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Why I’m loving the Polaroid SX-70 film

Over the past year I have been mainly using the Polaroid 600 film with my SX-70 Alpha 1 polaroid camera.

My camera hasn’t been converted to use 600 film so instead I either use ND filters that you place on the film cartridge before inserting it into the camera or I use the Mint 2 flash.

The main reason I had got into the habit of using the 600 film was that I liked the different border editions that Polaroid have released instead of just the plain white frames.

Recently I was getting a bit fed up with the fact that Polaroid hadn’t recently released that many fun version frames for the 600 film and I was constantly using expired film which was having mixed results.

I realised I could no longer keep wasting money with the expired film hoping that the battery still worked or that the picture quality would be ok so I decided to go back to basics and just purchase a recent batch of Polaroid SX-70 film.

I knew this is the perfect time of year to use the SX-70 film in the bright and sunny weather without needing the flash since it has a low ISO.

As soon as that first instant photo came out on the SX-70 film I was instantly in love with it!

I just loved the dark depths of the photos and colours it was producing. I had been used to using the Polaroid 600 film for such a long time that I forgot just how washed out the colours are on that film.

For comparison, here is one I took of my cat in the garden using the Polaroid 600 film with the coloured frame edition:

This film had expired and you’ll see the colours are quite light and washed out with some chemical forming imperfections in some places.

This was the last photo taken on that batch and I instantly put the SX-70 film straight into my camera afterwards and took the following photo of my cat in the garden:

You can instantly see the difference in colour quality and I was really impressed by this film.

Here are some photos I took whilst on my boat on a sunny day. The first one is of me attempting a selfie on my camera:

This is pretty out of focus since I took it myself. The next two are of my dog, Daisy, chilling out on the boat:

I really do love the blues and golden colours this film produces.

Here are a couple of photos I took on a recent beach walk:

Even though the above two photos are lighter, I still really like the colours in them.

Here is a photo of my husband and mother in law taken at the weekend on our first social distance dinner out since lockdown at a Greek restaurant at Brighton Marina:

Here is a photo I took of a really cool leather bag by AVO Bags that my friend Alice makes and sells in Brighton:

The bags she makes are inspired from the 60s/70s era and I feel this photo gives a really nice vintage feel to the look of the bag that I really like.

Lastly, here are a couple of photos I took of my other cat in the garden:

I am really impressed with the depth of the green colour in the last two photos.

Whilst I wish that Polaroid would make some exciting coloured frames for this film type, the photo quality and colours has made me over look this issue and keep purchasing it for now.

Instead, I am using my typewriter to write captions on the photos after I have scanned them then I stick them in my photo album.

Using the Leica SF 20 flash with my Leica M6 TTL camera

Not long after purchasing my Leica M6 TTL, I decided to buy the Leica SF 20 flash as I thought I may use the camera on social night’s out with family and friends or perhaps when watching bands so thought it would be a good investment.

I also thought it would be great to try out the TTL settings of the flash to sync with my camera.

I decided to test the flash out at home and with my dog.

I took these photos using the TTL setting on the flash. Unfortunately I didn’t make exact notes at the time so can’t remember what aperture etc the camera was set at.

I used Kodak Portra 160 film and a 50mm Leica Summicron Lens. Here are some photos I took of my mirror on the TTL flash setting:

Here are some of my dog, Daisy with the TTL setting:

Here is one of Daisy with her favourite toy, Mr Moo, again using the TTL setting on the Flash:

I then decided to take a couple of photos using the manual flash option and the light meter reading through my camera and here are the results:

You will see an immediate difference in these photos in the fact that the TTL metered flash photos all have a yellow tinge to them but the ones shot on the manual flash setting all are a lot more balanced and show the correct white of the room.

Clearly in my opinion, the photos taken with the manual flash setting came out much better and more accurate.

The only issue I can think of with the TTL flash metering was that there was a white balance issue because there is so much white in my living room and perhaps I needed to shoot a grey test card first to get the right white balance?

I’m very new to using flash with my Leica camera so there may be somebody reading my blog who has a lot more experience with this type of flash and camera who can give me some expert advice on whether my theory is correct regarding the white balance and methods I could use to improve this when using the TTL option.

Taking Polaroids on my Birthday

Last Saturday was my birthday.

Before COVID-19 struck, the original plan for my birthday was to be away in France with my husband and some friends for a music festival that my husband was DJing at. I was especially pleased that my birthday had fallen on a Saturday this year which made it perfect to celebrate over a weekend of great music and friends.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be and I was to remain in England. We are still adhering to social distancing measures in the UK so I just spent my birthday in the end with my husband.

I was grateful on my birthday that it was lovely and sunny in Brighton which meant we could go out for the day.

We initially spent a lovely sunny morning in the garden with our animals. I took this photo of my husband holding our cat Saffy on my Polaroid SX-70 Alpha 1 camera with some expired Polaroid 600 film which I needed to use up. Using expired film is always a risk but thankfully they came out in the main part of the photo, aside from the black streak along the side. Also, if you look close enough, you can see my other cat, Lil Saf sitting on the wall in the background:

We decided for the afternoon we would drive to the countryside and visit some secluded woods for a picnic.

We have a lovely italian restaurant opposite where we live which has currently adapted itself in these times to a lovely italian takeaway delicatessen and we were able to purchase some lovely fresh bread, stuffed peppers and aubergines and also some Burrata and cold meats for our picnic.

We took our dog Daisy who absolutely loved wandering around in the woodland area. We came across a lake where I took this photo:

My husband took this photo of me whilst we were eating our picnic which came out blurry but I quite like the dreamy feel of it:

Here is a random, blurry shot I took which was of Daisy but she moved too fast out of where I had originally focused her as she was running around so much sniffing the woodland area so it’s a very abstract photo. I almost think it looks like I’ve put some kind of Kaleidoscope filter on the lens:

After our lovely afternoon picnic we headed to Brighton Marina and spent the remainder of the day on our boat.

Whilst my birthday wasn’t what I had originally planned, I still had a lovely day and it was nice to connect with nature and relax away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Plus I have some Polaroid photos to keep as a reminder of my birthday.

A trip to Madrid with my Leica M6 TTL and Rollei Retro 80S Film

Back in the beginning of March I went to Madrid for a long weekend with my husband for his birthday.

I knew there would be some great historic streets to take some photos so thought it would be a great opportunity to use my Leica M6 TTL.

I also knew that I wanted to take black and white photos. I really love the results I’ve obtained from the Rollei Retro 80S film in the past with other cameras as I love the high contrast. I therefore took this film with me.

Here is a sample of some of the photos I took during my trip:

I took two examples of this photo – one with people walking in it and one without. I still can’t make up my mind which one I prefer as I quite like the street photography style with the people in it:

I then headed to the gardens in Madrid and took some photos:

We came across a cute little ice cream parlour during our walk back from the gardens with a mirror in the shop front so I took a selfie using my camera:

The apartments in Madrid looked really beautiful and very grand:

On our walk back to our hotel, we came across a retro sushi restaurant called Le Club Sushita. It was decorated with original 1960s furniture and walls and I instantly fell in love with the place. It had a really cool late 60’s club feel.

What was even better was the fact that they served amazing sushi which I really loved and we spent a lovely couple of hours in there.

Here is a photo of my husband I took whilst inside the restaurant. I didn’t use a flash but we were sitting near a window with daylight shining through:

On our last day in Madrid I managed to visit the Leica shop which had recently opened there.

It was a lovely shop with a photo exhibition upstairs which I was invited by the staff to have a look at. The staff were really lovely and welcoming to the shop.

Whilst there, I bought a nice red leather camera strap for my Leica which I really love:

The staff in the Leica shop also gave me this really nice Leica Pin Badge:

I really enjoyed my trip to Madrid. I had never been before and it was such a beautiful city to wander round and take photos. I would definitely visit again.

The Kosmonauts Hampstead Hike with my Leica M6 TTL and Leica Sofort

Back in November last year, I attended the Kosmonauts Photowalk in Hampstead which was organised by @londoncameraproject

At that time, I had recently purchased the Leica M6 TTL so was looking forward to taking it out on it’s first photowalk.

I also knew that I wanted to take some instant photos on this photowalk so also took my Leica Sofort camera since it’s a nice compact instant camera that doesn’t take up a lot of room in my bag.

I was looking forward to visiting Hampstead since I had never been there before.

It was very easy for me to get to by train from Brighton and I met everyone at the station in Hampstead.

The @londoncameraproject photowalks have become very popular with film photographers and this was no exception. A nice group of people turned up so it was great to meet new people who also had a love of film camera’s.

Considering it was November, the weather was fairly nice and Hampstead does have some really pretty streets with some nice shops. We initially started our photowalk around those where I took some photos using my Leica M6 TTL, the Leica 50mm Summicron lens and Kodak Portra 400 colour film:

I was really drawn to this OXO tin I found inside a vintage market we visited in Hampstead so took a photo of it:

There was a lovely Florist next door to the vintage market so I took a picture of some of the nice flowers for sale:

Next we went for a walk around some of the local streets and I took a couple of photos:

During the photowalk, we also visited a pub. It turns out that the pubs are extremely busy in Hampstead on a Saturday afternoon and we were a fairly large group, so we had to kind of spread ourselves out where we could in the pub we decided to stop at.

Whilst at the pub, I took some photos on my Leica Sofort of some of the group. I gave most of them away but managed to keep a couple. I also took one outside whilst walking around the streets in Hampstead:

After the pub stop, we headed to the woods but since it was November, the daylight started to fade in the late afternoon and I didn’t manage to get any shots using my Leica M6 TTL camera. I tried to take some using my Leica Sofort but they unfortunately came out took dark, even with the flash.

After the woodland walk, I had a knitting shop in London that I needed to visit for my Knitwear Designer job before it closed plus I still had the journey of heading back to Brighton ahead of me so I said farewell to the others whilst they headed off to another pub for some further drinks.

I’m so pleased I got to visit Hampstead as it really was a pretty place and I would definitely go back there another time to perhaps visit some of the beautiful shops that the town has.

The Leica M6 TTL and Hillvale Holiday 200 Film

Whilst on holiday in Tenerife in December last year, I decided to also take the Hillvale Holiday colour film with me.

This film is all the way from Australia and it was sitting in my film stash since I received it in my Emulsive secret santa gift for Christmas 2018.

I used this film during my walks around the resort where I was staying, which was mainly of the sea and rocks:

Here is one of my husband looking out to sea during one of our walks:

There was a marina near to where we were staying that we liked to visit:

We found a nice little restaurant in the Marina where we managed to visit for breakfast/lunch on several occasions during our stay.

On one of our visits, the waiter saw my camera and knew it was a film camera which he said he really liked.

He asked if he could take a photo of me and my husband using it and I agreed. I tried to set it up best I could for him but unfortunately I must have estimated the distance wrong so the photo came out blurry:

Overall, I felt the photos had a nice vintage feel to them. I scanned these photos after I had scanned the Kodak Ektachrome E100 film so instantly saw the difference in how the colour wasn’t as vibrant as slide film but it was nice to use up the remainder of the Hillvale film that I had in my film stash.

Tenerife with my Leica M6 TTL and Kodak Ektachrome E100

Back in December I managed to get away for some winter sun to Tenerife.

I had previously liked using slide film in the Hasselblad 500 c/m so I was keen to see what it would be like in the Leica.

I had a roll of Kodak Ektachrome E100 in my film stash for a while that I had been saving and I knew the trip to Tenerife would be the perfect opportunity to finally use it.

I decided to use the film during a day excursion to La Gomera.

I took the photos using my 50mm Summicron lens and the photos were processed at my local lab using the E-6 process.

During the excursion, we were driven up into the mountains and here are some photos I took of the landscape:

We were then driven to a dense forest area in the mountains and I really liked the green moss that was growing on the trees so was keen to see how this would look in a slide photo:

I was really impressed with the vivid green detail the photo produced. I also took one more in the shade, which looks completely different and not as vivid:

For lunch, we visited a restaurant in the mountains and sampled some of the local food and wine. We were entertained by the restaurant staff doing a demonstration of their local language called Silbo Gomero (also known as El Silbo). It’s basically a whistled register of Spanish which is used by the inhabitants of La Gomera to communicate across the deep ravines and narrow valleys within the island. It was fun to watch.

Inside the restaurant was this really cool view point that I knew I had to take a photo of:

I then took some photos of the views from the restaurant:

Here is one of my husband admiring the views from the Restaurant:

Here are a couple of photos I took at another view point on the way back down the mountains:

La Gomera was a beautiful island to visit. If I was to go again, I would like to spend a bit more time around the local marina and square which looked really interesting but I only got to spend about an hour there since this excursion mainly focused on time spent up in the mountains.

I didn’t manage to use up all the film whilst on this excursion so took the final remainder photos from my balcony where I was staying on the mainland in Tenerife:

I really do love slide film, especially when processed under E-6. For me, the bright vivid colours are just amazing and I also love the feel of the photos. They remind me of a 70s holiday brochure.

Whilst I still have some other colour 35mm films to use in my film stash, going forward for the Leica M6, I think the Ektachrome E100 will most certainly be one of my go to films for colour photography from now on.

Photos from my Leica M6 TTL camera with the Ilford HP5 Plus 35mm film

The next black and white film I decided to try out in my Leica M6 TTL camera was the Ilford HP5 Plus 400 35mm film.

Here are some photos I took near Brighton Pier whilst walking my dog, Daisy:

Here are a couple I took of Daisy on the beach:

Here are a couple of random pebble/debris shots:

I spent the afternoon at Brighton Marina and used up the remainder of the film there:

Overall, I really liked the dark and moody feel of these photos. I had taken the photos on a cloudy, overcast day and I think this helped the effect.

I used the 50mm Summicron lens. Again, I was impressed with the crisp detail produced in some of the closer shots, like the beach photos with the pebble detail.

Next week I will be blogging about the results I got from using Kodak Ektachrome e100 in this camera which I’m really excited about sharing with you.

Classic Car Show photos with my Olympus Pen FT Camera and the Cinestill 50D 35mm film

I am writing this blog especially for Marcus (marcusterrypeddle) who recently read an interview I did with Melvin Mapa and a photo that was featured in the interview appears to have never been blogged about by myself!

I am first of all surprised I never did but I’ve looked through my blogs and cannot find any mention of when I used this film. Perhaps I just forgot at the time as I had a really busy summer in 2018 taking lots of photos.

These photos were taken on my Olympus Pen FT when I first only had one lens for it which was the Zuiko 40mm f 1.4

I visited a classic car show in Stanmer Park along with my friend and we travelled there in her 1965 Mustang.

At the time I posted a lot of the photos on instagram but for anybody not on Instagram, here are some of the photos I took:

I was really pleased with how they had turned out and I was happy that I had chosen the Cinestill 50D Film.

However, I remember at the time feeling frustrated that I only had the 40mm lens as I felt this restricted the amount of car I could really get into each photo. I therefore improvised and did some close up shots of the cars and some of their interiors. I also stood as far back as possible where I was able to, so I could try to fit a whole car into the photo.

It wasn’t long after this that I invested in some other size Zuiko lenses for the camera and I certainly haven’t regretted doing that.