In An Instant: Chertsey War Memorial

I live in Chertsey. It’s an early medieval town that’s mentioned in the Domesday Book and owes its existence to the Abbey which dominated the village in the Middle Ages.

There were 130 and 64 men killed from my little town in the first and second world wars. Quite a loss. This memorial was unveiled in 1921.

Do you remember when NASA released the face on Mars photo? Was it proof of an ancient civilisation on the red planet? Or just a simple case of Pareidolia? Well, step aside NASA. It wasn’t until I got home and took the developed photo out of my pocket that I took proper notice of the street light. The next day I went back, just to take another look. Nothing there. Cue X-Files music….

Chertsey War Memorial / Polaroid SX-70 Sonar / Polaroid Originals SX-70 Color Film

Read here my first attempt at using the reformulated Polaroid Originals instant film in my Polaroid SX-70 Sonar

New Year’s Eve 2019 & Push Processing HP5

The last time I push processed a roll of film was about ten years ago. A friend asked me to take some pictures at his 50th birthday party. Things didn’t work out so well and I only ended up with a couple of frames I was happy with. We don’t talk about it now.

But time heals, and I reckoned it was time to give it another go. I’ve recently started to reacquaint myself with Ilford HP5. It’s less contrasty than my usual Tri-X and Tmax 400, so I thought it’d be a good candidate for pushing.

I decided to go for two stop push and shot at EI 1600. Microphen is a great developer for pushing, and I coupled that with a carefully restrained agitation routine in order to control the grain and contrast. Thirty seconds agitation initially, and then one gentle inversion every thirty seconds. For the final third of development, I reduced the inversions to one a minute. This is a well-known technique to reduce the grain, and it seems to have worked well, with a really pleasing level of grain and tonality. Inevitably, some of the blacks are a bit crushed and lacking detail, but I don’t think it matters for these type of shots. They’re not fine art landscapes and I’m not Ansel Adams.

Anyway, this was my New Year’s Eve: friends, kids, dogs, beer and games. I’d like to have plenty more of all those things in 2020, with the possible exception of beer. Although I say that every year.

Nikon F100 / Ilford HP5 shot @ 1600 / Push Processing HP5, Developed in Microphen stock for 11 minutes

Push Processing HP5

Push Processing HP5

HP5 Pushed 1600

Push Processing HP5

HP5 Pushed 1600

Push Processing HP5

HP5 Pushed 1600

Push Processing HP5

HP5 Pushed 1600

Push Processing HP5

HP5 Pushed 1600

Push Processing HP5

Push Processing HP5

Christmas 2019

When my father died in 1985, the remnants of my family fractured and three years later I left home. I found myself living in the northern county of West Yorkshire, a place very different from my hometown of Cambridge. It was there that I spent one of the loneliest years of my life. I lived in a small terraced house in the Sandal district of Wakefield, and slept in a small room that backed on to the railway line. Thirty years later, I can still remember the feeling of lying in the dark, listening to the trains speeding down to London and wishing I was on one of them. Eventually I was.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.

Whilst I went north, unbeknown to me my mother went west. Hereford is a small cathedral city that lies about 16 miles east of the border with Wales. To me, it feels remote and isolated, but that’s only because I’ve spent so many years living in and around London. For my mother, she’s managed to create a happy life there over the last three decades. It was, however, many years before I was able to visit her there.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.

My blood family now only really comprises my mother, my niece, and myself. Over the last five or six years we’ve spent Christmas together in Hereford. For the three of us, it’s sort of become traditional.

A tradition doesn’t necessarily have to be something that’s been going on for generations. I think you can make your own traditions. What’s more important is how long you want it to continue, rather than how long it’s been going on. My mother is 86 now, but I’m hoping for many more Christmases together.

That’s what I wanted to talk about.

Christmas 2019 / Nunnington, Hereford / Fujifilm X100F

In An Instant: Angel At Brookwood Cemetery

My idea of a good time is walking round a cemetery and hanging out with dead people. Handy, as I live near the UK’s largest cemetery, and I’m not great at small talk.

Brookwood Cemetery / Polaroid SX-70 Sonar / Polaroid Originals SX-70 Color Film

Read here my first attempt at using the reformulated Polaroid Originals instant film in my Polaroid SX-70 Sonar

Bertie News | Episode 06: 6 Months Old

So, six months old now, and he’s turning into a rather handsome chap.

He’s sitting on the back of the sofa here, staring out the window and waiting for Jane to return from the shops. He’s never completely happy unless the pack is all together.

Bertie the working cocker spaniel puppy at 6 months / Fujifilm X100T

working cocker spaniel puppy 6 months

Check out all episodes of Bertie News here