Beast from the East: The Sequel


Water flowing from Roath Lake into Roath Brook
(You can probably tell from the photo that it was still snowing at the time!)

Film stock: Ilford HP5 Plus (120)
Shot at ASA 400.
Developed: Self-developed (Ilfosol 3)
Camera: Mamiya 645

It kinda feels like we just had snow like two weeks ago.

…oh wait, that’s because we literally did have snow two weeks ago!ūüėā

Also, did I mention it was my birthday? Yeah, going out and taking photos of the snow is not an activity I normally associate with my birthday, and yet here we are! I’m already contemplating the fact that this was my first ever birthday snow day, but probably my last too. Obviously this was something to take advantage of.

My last batch of snow photos was heavily focussed around Bute Park and the city centre. This time, I thought I would venture in the other direction and head to Roath Park to see what it was like over there. Obviously the snow was nowhere near as bad as last time, and Cardiff managed to not panic this time – all the buses were still running for the whole day. Despite this, I did venture out the fron door and was faced with a literal blizzard (by which I mean it was snowing and windy at the same time… I realise northern Europeans are currently laughing at me!)

Bridge over Roath Brook

As I expected, Roath Park was looking just as magical as I would have expected (although, Roath Lake completely froze over last time, and I’m kinda gutted I didn’t get to see it). A roll of medium format film has fifteen shots on it when shooting in 6×4.5 format, and I finished the entire roll before I even had a chance to think. After heading home via lunch, I got started with the developing process.

Some of my previous black and white work was developed using Rodinal, but this time I opted for Ilford chemicals and used a regular developing process. Unfortunately, I hadn’t quite mixed enough chemicals to cover the entire film and there was an entire strip on the top of the film that was under developed. I guess that’s one mistake I’ll definitely be learning from!

Nonetheless, I did get some pretty good results from this – despite the mistake – and I’m pretty pleased with the photos!

Palm trees covered in snow is obviously a pretty weird sight

Dog walkers in Roath Park

I used to live in Roath, and the thing I miss most is being a 20 second walk from The Rec

This tree stood out to me as being particularly photogenic

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Some seagulls chilling on the dock

Film stock: Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400 (35mm)
Shot in redscale at ASA 100.
Developed: Express Imaging
Camera: Canon A-1

It’s been a while since I’ve shot any film (January if my records are correct!) and, as well as having my film drawer screaming at me for some attention, I was also in the mood for something a little more experimental.

Those of you who already do film photography and are active on Twitter have probably been exposed to this already, but I noticed a lot of photos being shared under the hashtag #BIFscale18, and it got me curious about redscale photography. Not being one to simply buy something premade, I wanted to use some of my existing stock and decided to reverse and respool some of my film. I tried a few of the film photography places here in Cardiff, and none of them stocked reusable film cannisters (yet!!), so I had to resort to eBay and wait a few days for my package. I guess film photography is definitely on the up, but bulk loading hasn’t quite caught on yet amongst casual photographers.

Those of you who’ve been to Cardiff will probably recognise this as the Wales Millennium Centre

To my surprise, the forecast was looking good for Tuesday and I decided I would finish work and just head straight to do some photography. Luckily, my office is at the northern end of Atlantic Wharf, so there’s plenty of scope for photography there – especially if you walk through it and head to Cardiff Bay. (I did have a bit of a headstart the night before though, and shot a few frames near where I live in Heath).

Once I finished shooting, I headed over to the film lab on City Road. I think we’re quite lucky here in Cardiff to still have a film lab that doesn’t involve sending it off and waiting a week. I normally develop my own film at home, but I do try to use them from time to time – it’s important we use them and keep them in business!

Lloyd George Avenue

I actually managed to get there just in time, and got my film processed immediately and had my negatives in hand within about 10 minutes – can’t complain! I think my film did cause a moment of confusion for the member of staff who thought I might have made a mistake and bulk loaded the film the wrong way round, but I explained that it was intentional, and it caused the staff to chat amongst themselves about redscale photography.

Needless to say, the colour palette for this photoset is fairly limited(!) but I’m pleased with the results and how many images turned out well.

Still life closeup from my walk through Atlantic Wharf

Cardiff’s ever changing skyline

Cardiff Bay and Penarth

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Cinematic Magic

Film stock: Kodak Vision3 5219 (35mm)
Shot at ASA 500.
Developed: Self-developed
Camera: Canon A-1

Most of the film I’ve been shooting so far has been photographic film, so I decided to try something a little different for a change.

I’ve had a few spools of cinema film for a while, but I’d never really got round to using them. In light of this fact, I decided my 35mm camera needed some love, so I loaded it up with some Kodak Vision3 5219 (an ISO 500 tungsten balanced film) and went for a bit of an adventure around Cardiff (and Penarth). I’ve decided I really like this film, and I’m tempted to just live out the rest of my days in tungsten balance because life would look so much prettier!

I shot an entire roll in the space of a day, so you might also be able to tell from the photos that I spent a significant amount of time on this. This journey involved a walk into the city centre, which is where I spent some time wandering in and out of the arcades – some of my favourite places in Cardiff. From here, I trekked over to Penarth by bus and made my way back into Cardiff via the barrage.

In hindsight, this may not have been the wisest decision – it rained for pretty much my entire walk. But I wasn’t going to let a bit of rain get the best of me, so onward I persevered, and I’d like to think the photos I got were worth it…

Another rainy day in Cardiff

Film stock: Fomapan 200 (medium format)
Developed: Self-developed
Camera: Mamiya 645

I had no plans this weekend. The main reason for this was the rain – I’d told myself I might go out and do some photography, but the weather wasn’t looking too favourable. As the day progressed though, I decided I needed to do something – if I did nothing whenever it rained, then I’d probably never achieve anything considering I live in Wales! ūüėā

At about 2pm, I made the decision that I would venture out and brave the rain, and I also decided I’d test out a new film in the process – Fomapan 200. Once I was out, the rain wasn’t quite as bad as I had expected it to be, but my route through Bute Park did mean I was walking under a canopy of trees the vast majority of the time. If I need to get into Cardiff city centre and I’m not in any rush, this is probably my favourite walking route to get there. My plan in the future is to walk this route a number of times using different films (and at different times of the year – Autumn colours on Ektar anyone?)

Like I said I’ve never used Fomapan before, but I’ve decided I like the film. It’s a little grainier than any other film of this speed, but it has a certain pleasing aesthetic to it. (To be honest though, I don’t think grain is of any particular concern at ISO 200.) I’m also not quite sure how exactly to explain this, but the photos have a certain warmth to them(?) I know they’re black and white photos and there’s no colour in them, but there’s something I can’t quite put my finger on – maybe someone else can tell me what I’m seeing?

Given the advantage of hingsight, I would have probably chosen a film of at least ISO 400, but that’s not really a criticism of the film – just a criticism of the day in general and how dark and rainy it was!

Anyway, without further ado, here is the image set of the day:

Fairy light portraits

Film stock: Ilford Delta 3200 (medium format)
Developed: Self-developed
Camera: Mamiya 645

I haven’t really been much of a portrait person in the past, and I’ve never shot anything above ISO 400 (on film at least – I definitely have on digital). I had a roll of Delta 3200 sitting unused in my stockpile of film, and I just needed to find some use for it. In the end, I decided to do some portraits with additional (non flash-based) lighting.

This was a very experimental roll of film, and I wasn’t expecting any miracles from it, so the fact that even just 3/4 out of 15 shots turned out well was a pleasant surprise – it’s always difficult doing low light photography when you can’t even review your shots afterwards. The other thing that also surprised me was the graininess, or the lack of it rather. I’ve used some really grainy films at ISO 400, so I was expecting this film to be a whole lot worse. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely a grainy film, but just nowehere near as bad as I’ve seen with some other film styles.

So without further ado, here are the small handful of photos I actually think turned out well:

Obviously thank you to Eva and Louise for being such willing models for this shoot. ūüôā


Film stock: Kodak ColorPlus 200 (35mm)
Kodak Ektar 100 (35mm)
Developed: Express Imaging
Camera: Canon A-1

I’ve just come back from a week in Malta.

Initially, I decided we hadn’t had enough sunshine and warm weather in the UK and that the situation needed to be rectified. Now that I’m back, I’m actually glad that the weather is somewhat cooler!

A few things I learned during my time in Malta…

  • You don’t need to be able to speak Maltese to understand the universal “phwoar, it’s too hot” gesture that people make.
  • Buses turn up whenever they damn well please. Usually anytime between ten minutes early and fifteen minutes late.
  • Maltese people hate Arriva just as much as we do in Wales – they used to run their buses and only lasted about two years before abandoning the country.
  • It should theoretically be possible to catch a bus from one side of Malta all the way to the other side in less time than it takes to catch a bus from one side of Cardiff to the other, but the traffic usually means this doesn’t happen.
  • It’s difficult to avoid reminders that Malta used to be British when you see red phonebooths, post boxes and pelican crossings.

This was actually the first trip where I didn’t take a digital camera with me. I did obviously take my phone with me and used it for photos, but the only SLR I had with me was the Canon A-1. I spent a week in Malta and used four rolls of film but, in the interests of not bombarding everyone with a million photos, here are a select few photos from my trip:

Brecon and the Perseids

Film stock: Rollei Infrared 400 (medium format)
Shot at ASA 50*
Developed: Self-developed
Camera: Mamiya 645
Canon EOS 70D for the digital photos

*The box speed of film is always measured using all light because infrared films are sensitive to infrared as well as visible light. Since we’re blocking out the visible light with a filter, it effectively reduces the ISO speed of the film.

As part of the #SummerFilmParty on Twitter (which has a really active film photography community if you know where to look), I decided to challenge myself to shoot something a little different than usual. The official rules (which can be found on the Emulsive blog) allowed for a variety of different film styles, but the one that really caught my eye was infrared – being able to see what you’re shooting is overrated anyway!

I deliberated with myself for a while, as I wasn’t entirely sure what I would shoot. As the weekend drew to a close (and with it the deadline for shoot week), I was running out of ideas and resigned myself to just wandering around Cardiff on Saturday and just taking random photos. Suddenly though, an opportunity presented itself: My friend was playing at one of the pubs during the Brecon Jazz Festival (or as we described it in an effort to make it sound better, he was playing the “Brecon Jazz Fringe”) and asked me to come along. I agreed and said I’d be bringing my camera along with me and that we’d be stopping for photos – the route between us and Brecon involves travelling through the Brecon Beacons National Park. He duly agreed, and that was my weekend sorted.

Here are some of the photos I managed to get. Infrared has a certain look to it that I like, and this definitely won’t be the last time I shoot with infrared film.

Oh, wait. That’s not all – did I mention this weekend was also the peak of the Perseid meteor shower?

I obviously managed to convince my friend that we also needed to trek out somewhere in the Brecon Beacons away from light pollution (he lives in Merthyr Tydfil, so it’s not too far to trek). The Beacons are a designated international dark sky reserve, and make for some brilliant night photos:

I also convinced him that it needed to be after midnight.

…and that we might spend a considerable duration of time outside in the cold.

…and that he’d potentially have to watch me get frustrated when a meteor streaks across the sky in the opposite direction to where my camera was facing!

Yeah, that last one did actually happen. Unfortunately, it was the best meteor of the entire shower, and it streaked across the sky flashing a brilliant green leaving a trail that lingered for a good ten seconds.

So I managed to get the third best meteor on camera!

The only issue with the photo is that the lens I used was really wide – an 11mm crop sensor lens. It was good for capturing as much of the sky as possible at any one time (since we never really had any idea where the next meteor would appear) but, as a consequence, any meteors captured look small and far away.

But hey, at least I managed to get one!

I also learned something about the brightness of the moon – the peak of the shower coincided with a full moon, and I learned that it wasn’t just the sun or artificial lights that caused lens flare.

Who knew moon flare was even a thing?

Adventures in Macro

Film stock: Kodak Portra 400 (35mm)
Developed: Self-developed
Camera: Canon EOS 5

I’ve been shooting film for a few months now, and even developed some film myself. The one thing I hadn’t done though is develop colour film. I also had limited experience with macro photography, so I somehow ended up combining the two in my outing for today. To be fair though, I can’t think of a better first subject for colour film than some nature related macro photography!

For today’s outing, I used slightly different equipment than usual. Unfortunately, I don’t have any macro lenses to fit the Canon A-1 (or any medium format macro lenses either), so I used the Canon EOS 5. This is somewhat newer than my other film cameras, and is closer in appearance to my digital SLR than the others, so it has a certain sense of familiarity to it. There’s also some interchangeability in the lenses between it and my digital SLR, so it means I was free to use my existing macro lens.

Bute Park is not particularly far from my house, and it’s a fairly pleasant walk so I wandered over to the park, camera in hand, and started exploring. Most of my walk through the park was spent exploring the nooks and crannies of the park, and involved a lot of wandering into bushes, crouching down and wandering off the path. I think I may have got a few looks from passers-by, but I’d like to think I’m beyond caring about that at this stage.

I also learned a very important lesson today – insects can move really quickly, so using a method of photography where you have limited attempts and can’t check your results afterwards is a really risky tactic. I also realised about halfway through my shoot that it was rather windy; which is also not ideal for macro photography!

After a while, I emerged from the souther entrance of Bute Park (the one next to the Animal Wall). After a bit of loitering around Cardiff, I eventually made it back to my house and got to work.

No, you can’t see any thermometers or water baths here… yes it’s stand develop… oh, stop looking at me like that; it’s not like you’ve never taken a shortcut before! ūüėú

Now, I’m not the most experienced person ever at developing film, so when I found out you could develop C41 at room temperature, I was all ears. It takes a bit longer than normal development, but there’s a lot more hands-off time in between where you can walk away, watch two episodes of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, swap chemicals and do some agitations, and then watch two more episodes – it really is that laid back!

This was obviously the first time I’d ever developed colour film myself, so it could have gone horribly wrong, and I was preparing myself mentally for failure the whole time… just in case. In the end, none of this fear was warranted, and I was pretty happy with the results…

And for those of you who are not experts at judging an image in negative form(!) here are the results without the orange cast and negative colours…

Home for the weekend

Film stock: Kodak T-Max 400 (medium format)
Developed: Self-developed
Camera: Mamiya 645

I do more than occasionally travel home to my family. On this occasion, it was pretty convenient – I was needed in north Wales for work, so I actually got my travel paid for, and a nice weekend home in the process.

I only live in south Wales but, one of the most convenient ways of travelling home is actually by plane – and a scenic 35 minute flight from the south east to the north west definitely beats spending 4+ hours on a train! So of course this led to a situation where I was travelling by film and had to deal with x-ray scanners. I didn’t really worry about it though, and the film wasn’t affected, so it’s all good.

Ooh! Is this our plane?

Oh, ok. ūüėź

But like I said, it is a very scenic trip:

Welcome to Anglesey, an airport where the question “where are you flying today?” never needs to be asked!

To be honest though, there’s not much to say about this trip apart from…

“Oh my god, there’s no way my brother is expecting me to fit through that hole in the rock face!”

Yeah, I sometimes can’t believe the things my brother does for fun! The location for some of these shots (the ones in Dinorwig at least) involved having to contort myself through a disused tunnel entrance to get to. Next time, I think I’ll leave some of these places to him!

My shots for this weekend were an experiment. I’ve never shot black and white film before, and I’ve never developed my own film before. I wouldn’t exactly call this a resounding success, but I guess you can’t ever expect to get everything perfect the first time. Some of the shots are also cropped because I had some minor development issues on the edge of the film. Nevertheless, here are some shots from the weekend:


Film stock: Kodak Portra 400 (35mm)
Developed: Express Imaging
Camera: Canon A-1
Canon EOS 70D for the digital photos

I recently got into film photography. I’m also apparently quite the risk taker so, rather than practising a bit with film photography first, I apparently dived in headfirst and took my film camera to be used for the first time ever (well… my first time ever; it was second hand after all!) to Iceland!

I’m not entirely sure what the draw was to Iceland, but I think it was partly driven by a desire to see the Northern Lights at least once in my lifetime… and cheap flights!

Sidenote: I would later learn that the only cheap thing about Iceland is the cost of getting there!

I arrived at Keflav√≠k airport when it was already dark, and it was pretty much midnight as I arrived into Reykjav√≠k, so I didn’t see much of it during my arrival – I basically just checked into my hostel, got to my room, and promptly fell asleep.

I had a bit more of a chance the next day to explore Reykjav√≠k, and did some of the classic Icelandic things… such as eating Skyr (which is obviously delicious, and very Icelandic) and had a wander round the place. I also very slowly grew used to the cost of things in Iceland – about ¬£20 for a bowl of soup expensive! This is also partly why the free walking tour got my attention!

Here are my photos from Reykjavík itself:

And here is the Golden Circle…

Seeing as this was my first ever trip with a film camera, I did take a backup with me this time. Here are some of my shots taken with a digital camera. A trip to Iceland at this time of year would, of course, not be complete without seeing the Northern Lights, so I have these too!