I’m slowly scanning piles of negatives taken with my trusty Olympus OM 1 and 2 over the last 25 years. I’m using an Epson V700 with Silverfast 8 SE, and I have to admit that the novelty wore off pretty quickly after I began the process. The task is not improved by large number of fairly dull images, mostly due to my skills with the manual focussing OMs being pretty basic. But occasionally I encounter some interesting shots from the past, like these photos taken around the streets of Edinburgh at Festival time in 1991. I wonder where these people are today…
Manual exposure Archives - SwitchingtoManual
I came across a huge cruise-ship, P&O’s Pacific Jewel, docked at Sydney’s Circular Quay today. Dozens of families were lining up to go onboard, and luggage and provisions were being stowed through various gangways along the side of the ship. It was a bright near-Springtime lunch hour when I strolled by, so the white of the ship blasted the sensor of my Fujifilm X100. I was trying out Fujifilm’s wide-angle converter for the X100 (WCL-X100) and thought a cruise ship was a pretty decent subject for that combination.
I had the camera set on spot metering with a minimum ISO of 800 and a maximum of 3200 as I’d been experimenting with trying to get fast shutter speeds for random lunch-time streets shots. I also had the film simulation mode set to B&W, with a yellow filter (good for skin tones). As usual I was taking RAW + Jpeg for safety, but the image I saw through the viewfinder was monochrome. I admit that they were some pretty crazy camera settings for photographing a blindingly white cruise ship at noon, but if you’ve experienced the pain of going into the menus on the X100, you’ll understand why I kept those settings and coped with a mixture of manual shooting and using the camera’s inbuilt ND filter.
Here are some of the photos. These are all based on the B&W jpegs out of the camera, with some pano stitching in Photoshop CS5.1 and minor tweaking in Silver Efex 2.0. There’s nothing great in these photos, but I just wanted to record the moment and present a few interesting shots. Bon Voyage for now.
I’m still getting to grips with the Holga 120 and recently tried a couple of rolls of Ilford XP2 in the 6x6cm square format.
Square has been a favourite aspect ratio of mine for a while, particularly for birds and wildlife. I find that a square crop helps to focus attention on the animal, and minimises the usual clutter which nature provides. I’ve also liked adding a simple frame to give the image a cleaner edge.
Anyway, back to the Holga. As I said the square crop suits me fine, and once I get a better handle on the focus scale and how to shoot for the highlights, I’ll really start to enjoy this simple camera. The biggest frustrations so far have come from external sources – the cost of developing and scanning the film (about $35/roll in Sydney) and the crappy scans which eventuate. I plan to solve the poor scan quality soon with the purchase of an Epson V700 scanner. Then I just need to find a cheaper lab for the film developing, and I’m away.
After attending a workshop with Australian Lomography master, Tim Hixson, I splashed out and invested about $40 in a Holga 120 N plastic camera and a couple of rolls of 120mm film. I’ll write more about Tim’s workshop and my first experiences with the Holga soon, but in the meantime, here’s a selection of my first 16 frames in this new format (for me). For my first roll I used Fuji Velvia 100 ISO film. Comments and suggestions are welcome.
I wanted to concentrate on long exposure seascapes, but rather than heading to one of Sydney’s typically beautiful beaches or harbour inlets, I took the challenge of going to its least attractive location – a beach in Botany Bay which is just meters from the main airport runway. It’s tricky to reach as you need to turn sharply off a highway, and when you get there it’s relatively flat, lifeless and the opposite of picturesque. I took my family there a couple of years ago to see the planes and there was a chain-gang of prisoners (without the chains) walking along the beach picking up rubbish. You don’t see that at Bondi Beach.
Well the inmates must have been on holiday as the rubbish along the water front was appalling. I stacked three Cokin neutral density filters in front of my Tamron 17-50mm and struggled to find inspiration among the garbage. To make matters worse, I later found that the ND filters were themselves pretty filthy, which meant most of the images were as untidy as the location.
Despite being a pretty miserable outing, it was a great compositional challenge and a strong reminder to keep the glass clean, especially when the subject isn’t.