Tutorials and Techniques 0 comments on Image Rescue…

Image Rescue…

One of the benefits of shooting black and white film, is its latitude, the range of contrast it can reproduce. I am not going to go into great detail about this here, as for the purposes of this tutorial it is not necessary, read up on the zone system for a bit more information if you like. It is just enough to know that film can manage about 7 stops of contrast, and that in between these it has a wide gradation of levels. Even a cheap Chinese film  like Lucky SHD 100, which I used for this image.

Black and White in Bradford

Image of .tiff scan for tutorial
Initial .tiff scan

I shot this image in Bradford, by the side of the old Cinema near the Alhambra Theatre. It was taken using my Praktica TL-5B and Vivitar 28mm f/2.5. The film was Lucky 100 SHD, which is much maligned, but if used carefully can be very nice, if a little grainy. I normally use a yellow filter with this film, but I had forgotten it on this occurrence. It was developed in Rollei D74 for 6 minutes.

I metered from the walls – These would be about zone IV in the scene, a little darker than the midpoint. Of course a shot like this is impossible to control using a graduated filter due to the shape of the sky-line. In these a tend to meter for the dark areas as this is easier to solve.

I didn’t spend too long on the shot, as I was being hassled by builders, who were generally making obnoxious comments about my being a pervert with a camera. Some people are so idiotic… Continue Reading “Image Rescue…”

Commentry and Hyperbole 0 comments on The Reluctant Lomographer

The Reluctant Lomographer

Lomography is still on its mission to take over the world. I spend a lot of time thinking about my relationship with the global phenomenon, because a lot of what I do could very well come under this style. But it is something I have a problem with.

What’s the Problem?

Many people comment on the high prices for cheap cameras, the fact you need to join into this consuming clique and so on. This doesn’t really worry me. If I want a Lomography Camera, and I think it is worth it I will buy one. I bought my Diana F+ full price in Carnaby Street. I bought my Fisheye 2 for less than the website price in Leeds, from a Chinese shop called Dragon Photos. I will tell you about my Supersampler later. But it’s up to you. If you think it is worth it, buy it. If not, don’t.

Image of a nesting duck
Mother Duck – Lomograhy Diana F+ and Lomography CN 400

The thing that bothers me most about the whole Lomography business is the actual attitude to photography. All the things that make up the Lomographic vision – vernacular photography, happy accidents, soft focus, cross processing and so on have their place in photography as an art form, as a media. Vernacular photography – defined as photography where the subject is that of day to day life and the technical aspects are negligible acts as a fascinating insight into people’s lived realities. Abstracts are, when executed well equally as aesthetically valid as considered representations (though my girlfriend would disagree). Soft focus is a well used technical style, be it a filter, a plastic lens, or Vaseline smeared on a piece of cling-film. Continue Reading “The Reluctant Lomographer”

Film and Developing, Tutorials and Techniques 0 comments on Infra-Red – Part one.

Infra-Red – Part one.

I have been waiting all year for these…

Last year, I bought a couple of rolls of Rollei IR400 from AG Photographic, having read a bit about the crazy effects of infra-red photography.

Shooting Infra-red

Sadly this does not let you see through people’s clothes as some rumours suggest. What these films are sensitive to is Near Infra Red light, with wavelengths between 700-900nm. They will function as a normal film, most have a fairly standard panchromatic sensitivity, but the fun comes when you use a filter to take some of these normal wavelengths out.

When shot with a very dark red filter,anything below red is filtered out, so the bulk of the exposure comes from these red wavelengths. Using a red filter with normal black and white film deepens increases the contrast, darkening blue skies and green foliage, and lightning tones where there is a red constituent.

Infrared monochrome image of the River Calder at Sowerby Bridge
River Calder at Sowerby Bridge – Praktica TL-5B and Rollei Retro 400S

The Rollei Retro 400S used in this image has an extended red sensitivity, so the red filter has accentuated this in this image. Note how this has darkened the sky and the water, whereas the tan of the stone built mills remains light.

When you use a special infra-red filter even the visible red is blocked, resulting in the exposure coming largely from these NIR wavelengths. This means that subjects which reflect more of these wavelengths expose more and appear lighter on the image. Famously foliage becomes white, the so called ‘Woods effect’. Continue Reading “Infra-Red – Part one.”

Equipment Reviews, Tutorials and Techniques 0 comments on Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim Fisheye Mod

Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim Fisheye Mod

Fisheye photography is fun. There is no denying this. It might not be big, or clever (as the professionals put it), but it is a laugh. The world looks at you through a funky bubble. Peoples noses get bigger. You can nearly see behind your ears…

This is about the simplest mod you can ever do What’s more it is cheap, assuming you have a Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim, or something similar, it will cost less than a tenner, probably a lot less.

You will need:

Unmodified UWS Camera image for tutorial
Unmodified UWS

1) A Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim. These are hard to find, and go for silly prices nowadays, unless like me you find two at 75p each in a charity shop. Yes I am gloating. If you don’t find one, I would imagine some of the clones would do. These still go for silly prices, like all toy cameras nowadays, but they are easier to find. Basically, if it has a reasonably wide lens, measuring less than about 9mm in diameter (note that is the diameter, NOT the focal length) you will be ok.

2) A magnetic iPhone fisheye lens. You can get these for pennies on ebay, of you are happy to wait a few weeks for them to be shipped from China. UK sellers they go for about a fiver. Continue Reading “Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim Fisheye Mod”

Tutorials and Techniques 0 comments on Image Tutorial – ‘Heading North, Heading Home’

Image Tutorial – ‘Heading North, Heading Home’

Today I would like to share a tutorial about how I made one of my recent images – ‘Heading North, Heading Home’. My idea for this image was something a little crunchy – not fully crisp and bright, but blending the dirt of a northern city, with the light trails of the moving train. Something slightly film-esque (yes, I know I should shoot to film if I want it to be like film, but this is what I had to hand when I took the original shots) with a dark feel to it.

The Image

I took this image from the window of the London Kings Cross to Leeds train, at about 10pm, in May – there was still a big glow from the city lights in the sky, a bit of cloud, bathing everything in a nice warm orange glow.I took this using a Canon EOS 1000D and Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 poked out of the window of a moving train.

I will, at this point add a brief note. Sticking your head out of moving trains can be dangerous, as my girlfriend reminded me at length afterwards, though I reminded her that while I might risk my life for my art, I wouldn’t risk my camera. But, being serious, this is not something to mess about with. There is a reasonable amount of clearance between two trains, and the between the train and most track-furniture, but you need to be sensible. Do not actually start doing this when the train is moving. Peek carefully along the side of the train, don’t go sticking your head right out. Listen carefully to make sure a train is not coming past, from both directions. When you are ready, hold the camera in place with as little of you out of the window as possible – don’t keep your head stuck out looking through the view finder, use live view. You do this at your own risk… Continue Reading “Image Tutorial – ‘Heading North, Heading Home’”