Category Archives: locations

West Burton Falls, FP4+ in two developers

After leaving Aysgarth Falls (document in my last post here) I drove just a few miles to West Burton Falls. This is an easily accessible location as you can park in the village just a few hundred yards away and there are no hills to climb.

Mamiya RZ67, 65mm lens, Ilford FP4+, developed in Rollei RHS D74-DC

Mamiya RZ67, 180mm lens, Ilford FP4+, developed in Rollei RHS D74-DC

Mamiya RZ67, 65mm lens, Ilford FP4+, developed in Kodak HC110

The previous two images were both taken from the same spot, or nearly so, first with a 180mm lens (a short telephoto or portrait lens) and second with a 65mm moderate wide angle lens.

They were also developed with a different developer; the first three images in this post were developed with Rollei RHS-D74-DC and the last, which was the only shot taken with a second roll of FP4+, was developed in Kodak HC110.

I doubt very much if readers will notice any difference due to the developers; I’ve always thought that different developers don’t make a great deal of difference to the appearance of the image. Convenience factors (eg whether you prefer liquid or powder, one-shot or replenishable) and seem to be more important factors in choosing a developer.

I managed to make what seems like a major error with the HC110 developer, which was that I made stock solution by diluting the concentrate 1+1, even though the instructions quite clearly said it should be diluted 1+3. So by the time I had made up the working solution using Dilution B, my developer was twice as strong as it should be !

As soon as I saw the negatives come out of the tank I could see I’d made a mistake as they were very high in contrast, which is a sign of over-development. However I don’t think you can really detect ill-effects in this scanned version. I hope to print the image in the darkroom soon so I’ll see how that works with a soft grade setting.

 

 

Ilford FP4+ at Aysgarth Falls

You may have noticed that waterfalls are a favourite subject of mine and I was really overdue a trip to Aysgarth Falls, which I had last viewed about 20 years ago. This is a series of three falls in Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales.

There are actually three sets of falls. From the car park I walked downstream and first saw the middle falls – that is quite dramatic but the angle of view is limited to what you can see from a small viewing platform. So I moved on to the Lower Falls, which is well known as the location where Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood had a fight with Little John.

Mamiya RZ67, Ilford FP4+, 65mm lens

Mamiya RZ67, Ilford FP4+, 65mm lens

All the shots shown here were taken with a 65mm lens on a Mamiya RZ67, which is equivalent to about 31mm in full-frame digital or 35mm film terms. I hadn’t used that lens for a while but decided to take just the 65mm and 180mm lenses to force myself to consider the advantages of those lenses.

Mamiya RZ67, Ilford FP4+, 65mm lens

When I first bought an RZ67 it came with 65mm and 110mm lenses; later I added a 50mm lens (about 25mm in full-frame terms) and I tended to neglect the 65mm after that. However on this occasion I found the 65mm quite wide enough.

Mamiya RZ67, Ilford FP4+, 65mm lens

Some of the shots were a bit underexposed and I didn’t get as much detail in the shadows as I would like. Ideally I should have “overexposed and underdeveloped”. However I was using Rollei RHS D74-DC developer which gives a really short time for normal development, of 3m 15s for FP4+ – which doesn’t leave much scope for N-1 or N-2 development.

For this reason, I’ve stopped using the Rollei developer and I’ve not got some HC-110 to try. Of which, more in a future post.

I also visited the Upper Falls at Aysgarth, which are nice enough, but I couldn’t see a composition which I really wanted to take, which wouldn’t duplicate those from earlier in the trip, so instead I moved on to West Burton Falls a few miles away – I’ll show those in the next blog post.

 

Ilford SFX200 film at Seaton Delaval

I can’t say that Ilford SFX200 is one of my favourite films; it’s not even my favourite infrared film – that would be Rollei IR400, which sells for around half the price of SFX200 and produces a more pronounced IR effect. But I seem to have found myself with a few rolls in the freezer, and it’s not a bad film so I may as well get it used up.

So I loaded the film into my Yashicamat 124G and spent an hour at Seaton Delaval Hall, a local National Trust property. Being a sunny day – important for infrared photography – it was fairly popular with families so I had to select my viewpoints carefully and be patient to get images without a lot of people in the frame.

With a Hoya R72 filter and metered at ISO6

 

With a Hoya R72 filter and metered at ISO6

With no filter and metered at ISO200

For the last shot here, I took two shots with different exposures and then blended them in Photoshop – although to be honest the result was so close to one of the originals that it wasn’t worth the bother. The toning was added in Lightroom.

No filter

I wound up the trip with an overpriced ice-cream in the NT shop / cafe.

 

Location: North East Land, Sea, and Air Museu

I had lived in North East England for nearly fifty years before I found out about the existence of the North East Land, Sea, and Air Museum (or NELSAM for short) which might give you a clue that the promotional activities of the museum don’t keep up with the better-known museums. Before you go, check the directions on their web site and be prepared for possibly driving past the entrance and needing to turn back. To be fair though, it’s run by volunteers and the admission price is very low, so I can’t complain.

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Mamiya RZ67 and Fuji Provia 100F, home developed in the Tetenal E6 kit

I don’t have a specific interest in aircraft or military vehicles so my approach when visiting the museum is to look for details of interesting shapes, colours, and texture, of which there are plenty.

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Mamiya RZ67 and Kodak Ektar, home developed in the Fuji Hunt C41 kit

If you do want to photograph an entire aircraft, then the problem you will find – apart from obviously needing a very wide lens – is that the items displayed inside the hangars are, of necessity, placed quite close together so it is difficult to photograph one display item in isolation without including another item in the view.

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Mamiya RZ67 and Fuji Provia 100F, home developed in the Tetenal E6 kit.

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For the indoor objects – and most of the displays are indoors – you’re going to need a tripod, and fortunately there are no objections to using a tripod, as there are at some museums.

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Mamiya RZ67 and Kodak Ektar, home developed in the Fuji Hunt C41 kit

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I call this the “camera tram” (or maybe it’s a “trolley bus” because of the adverts on the side, for a defunct camera shop in Leeds. RZ67/Ektar

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A detailed shot of the “camera tram” RZ67/Ektar

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The camera tram again. RZ67/Ektar

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A Dutch tram awaiting restoration. One of the volunteers was surprised to learn that I prefer my subjects to look decayed”. RZ67/ 75mm/ Shift Adapter / Ektar

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Wing fragment from a crash site. RZ67 / Ektar

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RZ67 / shift adapter / 75mm lens / Ektar

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RZ67 / Shift Adapter / 75mm lens / Ektar

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Entrance to an Avro Vulcan bomber. Canon EOS300 and Fuji Pro 800Z

All in all a good place to spend a few hours. There are some more images from NELSAM in my blog article about the Lomo Fisheye 2 camera.

 

 

 

 

 

Equipment: Lomo Fisheye 2

My latest camera purchase was the Lomo Fisheye 2 which I bought used from eBay for £16. I’m not usually one for the “Lo-Fi” approach but I didn’t fancy paying £450 for a fisheye lens for my Mamiya RZ67, or even £120 for Zenitar 16mm fisheye for 35mm cameras, bearing in mind that I’m only likely to make occasional use of a fisheye.DSC_0017

The field of view of the lens is 170 degrees, which seems to equate to just about everything I can see, including my feet or fingers if I’m not careful. Unlike my pinhole camera, which don’t have a viewfinder and require a lot of guesswork to determine what will be, the Lomo Fisheye has a handy viewfinder which fits into the hotshoe.

The viewfinder doesn’t give any information about shutter speed, aperture, or focussing; but then there isn’t any information to give. There is only one shutter speed of 1/50s, one aperture of f8, and fixed focus.

The Angel of the North

Given the fixed aperture and shutter speed, the user is dependent upon the light being within a certain range, and the relatively high tolerance of negative film. The manual recommends ISO400 film but I chose to load “Poundland special” Agfa Vista 200 film, because it’s cheap and I had a few rolls. That seemed to work OK.

Newcastle Civic Centre

Newcastle Civic Centre

I had expected the images to be almost circular, and indeed they are; you see the full radius of a circle on the long side of the film, but not on the short side of the film. What i hadn’t expected, is that you can see what appears to be the inside of the lens assembly in the area outside of the image circle. I find it a bit distracting, but you could add a vignette in post processing to darken it down.

Memorial to the Boer War, Newcastle Haymarket

Newcastle Civic Centre

 

Vintage fire engine at the North East Land, Sea, and Air Museum. It was pretty dark inside this shed so I was surprised at how the image worked out.

 

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Bloodhound missile and Avro Vulcan bomber

 

A Dutch tram awaiting restoration at the North East Land, Sea, and Air Museum.

So far I’ve taken two rolls, in Newcastle and Gateshead, and at the North East Land, Sea, and Air Museum.

I don’t think the Lomo Fisheye 2 is going to become my main camera any time soon; I don’t even think I would pay the £60 some eBay sellers of new cameras have priced  them at. But for £16, it’s been an interesting change.

A batch of boathouses in the Trossachs

The Trossachs, and Loch Ard in particular, are well known for their photogenic boathouses and I couldn’t resist their charms. They do make good subjects, and they don’t move !

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Mamiya RZ67 and Fuji Velvia 50 film, Loch Ard

The above image was taken at the “narrows” of Loch Ard, which is the exit outflow from the Loch, more like a river really than a loch. Just opposite that boathouse is the one below:

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Mamiya RZ67 and Kodak Ektar film, Loch Ard

On the other side of Loch Ard is what is probably the most photographed of the Trossachs boathouses:

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Mamiya RZ67 and Kodak Ektar film, 50mm lens

This is typically photographed with the wooden jetty, which is on the right of my image, in the centre foreground. However there was actually a queue of three photographers waiting to take that image – even though these were the only other photographers I saw all week. (The Trossachs is a bit like the English Lake District, but with only 1% of the number of people about).

I walked around to the other shore and got behind the same boathouse:

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Mamiya RZ67 and Kodak Ektar film, 110mm lens

The same path led me to the distant view of some more boathouses … at this point two of the three other photographers had taken position near the spot I was looking towards, with a pink sweater rather clashing with the autumn hues … I had to be patient.

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Mamiya RZ67, Kodak Ektar, 180mm lens

I moved on to Loch Chon and found another boathouse ….

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Mamiya RZ67, Kodak Ektar, 180mm lens

The next day I cycled around Loch Katrine – it has a private road with very few cars – and found another one. This one is a little more utilitarian but it does have a nice view of Ben Venue on the other side of the loch.

Fujifilm GA645Zi, Portra 400 film

Fujifilm GA645Zi, Portra 400 film

 

The Falls of Clyde in Autumn

The Falls of Clyde are a beautiful collection of four waterfalls near New Lanark, about twenty miles south of Glasgow, which I visited en route to a few days stay in Callander, in the Trossachs area. I was surprised by how nice the countryside was close to Glasgow and there are lots of photographic opportunites in the area.

After driving a few hours from Newcastle, I was eager to get started with photography and too impatient to thin out my camera rucksack so did the walk carrying the Mamiya RZ67, three film backs, and 50mm lens, 75mm lens with tilt-shift adaptor, 110mm lens, and 180mm lens. I think I did use all the lens but I could have managed with less and had a lighter pack.

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This is the Bonnington power station, unusually attractive for a power station ...

This is the Bonnington hydro-electric power station, unusually attractive for a power station …

The water supply pipes at the back of the power station

The water supply pipes at the back of the power station

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Corra Linn

Corra Linn is the highest of all the falls, at 84 feet. Other visitors told me that the water level was much lower than normal. Obviously the amount of recent rain will influence the water level, but more importantly water can be released from a dam further upstream in order to regulate the hydro power system. I have seen photos with great torrents of water at this spot, which must be quite a sight to see; but personally I find that photographs of waterfalls in heavy flood are less pleasing than the more normal conditions because the shapes and finer details of the water are lost.

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All of the images here were taken on Kodak Ektar film and home developed. I also took a couple of shots on Fuji Velvia 50 slide film, which are lovely to look at, but I used up my last slide film on this trip and don’t plan to buy any more. Most readers will know that slide film has a much lower dynamic range than colour negative film; but the deciding factor for me is that I can’t justify keeping both C41 chemicals for colour negative and E6 chemicals for slide film at home as they would go bad before being used up. So I sent my last two slide films away to The Darkroom UK, who do a fine job with quick return, but commercial processing of slide films work out about three times the cost of home processing of colour negative.

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A ruined iron bridge near Bonnington Linn

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A tiny stream on it’s way to join the River Clyde. The 75mm lens with tilt-shift adapter was used for this image.

You can find more information about the area on the Scottish Wildlife Trust website which includes a short colour movie made in 1926.