-19 it would be different for some photographers to leave home, their towns or cities, or some are still in lockdown. This could be restricting for some, if not all. For me, this could be an opportunity to document my everyday life, although it is not exciting this could possibly turn into a body of work or a series in the long run.

On last week’s Film Friday, I mentioned I would be shooting two rolls of expired Konica Professional 160 on my Minolta Riva Zoom for the Challenge. I started shooting one roll from the week of Monday 1st June, and then I would shoot the second roll on the week from Monday 24th until Sunday 30th August. At the time of writing this, I am already halfway through the first roll and expected to finish it this Sunday 7th June. So far, I have captured bits of my day to day life as an essential worker, where I work at a supermarket; from getting up in the morning, going through my daily commute to what I do in my spare time on my days off. Despite the UK slowly easing restrictions and lockdowns, it would be interesting to photograph the ‘new normal’ as time progresses and see what everyday life would be like post-Covid. I’m also considering going digital, and even I may try out other shitty cameras I can get my hands on.

I’m excited to see the results afterwards as usual, as well as other participants in the next coming months.

So who is the genius behind the Shitty Camera Challenge? How did it begin? I interviewed the guy who created this film photography contest on Twitter. After corresponding via Google Docs and Twitter messenger, we sat down through the virtual universe with humour and cats:

Tell me about yourself…

My true name is lost to time, but I was born again by the will of The Elder Gods. My name was translated through The Singing Spheres by The Feline Overlords. They gave me the name Meow Meow, which translates roughly to Adam James (@SilentCar). I was named after a famous fictional character from the show Simon & Simon. For I was the first and all Shitters (Followers of @ShittyChallenge) are from me.

What made you create/start the Shitty Camera Challenge? What is it about?

The first thing I can remember is sitting in front of a computer years ago, logged into the Twitter account @ShittyChallenge. That was when Spheres first sang, and nearly drove me mad, but their song was filtered through The Feline Overlord known as Gigi. Through Gigi I heard the will of The Elder Gods. They commanded me to start a photography contest. The contestants would have to use Shitty Cameras as weapons in a photographic melee, and it would be called the #ShittyCameraChallenge! It was to be a Twitter based Blood Dome, filled with the viscera, blank frames, sprocket holes, digital noise, and art, both great and terrible, created by the greatest photographic gladiators in modern history. All of this to celebrate the awakening of ancient beings more powerful and horrendous than anyone could comprehend, with the exception for our Feline Overlords of course. They always know what’s up.

What were your aims and goals for this challenge?

I wish that I could tell you that the aim of the #ShittyCameraChallenge is to get people to not take photography so seriously. I wish it were a reminder to not rely on your equipment, and just have fun while taking photos. But the truth is something much more sinister. For you shall see, The Elder Gods grow stronger with each frame taken using a Shitty Camera in the name of the #ShittyCameraChallenge. I do not understand how the photographs feed them, but it is now my responsibility to see that The Elder Gods are satiated, so that the Song of the Spheres may be heard, and the Feline Overlords are given turkey treats for translating the song and being good kitties. For it was also willed by them that Shitty Camera Challenge would sell merchandise, designed by me, so it may be sold to make sure the cats are well fed, and their shit sand is always fresh.

Do you get any feedback or responses for this challenge?

The feedback from the survivors has been positive. People seem to genuinely enjoy finding shitty cameras, and some combatants even like the photos that they and their peers take. If any descenders were to raise qualms, they would quickly be cut down by the deafening Song of the Spheres. All those who would go against the will of The Elder Gods would not get the time of day from me.

What makes the Shitty Camera Challenge different to other photography challenges or competitions?

It’s about having fun with photography, but also it is a religious cult bent on the destruction of photographic elitism by ending human civilization. Fueled by the will of ancient beings that we cannot comprehend so The Feline Overlords may rule in the new age.

What’s the future for the Shitty Camera Challenge?

World Domination and possible Tax-exempt status.

Make sure to follow Shitty Camera Challenge over on Twitter to keep up to date with the Elder Gods!!

Take care and stay safe