It’s always a bit of a gamble buying cameras from eBay, you’re never sure what hidden faults quirks the camera might have, especially if the camera from 1937. I’ve recently bought another old Voigtlander folding camera, like the Baby Bessa but larger. This one takes 9cm by 6cm negatives (with an optional film plate to enable you to take 4.5cm by 6cm photos).
The first roll would tell me if the camera worked, if there were any light leaks in the bellows, and if the shutter speeds were anything like they were designed for.
As you can see, it all works fine! The one disadvantage with taking 9×6 photos, is you only get 8 shots on a roll.
I don’t often take the same shot on different cameras at the same time, but this time last week I did. There was some lovely haze in the distance, and I wasn’t sure if I’d got it with the film camera, so I shot it with my Fuji also.
Castle to the Bridge #1
Castle to the Bridge #2
I don’t know what you think, but I reckon that the film version has the edge over the digital version.
The top photo was taken with a Diana f+ with a 35mm film back and a wide-angle lens. The bottom shot was taken with a Fuji XF1.
One of my more recent camera purchases has a neat feature: you can take the lens off and use it as a pinhole camera. Photos taken like this have a dreamy look to them, or sometimes surreal. These are my first shots to be developed (apart from 2 on a previous roll that didn’t come out that well).
Flooded Park #1
These were taken in the Quarry Park in Shrewsbury, where the river Severn has burst its banks.
Flooded Park #2
I get confused sometimes which shots were pinhole and which were normal, as I can change from shot to shot with this camera. Generally the focus on shots taken with the lens look sharper, but I can’t always tell…
I often shoot photographs in colour and then make them black and white when I get them onto the computer. It’s cheaper to do that with film, as both film and processing is a lot cheaper if you stick to colour. Today I tried shooting on my digital camera in black and white mode, with a virtual red filter on it. This is easier than trying to guess what effect the filter will have later in processing. The red filter is great for definition in clouds, which is handy as English clouds are often just different shades of grey. (I also have the option to use a green or yellow filter).
The Severn at Shrewsbury
I have a few filters for my film cameras, including orange and red, I really should try shooting with them. I could even shoot in colour then convert to B&W later the filter will still have the same effect.
I live in the centre of town, about 30 second´s walk from the park, which follows the river as it winds through the town, where you often see people jogging past wearing florescent tops and shorts. And now I am one of those people.
As a keep-fit strategy, jogging has many advantages: it’s cheap, you can do it at any time of day, you don’t need any special kit (well, not quite true-some good running shoes are essential) and it gets you out in the open air. The disadvantages are that when you start out and if you are not fit, and you are lurching wheezing purple-faced wreck, the general public can see you, and point and laugh. And the open-air is often cold and wet.
I don’t much enjoy the running, but I enjoy the way I feel when I have finished, when I have had a nice hot shower, and the muscles are throbbing in a pleasant way. It makes the fifteen minute slog through the horizontal drizzle worthwhile.
So why did I start running? Because I was getting fat (getting on for twelve stone at one point, when I’d normally weigh ten and a half) and just getting generally run down and feeling like crap. And I was approaching forty, so I thought I’d better do something now before it was too late. And I was fed up of having to buy new jeans as my waistline expanded.
I’m glad I started running, it’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever taken up, along with reading and playing a musical instrument.
I’ve got a big problem with Ducks. I often take a walk by the river with my camera, I’ve got some pretty good snaps of the lime trees there, and there are many ducks. So why not get a few shots the ducks? Because ducks are crap. They don’t do anything interesting, they just sit there on the water, quacking. Ok, the quacking isn’t going to come across in a photograph. But it would be nice if they did something dynamic, photogenic.
(It doesn’t help that you have to aim down to get them, unless I get in the water with them the angle is always going to be similar. Is that my fault? Why can’t the feathered buggers get out of the water every so often?)