Macro Photographic Organization Storm

Yesterday…and today..the UK was in the throes of Storm Dennis. As the area I live in, well, most of the UK…was under a yellow storm warning…Scratch all that. Yesterday there was a storm and I decided to stay in and hunt through my photo equipment boxes to make a list of what I had.

Basically, I wanted to know what lenses I had for what mounts. I was looking for a Minolta 100-300mm which I thought I might have. Despite the storm, spring is on the way and I will be going out birding and wanted a lens to fit the Sony a37 I have. That camera is my, take out and don’t mind if it gets destroyed camera. Rather than my, holy crap please don’t break, camera. I know lots of people take their best, most expensive camera everywhere. I am not one of those people. If I am going to drop a camera in mud or bash it against a rock by mistake, it can be the one I got for £100 and can afford to replace. I doubt I will ever be in a position to take a photo of a bird where I absolutely need a Nikon D750 to improve it. And I certainly can’t afford a super zoom lens for it. Anyway…I didn’t have one. I left it in Japan, bugger. You are enjoying this post aren’t ya 🙂

Here is are some photos of bird I took to make yourself feel better.

So what was in the box? Or boxes, I took the time to organise them better too. Now one box is for flash stuff and filters, one box is for lenses and adapters. AND in that box I found two Nikon reversing rings. well, I actually I found two ringy type things that I had no idea what they were. The packages said AT 58mm and AT 52mm. So I did a google search…and voila reversing rings, cool!!! and they would fit my Nikon, double cool!!!

…and now labeled

Well, might as well give them a whirl.

To use it, I put the camera in manual mode and focused by moving the camera backwards and forwards. With the lens on in reverse, you have no control of the auto focus or the aperture adjustment. Luckily, there is a handy lever on the side of the lens.

You can use that to adjust the aperture, pushing it will open it wider. The effects are visible through the viewfinder immediately. You can also use an old type lens with a built in aperture selector. I have found with this type of photography, you need as much light as possible.

The last time I tried macro photography I used a film camera and a bellows attachment. It was tricky to get the exposure right. I much prefer digital for this type of activity. It is cheaper and you don’t have to wait to see if you got it right. Once attached I wandered around my house and then, during a break in the rain, I went outside. I didn’t take many photos as I was just trying it out, but I am really looking forward to trying it in spring…or if there is ever some snow/ice.

Here are the results.

As with all macro photography, there is a very shallow depth of field. You can see two photos of long leaves that I took on rapid shutter, the difference in focusing points was caused by my slight camera movement..really slight. I might try a tripod setup in the future and try some focus stacking. I haven’t done that before either.

So what else was in the boxes?? At least 3 lenses that I have no body to attach them too…that drives me crazy. One of them I can’t even tell what it would fit, nothing I own right now.

Chinon CE-5

As part of my new year plan, I am selling most of my film cameras, but not this one. I have decided I love Chinon cameras. I love them. I love this one. I love that it is unpretentious. It is not one of the cameras on the hit list of the trend setters. It rarely or if ever comes up on lists of must have cameras. But here it is, a cracking little camera, as is the CE4.

It is light, easy to carry around all day. It looks great, a very traditional looking SLR. It is simple to use. It has manual and aperture mode with a clear viewfinder display. And it takes Pentax lenses, but the Chinon lenses are great too.

The camera has an ISO range between 25 – 3200 and takes two LR44 or SR44, which is very convenient.

I loaded it with some expired FP4 and wandered around my local area. Then rushed home to develop the film and… was disappointed. Not with the camera, but with the film. It was just so dense and grainy, something was wrong. I suspected the fixer. I developed another, different film after this and that showed the same issues. I changed the fixer after that and all was restored. As for the camera I still loved it. Here are a few shots from the weird fix film.

But I already loved the camera and wanted to try it again. So I loaded it with a roll of Arista Edu Ultra 100 and this time added a yellow filter. I headed to Sheffield for a wander with an amalgamation of two film groups I attend. I bought the film on my last trip to Japan, but after reading a couple of reviews I found out it was Foma 100 in a different package. I didn’t notice any blue tints in the chemicals, so I am not sure about that.

Anyway, walking around Sheffield was a little painful. Firstly I fell over at the station before the meeting time…twice, due to black ice. That was brilliant for my already very tender knee. Then we headed out of the back of the station which leads up a steep hill, also brilliant for my knee. For me, it was a whole new area to explore as I always go out the front of the station. Maybe I should try this tactic in the future at other stations. On this trip I was determined to take a few portraits. I used to take more when I first started out taking photos, but rarely do so now, unless it is of a member of my family.

The others in the group had the same idea and one asked a very interesting character for a photo and he said yes. I didn’t want to have the same shots as everyone else so I asked the person sitting next to him. He also said yes, Yatta! Later a group of teenagers were doing wheelies near a fountain. I had no reserves about asking them to do more so we could practice panning. They were very compliant, actually they went a little overboard.

Anyway, the camera coped beautifully the whole day and I was very pleased with the results. At one point one of the other group members asked me about it as he had noticed the red symbol on the front. He thought is was a Sony and wanted to know what film cameras Sony made, nope Chinon.

Here are some of the shots from the outing.

These are some of my favourite photos I have taken on film recently. Who needs an expensive camera 🙂 Not me…especially as I am selling them off.

Kershaw Eight-20 Penguin

This is the second crappy photo post for the day after my break. It is disappointing to post crappy photos, but as this blog is a record of the cameras I have used, I decided to go ahead and post them anyway.

The camera was in the job lot of box brownie cameras and as it was a nice day I decided to try it out. Because it is called penguin!!! How cool is that. Besides that, look at it…

I also decided to try it out because I had some expired film left and thought, why not. It turned out it wasn’t such a great decision for a number of reasons.

  1. There was no viewfinder on the camera. I ended up using a spirit level attached to the camera with bluetack and guessed the rest.
  2. My chemicals were expired, bugger!
  3. I could not get the film out of the camera, the winder knob was stuck.
  4. I took the camera to Conisborough Castle and when I saw the tower I couldn’t help myself and climbed it….I am not supposed to put any extra strain on my knees right now…but…castle!

Anyway, apart from the missing viewfinder there didn’t seem to be much else wrong with the camera. It is a simple, metal, folding camera from around 1951. There are two aperture choices f11 or f16, one speed – probably 1/50th, and a distance scale that moves from 6ft to infinity. That is it. As you can see on the photos I put tape around mine as I can’t confident it would be light tight, funnily, I didn’t check the bellows as they seemed to be in very good condition.

So as I said, I used a spirit level to try and keeps things straight and for the most part that worked fine, I might use it on other box cameras. But, as I said my chemicals had issues, something you don’t know until this happens. Once developed the film was opaque which makes me think my fixer was exhausted. The only problem with that theory is that another film developed after was fine. Oh well, it still gives me a chance to see what the camera can do.

I honestly couldn’t be bothered to get rid of any hairs. There are a couple of shots that are obviously not straight. I found the shutter button to be quite sensitive and it took the photo while I was playing with the camera.

So final result. This is a camera that will look nice on a shelf, but not worth the effort to use it with film. I am going to donate it to a film project I was asked about. Someone contacted me for old cameras to go in a display, here, have this one 🙂

Developing E6 Slide film in Black and White chemicals

Hello again, I have a few posts in my draft folder so I feel more at ease now. Plus the days are getting longer and I have been able to get out. My knee is healing so all is well in the world. That being said I think I will start posting a few things again. And this post is exactly what it says on the tin. I wondered what would happen if I developed some slide film in black and white chemicals, if the title didn’t let you know that already.

When I research the idea every post said, don’t be daft, why would you bother. But I want to bother, because I can be bothered. So in the end I decided to do it anyway. I took a few shots and developed them in Kodak d-76 1:1 concentration for 16 minutes at 18 degrees. Then fixed it for 10 minutes. There were no recipes out there so I decided to try the same times with a longer fix as when I tried c-41 in black and white chemicals. I also over exposed the film by a few stops for good measure, it was expired film so it couldn’t hurt.

So what were the results?

The negatives were very dense due to the film’s base layer. The end results were very much like the C41 results. Oh, I didn’t see the point in de-hairing them. So at the end of the day, with lots of light and lots of contrast, the shots are interesting-ish. Nothing worse than some very old black and white film I have tried before.

It was an interesting experiment. One that I doubt I will repeat.

Time for a break

I find winter a tricky time in terms of photography, this winter especially. Last year I was only working part time and the weather was mild. That meant plenty of time to get out and about taking photos and testing cameras.

This year has been quite different and quite frustrating. I have been working almost full time. That means leaving my house when it is dark and arriving home in the same conditions. On the days that I have been free it seems to be raining nearly every time. And just when I thought I was able to get out and about I have had to deal with a knee injury. Oh woe is me. So what to do when you just can’t get out? All the blogs and books I have read say, never mind stay inside and practice still photography or flash. Well, I don’t want to. I like being out and about. It’s not even that I don’t want to ruin a camera, but more that I don’t want to waste film. It has become more expensive recently or I have become poorer. I don’t want to waste it on things I am not interested in.

I know this all sounds like a bit of a rant, I suppose it is really. But I love being out and about, walking and exploring, breathing fresh air and enjoying the sounds of nature. Let’s just say, I am really looking forward to spring!

With that slight rant over I have decided to take a break from this blog for a month. A short break to recharge my interests and prepare some draft post ideas. I have never felt like I have to post something each week, but that is what I have been doing for the past 3 or so years. Time for a break.

See you in a short while 🙂

Pentax P30n

Someone asked if I was still making reviews. Well, I still have quite a few cameras on my shelf and can’t quite kick the addiction yet, but this is the last one in my draft folder. It is also the last of the P30 cameras, definitely my last of this series. I have already tried the other, very similar ones, namely the P30 and P30t. On looks alone, I prefer the P30t. On use, I don’t really have a preference. While trying this version I decided to try a film experiment of sorts.

According to this site the only real difference between the P30n and the P30t are the looks. On this website you can find all the technical details you might need for this 1988 camera and some personal stories about the camera.

As I said I decided to try an experiment with this camera. I already knew how the camera worked and how it felt, so this time I focused on the film. Recently I have been trying to process my own slide film, but it has been coming out a bit funky. I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong and it didn’t seem possible that I had the wrong chemicals, but the scans were coming out very psychedelic. A friend suggested I send one film away to be processed by someone else to see if the results were the same. I thought this was a good suggestion so I did. I loaded a roll and walked around my local area, it was a dull day so mostly the camera was set to F1.7 and 1/60th. I sent the film to John Salim Photographic, who did a great job. The film was expired, as is all my E6 film, but the film returned did look better than when I processed it myself. It was purple but not psycho. So then I got down to scanning it and…

Return of the psycho! What is it? Ok Occam’s Razor…simplest solution. It must be the way I am scanning them. I did some research and found this article. It basically said, turn off all colour correcting software as it is fooled quite easily. So I did that and scanned the film again.

With all options set to “none”

So the colours are better, but they are not amazingly sharp. I do find that sharpness is an issue with the canonscan though. One day I will get a camera set up like explained in this video.

Anyway the camera worked well and I have solved my wild colour issue, though I have to say I do quite like it in certain circumstances. It works very well for grafitti.

Here are some more shots from the rest of the film. Note the little library is now much less psycho.

Basically, you can’t go wrong with a Pentax SLR.

New Zines and Old

Part of my plan for the year was to great more zines or iBooks. In the past I have used Pages to make the layout for paper books and iBook Author for digital books. I found you can make iBooks with pages, but I preferred using Author. Personally I found it easier to use. Anyway, this time I decided to use iBook Author exclusively. When making the post about zines I found the website I used to print books needed a PDF upload, I realised I could create that on Author. That meant I didn’t have to use two programs and I could use the one I liked.

So with the last few days of the winter break I sat down and got to work….and made 3 new publications and converted my old, paper only one to an iBook.

Some of the books are free, some have a small fee which will keep me in film or go towards my new lens.

Here are the three new ones.

This one contains Cosplay photos in studios and in abandoned places. Click here to see more details.
This is the first book in a series of iBooks based on photos from different places I have traveled to or have live in. Click here for more details.
This is the second book in a series of iBooks based on photos from different places I have traveled to or have live in. Click here for more details.

Once you arrive at the details, scroll down to see all of the ones I have made. They are only available on iBooks, so you need an Apple product to view them. Or you can send me a message and I might be able to create a PDF version for you.

As I make more iBooks I will post details on the stuff page.

So there we have it, day 6 and I have completed part of my plan, whooohooo.

My Favourite Photos of 2019

I started the year being very organised and made a folder to save my favourite photos in preparation for this post. Then somewhere along the line I either got waylaid or gave up, I am not sure which. So I decided not to bother. Then I thought…wait a minute, Instagram. I post all my favourite photos there and tag the details. So if I look back at the last year I should be able to choose my favourites. Simple. Except now I have to take screen shots and include some Instagram formatting. Oh well, I am not perfect. Maybe it will spur me on the make better decision in the future.

With that said, here are my favourite photos from 2019. They are not in any order, I wasn’t able to choose that specifically.

Silver birch taken on a victorian large format camera with 4×5 sheet film

Greylag goose taken with a Nikon d750
Photo from a cosplay photoshoot at airoute studio taken on my phone a huaweip20pro
A tame baby crow taken with a  Nikon d750
A view of Nidderdale in North Yorkshire while I was out camping, taken on my phone a huaweip20pro
A view of Lofthouse in Nidderdale, North Yorkshire taken on Prinzmastermatic iii with ilford xp2
A photo of a staircase at Hive cafe in Blackpool while attending Unframing Identities exhibition, taken on my phone a Huaweip20pro
A view of Blackpool Tower from the Hive cafe while attending Unframing Identities exhibition, taken on my phone a Huaweip20pro

Despite the flaws in the film, I still love this portrait of my father, taken with a Mamiya C2
A photo take in my local pub carpark with my phone camera a Huaweip20pro
A photo of my sister taken at Camden market taken with chinon ce4 with ilford hp5plus
An image from Doncaster light night taken with my phone, a Huaweip20pro using the night mode
Photo from a cosplay photoshoot in an abandoned castle taken with a Nikon d750

Actually, I think the last one might be my favourite. It was the first time I took a photo and after processing it was exactly as I envisioned when I took it.

Lots of these photos were taken on my phone, which proves the adage, the best camera is the one you have with you.

Plus I think I love the one of my sister because of the time we spent in London more than the actual photo. We went away for my birthday and it was a super weekend.

Next year I think I will forgo the folder idea and stick to Instagram. So much easier.