Tiny Dancers | Mamiya M645 1000s | Kodak Ektar 100

It still amazes me that I’m able to have a photographic idea, set it up, put it into action, and then see that idea come to fruition all in the space of a few short hours. Being able to develop at home gives me that means to find out whether I’m right or wrong almost immediately.

That means that I can then take what I’ve learned from the first session and apply it to the next.

For this one, the concept was simple, the execution inelegant—but in the end, more effective than I’d hoped.

I keep seeing these photo background boxes pop up in eBay. The ones that people who photograph products might use as backgrounds, generally with a white or black inside. The idea was that I’d build one of these boxes, and photograph this small statue that I’ve been wanting to take pictures of for a while.

I’d intended to shoot it in black and white to try to force the contrast between the two ‘dancers,’ but I have been wanting to shoot some color in medium format for a while, and when my “solution” presented itself, I jumped at the opportunity.

All I had on hand was either large or small boxes, and some sheets of construction paper the would fit in neither one very well. Not necessarily out of frustration, but rather desperation, I stuffed a sheet into the small box, and then a couple of others to fill in all the corners, and came up with the backdrop you see here.

Instead of searching for perfect lines, I quite liked the way the background was imperfect—to me it looked like shooting dancers in front of some intentionally skewed lines in an art gallery or a city hall.

I set up the box on my kitchen counter, aimed one of my studio lights at it (from a couple of different angles), got my camera as close as I could, and played around with placement.

I measured the light but misinterpreted the measurements on the first few shots. I also added a little fat Buddha for another look, but the main intention was to get the dancers to look as interesting as possible.

There’s an interesting point between overexposed and underexposed where it seems to give the game away. It gets a little too real. The best shots, in my opinion, were slightly underexposed and brought out more of the background colour and less of the background definition. They’re all a bit interesting in their own way.

Judge for yourself below.

Found more pics from Havana | Minolta Hi-matic AF2 | Kodak Gold 200

Developed a couple of rolls this evening and found that I had a few pictures from Havana left that hadn’t been developed. The roll was still in the camera and didn’t go to the lab with the rest, so it was a nice surprise to see these.

They are in no way noteworthy. There’s nothing special about them other than some great memories. The first few are from the Universidad de La Habana (amazing morning, walked too much, had a spectacular ham and pineapple pizza), and there’s one of Wife and our favourite waitress at El Dandy in Old Havana.

There’s even one of a lovely couple of gals we met from the Netherlands and the old guy next to Hemingway is either me or the most entertaining British ex-filmmaker I’ve ever had the privilege of spending an afternoon belly to the bar with.

Mile End and Weird Exposures | Ilford Pan F 50 | Canon A-1 | 55m f1.8

This is the roll of film that made me fall in love with Ilford Pan F 50. A hazy day with just a little bit of light, and I’ve got some of the best pics I’ve ever taken. A little bit of sun in a cafe, spotlights on a beautiful wife, sunshine on a great friend all add up to some great shots.

But then a little weirdness. I think what happened to the ones that look double exposed is that they got wound up in the reel in such a way as to have a few of the photos stuck together. Hence the weird double exposures. It’s a drag because those shots look like they would have been great on their own, but we’ll go with the Bob Ross philosophy and call them a happy accident. I will be purchasing more Pan F just as soon as I’m able.

First time developing colour film | Minolta Hi-Matic AF2 | 38mm f2.8 | Ektar 100

There were only a couple of shots that I found particularly interesting on this roll, but I did shoot it quickly with the thought that I wanted to try developing with C-41 chems asap. That said, there are some nice captures of the Mile End the way it is right now.

Hitting the temperature  for the developer was a lot easier than I expected. In fact I hit 39 degrees C on the first try after putting the chem bottles in a warm water bath. I did end up with some streaks on a few and, still, a lot more dust on the negatives than I’d like. Thank goodness for that healing tool in Lightroom. These are mostly raw with no fixes, except for a couple.

I had been avoiding developing colour as the fella behind the counter at Photo St Denis told me I would be wasting my time and nothing would turn out. Glad I didn’t listen. Now to develop the many rolls I have in backlog and hope they turn out as well.



Mamiya M645 1000s | Ilford HP5 | Social Distancing Photoshoot + Portraits