Category Archives: locations

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.

2010 October, NEAM, Rz67, Provia 100, Tetenal 002

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.

2017-03-19, RZ67, Ektar, NELSAM, 001

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.

2010 October, NEAM, Rz67, Provia 100, Tetenal 004

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

2017-03-19, RZ67, Ektar, NELSAM, 003

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.

2017-03-19, RZ67, Ektar, NELSAM, 004

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

2017-03-19, RZ67, Ektar, NELSAM, 011

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

2017-03-19, RZ67, Ektar, NELSAM, 007

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

2017-03-19, RZ67, Ektar, NELSAM, 008

The camera tram again. RZ67/Ektar

2017-03-19, RZ67, Ektar, NELSAM, 009

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

2017-03-19, RZ67, Ektar, NELSAM, 016

Wing fragment from a crash site. RZ67 / Ektar

2017-03-19, RZ67, Ektar, NELSAM, 018

RZ67 / shift adapter / 75mm lens / Ektar

2017-03-19, RZ67, Ektar, NELSAM, 020

RZ67 / Shift Adapter / 75mm lens / Ektar

img013

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.

 

2017-03 Lomo Fisheye 2, Agfa Vista 200, NESLAM, 015

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 !

2016-11-scotland-rz67-velvia-50-006

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:

2016-11-1-scotland-rz67-ektar-003

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:

2016-11-1-scotland-rz67-ektar-001

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:

2016-11-rz67-ektar-loch-ard-vuescan-2

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.

2016-11-1-scotland-rz67-ektar-006-edit

Mamiya RZ67, Kodak Ektar, 180mm lens

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

2016-11-1-rz67-ektar-loch-chon-vuescan-1

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.

2016-10-31-falls-of-clyde-rz67-ektar-022

 

 

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

2016-11-scotland-rz67-velvia-50-008

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.

2016-11-scotland-rz67-velvia-50-009

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.

2016-10-31-falls-of-clyde-rz67-ektar-014

2016-10-31-falls-of-clyde-rz67-ektar-010

A ruined iron bridge near Bonnington Linn

2016-10-31-falls-of-clyde-rz67-ektar-021

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.

 

Tri-X pushed at Locomotion

I took a trip to Locomotion: the National Railway Museum at Shildon last weekend. This is an outpost of the National Railway Museum at York, and much smaller than the York site but also much closer to home.

I wanted to use the Mamiya RZ67 but wasn’t sure if I’d be able to use a tripod, so decided I would take a monopod and be prepared to push Kodak Tri-X film up to EI1600. This gave me exposures of 1/60s to 1/125s when near the windows of the museum “shed” and 1/30s when further away from the windows, with apertures around f5.6 to f8.

I also limited myself to two lenses – the 110mm and 50mm (equivalent to 55mm and 25mm in 35mm-equivalent terms.

2016-10-1-shildon-railway-museum-rz67-tri-x1600-firstcall-dev-003

I developed the film, as usual, in Firstcall B&W film developer, but I didn’t have a time for pushing the film to ISO 1600, so  I used the Massive Dev Chart to eastblish the typical time differential between processing at 400 and processing at 1600, and used a time about 2.25 times for ISO400.

2016-10-1-shildon-railway-museum-rz67-tri-x1600-firstcall-dev-001

2016-10-1-shildon-railway-museum-rz67-tri-x1600-firstcall-dev-004

After scanning with EpsonScan to TIFFs, I imported the images into Lightroom, darkened the blacks, and used a “Selenium Brown” pre-set. When I think an image might need quite a lot of adjustment, I prefer to scan to TIFF rather than JPEG, to avoid the “Jaggies”, i.e. gaps in the histogram following processing.
2016-10-1-shildon-railway-museum-rz67-tri-x1600-firstcall-dev-0022016-10-1-shildon-railway-museum-rz67-tri-x1600-firstcall-dev-005

I had to open up to f2.8 with the 110mm lens for the image above, which gives the same limited depth of field as f1.4 on 35mm film or full-frame digital, i.e. not much !

2016-10-1-shildon-railway-museum-rz67-tri-x1600-firstcall-dev-0062016-10-1-shildon-railway-museum-rz67-tri-x1600-firstcall-dev-008

I’m not keen on Tri-X in 35mm, which I find too grainy, but it’s OK in medium format and I think the “gritty” approach of push-processed Tri-X suits these images well.

2016-10-1-shildon-railway-museum-rz67-tri-x1600-firstcall-dev-009

By coincidence, there was a classic cars display outside the museum that day, so I took some shots of the cars. These haven’t been processed yet but might make an appearance in a future post.

 

 

Infrared with Efke IR 820c Aura

I’m not usually one for using obsolete films – in fact I’m trying to standardise on a small range of currently-available colour negative and B&W films. The colour choice is pretty fixed at Kodak Ektar and Kodak Portra 400 – at least in medium format. In 35mm, I’m not averse to using Agfa Vista 200, at £1 for 24 exposures, when the results aren’t critical.

For black and white I’m concentrating on Ilford FP4+ for the slow-medium speed range but still haven’t settled on a faster film. I like Tri-X in medium format but find it too grainy for my liking in 35mm. I’ve never used Ilford Hp5 but all the results I’ve seen online look too grainy for me.

Getting a little closer to the title of this post, I recently purchased 8 rolls of Rollei IR400 in 35mm together with one roll of the defunct Efke IR 820c Aura, second-hand for a very reasonable price.

I’ve blogged about Rollei IR400 before; in that post I developed the 35mm version in Rodinal and liked the film but found it a bit grainy. Since then I’ve used the medium format version in a Yashicamat 124G and other developers, which resolves the grain issues.

Having eight rolls of IR400 is enough to make it worthwhile doing some testing to determine a good base ISO and developing time, for my now favourite/only developer, Firstcall’s own brand B&W film developer. 

As well as using the film for infrared with a Hoya R72 filter, I also intend doing more tests without a filter, for use as a “normal” faster film. If that goes well, then the Rollei IR400 may take it’s place alongside FP4+ in my small range of chosen films, doubling up for infrared and those occasions when I need a little more speed than FP4+ can provide. We shall see.

So finally getting to the point – my single roll of Efke Aura. I shot the film with a base ISO,  allowing for Hoya R72 filter, of ISO3, but also shot additional shots with an extra stop on top of that reading. On the whole the shots with the extra stop were probably the more useable ones, but I didn’t take careful records as I only had one roll and didn’t expect to repeat the experience. The film was shot at two National Trust venues in the North East of England – Washington Old Hall and Gibside.

I couldn’t find a published development time for my chosen developer so followed a very unscientific route:

a) Looked at the Massive Dev Chart filtered for all developers and Efke IR film, then took a mid-range guess of 8 minutes at 20c.

b) I then used the Massive Dev Chart time and temperature convertor to take account of the actual temp of my chemicals (18.5c) and the reduction needed when using constant agitation in a Jobo processor. This gave a time of 7m 54s.

So here are selected results.

 

2016-8-14, Washington Old Hall, Canon FTb, Efke 820c Aura, Firstcall Dev 1+15,026

Washington Old Hall – the home of the ancestors of US President George Washington

2016-8-14, Washington Old Hall, Canon FTb, Efke 820c Aura, Firstcall Dev 1+15,0312016-8-14, Washington, Canon FTb, Efke 820c Aura, Firstcall Dev 1+15,023

2016-8-21, Gibside, Canon FTb, Efke 820c Aura, Firstcall Dev 1+15,001

The Column to British Liberty at Gibside, completed in 1756

2016-8-21, Gibside, Canon FTb, Efke 820c Aura, Firstcall Dev 1+15,002

2016-8-21, Gibside, Canon FTb, Efke 820c Aura, Firstcall Dev 1+15,015-Edit

The ruined Gibside Hall

2016-8-21, Gibside, Canon FTb, Efke 820c Aura, Firstcall Dev 1+15,016

The Hall has been deserted since 1920 and visitors cannot enter

2016-8-21, Gibside, Canon FTb, Efke 820c Aura, Firstcall Dev 1+15,019

The Orangery at Gibside

2016-8-21, Gibside, Canon FTb, Efke 820c Aura, Firstcall Dev 1+15,018

A view from the Orangery

2016-8-21, Gibside, Canon FTb, Efke 820c Aura, Firstcall Dev 1+15,020

Sunflowers in the walled garden at Gibside

 

2016-8-21, Gibside, Canon FTb, Efke 820c Aura, Firstcall Dev 1+15,004

So how was the Efke Aura in comparison with Rollei IR400 ? Well of course it is impossible to say after using only one roll. I didn’t see much of the “bloom” that the Efke film is known for, and it probably needs even more exposure to bring out that feature. I certainly liked the results (or the ones that worked well, and the hit rate with IR film is always going to be lower than it is with normal film). But I didn’t like it three times better than Rollei IR400 – and the few rolls of Efke Aura for sale on eBay are going for 3 times the cost of the Rollei IR400 film.

 

 

 

 

Birthday pinholes on Skye

August 2016 saw me head to Scotland for a week’s family holiday, at Balmacara which is on the mainland not far from the Skye Bridge. Family holidays naturally mean less dedicated time for photography than, well, a dedicated photo trip, so I left behind the RZ67 and heavy tripod and took the Ondu Multi-format Pinhole camera with Fuji Acros.

2016-8-4, Fairy Pools, Ondu 6  6, Acros, Firstcall Dev 1+15, 3

One day in the week was my birthday so I got to choose where we went and to devote some time to photography. A trip over the bridge to Skye was my choice, specifically to Glen Sligachan and the Fairy Pools, which lie either side of end of the Black Cuillin mountains.

2016-8-4, Fairy Pools, Ondu 6  6, Acros, Firstcall Dev 1+15, 4

I had photographed at both these spots before so I wanted to do something different rather than replicate my previous approaches, so the pinhole camera was the obvious choice.

2016-8-4, Sligachan, Ondu 6  6, Acros, Firstcall Dev 1+15, 5

My previous visits to the Fairy Pools had been in May 2012 and October 2014, and there hadn’t been more than a dozen other visitors spread out over a mile of the stream bank. This time, in August, there were literally hundreds of visitors, with both car parks overflowing and cars parked on the verges, leading to struggles to get back up the crowded single-track road on the way home.

So quite a lot of effort was involved to try to minimise the number of people in the images; some were reduced to ghosts as they moved through a ten-second exposure.
2016-8-4, Sligachan, Ondu 6  12, Acros, Firstcall Dev 1+15, 2

All the above images were taken on Fuji Acros developed, as usual for me, in Firstcall B&W developer. After scanning they were imported into Lightroom where toning a large amount of clarity added.