9 in 45: the Hipsta Alternative

I mentioned in an earlier post that I’d also retained the “RAW” files from my Hipsta Edition photo walk. Here’s what the series would’ve looked like if I could’ve resisted the Hipsta-lure!

The walk took me from Hunger Hill in Halifax to the bottom of Salterhebble Hill via the back streets and cobbles that run almost parallel to the main roads.

Lomography: in an Instant

Scanned with an Epson Perfection V550

Lomography – love it or hate it, a true lomography image has a very distinct look. Despite being an old-f@rt I love the look of these lo-fi images and have indeed owned a couple of film Holgas for quite some time now. Imagine my delight therefore whilst exploring the world of instant photography for the Instant August project to discover a Lomography instant camera. Even better it was half-price in a flash sale on their website. Just as well because the full retail price is ridiculously expensive for what is in fact a cheap plastic box with an extremely basic, need I say cheap, plastic lens. It’s the one thing that spoils Lomography as a company for me – they price their cameras way too high and whilst the prime target market may well be affluent enough to afford them I for one could not justify that sort of expense. Even at half-price it was pushing things (even so, I told my wife it was half again of what I actually paid!).

Lomography film on the other hand is well priced but this may be because there is a lot more competition in the film emulsion market than there currently is in the production and sale of plastic cameras. I like to be even handed in my criticisms.

Three for the price of one – Halifax Piece Hall

One of the things I enjoy about instant photography is the (almost) immediate gratification. Now, it could reasonably be argued that digital photography actually does give truly INSTANT gratification as you can see the image on the LCD screen immediately after pressing the button. However, in my world the final product is a physical print, regardless as to whether it starts life on a piece of plastic or as a series of 0s and 1s is irrelevant to me; the ultimate aim of every image I make is to print it. Now, don’t misunderstand me I do not print every digital image I make, think of the time required if nothing else, but I am always aiming for an image worthy of printing and ultimately hanging on my wall. Instant photography therefore, whilst a side-line in my photographic interests, appeals to me because the objective EVERY time is a print.

Lomo’ Instant – Piece Hall, Halifax 12/9/2019

What the Lomo’ Instant does is offer me the best of two of my niche interests – lomography and instant photography. I shoot images every day, without exception, but I don’t shoot film, instant film or create images in a lomographically-inspired vein every day. The vast majority of my 365 images for example are straight-forward digital images. Year to date 71% of my 365 images have been made with a Fuji camera for example with only 9% coming from the iPhone and a mere 2% from my instant camera collection, none of which were made with the recently acquired Lomo’ Instant.

Piece Hall – a Grade I listed building

I couldn’t tell you exactly why it is for me that lo-fi photographs appeal so much. Perhaps it’s a reaction to the homogeneity of so many technically excellent yet sterile and soulless images that bombard us constantly these days. Or is it the fact that they are deliberately different thus appealing to the inner rebel? The “Perfectly Imperfect” tag sums it up for me quite nicely. These are not perfect images but flawed and therefore somewhat more human as a result – is that what gives them “soul”? Or are they actually just junk and I’m deluding myself?

The only image here not scanned on my Epson, this was copied with my phone

Before you start shouting hypocrite at me I do know that it is the wonders of digital technology that enable me to share my photographs, instant or otherwise, with a wider audience than the people in my company at any time. The fact is that even if I were not sharing my images online I’d still be making instant prints, I’d still be printing from both film and digital cameras and I’d still be framing prints and hanging them on the walls of my house. The digital sharing is a bonus and a welcome one at that – I’m neither a hypocrite nor a Luddite!

I thoroughly enjoyed my first outing with the Lomo’ Instant and you can bet it will be going out with me again very soon.

Film Friday #2

Surprise View: Pentax 645 Neopan 400

Fujifilm Neopan 400 black and white film was discontinued around 2013 I believe. It was never a film I played with much back in the day, being more of a Tri-X or HP5 kinda guy, but I clearly bought a few rolls of 120 film around 2010 because I’ve just unearthed the negatives!

Surprise View: Pentax 645 Neopan 400

Now I’m told that Neopan 400 was never the greatest film in the world and I shall take other peoples word for it but I must have bought a few rolls as I’ve found negatives from a Pentax 645 as well as the Mamiya RB67.

It’s a shame about the edge of the umbrella creeping in! Schoolboy error. I’m still posting this though because of the detail especially in the banner. Mamiya RB67 Neopan 400

On Wednesday I put seven rolls of exposed film in the post for developing by Digitalab in Newcastle. Watch this space!

9 in 45: The Hipsta Edition

I had another go at Mr C’s 9 in 45 Challenge today. I’d intended shooting a colour set, and indeed I still could as I have the “RAWs” from these, but couldn’t resist shooting with the Hipstamatic app on my phone. These then are the images straight out of the Hipstamatic App with a few minor tweaks to Levels. The walk took me from Hunger Hill in Halifax to the bottom of Salterhebble Hill via the back streets and cobbles that run almost parallel to the main roads.

365-2019-255
The nine images can also be found on my Flickr feed
12.29 – 5 minutes from the start at Hunger Hill
12.35 – former mills
12.40 – Devon Ambulance Service, vintage vehicles
12.46 – a popular rat run and no proper pavement!
12.52 – graffiti amongst parked cars
12.57 – one of my favourite spots close to the hospital
13.05 – the first image of my first 9/45 was taken from the other side of the road almost opposite
13.10 – wandering along the route of the now abandoned Halifax Arm of the canal
13.15 – walks end – the former Punch Bowl pub and my bus stop just beyond it (out of sight)

I enjoyed this immensely. I’ve shot lots of single images with the Hipstamatic App but this was the first concerted project or series of images. I actually like them all although believe they work best as a set and not as individual images. I also think I’ve used the quirks of the App to good effect.

The Hipstamatic App creates square jpeg files which are what I’ve used here. There is also the option, which I use, to save the full, un-filtered image and I shall now look at those and perhaps produce an alternative 9/45 where I am not restricted to 1×1 format, heavily filtered images.

iPhone XR: Hipstamatic app: minor tweaks in Photoshop

9 in 45: reflections

When I posted my first 9 in 45 series I chose not to ponder on the experience but to leave it a few days. With the benefit of those few days I’m now ready to jot down some observations.

The linear route for
9/45 #1

1 The first stop was at the top of Salterhebble Hill. A view I’ve seen countless times on foot, from the car and from the top deck of the 503 bus. Yet until the timer stopped me at this point its one I’ve never thought to photograph, and yet it makes a nice image.

2 Stop 2 came a few yards too early for the image I’d usually shoot from this stretch of the canal. With a fixed 23mm lens there was no “cheating” so I was forced to work with what I had. It was the only time on the walk I wished I was working in colour.

3 Spoilt for choice at this spot however in the end the final composition was dictated by the very bright sunlight. I used the overhanging branches to shield the lens and effectively shot into the light here.

4 A simple composition, I love converging lines.

5 One of my favourites from the walk and surprisingly not a composition I’ve shot before. I usually stop five paces further on underneath the bridge and work with the shapes and reflections.

6 This one needed little thought and in fact I’d hoped I wouldn’t find myself stopping at Woodside Mills, somewhere I can rarely resist snapping. I tried to make something a little different from the norm therefore by focusing my attention on the water rather than the brickwork.

7 If I could strike this from the series I would.

8 I’ve had this in mind for a while, but with a view to shooting it with the Holga 120-Pan film camera. I did in fact return the following afternoon and shoot this with the plastic-fantastic toy camera and am looking forward to the comparison.

9 The observant will notice how close this is to image number 8. In fact just the other side of the bridge. A call came through on my mobile phone which I needed to take and I was stood here when the timer went off for image 9. Rather than miss the timings I shot this with the phone clamped between shoulder and ear. An example of total familiarity with the camera being an asset – especially as I decided on a very shallow depth of field and also the diagonal light and shade composition.

Images 1, 4, 5 and 9 are my favourites from the challenge. In fact the only image that I do not like at all is number 7; if I’d been walking slightly faster I’d have had a fascinating old factory building in sight rather than a line of parked cars! Thinking it over now I might have gone for a view down the line of parked cars and tried to do something with converging lines perhaps.

Overall, I enjoyed the discipline that the Challenge imposed. With hindsight I would not have chosen such an oft-trod route, especially for my first go, but hindsight is a wonderful thing. For my next attempt I will chose somewhere less well known. Accepting Mr C’s further challenge I will also shoot in colour, out of my comfort zone, but to ensure I comply I’ll shoot JPEGs which can be posted as-shot.

If you’ve not tried the Challenge then I urge you to give it a go!

En Pointe

Canon AE1 50mm f2.8 lens. Fujichrome.

In ballet, dancers moving gracefully on the tips of their toes are en pointe.

Transparency film is very unforgiving but this scanned beautifully without me needing to tinker in Photoshop. Not bad for a slide thats over 35 years old! It’s sobering to think this lass will be in her fifties now too.

1982/3, shot in a studio where I helped out by sweeping floors, lugging light stands etc whilst the Boss had paying customers in (usually camera clubs). I got to spend ten minutes with one of the models afterwards in lieu of pay!!

Bangles & Beads

Two from the Fujichrome Archive to keep things going in the virtual world whilst I’m away for a few days in the real one!

Fujichrome. Canon AE1 50mm f2.8 lens. Scanned using an Epson Perfection V550 flatbed scanner.

Transparency film is very unforgiving but this scanned beautifully without me needing to tinker in Photoshop. Not bad for a couple of slides that are over 35 years old! It’s sobering to think this lass will be in her fifties now too.

Taken around 1982/3, and shot in a studio where I helped out by sweeping floors, lugging light stands etc whilst the Boss had paying customers in (usually camera clubs). I got to spend ten minutes with one of the models afterwards in lieu of pay!!