Testing out the CatLabs X Film 80 with my Hasselblad 500 C/M

Some of you may have seen that I’ve not posted on here for several weeks. I had originally planned to blog about using my Olympus Pen FT camera with expired film from the 80s but when I got the film developed, there was nothing on it! (the joys of film photography) so that blog didn’t happen!

You could also say that I have well and truly lost my Photography mojo of late.

There are several reason for this. The first one is that I have not felt overly inspired to take photos. Being in lockdown in the UK has meant that I’ve adhered to the rules of limited time being outside and only walking my dog once a day. I like to visit new places and take photos so it has felt like the longest winter ever for me just being here in Brighton and not really visiting anywhere.

Also, I have recently set up an online craft business around my full time job. This has taken up much of my time and energy at present, to the point where I’ve not even managed to regularly post on my photography instagram page as all my time on instagram has been spent promoting my craft business page and coming up with new ideas and posting on there.

Lastly, I now class winter in the South of England as ‘rainy season’. Every time I had planned to take some photos, it inevitably rained! This was somewhat deflating!

I was also hoping to join the community darkroom again but they are currently not open due to the lockdown.

I have really missed my photography and knew I really needed to pencil in some time to finally take some more photos and get back into the swing of photography!

Luckily it wasn’t raining the other Sunday so whilst taking my dog for a walk on the beach, I decided to take out my Hasselblad with me and the CatLab film, which I had been meaning to use for the best part of a year and was keen to use it before it expired. I also have another roll of this in my fridge so will need to use that soon too.

Once I was out on the beach with my Hasselblad, I realised how much I had missed using this camera. It is such a wonderful camera to use and gives me much joy.

Thankfully, my local lab is still developing film with a drop off and collect service so I was able to get my film developed quite quickly.

I shot the film at ISO 80. It’s still quite dark in the UK so I had to take the photos with an aperture of around F/4 Here are some of the photos I took:

Here are a couple of photos of my dog Daisy. She was too busy having a good time to stop and pose for the camera so the photos unfortunately came out blurry:

Whilst these photos are certainly not my best work, it was nice just getting out and about again with my camera.

I don’t overly love this film since it isn’t contrasty enough as I like in my black and white photography. I found there to be a lot of grey tones in it. I do have one film of this left to use so I think I will do that sooner rather than later. I don’t think I will purchase this film again though as there are other black and white films for my Hasselblad that I prefer more.

I’m hoping going forward, to start taking more photos and the rain should not be as bad soon so I think I will find more opportunities to take my camera outside.

Exciting Camera Themed Gifts from Japan!

Through my love of photography, a couple of years ago I made friends with a woman called Keiko, whom I met at a Brighton photowalk.

After the photowalk, we became really close friends and I was very sad when COVID-19 struck and she had to move back to Japan last year. We used to meet up regularly when she lived in the UK so I really miss not seeing her anymore.

We thankfully still keep in touch online and I hope one day to visit her in Japan and see her beautiful village where she lives. I have a great fondness of Japan and was fortunate enough to travel to Tokyo several years ago and see my friend Satoshi who has a bar over there, specialising in British Beers!

At Christmas time I was pleasantly surprised to find I had received a christmas present from Keiko in the post.

She had sent me some camera related gifts, which were so thoughtful of her.

I absolutely love the gifts she sent me! Here is a protective cover for my camera which will come in very useful when out on photowalks:

Keiko also sent me some Lomo 800 film, which she said is her favourite film to use. I have never used this film before so look forward to trying it out, especially in these darker winter months:

Lastly, she sent me these cool Japanese sweeties which come in a camera style packet. Both my husband and I enjoyed eating these sweeties:

I look forward to sharing the Lomo 800 photos when I use this film. Due to the current lockdown in the UK, I will most likely use this film in Brighton when out walking my dog.

Instant photos taken during my recent sailing trip

I forgot to mention in my previous blog that I had also taken a couple of instant cameras with me for my sail back from Plymouth to Brighton.

I decided to take both my Leica Sofort and Polaroid SX-70 camera.

I took some great instant photos on this trip, especially on my SX-70 camera but unfortunately during the sailing, I stored the instant photos in the outside cockpit table……huge mistake!!!

There was a lot of water that got inside this table during our sail after I put the photos in there, which damaged most of the photos (most annoying!). At least it’s a mistake I certainly won’t repeat and again, thinking about it, I should have known this table would get damp when exposed to the elements so completely my fault!

Anyway, here are some photos I managed to salvage that were taken on the Leica Sofort (some are a bit damaged as you’ll see):

I took 8 photos on my Polaroid SX-70 using the SX-70 film but there were only two photos I was able to salvage from them as most of them stuck together when they were wet and completely ruined the photo when pulled apart (sigh…):

Unfortunately I’ve not been out sailing since we got the boat back to Brighton but am hoping as the weather improves and if I can tolerate the cold temperatures, I may get out again for a sail around Brighton soon.

My Sailing Adventure Part 3

This is the final instalment of my current sailing adventure for 2020!

After spending several weekends travelling to Plymouth to get the boat ready for sailing back to Brighton, the time had finally come for our final trip to Plymouth!

Although my husband and I have comfortably motored our previous boat to France and back in the past, we are still currently in the process of doing our Day Skipper qualification to enable us to safely sail our Yacht on longer journeys.

With this in mind, neither of us felt comfortable sailing our Yacht back from Plymouth to Brighton around the tricky bay areas by ourselves.

Thankfully, our friend Joe who has both his Day Skipper and Yachtmaster qualifications was able to assist us with the sail back to Brighton.

We were sailing back at the beginning of November, so not ideal sailing weather in the UK. We were also under pressure to get the yacht back to Brighton before the next UK Lockdown which commenced on 5th November.

This meant that we were not going to have a particularly relaxing sail with long hours spent at sea over a couple of days in a rush to get the yacht back home.

We had originally hoped to commence the sail on Monday 2nd November but the weather conditions weren’t ideal, so we spent further time having a run through with Joe of the boat inventory and doing some final preparations before we set sail on Tuesday.

I had come equipped with my camera equipment for the sail back which I wanted to document. I had brought my Leica M6 TTL, Hasselblad 500 C/M and also my compact Olympus Trip 35 camera’s.

On Tuesday we commenced the first part of our sail where we aimed to get to Portland Marina from Plymouth.

It was going to be very cold so I had to wrap in very warm sailing gear for the journey back. Here is a photo of me (taken on my husband’s iPhone) setting off for sail in the early morning as the sun is rising:

This photo turned out to be the calmest part of the journey just as we were leaving Plymouth marina. Unfortunately the sea, on that day was very rough and I basically spent most of the 12 hour journey harnessed in the cockpit, holding on for dear life! This meant that I didn’t manage to take any photos on any of my film cameras on that day!

Here is a video of my husband at the helm, along with Joe so you can see just how high the waves were on that day!

Here is a map of the journey we made on that day showing us during our journey, heading towards Portland:

We finally arrived into Portland at 8:30pm. It was too late to be able to get a meal at a restaurant and we were too exhausted to cook anything so we managed to get a chinese takeaway whilst we planned our journey for the following day.

After looking at the tide table, it was going to be another early start of 6am as we worked out the next part of our passage to Gosport.

We were all very tired the following morning and we didn’t end up leaving until around 6:30am by the time we did all the engine checks etc before we set off.

Thankfully the sea was much calmer on this day and I was able to help more at the helm with steering the boat and also the sails when we needed to tack.

Here is another map of part of our journey towards Gosport:

During this journey we also managed to stop and learn how to use the anchor on our Yacht.

It was another long day of sailing and we got into Gosport marina just as it was starting to get dark. We were very grateful to have Joe with us who helped to guide us into this marina which was difficult to see clearly in the dark and you really did need to have knowledge of the lit buoy types to guide us through to our mooring space correctly.

Fortunately, we arrived a little earlier into Gosport than the day before in Portland so we were able to get something to eat at the local pub around the corner from the marina.

We also managed to plan our passage back to Brighton before we had dinner. To my dismay, I discovered to allow for the depth of our boat to get out of the marina which had a low tide, we were yet again going to have another early start, this time we’d need to leave at 5:30am in the dark!

On Thursday 5th November, we set off for our sail back to our final destination of Brighton. By this point I was extremely tired (as we all were!) and was really struggling to keep awake. It was very cold over the whole journey even though I was in very warm sailing weather gear but my toes were still getting very numb by the end of the journey each day. It didn’t help that I didn’t move much as I was still getting used to being on a Yacht and was quite weary and careful whilst in the cockpit.

There wasn’t much of a wind, so we had to use the motor rather than the sails for the final passage back to Brighton. We estimated that would get into Brighton around 3pm.

My husband could see that I was struggling to stay awake that morning so suggested that I go back down to the lower deck and get some more sleep then we agreed that we would all take turns to get some rest with one person sleeping at a time whilst two remained on the upper deck steering the boat.

In the end neither my husband nor Joe ended up taking a much needed rest and I was in a very deep sleep but my husband woke me up at 11am. I thought it was to tell me to cover one of them whilst they rested but it turned out that the tide had been moving in our favour and that we were getting to Brighton quicker than we anticipated and we would be arriving around 12pm!

I was so relieved and hurried back up to the top deck so I could see the final hour of sailing before we got back to Brighton Marina.

In the end, over the last two days, I only managed to take photos on my trusty Olympus Trip 35 camera since it was easier to handle in the boat. I used some expired Fuji 200 colour film (since I’m trying to use up my current film stash rather than purchase more film!). Here are some of the photos of the journey:

My Husband (in Blue) and Joe (in Red)

Lastly, here is a photo of my husband and Joe re-fuelling the yacht at Brighton (taken on my iPhone):

Overall, I was really pleased to have been able to take part in this sailing journey. We were very impressed with how this yacht handled such poor weather conditions and have certainly not regretted our purchase! We now know from this experience that the yacht would comfortably sail to France, the mediterranean or even the azores.

However, I discovered from this experience that I’m definitely a ‘fair weather’ type sailor since I really struggled sailing for long hours in such cold and rough winter weather conditions.

I’m hoping over time, I will build up more of a tolerance to such sailing conditions. I’m very much looking forward to Spring/Summer in 2021 where sailing will be a much more enjoyable experience for me and I will hopefully complete my Day Skipper qualification.

I look forward to sharing more blogs with many more photos taken on my film camera’s as I take more sailing adventures!

My Sailing Adventure Part 2

In my last blog post I mentioned that we managed to sell our Motor Boat this year.

2020 was a very popular year for boat sales and everything was selling like hot cakes!

Prior to selling our Motor Boat, we had been researching different Yacht models and what we thought would work for us from a sailing perspective but was also comfortable enough to stay on board since we plan in the future to do sailing trips to France.

Before we sold our boat, we had looked at a couple of Yachts but they all literally were selling within a few days of being listed for sale!

Even the boat brokers told us that they were struggling to find enough boats to list for sale to keep up with the demand.

We thought we may have to look abroad for a Yacht but in view of COVID-19, I knew this would be a great deal of hassle in trying to get a boat back to the UK.

As luck would have it, just as we sold our Motor Boat, the ideal model of Yacht we really wanted suddenly came up for sale in Plymouth!

We promptly made an offer which was accepted so we were very happy!

Plymouth is quite a trek from Brighton. We had to make several trips to Plymouth to get the Yacht ready to sail back to Brighton. We discovered that the car journey could be anywhere between 4-6 hours, depending on traffic.

I don’t drive so my poor husband had to do all the driving which was very tiring for him, especially as most of our trips down were over a weekend so we would only stay for one night before heading back.

Here are some Polaroid photos I managed to take of the Marina on my SX-70 camera using SX-70 film:

Here are a couple of photos I took on my Leica M6 TTL using Kodak Ektachrome film:

There was a lovely restaurant/bar at this marina, which was within walking distance of the boat so it was great to be able to get something to eat close by after our long journey down.

I really did like this marina in Plymouth, it was just a shame that we didn’t get to spend much time there and only had quick trips to tend to the boat before having to get back to Brighton due to weekly work commitments.

However, on one of the trips down, we were able to meet up with some friends who live in the west country and it was a beautiful sunny day so my husband cooked us all a breakfast, which we ate alfresco on the Yacht:

Photo taken on I-Phone

Next week I’ll be posting a blog about the sail back to Brighton!

My sailing adventure Part 1

I mentioned last week in my blog that I had been up to another exciting adventure around COVID-19 this year.

One of the other reasons why I’ve not had a lot of time for my photography this year is that I’ve been learning to sail!

A couple of years ago my husband and I bought a motor boat. Whilst owning a motor boat was quite fun, we never felt that you ever get the full sailing experience like you would do with a yacht.

At the end of last year, we decided we’d most likely put our Motor Boat up for sale this year. The only issue I personally had, was the fact I had never been out sailing on a Yacht and I know they are completely different to motor boats in how they sail and feel when you’re out on the water.

This concerned me as I didn’t want to jump into buying a Yacht then find out I really didn’t like it and wished we had kept the motor boat!

We therefore did our competent crew qualification on a Yacht with our local sailing centre in February this year. I absolutely loved sailing and knew that I was ready for our next adventure of getting a yacht!

Due to COVID-19, there were delays in us being able to list our boat for sale but by the end of August, we had managed to sell our boat.

I just wanted to finish this blog post with a couple of photos of my old boat taken on various film cameras:

My friend relaxing on the boat, Le Havre 2019 – Olympus Trip 35 Camera
Olympus Pen FT Half Frame Camera
Olympus Pen FT Half Frame Camera
Hasselblad 500 C/M Camera
Lomography Sprocket Rocket Camera
Lomography Sprocket Rocket Camera

I’m back!

Hi everyone.

I know I’ve not been regularly writing on my blog like I used to and I just wanted to let you all know that I’m ok.

At the beginning of 2020 I was hoping to have lots of film photography content for my blog this year, including getting to grips with using a large format camera and building my own darkroom but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be….

My photo content all looked promising at the beginning of the year when I visited Madrid and I was really happy with the black and white photos I had taken and blogged about at the time. Then COVID-19 struck in the UK around mid March.

I was fortunate enough to still find myself in full time employment and busier than ever with work which ended up taking up most of my time this year.

I’m also currently in the process of setting up a new online craft business which has taken up a lot of my spare time.

The darkroom space I had planned to kit out that my husband had at his work ended up being converted into a staff canteen as he had to review his work space to keep within the COVID-19 regulations, so I now need to look at a new space. I may even consider joining the Brighton Community Darkroom again next year because even if I only get there once a month, it’s still better than not developing any of my photos at all. I have really missed not using a darkroom this year!

I certainly haven’t taken as many photos this year like I would normally do and I’ve really missed going on photo walks and meeting up with other photographers.

I had originally planned pre-Covid to host an instant photo walk in Brighton in September but I’ve now postponed this for next year to review when hopefully the whole COVID situation would have improved and it’s safer for groups of people to meet up.

I was hoping to get some fun new photos for my photo blog when I went on holiday to Albufeira, Portugal back at the beginning of September.

My husband and I had originally planned to go to Greece but then saw the Islands being shut down and Portugal being put on the safe list so thought it would be better to go there.

We flew from Luton airport as we could easily park our car there. I was apprehensive about the airport and flight in view of the current COVID situation. However, it was nice and quiet at the airport and flying was actually quite relaxing and prompt with no delays.

When we arrived in Portugal, it was really hot! I had brought both my SX-70 Polaroid Camera and also my Leica M6 TTL, all loaded and ready to take some photos of my trip!

I was quite excited about finally getting somewhere new to take some photos, which wasn’t in my local area.

The locals were lovely and really happy to have the tourists back. They had only re-opened the beach about two weeks prior to us arriving.

They actually had more stricter rules than the UK in relation to COVID-19 and wearing masks, using hand sanitisers etc so it felt very safe out there.

During the first couple of days I didn’t take my camera’s out with me as I knew we’d be out in the sun most of the day and I was worried about the heat effecting them and their mechanics since they’re vintage cameras so I kept them inside the cool hotel room.

On Day 3 of our trip, we decided to go on a sunset jeep safari. It was a Thursday and the day that Boris Johnson would be announcing the countries that would no longer be classed as a safe zone which included Portugal being put back on the list. We were completely oblivious of this information whilst on the safari until we received a phone call from a friend who was meant to be coming to Portugal the following week.

If we had stayed in Portugal for the remainder of our holiday, it would have meant self-isolating for 14 days when back in the UK and due to both mine and my husband’s work commitments, we couldn’t do this.

We had a deadline of early hours Saturday to be back in the UK before we’d have to self-isolate.

On Thursday evening once we got back to our hotel, we booked a flight back to the UK for Friday afternoon. Thankfully, British Airways had put on some extra flights so we were able to get on one of those.

It was always going to be a risk going abroad, but all I can say is the three days we had there in the hot, glorious sunshine, were really lovely and just getting away after the best part of a year of hard slog with work, we really felt like we had been there much longer! We had some amazing fresh, local seafood meals alfresco, a nice walk around the local marina and loved seeing the old village in Albufeira.

I did manage to take one photo on my SX-70 with some SX-70 colour film from my hotel room balcony before we left:

Here are a couple I managed to take during the jeep safari on my Leica M6 TTL using Kodak Ektachrome E100 film:

The morning before we flew back to the UK, I managed to visit the local cemetery around the corner from where we were staying and take some photos with the same camera and film:

Here is the last photo taken at the end of our brief trip to Portugal (taken on my husband’s iPhone) coming out of Luton Airport with added face mask!

There is another reason this year why I have not had as much time for my photography as I would have liked and it’s quite exciting and hopefully going forward, there will be much more photos!

I’ll be blogging about my other exciting adventure I’ve managed to have around COVID-19 recently over the next few weeks!

Taking photos with the Lomography Lomochrome Metropolis film in my Olympus Trip 35 camera

Back in March after initially trying out the Metropolis film in my Hasselblad, I decided to test out the 35mm version in my Olympus Trip 35 Camera.

I took the photos whilst having a walk along Brighton seafront. It was an overcast day which I think helped the effect of this particular type of film and the film was shot at ISO 400.

Here are some of my favourite photos that I took on this film:

Pre-Lockdown walk on Brighton Beach with the Hasselblad 500c/m and the Lomography Lomochrome Metropolis 120 film

Back in February, I went for a walk on a sunny Sunday afternoon with my Husband and my dog, Daisy along Brighton beach. I decided to take my Hasselblad 500 c/m camera with me on this walk and the Metropolis film as I wanted to see if the film would still have that dark, steely edge when used in bright sunshine.

I shot the film at 400 ISO. Looking back, I think it would have been interesting to try a 100 or 200 ISO on such a sunny day so I may try that next time. There were clouds in the sky and I wonder if that is why I decided to shoot this film again on a 400 ISO.

It’s taken me a long time to post this blog as I put the film in for development with my local lab literally a few days before we went into lockdown in the UK and my local lab didn’t re-open until July.

Although I picked the film up several weeks ago, due to busy work commitments, I hadn’t got around to scanning the film on my Epson V600 scanner until now.

Here are the results:

Here are a couple I managed to take of my husband and Daisy:

I love these two photos of my husband and Daisy playing on the beach:

Here is one of Daisy:

During the winter months, my husband and I sometimes like to stop at this fish place along the beach for lunch and have a nice warm fish chowder soup with some bread.

One mistake I sometimes make with the Hasselblad is I wind the film on when I’m not ready to take my next photo. The camera then will face the floor when hung on the strap around my shoulder and what can happen is that the shutter will accidentally press against my leg when walking and go off. Here is a prime example of this happening and wasting a photo of my precious 12 roll film. I’m hoping I will stop doing this going forward! Here is the result of me doing that on this walk:

I still felt the photos had the gritty, street feel, even on a sunny day. It would definitely be interesting to use this film on some architecture. Perhaps I need to arrange another visit to the Barbican Centre and try out a roll of this film there. I’ve not yet been to London since COVID-19 happened and I don’t currently have any plans to visit anytime soon.

Emotional times after discovering an undeveloped film in my late Uncle’s Miranda FG-Z camera

During the COVID-19 lockdown, my uncle sadly passed away from a non-Covid related illness.

My family had the sad task of sorting through his things after he passed and found a Miranda FG-Z film camera amongst his possessions that they thought I may like to have since I’m into film photography.

After further research I discovered that the Miranda FG-Z camera was a rebranded Halina 160 which appeared to have been sold in Dixons during the 1980s and was made in Thailand.

It’s a standard plastic point and shoot 35mm camera with a built in flash and 33mm lens. You have ISO choices of 100, 200, 400 and 1000.

What I also noticed when I looked at the camera was that there was a film already in there with 18 shots taken.

I told my family and said I would remove the film from the camera and get it developed to see what photos my uncle had taken on it.

The film was a Vantage Pharmacy Colour Print ISO 100 35mm film with 24 exposures.

I decided not to use the remainder of the film up since I wanted it to be remembered for what my uncle had taken photos of.

I wasn’t even sure if there would be any photos that would come out on the film as it had clearly been inside the camera for some years.

I don’t think this film is made anymore but I could tell from looking at it that it most likely wasn’t film from the 1980s and looked more like it could have been produced in the late 1990s or early 2000’s perhaps.

I took the film to my local lab and was grateful to see that there were photos on the negatives when I got them back.

I eagerly scanned the negatives on my Epson V600 scanner to see what photos had been taken.

Initially there were several photos of some people I didn’t recognise that I think were my uncle’s friends at a gathering at one of their homes.

There was also this random photo of his television at the time where perhaps he was testing out the camera:

I then discovered the remainder of the film had been taken at another uncle’s 50th birthday meal/party which would have been around 2005. It was quite sad to see since this other uncle of mine (which was my uncle’s younger brother) had also passed away a couple of years ago due to cancer.

For some reason I didn’t attend the birthday meal or party so there were no photos of me. Here are some from the meal:

It was lovely to see some old photos of my family and also my Nan who sadly passed away a few years ago.

I had to really look at the last photo above as I saw my sister standing up at the back, my nan just in shot of the frame and sitting next to her was my brother.

At this point I started to get quite tearful but ploughed on through the scanning and the next one was of my uncle’s birthday cake with an old photo of him from the 1970s:

I then proceeded to scan the next negative and was completely and utterly shocked by what I discovered:

The person on the right in the striped top with the blonde hair is my brother.

The reason it was such a shock and extremely emotional for me was because he had tragically died in a car crash back in February 2006 when he was only 20 years old.

It appears this photo was taken of him the year prior to his death.

We thought we had all the photos we could ever have of him so this was such a lovely and wonderful surprise to find this undiscovered photo of him on my late uncle’s film camera.

I feel so grateful that first of all, my uncle had taken these photos, then my family gave the camera to me and that I decided to get the film developed instead of just throwing it away.

My family now have a new photo and memory to cherish of my brother which is lovely.

There were unfortunately no further photos of my brother and none of my late uncle who recently passed since he had been the one taking all the photos.