Recently….

Bits & pieces from the last month or so….

I’ve been telling myself for quite a while that I don’t need any more cameras. And surprisingly, for most of that time I’ve been listening to myself. But I have been thinking about the Voigtländer Vito series of cameras for some time, and when I came across this one in pristine condition for £25 I was tempted. Throw in a Voigtländer shoe-mounted rangefinder and an after-market instruction guide, plus the fact the seller claim to have film-tested it, and I was sold.

The Vito BL is a 35mm viewfinder camera with a 50mm f/3.5 lens. The serial number engraved on the lens barrel dates in to about 1958 (source). This is a solid piece of German engineering, and would have cost just over £30 when new bought new. That’s around about two weeks average wages back then, so a fair chunk of money. I was particuarly surpised but delighted to find that the uncoupled selenium meter is still working, although I haven’t tested it for accuracy yet. I probably won’t use it as top plate mounted meters can be a bit of a fiddle. But let’s see how it goes.

Camera: Nikon F90X
Film: Kodak Tmax 400
Process: Developed in D76 1+1



The Empire Music Hall Theatre, Kingston Upon Thames. Opened in 1910, it’s now a Wetherspoons pub. I guess that’s what they call progress…. 🙁

Kingston
Camera: Fujifilm X100T


Obama Burgers!!

Olympus 35 RC, 1970s pint-sized pocket rangefinder. I got mine from Trip Man, £100 including new seals and skin, and guranteed for 6 months. You can get them cheaper if you’re prepared to play Ebay roulette.

The RC takes the now defunct PX625 1.35V mercury batteries. There are several possibilities here. One is to use the Weincell Zinc Air replacement, which has the advantage of matching the original 1.35 voltage. The downside is they are a bit expensive and have a fairly short life. There are other PX625 replacements available, but they tend to have a voltage of around 1.55V and so require you to compensate by adjusting the ISO. In the end I decided to splash out and spend £30 on the MR-9 adaptor from The Small Battery Company. This allows you to use the cheap and readily available silver oxide cell (SR-43 or silver 386) and adjusts the output to the correct 1.35v. It’s important to remember to always use a silver oxide battery as alkaline batteries tend to give inconsistent results.

Geraldine and me at the Pitcher & Piano, Richmond

Piccadilly, London
Camera: Fujifilm X100T

A quick Autumn day trip to Oxford with Lynn
Camera: Fujifilm X100T

DSCF9403

This film’s been kicking around in the FE for a few months. I really need to use this camera more; it’s fantastic.

Camera: Nikon FE
Film: Kodak Tmax 400
Process: Developed in D76 1+1

Always good when I manage to sneak myself in the picture

Head in the clouds

You can never have too much camera porn

A new Anouar Braham album is always something to look forward to….

And finally…always end on a positive


The People’s March for Europe

These photos were taken on a pro-European march a few weeks back. I should probably write a bit more about it, but since legislation was introduced in the late 1990s to make civil discussion about politics on the internet illegal, I’ve found it’s best just to keep quiet.

London, Sep 09 2017
Camera: Nikon F90x
Film: Kodak Tmax 400
Process:Developed in D76 1+1

3


Ely, On Film

I could give half a dozen geeky reasons why I tend to stand develop my medium format films in Rodinal, but they’d all be lies. Ultimately it’s just because I’m lazy.

  • Drop the film in the tank
  • Crash on the couch and watch an episode of totalitarian fly-on-the-wall documentary The Handmaid’s Tale, just so I know what to expect
  • Stop, fix, wash, dry
  • Voilà

However, the last roll of FP4 I developed this way seemed to have a lot more grain than is typical, and just as I was pondering whether I’d done something differently, I came across the remains of a bottle of Kodak HC-110 under the sink. Like Rodinal, HC-110 tends to live forever in its undiluted form and would probably even survive a nuclear holocaust. Which may well prove to be useful, given current events. I’d previously given it a go with a few 35mm films and not been too keen on the results, but I thought it was worth trying on the roll of 120 FP4 I shot last weekend on my trip back to the area I grew up in.

Ely is a small market town about 80 miles north east of London. Not only is it famous for the fact that I went to school there, but it also boasts one of the most magnificent cathedrals in England, dating back to the 11th century. My school always had strong links with the Cathedral, and as such I was required to attend services three times a week. I’m sorry to say it didn’t make me a better person. Under His Eye.

Camera: Mamiya 645 Pro TL
Film: Ilford FP4
Process: Developed in HC-110 Dilution B


Southwest Celebration Party

Those of us who work in the London office and who spent May in the US supporting the Southwest project were rewarded with a party. We gathered on the side of the river and were whisked away on a cruise along the Thames. Sadly I very quickly lost the light and was only able to fire off half a roll before having to go digital with the X100T. Which is probably a good thing, as thanks to the free bar things got seriously out of focus soon after.

Camera: Nikon F90X
Film: Kodak Tmax 400
Process: Developed in D76 1+1

Camera: Fujifilm X100T


The Beast of the East

At 05:25 on May 9th 2017 flight WN1257 pushed back from the stand at Pittsburgh International Airport, taxied to runway 10L and took off into clear skies, heading south towards Orlando.

1200 miles away in Dallas, several dozen people in the Command Centre watched throughout the day as a further 4000 flights came to life in the new reservation and departure control systems.

In a number of strategic airports across the the US, more than a hundred subject matter experts were deployed to provide technical support and operational advice.

My assignment was Baltimore. They call it The Beast of the East, due to the huge volume of departures; we handled up to 260 flights a day. And there were tears, screams, frayed tempers, banging of fists on desks, banging of heads on walls, periods of dark despair, and mainly that was just me. There was also a great deal of laughter.

Cameras and airports don’t mix well. Being behind a check-in desk, at a departure gate, in the hold of a 737 or wandering around on the apron snapping pictures raises questions, even if you do have the appropriate ID. With film, there’s an extra problem. Whilst I’ve happily subjected film to a couple of x-ray screenings, I knew that in this case I’d probably been going back and forth through security a dozen or more times a day. Therefore I reluctantly made the decision to take a single roll of film and to keep the camera landside, hopefully grabbing a few shots in the downtime.

These are a few of the wonderful people I worked with in a state of barely controlled chaos over the last month. Thanks guys, for all the laughter, warmth and friendship.

Southwest Cutover, Baltimore Airport, May 2017
Camera: Nikon FE
Film: Kodak Tmax 400
Process: Developed in D76 1+1