Tag Archives: black and white

Autumn Oak | Flickr – Photo Sharing!


I made myself go out for a stroll with my camera today. It was late morning, with a watery autumnal sun and chilly breeze. I set out with no real plan, no theme formed in my head. I let my eyes wander, seeking inspiration. I also decided to work in manual mode, rather than my normal aperture priority.

For the gear-heads, EOS 7D, EF 35mm ƒ/2, camera set to monochrome with a yellow filter. This shot ƒ/2.8 at 1/500th second, ISO 100. Some minor tweaks in Aperture to the definition, but otherwise as it comes out of the camera.

I could get to like this photography game.

The results are in

As I blogged before, I wanted to play with the antique large format cameras Best Beloved had acquired some time ago, and we had three rolls of 120 film sitting around waiting to be exposed.

I got the large format negs back from the lab yesterday. It was a very quick turnaround. I had posted them from Medway, first class, to the lab in Burnley, Lancs. I had an email to confirm my order had been processed and despatched back to me around midday the next day, and they arrived in the post Friday. Barely 48 hours turnaround. I was impressed.

If you’re interested, the lab in question is called Fuji Digital Imaging Service. I recommend them.

I was, frankly, more than a little excited about the results I might see. The instant gratification one gets with digital photography isn’t quite the same as waiting to see if that brilliant shot actually came out or not!

Once I’d opened the package, though, I was actually a little deflated.

You see, the images I thought would come out best had been taken on the Zeiss-Ikon, and I expected the iffy ones to be from the Soho Reflex. Ironically the best images came from the cumbersome Soho, which had the broken shutter. The Zeiss images were uniformly out of focus. Not just a bit blurry, but consistently out of focus, regardless of aperture and shutter speed. More on this later.

One film had multiple overlapped frames, which wasn’t that surprising. It was the first film I ran through the Zeiss, and I hadn’t got my head round how many turns on the cassette were needed to avoid the overlaps. The second film through the Zeiss was better. 

As you can see from the scanned images, the quality is quite good. Despite the cumbersome nature of using the Soho (taking the cassette blanking plate in and out, having to uncover the lens to make exposures manually and so on) the results are pretty good. Okay, the subject matter isn’t terribly inspiring, being random shots around our back yard, but you can at least make things out.

Now, the Zeiss. I was particularly disappointed by the focus failure here, because I preferred using this camera. It’s smaller, lighter, has an operating shutter, and made for a generally more interesting experience. The fact all the images are blurred came as something of a shock. I thought I was at fault, and some discussion took place between Best Beloved and myself over why I hadn’t faffed about swapping the ground glass focussing screen in and out with the film cassette back.


However, when you look at one image, taken with the camera sat on our front door step, you can see there is a plane of the image that is in focus. I interpret this to mean the camera has a fault where the lens is not seated properly—in fact, I remember the lens would rotate when I tried to adjust the various settings on the front of the camera. After the final roll had been exposed, I did indeed fit the focussing screen to the Zeiss, and played with it to see what the actual minimum focus depth could be, so I am pretty certain the focussing does work. Perhaps there’s a mismatch between the actual focal plane and the film back, although that would surely mean nothing at all would be focussed, where the section of front step is pin sharp in that one image.

All of which isn’t to say the blurred images don’t have a certain charm to them. You can sort of make out what the photograph is about. That doesn’t mean I am not disappointed with the results, though.

I am a little flummoxed. I don’t think I shall bother getting the Zeiss repaired, and as for the Soho, well, it was fun, but not something I’d like to do often. We have discussed dismantling the Soho to see if the shutter can be repaired easily. However, I have been bitten by the analogue large format bug. I have been spotted lurking on used camera gear web sites, eyeing up used Bronica and lens sets. I fear a proper 120-sized film camera is in my future…

Avro Vulcan


I’ve been doing to some scanning.

I’ve had a scanner that could perform transparency and negative scans for a while, but it had been a bit limited (35mm uncut strips only, no slides, etc). Doing any quantity of scans was always a bit of a chore, frankly.

About a year ago I purchased a better scanner, with pro level features. It was loaned to a small company I was involved in, and when they sadly went bust I got the machine back. Just recently a friend upgraded their Mac and I was essentially given their old G4 Mac mini. Ideal for a scanner station, where all it has to do is drive the scanner and run the software.

So I’ve been doing some scanning.

To familiarise myself with the kit and software I have begun the task of scanning a whole bunch of negatives I had selected a while ago. There’s stuff in there from a model railway show where I was “official” photographer, random stuff shot on black and white negative film, and some colour slides from the other half, dating back over four decades. All good stuff to learn how the scanner works, as I intend to try and drum up some business for it.

Anyway, the Vulcan is one of my favourite images—and aircraft. Shot on the old Olympus OM10 on Ilford HP5 ISO400 neg film, the plane was displaying at a Duxford air show in the Autumn of 1988. There’s another shot in the Flickr stream where the plane is almost directly overhead, silhouetted against some patchy clouds. I had forgotten I even took that shot.

Anyway, I guess I should plug the business. Please visit the Imagic Design web site and find out what I can do in the way of design and stuff.

MARTS Bexon Lane 8/11 | Flickr – Photo Sharing!


Over the past week or so, Best Beloved and I have been paying visits to his amateur radio club’s annual field trip. They haven’t gone far, just to the other side of Sittingbourne at a large, well-equipped Scout campsite. Several members have set up camp and stayed the whole fortnight, while others can only make it for weekends.

Essentially, though, it’s all about amateur radio, with numerous masts and antennae set up around the field, and almost every tent noisy with the sounds of transmitting and receiving signals of all kinds around the planet.

Not being terribly interested in the radio side, I left BB chatting technicalities and wandered about with the camera. I had no idea what I wanted to photograph, so having documented the various masts and so on, I got down a bit closer, to the details and odd little things that caught my eye.

This is one image, part of a set of 16, that have been added to my Flickr “Stuff” stream.

Exposing For Monochrome « Photofocus

The latitude (the ability to over or underexpose) a photograph is greatest with color negative film. Slide film has the least amount of latitude, especially overexposure. Correct exposure is more critical for digital capture than film because digital sensors respond more like a hybrid of the two different kinds of film: Over exposure wipes out image data but the underexposure side of digital capture has more latitude. The downside of underexposure is the inevitable creation of digital noise, what you might see in a photograph that appears to be digital “grain.” As in all forms of photography, the secret to maximize digital image quality is to properly expose the image.

As I’m currently choosing to shoot in monochrome with my EOS 7D, this is a very handy reminder of how to get the best. Go ahead and read the original at Photofocus. I promise it won’t take you long at all.

Gloster Gladiator I | Flickr – Photo Sharing!


I spent an hour or two playing about with posing a couple of my aircraft models on some grass mat. I used the Canon PowerShot G9 for simplicity, though I did set it to manual, smallest aperture and macro.

Sadly, the mat is a quite fluorescent under light in the workshop, and despite setting the camera’s white balance to match it all looked too bright. I wasted a bit of time faffing in Aperture to try and balance things, but ended up converting to greyscale. To get a bit more of a period feel, I could add some grain, but I’m reasonably happy with the results.

Istrane, Z scale LNER by Brian Yallop


Currently the smallest scale model railway I’ve had the pleasure to photograph. Brian Yallop had scratchbuilt LNER locomotive and coach bodies to fit commercial Z scale chassis, to excellent effect.

The shots in the Flickr photostream were taken back in the 1990s at an exhibition in Chatham Historic Dockyard. The kit used was an Olympus OM10 with probably a 24mm lens, filled with Ilford 400 Delta neg film. Happy days!