Snippet: Coffee and Tennis

One overcast afternoon, me and Madison were in the city. We were aimlessly strolling with the intention of eventually finding our way to a tennis court for a game. The mood seemed to match the thick cloud which enveloped the sky, rolling swiftly past and intermittently dampening everything with light rain.

Having walked past this place a thousand times, curiosity led is into The Forum Coffee House on St. James Parade, Bath.
Having walked past this place a thousand times, curiosity led is into The Forum Coffee House on St. James Parade, Bath.

 

It seemed necessary to give the coffee a test, and the results were more than agreeable; smooth and rich.
It seemed necessary to give the coffee a test, and the results were more than agreeable; smooth and rich.
Sitting at the window, this is a good spot to sit and people watch as they drift past. The staff were very friendly, with a noticeably good attitude, which always makes a difference.
Sitting at the window, this is a good spot to sit and people watch as they drift past. The staff were very friendly, with a noticeably good attitude, which always makes a difference.
Madi was underwhelmed by her Elderflower Pressé, and remarked that this was a place where people come to 'work on their app businesses'. The crowd had a notable portion of hip Asian students.
Madi was underwhelmed by her Elderflower Pressé, remarking that this was a place where people came to ‘work on their app businesses’. The crowd had a notable portion of hip Asian students.
We walked to the tennis courts. Since I have been running and playing tennis of late, these Vans have not been cut out for the job.
We walked to the tennis courts. Since I have been running and playing tennis of late, these Vans have not been cut out for the job.
I got a pair of Karrimor Tempo 3 running shoes to fit the purpose.
I got a pair of Karrimor Tempo 3 running shoes to fit the purpose.

 

The game was just what we both needed to wake up.  The new shoes were very comfortable, and made playing far more enjoyable.
The game was just what we both needed to wake up. The new shoes were very comfortable, and made playing far more enjoyable.

Snippet: Bread in the Afternoon

There are some things that just can’t go missing from my life for any extended period. Fresh bread is certainly one of them, and Rye bread has always hit a primal cord with me; something about the aroma of the flour, and the flavour. I set forth with friend Shannen in tow, to find somewhere to pick a loaf up.

We discovered a trim little bakery called The Thoughtful Bread Co.
We discovered a trim little bakery called The Thoughtful Bread Co. based on Barton Street, in Bath.
Truth emanates from the heart of this little operation, and is manifest in the invitingly warm scent that drew us in. As light flooded in, I could tell that the breads made here are an artisanal outlet for the bakers.
Truth emanates from the heart of this little operation, and is manifest in the invitingly warm scent that drew us in. As light flooded the store, I could tell that the breads made here are an artisanal outlet for the bakers.
Spurred by the prospect of eating such fresh bread, we  ventured up the hill and past the Circus towards the heights of Lansdown.
Spurred by the prospect of eating such fresh bread, we ventured up the hill and past the Circus towards the heights of Lansdown.
Looping down through Hedgemead Park, we found ourselves on the seemingly choreographed whoosh of Walcott Street, where a Prunus was flourishing.
Looping down through Hedgemead Park, we found ourselves on the seemingly choreographed whoosh of Walcott Street, where a Prunus was flourishing.

A Story In Photos: Get Local

Spring is here, there is an air of life in the air, a call to action to go outside and embrace the warmer weather that surely must be coming. What greater way to fulfil this than to walk the local environment. Accompanied by a great friend of mine Madison, we set out to wonder, and to find some local food.

The snowdrops radiate like little bursts of life.
The snowdrops radiate like little bursts of life.
Madison by the wall.
Madison by the wall.
The place is Newton St. Loe, within easy walking distance of my university campus.
The place is Newton St. Loe, within easy walking distance of my university campus.
Newton farm shop; the definition of local.
Newton farm shop is the definition of local.
The shop has an extensive stock of local and organic wines and ciders.
The shop has an extensive stock of local and organic wines and ciders.
We found provisions. You get the impression that the cashier would know where almost anything in the shop has come from, none of it will have travelled far.
We found provisions. You get the impression that the cashier would know where almost anything in the shop has come from, none of it will have travelled far.
Adorable new-born piglets complete the experience.
Adorable new-born piglets complete the experience.

A Story In Photos: Three Weeks Spent at Home

This is a little diary of the things that took place on a trip back home to leafy Sussex over the Easter period past. It was great to have some peace time, to integrate everything that has been happening. Everything was very familiar, very comfortable.

Exploring boots, they were to get progressively muddier each time they were worn.
Exploring boots, they were to get progressively muddier each time they were worn.
Open places like this tug at you through the brush.
Open ground tugs at you through the brush.
Spots like this, which hold a lingering sense of the occult.
Spaces with a lingering sense of the occult.
Spires point into the haze.
Spires point into the haze.
Tracing steps to the sea with an old friend.
Tracing steps to the sea with an old friend.
We took photographs.
We took photographs.
Walking with my brother.
Walking with my brother.
Climbing to the top of the hill.
Climbing to the top of the hill.

Wanderings under streetlight.

Sometimes its easy to overlook what’s around you. Maybe you’ve seen the same view, place, object a thousand times.

I find it important to find means to appreciate everything in new ways, and this often requires re-evaluation, a new perspective. Night time can be great for this, and although I have come to know my surroundings quite well, I wanted to do a short walk in town in the night, to search out something different.

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Treading out from the centre of town.
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A place will slowly open up its secret passages, but only if you will look.
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Under darkness what you find is yours, to share with the lamps.
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I found shimmering light, on the river.

C41 Process Black and White Film (Kodak)

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Holloway Rd. Bath, UK

Since settling in to my study city of Bath, a few things have changed with regard to my film shooting habits. I have had to adapt to some differences, the core of which is that there are no pro photo labs, and this means no black and white film development. I should mention that in the case of necessity, it is possible to send black and white film to a pro lab elsewhere, but this can take anywhere in the region of two weeks, and cost more, making it impractical. A potential solution is to shoot one of a new breed of C41 colour process black and white films. I tried the 400 speed offering from Kodak.

One of the reasons why I was particularly interested in the way in which the results came out, is because the C41 process is very well established, and has very little variation, particularly in commercial development outlets. So where, with black and white film it is possible to get varying results dependant on how the film was developed, how much it was agitated and so forth, I had a sense that I would get very consistent results with the C41 film.

You can see here and here, that some of the native black and white film I have used before has produced rather contrasty, grainy results.  That kind of shot undeniably has its own appeal, and can look great if that is what is desired. The contrast and grain of the images is also dependent, as mentioned before on the way in which the film is developed, but when you are relying on others to make that decision for you, what happens is that you end up taking what you get back. So the notion of a consistent black and white process has an undeniable draw.

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View of a crane. Near Corn St. Bath, UK 8+ sec exposure

In receiving the results back, I saw straight away that my hunch was based in reality. The images were remarkably smooth, and fine grained, particularly for a 400 asa film, and very much less contrasty than one might expect. One thing that I had also heard with regard to this particular Kodak emulsion, is that the images may in fact come out with a slight colouration. The images were still monochrome, and the effect was very subtle,  but there nonetheless. I therefore converted them to a black and white colour palette, which eliminated the issue.

The next thing that I wanted to know about the film was what the dynamic range or in film terms, the exposure latitude was like. The exposure latitude of a film is the quantity of detail that can be picked up within the range of the highlights to shadows. At what point does the detail just fade to black in the shadows, or blow out in the highlights? In order to test this, I wanted to subject the film to one of the most high contrast situations possible; night photography. On an ice cold evening I went into the middle of the city, and shot a series of long exposures. I metered using the common idea that you have more leeway with film in over-exposure than under-exposure. I would therefore frequently add an extra 1/2 a second to whatever my meter gave me for the scene. I was pleased with the result, particularly as metering with an unfamiliar film in extremely high contrast situations is difficult to make exact.

Overall my experience of Kodak’s C41 black and white film has been an encouraging one, and I would have no trouble using it again, particularly due to the convenience of the C41 process which allows me to get it developed locally and relatively inexpensively. My feeling is that there can never be any substitute for real black and white films like Tri-X ,HP5 or Neopan, particularly in terms of printing, but I am glad that, even in my current circumstance, a quality black and white option is still available.

Slide Film And The Modern World

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I recently received some pictures I sent off for development. This single piece of plastic film has caused me more hassle in the past few weeks than I ever before imagined possible. Life at the best of times is fairly simple, you send the film off to get developed, it comes back a few days later and everything is all right. I took my roll to my tried and trusted camera shop and waited. A few days later I returned, no, “we’ll need some more time for that sir”. This seems reasonable enough. Or would do if it didn’t subsequently happen another five times. I should like to stress that I hold no blame with the people who run the shop, they did as good a job as they could with what they had. I just lament the fact that the business of developing pictures has become so narrowly focused.

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Queerly enough I am not at all disheartened. Rather enlightened to the reality of developing slide film. I am happy with the results. This is enhanced in that the film was primarily shot on a day out with two of my great friends; Will (above left) and Pearl (above right), just before I travelled to University. The green tint of the images is an interesting effect.

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I wonder at the way that images capture time, and in this instance the memories are just as much about trying to attain the images as they are about the time. I find it strangely harmonious. But next time I intend to get a film cross processed, I’ll plan for it to take a few weeks.