Category Archives: Thoughts and Musings

My Great Referrers

I started this blog for myself at the end of 2015 to keep myself busy after the death of my mother. In little over 3 years I have hit 200,000 views, which amazes me everyday. Ultimately this blog is for myself and a way of cataloguing the cameras I have tried. In any case thank you to all the people who have visited. Thank you also goes to the people who have sent people my way. That amazes me even more.

At the moment my top referrers, according to wordpress stats, are… (in order of refers)

Jim Grey – An early follower with a great blog. I enjoy reading his blogs that are more personal as well as his camera reviews.

Mike Eckman – If you want to read a truly detailed review of a camera then check this blog. He also has excellent articles on all aspects of photography.

Hamish Gill – I don’t feel I know him quite as well as the top two people, so this entry surprised me. He is very knowledgeable on all things photographic. I really like his 5 shots series of posts.

Chris and Carol โ€“ The Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic(s) – These were the first people who interacted with me via the blog. In fact we have swapped a few cameras and I have sent them a few Yashicas I unearthed in Japan. They are lovely people and are dedicated to the history of Yashica.

Thank you one and all. Of course there are a few other referrers, but these are my top four over the years. As for me, I have been on holiday in the south of England this week. I managed to test a few cameras. So over the school break I should be posting a few more reviews, but I am not going to be sourcing any new to me cameras as I want to concentrate on photographic projects. I have about 10 more cameras to try out, from then on I will be concentrating on actually taking photos. Maybe even starting a side blog, we shall see.

Unframing Identities Exhibition London

I have some exciting news. Exciting for me, but probably meh for you unless you are family or a friend. If you are excited for me then, “hello friend, how are ya?” ๐Ÿ™‚

While I was on holiday in Japan I noticed a post on a Facebook group I am in with details of an exhibition in London. It was an open call to female photographers so I decided to send a couple of photos. As I was on holiday I could only get screen shots from my website, quite low quality. I then forgot all about it until I received an email asking for more details. Things fell into place and showed me once again how fate can work magic sometimes.

  1. I had just been talking to someone about my photos and they said I should do more exhibitions or projects, and then the post showed up on my feed. So I was in the mood to take a shot.
  2. I was in Japan to collect my left luggage, inside that luggage were the negatives for the shoot I intended to submit. Without traveling back, I would not have had access to them.
  3. The photos were from only the second project I had ever completed and it fit with the exhibition theme completely so I didn’t have to think of a new idea by which time my mood might have changed.

So this weekend I am traveling to London to take my exhibition photos to hang. I have chosen six photos. Here are two examples.

If you are in the area the main exhibition is on right now. My photos are part of a second phase that will take place at the end of the June. You can read more about it at this website. You can also search for these social media tags
@RPS100Heroines
#UnframingIdentities
#KCAW19

I will also travel down for the actual dates, of 28-30th June and will visit the exhibition at various times. If you are around please say hello or just quietly pass by and enjoy all the different pieces of art.

Rainy Reading Days

What super weather we are having recently! So my weekends have been spent reading and playing with my toys…cameras and literal toys.

I decided to start a new project just for the hell of it and to freak out my friends. It is based around a toy I got when I was about seven years old. Meet Charlie the Chatter Chimp, though he doesn’t chatter without help any more.

Honestly, if I get bored I tend to find things to do and they might be a bit weird. Some friends call them mini passions, some call them projects, some think I need help. I don’t mind any of those descriptions, I am enjoying myself.

I can come up with projects myself, but there are plenty of creative exercises out there, like this one. I especially like suggestion five, take a roll of film and limit yourself to 24 or 36 shots. Well, who would do that these days?! Or what about suggestion seven, take a something with you to photograph…Hello Charlie ๐Ÿ™‚ Though I did think of it before seeing the video, it is hardly original.

And now I am going to demonstrate how dumb I can be sometime…sometimes, I said. I was playing with a camera, a Vito B which I am currently testing.

I added the rangefinder, because I could. When I posted these photos on my instagram feed a friend said, “why not set the camera to f8?” I though fair enough but close things would not be focusing. Then I remembered another friend telling me how he zone focused and didn’t really need to use a distance gauge. And I began to wonder, is my idea of zone focusing the same as theirs? Do I really know what zone focusing actually is? I know of the symbols on zone focused cameras, but beyond that I have not really thought about it. So I googled it and found this great article. And then I felt dumb, the gauges on the lens barrel with the diamond…

I had never really looked at them before. Oh well, I have tested over 270 cameras and never once looked at or thought about that scale. I think this might become a mini passion/project for one of the cameras I will test soon.

What else might I be missing? Well if you read the comments below you will see that I missed the hyperfocal distance which is shown on the photo markings. This great article explains all about that and how it relates to zone focusing.

It would be a great system to understand if you are a street photographer, which I am not. But either way, it just shows you can never be at a point in your life where you can’t learn something new or gain a better understanding of a subject.

For now I will carry on relaxing and enjoying the women’s world cup. Talking of world cups, don’t forget to vote in the Black and White World Cup.

Finally, do you own and Olympus OM 20? If so please check the serial number. If it is serial number 1032853 then please read this article as the camera could be important in a murder case.

Superheadz Ultra Wide and Slim

For a change I bought a new camera. It was on Amazon for a reasonable price and I had just won some money on a lottery scratch card. Plus I had read this article about a dirty camera, which reminded me of my own dirty camera from the same company. Knowing that I was about to swap/lose my Golden Half I decided to get this one…because it said Tokyo ๐Ÿ™‚

Gosh my mind and reasoning goes around and around to persuade myself to buy or not buy cameras.

This camera is based on a Vivitar point and shoot with many different colours and designs being available. It is very basic with one speed and one aperture. It doesn’t even have a flash. Therefore it is best to use 400asa film outside. The surface of the camera does have a weird feel to it and I am sure it will go sticky and gooey eventually. It made me realise my original Superheadz camera was not covered in tobacco residue, in time they all turn sticky.

I took mine to Koishikawa Korakuen Park and Ueno.

There is a weird swirl on some of the photos, I have no idea why. The shutter speed of 1/100th is a little slow, but not slow enough for me to twist the camera in anyway. Could it be light on the lens? The lens staying open longer than expected? I don’t know.

I did use another film in it while there, but as with the FM10 I tried recently the results were wild. I have since dumped those chemicals and will make a new batch…despite the funky results. Here are a few from that funky roll.

I have to say, I absolutely enjoyed using this camera. The wideness of the shot it captures without being fisheye is impressive and interesting. It is small enough to fit in a pocket and cheap enough for you not to care about doing so. And the results are acceptable, possibly good, definitely interesting. But I would not pay an over the top price for a rare design. Hence I decided to swap my Golden Half with someone who really wanted it and also did not want to pay exorbitant prices for a toy camera. Toy cameras, fantastic plastics are fun, but for me film photography is expensive and I want to have a little more control over what is produced. I sometimes feel our love of film is being taken advantage of and it is annoying. Tiny rant over. I like this camera ๐Ÿ™‚

Fantastic Plastic Book

I have finally finished the book about Frank Hurley. It was a heavy read. I don’t think I will read another biography for a while.

So now I have picked up this book…

I am thinking about the cameras I want to take to Japan tomorrow. I have to take my Nikon D750, but what camera for fun?

I have a suitcase with at least 5 cameras in it safe with a friend in Japan. Inside is a 35mm SLR, a TLR, and compacts are easy to get. So a toy camera seems the best choice at the moment….I am ignoring the golden half I know is in the case too.

I thought I would look through this book for inspiration. I do have the Diana F+ with an Instax back, plus the super wide and slim which I have yet to test. I don’t want to fill up my luggage with cameras I own in case go shopping for some bargains.

If you could take one camera for fun, what would it be?

Workflow and Stuff

I posted a review of a camera today and that’s it…my draft box is empty! What to do??

Well I do have a couple of films to develop and two more cameras with film loaded, but I don’t have a set schedule or a workflow plan. That means I find myself without a review to post. Even without a workflow plan I usually post a new review once a week. That ain’t too shabby.

Being a teacher means that sometimes I am super busy and sometimes on holiday. Right now I am a little of both. I wake up, get dressed, and wait to see if I get a supply job for the day. If I don’t then I can play with a camera…but not buy any new ones due to the lack of funds.

So, my workflow is higgledy-piggledy. I don’t mind, as I have always said, this blog is for me.

I also get a chance to catch up on some reading. Today I read an article about post processing and film photography by Hamish Gill. Until recently I have not post processed my film photos very much, I felt it was somehow against the nature of film. And then I had an epiphany and thought, well that was dumb, what about burning and dodging. After that I started using Snapseed and other software more and more.

I also like to read Jim Grey’s articles, he often writes and posts about bridges. I love me a good bridge. Today I saw a super one in Huddersfield.

Getting an unexpected day off and spending time with friends is the silver lining. Being a teacher is pretty cool too. This week I was placed in a nursery and helped make bunnies and chocolate cornflake nests…cause having a bunny with a nest inside for easter is the done thing these days.

A conversation with one of the students went like this…

Student: When everyone has finished can lick the spoon?
Me: I am sorry that wouldn’t be fair to the other children.
Student: Hmm, you should get to lick it then, you helped everyone.
Me: I don’t think I am allowed to, the other teacher might be sad.
Student: But, you can hide in the cupboard, they won’t know.

Being taught how to cheat by a four year old ๐Ÿ™‚

Boredom and Friends

Today I felt completely bored. I went into Leeds and got a few films developed, wandered the Minster and Canal area.

Whoa, first time uploading camera photos. Anyway, it was lovely, but didn’t take away the underlying feeling. What was causing it?

And then it hit me, I miss Japan. Bugger. I definitely miss the train system, the public toilets. I miss the camaraderie of a regular work place, having people who will pose for me, or go for a wander. Don’t get me wrong, I like my new life but that doesn’t mean I have forgotten my old one.

While looking for things to do I stumbled across this creative use of models. This article says embrace boredom in a positive way. But actually I don’t mind the odd day of boredom, because I know it is an odd day. Tomorrow I will be fine.