In An Instant: Lockdown Edition: Mysterious Watson

Watson doesn’t seem to be letting the Coronapocalypse cut into his preening time….

Watson The Cat / Polaroid SX-70 Sonar / Polaroid Originals SX-70 Color Film

The year is 1974. The world’s tallest building is on fire, and a bunch of ageing character actors and Hollywood royalty are trapped on the top floor. That nice young man who played Dr Kildaire turns out to be a bit of a dick. Fred Astaire falls in love with a woman with a pussy. Paul Newman plays the devilishly handsome architect and Steve McQueen plays the devilishly handsome fire chief. O.J. Simpson plays O.J. Simpson.

Time is running out and there’s just one last shot: blow the tanks on the roof and let the million tonnes of water they contain douse the fire. People are frantically trying to find some way to secure themselves against the deluge. Everything goes quiet whilst the clock ticks down. People anxiously wait. Close-ups of sweaty, nervous faces. Who will be swept away and who will survive?

Three….

Two…

One….

Boom!

Spoiler: the cat lives.

Yes, I know that’s the plot of The Towering Inferno {trailer}.

No, I know it’s not exactly a contemporary reference.

But that’s just kind of how it feels.

Covid-19 deaths in the UK are around 450 as I write. Current modelling shows that we’re two weeks behind but on exactly the same trajectory as the disaster that’s happening in Italy.

The whole of the UK is on lockdown. Whilst it’s not as extensive as some other Europen countries (unfortunately), Government orders are to stay home apart from essential shopping, exercising alone, and going to work for key workers. This will be reviewed in three weeks, but I think anyone who’s been paying attention knows that it’ll be months rather than weeks before we escape house arrest.

I’ve already been working from home for the last two weeks. I’m trying to get into a daily routine of work and exercise. I live alone, and even as an introvert, I suspect that months on end with no face to face social interaction will send me totally tonto. Jane, her girls, and the dogs are hunkered down in their place 30 miles away. I don’t know when I’ll see them again.

On the plus side, there’s no one around to see me turning in to Tom Hanks from Castaway. Every cloud….

In An Instant: Bertie On Patrol

Sunny days are rare around here this time of year. But on clear winter mornings when the sun is low in the sky, light pours into the living room for a couple of hours. Bertie’s lit up here by a slice of sunlight. He likes to sit on the back of the sofa, keeping lookout through the window. It’s not that he’s some fierce guard dog; he is, after all, a spaniel. It’s more that he’s watching for the next person to come and give him the love and attention he knows he deserves.

Bertie at 8 months / 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

In An Instant: Watson In The Spotlight

It’s not strictly true to say the SX-70 Sonar gives you no exposure information; a red light comes on in the viewfinder if there’s not enough light for a hand-held shot. Polaroid called this the ‘Use Flash Or Tripod Indicator’, but in terms of guidance, that’s your lot. All you know is you’re getting an aperture between f/8 and f/74, and a shutter speed anywhere from 1/180 to 14 seconds. I imagine the metering is a simple centre-weighted or average setup, but who knows?

As Watson sat in a small patch of sunlight, I had no idea if this shot would work, and I even forgot to look for the red light. At over two quid a pop, I really should be more careful. But hey, sometimes I have a good feeling and like to go with my hunch. Like that time I put £50 on Hilary to win. Or when I convinced everyone I knew to buy a hoverboard, just before the UK Government banned them on both roads and pavements. Yeah, so sue me.

Watson The Cat / Polaroid SX-70 Sonar / Polaroid Originals SX-70 Color Film

Download the Polaroid SX-70 Sonar Manual

Bertie News | Episode 07: 7 Months Old – Ilford HP5 Edition

OK, so it probably looks like Bertie and Coco spend most of their time loafing about. But the truth is, this is the best chance I’ve got of a getting something in focus. I’ve got a stack of photos that consist of little more than a blurred tail leaving the scene.

I’ve been shooting a few rolls of HP5 lately, after years of mainly using Kodak 400 speed films. The contrast is a bit more subdued, and as such I had some good results on New Year’s Eve pushing it a couple of stops.

These ones didn’t come out too bad either. I think Bertie was rather pleased with his tonality, but Coco just rolled over on her back and wanted her tummy tickled. I sometimes feel she’s not taking it seriously.

Bertie (with added Coco) the working cocker spaniel puppy at 7 months / Nikon F100 / Ilford HP5 / Developed in HC-110 1+31

working cocker spaniel puppy 7 months

working cocker spaniel puppy 7 months

working cocker spaniel puppy 7 months

“Don’t let the puppy on the bed Gerald….”

working cocker spaniel puppy 7 months

working cocker spaniel puppy 7 months

Check out all episodes of Bertie News here

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