Above: a time-lapse I made from my 9th floor flat in Sydney in 2015
I thought lockdown would make me prolific in my blog posting, but it didn’t turn out that way.
I lost my dad and my grandma which was, and continues to be, awful. This meant weeks spent in Edinburgh, my hometown. I also spent a lot of lockdown working on a lot of web-based projects for clients from home (or wherever I was).
One positive has been a lot of web development learning. I’ve taken a few different courses and I’m still going. I’d like to work on projects that align with my interests and and ideally my ideologies. I’ve got a few forthcoming web projects that I’d like to share here at some point. I added my GitHub link to the menu, if you are so inclined.
When we lived in Sydney I bought 3 Canon EOS film cameras for about £25. I still use the EOS 50E, I gave one to a photography assistant there and the last one I gave Becky to use. I gave her a roll of cheap film and a lend of ones of my lenses (probably the nifty fifty) and she shot a roll when we met up with my parents in Koh Samui, Thailand.
We both forgot all about it when we got back – and seeing as she hadn’t used the camera since – the roll was left in the camera, undeveloped. I finally found it when I was looking at the camera when going through equipment for a shoot.
With my home darkroom, it’s so easy to chuck an extra roll in with the rest and here are some of the results. I developed, scanned and coloured these, but Becky took them!
We visited Bangkok for a few days and then spent the majority of our time on Koh Samui. Thailand was a weird trip and I’m not in any rush to go back, but have some fond memories and glad I got to visit when we were living not too far away.
I took some photographs when we were there too, I posted one a while back.
Feel free to leave comments or questions below and I’ll be happy to help out.
And now some life updates…
I had a great time in Belfast for Becky’s cousin’s wedding but I didn’t really take pictures. I stayed up late on the converted school we stayed in, looking at the stars. In the pitch dark, silent, middle-of-nowhere and listened to lots of Radiohead in preparation for Anima.
If you’ve not yet watched it, I’d recommend the PT Anderson-directed ANIMA on Netflix.
Becky and I went to Clissold Park to drink gin and soak up the sun at the weekend. Hopefully we’ll get to do that more this summer and have a BBQ with some of the fab veg from the local shop, like we did last year.
We’re off to Edinburgh this weekend for another wedding – our loves Adrienne and Eoin – hopefully I’ll take some pictures this time!
I was apprehensive about developing rolls of film by myself, for fear that I’d make mistakes and ruin shoots. This is especially when I’m collaborating with others or getting paid. But I’ve come to love developing colour C-41 film at home, so I thought I’d share some of my experiences.
Turns out, I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way. But it’s been helpful and necessary for me to improve my skills and troubleshoot problems. The last 20-odd rolls I’ve processed have been perfect and I’ve refined the system to a place where I’m very confident.
The top image* shows my current hanging strategy which works great, despite not being the ideal setup. The ideal would be an expensive and space-consuming drying unit like this.
*This image is dirty and not a good example of processing!
Technical & Chemicals
I’m currently using Tetenal Colortec C41 (2.5l Kit) for developing colour C-41 film at home. I’ll exhaust what I have (I’m on my second box of it) and move onto Fuji Press 5l kit. The Tetenal has done me well, but I’d like to separate the BLIX into bleach and fix stages, as I’ve been given a lot of advice that this is a better method, with less chance of issues.
Getting the film rolls loaded onto reels in a dark-bag took me some practice. At first it could work quickly or could take me up to 40 minutes to load one reel. Now it takes me a couple of minutes to do it properly. I did try double-loading reels with 120 film but that caused some of my biggest problems, with films overlapping (overlapped areas didn’t come out at all).
I’ll probably blog more about developing colour C-41 film at home in the future – especially the one big issue that almost put me off altogether. I’ve also started to look forward to making my own prints at home using RA-4 and the enlarger kit I got. I tested all the equipment over the past week so watch this space on that too.
In the meantime, here are some examples of images I’ve developed at home recently:
The photograph above is a shot of a pond reflecting the trees on a backstreet of Koh Samui, flipped upside-down.
The weather is noticeably changing and the light is disappearing earlier each day. I’m sad to see the back of summer but there’s something about the autumnal atmosphere that I love.
This weekend I’ve been working on a book of my photographs, with writing and notes. A single prototype copy is being printed just now and I’ll have it in a few days. In it, I try to be honest about my work, my process and where I am in my career (not far). I’m not sure what to do with it yet but I’m hoping to use it as an introduction to my work, hopefully to get jobs in the near future.
I don’t find self-promotion easy and feel like I should be reaching out to magazines and companies much more than I currently am (not much).
As for my home darkroom equipment, I’ve ordered chemicals and a dark bag (for loading film onto reels to be developed), so I’m getting close to starting this process – exciting!
We’re also heading up to Scotland at the end of the week, so I’m looking forward to seeing the family and having a (not long) mini break.