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?