Malta

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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:

Adventures in Macro

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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

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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:

Iceland

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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!