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.
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.
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.
The next film I decided to try in my Leica with the 50mm Summicron Lens, was the Kodak TMax 400 black and white film as I knew I had achieved nice results from that film in the past with other cameras.
I decided to take a walk with my dog to St Ann’s Wells Gardens in Hove and try out the film there.
It’s a nice, quiet place to walk in winter time and I knew I still had to get to grips with getting used to using a Rangefinder camera again and improve on my focusing skills.
Here is one of Daisy I took using the camera and film:
Here is a small selection of photos I took whilst on this walk:
I quite like the lighting effect of the way the sunlight is shining through on this one:
Whilst I suppose the next photo I’m about to show is under exposed, there is something about it I really like. I think it’s the dark contrast of the tree/plants against the grey sky which has come out in a striped texture on this negative. To me, it looks like a really old photo taken years ago. I also think it has a tropical feel about it:
Overall, it was nice to try out a black and white film in the camera which didn’t have too much contrast compared to the JCH film. I really liked the crisp details I got from the camera.
After this film I decided I wanted to try out an Ilford black and white film. I look forward to blogging next week with the results.
For the second roll of film that I tried out in the Leica M6 TTL, I decided to use the Lomochrome Purple 35mm.
In the past, I’ve really liked the effects of this film so was keen to see what it would look like when taken on the Leica camera.
I initially went down to the local Pavilion area in Brighton where I took these shots:
After taking a couple of the Pavilion, which in my opinion, were rather limited with the amount of the building I could fit in due to the fact I was using the 50mm Summicron Lens, I decided to take some photos of the local plants since I knew the green works quite well with this film:
I still think at this point, there was room for improvement on my focusing of this camera, however, I was quite impressed with the detail of the following photo I took:
I then walked back home along the seafront and took some beach/wave shots:
I was keen to get this film developed asap so decided to use the remainder of the film up in my garden. I was quite drawn to the table and chairs at the back of my garden so took a photo of those:
My cat Robinson loves a lot of attention from me when I’m at home so he came out into the garden and I took a couple of photos of him:
Again, I wouldn’t say the focusing on these two photos was particularly great but there are some nice purple tones in them.
Whilst there were some fun shots taken from this film, I knew that I needed to try out some ‘normal’ style films out in this Leica camera.
I questioned whether I should leave the LomoChrome Purple effect film for my Lomography camera’s rather then use them in my Leica.
Therefore at this stage, I still didn’t feel I had seen the full potential of what this Leica Camera could do.
This made me excited about what film to use next and see what the results would be like which I shall blog about next week.
So the past few weeks for me have been a complete write off with regards to taking photos outdoors.
I had a couple of photo walks planned over the two weekends prior to the one just gone, to different places outside of Brighton, but in the end I had to cancel both due to the terrible rain we’ve been having.
On one of the days that I cancelled, I decided to have a productive morning of doing an inventory of my film instead.
I had began to notice quite a stash building up in my fridge of a mixture of 110, 35mm, 120 and various instant film.
It’s all piled on top of each other which makes it hard to see. By doing an inventory, I felt it would help me when planning future photography projects, since I can just check my list rather than raid through the film in my fridge, making it all untidy again!
The aim of this inventory list is that I actually start using the film I have rather than just keep buying more.
There seems to be so many new films coming out lately, that I get really excited and have to buy them there and then but right now, I do not want to continue adding to my fridge stash (unless it’s something I see when out and about and not something I can easily buy online).
A good example of this was on Sunday when I visited the Photographer’s Gallery in London. They have an amazing selection of film for sale and the couple I purchased, I knew I wouldn’t easily be able to buy online so decided to add them to my current film stash.
I recently stopped my 120 subscription to Cool Film Club as I was finding that it was quite expensive and I wasn’t using the films instantly, since I didn’t have a photo project in mind for them.
Whilst some people may be proud of their film stashes, I actually hate to see my film just sitting there in the fridge doing nothing.
I also have a tendancy with some of the films that I think are ‘quite special’ to keep on saving them for that ‘special photo project’ which quite frankly doesn’t always happen so it continues to sit there.
My aim is to now try and use up as much of my current stash as possible before I purchase anymore (no more photo shops with unusual film visits for me for a while!).
In some ways I know I will struggle with this, since I want to use everyday black and white film (i.e. Ilford) if I’m taking photos locally where I regularly visit.
This is why I’m trying to currently plan more places to visit outside of Brighton that appeal to me for taking photos which will give me the opportunity to actually use the ‘special films’.
However, once I do finally start to get through my film stash, I’ll be able to then treat myself to more film.
I think it’s the colour film I will struggle to use more as I really do like shooting in black and white and I also like the fact that I then have the option to make these photos into prints in the darkroom, if I’m happy with them rather just scan or digitally print like I currently have to do with colour film.
To be honest, I thought I had used up quite a lot of my film stash during my trips to Turkey and Le Havre back in June but it’s surprising what a fridge can hide since doing an inventory!
Does anybody else do an inventory of their film? If so, have they found it helpful in trying to reduce their current stash?
I would love to hear what you all think about doing an inventory of your film and if like me, you have stashes of film too or whether you tend to just buy film as and when you know you are going to use it.
Back in August I attended a photo walk in London organised by the London Camera Project and Kosmo Foto.
The plan for the day was to meet at CitizenM Tower of London Hotel where we would walk around the Tower of London area, then through Wapping, onto the Tower Bridge and Southwark.
What was also exciting about this photowalk was that everyone attending would receive a 35mm roll of Kosmo Foto film. There were also prizes and rewards arranged throughout the walk.
On this particular occasion, I didn’t have anybody to look after my dog, but I desperately wanted to attend this photo walk and thankfully the organisers were happy for me to bring her along.
My dog Daisy and I travelled up to London via the train from Brighton and I’m grateful that I have a pet who is very good at travelling and we have been to London together before on the train so I knew it wouldn’t be a problem. I’m also able to take her on the Underground which is great.
This is Daisy getting settled on the train on our journey up to london (photo taken on my iPhone):
When we arrived at the CitizenM Hotel a little earlier than the official meeting time, it was quite obvious to see who was there for the photo walk because they had camera’s with them. Since I had Daisy with me, I was unable to enter the Hotel, where a lot of people were waiting. However, this was an advantage too because I was able to chat and guide the people who were there for the walk who wasn’t sure where the group was.
Here is a lovely photo of Daisy taken outside the CitizenM Hotel by @lomo_keiko using her Lomo LCA Camera and Lomography 100 film:
Daisy is with me most of the time so I’ve developed a skill in taking photos whilst also holding her lead. This meant that she really wasn’t a problem on the walk.
Thankfully, she proved quite popular with the other photographers attending the walk and I think a few photos were taken by them of her.
I decided for this particular photo walk to take my Olympus Pen FT camera with me. Whilst I was tempted to take my Hasselblad 500 C/M, I knew the Olympus would be the most manageable camera to take photos whilst handling a dog at the same time.
Although we were handed a roll of the Kosmo Foto film, I still had a Cinestill B&W film in this camera from some other event where I took photos and didn’t manage to use up the whole of the film (since it’s 72 frames!) so thought it would be best to use it up on this walk. I also knew I wanted to take black and white photos.
Here are some of the photos from the walk:
Here is a photo of Daisy and I taken by @lomo_keiko using my Olympus Pen FT:
This photo was also taken by @lomo_keiko using her Lomo LCA camera and Kosmo Foto film:
As you may be able to tell, Daisy was quite keen to jump into that river and have a swim!
Lastly, here is a photo of Daisy taken by @ermess_ using his Leica M6 and Kosmo Foto film:
Whilst on the photo walk, we stopped at a couple of pubs along the way and the final one we ended up at was a really nice bar called Hawkes Cidery & Taproom, where further film photography prizes were handed out. They also serve some lovely Pizza’s which I really enjoyed after all that walking!
Needless to say, I had a lot of fun on this photo walk and it was really nice to meet some new people, as well as catch up with some friends I’d made from previous photo walks.
Whilst I wouldn’t normally take Daisy with me on a photo walk, on this particular occasion, because everyone was very accepting of her, it was really nice to have her out with me and I know she loves to visit new places.
For anybody who has been following my blog for a while, you may have read about my ‘light leak’ issues I had when I first attempted processing film in a changing bag because the sleeves of the changing bag were too big for my slender arms and ended up letting light in and therefore ruining some of the film I was developing.
Now, I know I’ve had the alternate option of loading the film tanks in the darkroom, since I now have access to one. However, due to current work commitments and the fact the local community darkroom takes me approx 1-2 hours to travel to (since I don’t drive and have to rely on public transport or walk), the very precious time I am currently able to spend in the darkroom, I want to focus solely on making prints, rather than developing film.
I recently saw in the film community that people were getting excited about their Ars-Imago Lab-Boxes arriving in the post that they had backed on Kickstarter in 2017.
I didn’t get back into film photography until last year, so completely missed out on the opportunity of purchasing one via the Kickstarter campaign which seemed much cheaper than what they now retail at.
I really wanted to start doing my own film processing but ideally from home where I can do it around work in the evenings so this lab-box really appealed to me as I wouldn’t have the need for a darkroom or changing bag.
It also looked like a simpler way of loading the film than using a normal developing tank.
I was put off though by the retail price of the lab-box which is around £179.00 plus accessories such as the crank handle cost extra.
Back in August, I was chatting to one of my photography friends about it and they said they had backed the original campaign on Kickstarter and just received theirs in the post. Although, realistically, they didn’t think they currently have time to process their own film.
As luck would have it, my friend agreed to sell his one to me (for a lot less than the current retail price!) and his one came with both 35 and 120 modules plus the crank handle accessory and also a film retriever.
He hadn’t even opened the original postage packaging to look at it so it was all completely brand new and sealed up!
I decided I was going to use the Cinestill DF 96 Monobath since it has both the Developer and Fix in one and I figured it would be the easiest thing for me to try first until I got used to processing film:
Initially, I was going to try developing the 35mm film, as that looked the easiest.
What I didn’t bank on, was not being able to retrieve the film leader out of the canister after shooting. I had initially attempted to only wind the film back in the camera until I felt the slack on the winder but twice in my Olympus Pen FT, I failed to feel when it went slack and it wound all the way back in.
I ended up breaking two film retriever’s trying to get the film out of both canisters and all the other methods (double sided sticky tape etc) didn’t seem to work because I must have worked the film into the canisters tightly which made it impossible to retrieve them without breaking the canisters (so off to the local lab they went for developing)……not a great start so far!
In the meantime, I had taken some black and white photos on my Hasselblad 500 C/M camera so I decided to use the 120 module first instead.
Once I had read the instructions, I found this very simple to do. However, I was a little disappointed on reading to discover that I cannot process 120 films with PET Base which include the following:
I found this a little frustrating as I quite like using the JCH4 400, Rollei 400s and Fomapan 120 films so I’ll either have to go back to the old way of processing film in the dark with a normal developing tank or get my local lab to process these films.
I decided to use the Crank Handle accessory instead of the standard turning dial (which in my kit is black but there are orange and green options) as I thought this would help with the agitating process.
I used the Ilford FP4 (125) 120 roll film and the temperature of the monobath was 21 degrees so the instructions told me agitate for 6 minutes.
I then rinsed the film inside the tank as per the lab-box instructions then washed the film in a jug with some wetting agent.
I had a slight issue with the Crank Handle mid agitation which I’m not sure if I locked properly into the tank and it promptly came off! Thankfully the film didn’t seem to be affected by this as I was concerned about a light leak.
I took the photos in my local cemetery as I knew I wouldn’t be too annoyed if I messed up and didn’t develop them properly and here are some of the photos I took:
I was really happy with the outcome of my first photos using this box. The main thing was that I actually managed to develop some photos I could scan!
I was determined to test out the 35mm module so I loaded my Pentax K1000 with some Kosmofoto 100 film and I took most of the photos at my local cemetery (again, just in case they didn’t develop very well so I wouldn’t be too disappointed).
This time I managed to wind the film back to the point where I left the leader out! (as it’s really easy to tell in my Pentax K1000 when I’ve wound the film back to this point).
Loading the 35mm film into the lab-box was very easy and it wound into the box so quickly I genuinely thought the film had jammed midway through loading and that I wouldn’t get to develop the full film. I couldn’t pull the film back out so just had to go with it and see what happened at the end. Thankfully, it had actually loaded the whole film and hadn’t jammed as I had initially feared.
I again, agitated the film for 6 minutes as my monobath was 21 degrees. I rinsed as per the instructions and used a wetting agent and here are some of the results:
Once again, I was pleased that there were photos and that I was able to scan them! I was also really happy with the tone and contrast of these photos for a beginners attempt.
I had some drying issues with both sets of negatives. I decided to dry them in my bathroom since I feel my bathroom is the least dusty/fluffiest place to hang them (plus my three extremely fluffy cats don’t tend to go in there).
Even though I had used a wetting agent and wiped down the negatives before hanging to dry, they still managed to attract a lot of dust and fluff whilst they were wet and sticky before they fully dried!
I therefore had to use a film cleaner on them to try and get them as clean as possible before I could scan them.
I could see some water marks on them too, so I’m considering whether to use bottled water next time I rinse them as the tap water where I live is extremely hard and causes a lot of limescale issues on my taps, kettle etc and see if that makes a difference.
Since I’m new to film processing, I know I’ve a lot to learn about using various chemicals and the drying process etc.
With regards to the lab-box, would I recommend it? I would say if you currently process your film using a darkroom/changing bag and the tanks with no problems, then I would continue that way and save your money.
This product is certainly a more costly way of developing your film because of how much it retails at.
However, if you’re wanting to try out processing film and are feeling overwhelmed about doing it in the dark, or using the normal processing tanks, then I’d definitely recommend this box.
It has certainly given me the confidence I needed to process film again after my previous disastrous attempts last year.
I also love the fact I can process them in daylight in the comfort of my home without the need of using a changing bag or darkroom.
I also think once you get to grips with the lab-box, it is a less fiddly way of developing your film than loading it into a normal developing tank but this is only my personal opinion.
Lastly, will I be using the lab-box on a regular basis? then the answer is yes! Just the buzz alone of seeing my film come out of the tank with photos was a massive high for me and felt like a real sense of achievement! I definitely don’t get the same buzz when picking the film up from my local lab.
Since I’ve only developed two rolls of film so far, I’m looking forward to experimenting with different chemical types and also doing colour film too.
I would love to know if anybody else has got one of these and has tried it? It would be great to read your opinions of what you thought of it.
Also, if anyone who already processes their own film has any advice they would like to share with me going forward, I’m always grateful for any help since I’m a complete beginner and have much to learn!