Sunday, December 26, 2010

On Christmas Day

I took this on Christmas Day last year. It has been a good year. I learned how to develop and print B&W, I have been experimenting with film, got new cameras, took some great pictures, shot and put together my first photo story.
I still have a long way to go before I am able to produce the images that are in my head. For the year to come I want to wish for myself patience and courage to find and shoot those images.
To everyone who has been reading this experiment, thank you for stopping by and my best wishes for the coming year.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Looking into someone else's life

When you take a picture of someone do you invade there personal space? Do you steal a moment from them? Is the camera a weapon that threatens you to show you to the world in a way you wouldn't want yourself to be shown?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Autumn in London and misfortunes of the broken back

These are my favourites from four autumn films I shot around London. I had the misfortune to loose the screws that keep the back of the Zenit closed, so I one of the films is mostly ruined. The first and the last pictures are from that ruined film...

My Zenit Em and shooting with shallow focus

I generally shoot with a wide open lens since the Pentax is loaded most of the times with a 100 ISO film and light has been scarce as of lately in London. Despite of that you can't really say if I have been shooting with a wide open lens, unless it is a portrait. Like this one.

On the contrary the way the Helios lens on the Zenit renders the background is so much more visible.

I know both shots are different and all, but it seems like the Helios is the altogether better lens. Despite the fact that it is slightly slower compared to the Pentax-M 1.7/50 mm lens I have mounted on the Pentax.

Bottom line is, despite the fact the Zetit is double the size and weight of the Pentax, I should start carrying it around and shooting more with it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Autumn in London

Not quite black and white, but this is a sneak peak at my autumn London pictures. I don't really shoot colour, partially because I shoot a lot on the street and London streets don't seem too colourful to me. I also haven't been able so far to get very vivid colours. Could be the scanner, could be the film as well. The other very simple reason is the price of colour film development and the fact that I can't be bothered each time to go to Snappy Snaps...

More coming on...

My ghost friend

I have always been very sceptical about shooting film in low light, let alone 100 ISO film in the middle of the night. As you can see it is quite possible. This was an exposure of about 30 seconds and the camera was on a tripod. I like how we are both looking ghost like. 
I have a 1600 ISO film I have been keeping in the fridge for some special occasion, I am not even sure why I bought it or what to use it for. Any ideas?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lift me up

Southbank Centre, Royal Festival Hall, October 2010

I really liked how the old woman was looking small and alone in the concrete background of the Royal Festival Hall. I could have done better on composition. Different lens and even may be a square format would have done the trick. 

Rollei 100 vs Acros 100

Ever ready to experiment with film I use, I am still to find the film to replace Acros 100 from my heart. Rollei Retro 100 is ok, fine I would even say. Gives a very good contrast, almost no grain when using stand development and Rodinal. However I still can't get quite right the exposure for it...
This is what I'm talking about: 

Burnt areas. Lot's of grain as well. Sharp and good contract though. 

This is how Acros behaves inside, on a grey day outside, without any extra light

No grain. None. I just love this film! It gives really soft greys, warm even somehow tones. Perfect for portraits. 60 min stand development in 20 degrees (might have been even 18 towards the end as it is quite chilly at home), 1:100 dilution in R09 (which is technically speaking Rodinal). The only downside is may be contrast, but other than that this is the best film I have used so far. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010


A great brunch with wonderful friends few weeks back.

 Nadya (with a lamp growing out of her head... Sorry about this, otherwise I love the shot!)


Yat Wan

Monday, November 8, 2010

Let me in

I have a few upcoming posts about the photography courses I have been doing recently as well as to share some more images of autumn in London and around. In the mean time the above is an image from my first roll of Rollei 100 film.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fomapan and Rodinal stand development

The Acros 100 film from the Fed was not necessarily a good one to judge how stand development is different from my usual development timings. 

So here is a Fomapan 100 film developed for one hour in Rodinal (R09 to be exact). I used 2,5 ml of developer in a 300 ml tank. The thing is the development time for Fomapan in R09 in a 1+25 dilution is only 3,5 minutes, where as for the Acros in the same dilution it is almost 6 minutes, I sometimes give it 7. So I was risking overdeveloping and getting burnt areas (areas which are white rather than a shade of grey), which I think is still the case in with some of the shots, particularly those shot at higher speeds. Like this bike.

Strangely enough there is plenty of grain despite the fact I didn't touch the tank within the one hour I have been developing it. I am not sure if this is simply the way Fomapan reacts in Rodinal, which very much can be the case. 

 Well, here is to another experiment! :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Stand development

After the disaster with the expired developer I have managed to try stand development.

Stand development is a different development method where you basically use a very small amount of developer and leave the film for 1 hour for the developer to do its job. Now I am no expert in the whole agitation business (people say that agitation seriously affects how your film looks afterwards, I can't really say as I am rather random with this... so no experience really to share here.) so supposedly stand development gives slightly flatter negatives, no grain and very smooth shades.

I used R09 with Acros 100 with a 1:100 dilution and 60 min stand with agitation in the first minute and after the first 30 minutes. I am not sure if I am particularly happy with what came out. The thing is I have been using my new Fed5 camera, which is a range finder and meters differently compared to the Pentax. The Fed similarly to the Zenit uses a needle meter. But that is a different story...

Back to stand development: I will give it another go tomorrow with a Fomapan film from the Pentax. The Fed is being funny and I think it is a matter of getting used to it. Although I am not sure if I want to get used to it. It is very difficult to focus with it with my poor eye sight and although it might be good on the street as it is fairly small and the external light meter certainly helps I think so far the Pentax has been excellent!

On composition and taking portraits of strangers

I found this man at a hotel where I was staying earlier this week. I thought he would be really interesting to photograph: his pipe, the posture, the way he was sitting seemed like it can make a great story.

So I went up and asked him if I can take a few pictures of him, he was really nice to say yes. Although I am generally satisfied of what came out as a result. There are a few things I wish I have done better.

He is not looking at me

Composition wise I am missing his right hand and I should have shifted the whole frame further down. So I would prefer if I could see what he is holding in his right hand. Same story on the picture below. I am looking at it and wishing I had stepped back and left just one and a half steps.

To be fair I find the last two pictures similar, so if I had to put the whole thing together only one of those would not have made it.

 Now when I am typing this I realize I didn't ask him anything about where he is from, why he is staying in that hotel, what does he do, what is his name... I was so absorbed by the way he looks and trying to capture him that I actually didn't think of asking him all these things. I think I also didn't talk to him too much because I assumed he would prefer not to be disturbed.

 I think have I spoken to him he would have actually looked at the camera and I would have been able to put a bit context into my story.

So there is today's lesson on taking portraits of strangers:
- talk to them: ask them their story, their name, what they do. This will not only put context into the portrait, will help captioning afterwards but will also make your model much more relaxed, which always means better shots.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A new developing disaster - updated

And it is indeed a disaster. After being able to get out the most fantastic shades ever from the Pentax, Acros and Rodinal I finally thought I got this...

Couldn't have been more wrong. 

I use R09 One shot developer which is basically Rodinal under a new name sold in the UK. It is a very unstable developer and you only mix it before you actually start developing as much as you need. The bottle says that it can keep at least 6 months after it has been opened. 

Nothing of that kind. Apparently the summer heat and the fact there is now very little left at the bottom of the bottle have speeded up my developer going bad.

I am now crying over three spoilt negatives with pictures that could have been great... yes, I am an idiot. However there isn't anything I can currently do, unless someone teaches me some PS magic. Because the result is this bad:

I mean this does not even look like a picture! Seriously!

After Ivan telling me about a super magic called stand development I thought I should try it and when the first film came out like this I thought it must be the stand development or something funny going on with the scanner. So I thought I will develop the film from the Fed. It came exactly the same...

Here is when I thought there is something wrong with the developer. However now, when I am typing this I am thinking could this be the fixer? The fixer actually being exhausted and playing silly buggers...

So you would think I would have stopped here and just gone to buy new developer. I though I would give it one last try... and another disaster. That is the thing with film, that you have to try and there is no undo button. 

Crap altogether. Very disappointed. I have one more film which will hopefully turn alright, but before that I will get a nre developer. 

Update 3rd Oct:
I went to Silverprint today to get a new developer and the guys were not sure what exactly happened to the negatives, but they were as always super helpful and said that on Monday there will be someone who can look at them. I got a new (smaller) bottle of R09, which is the newer formula of the Rodinal which is no longer sold in the UK and a new fixer as well, just in case. Now with the new bottle and one film developed I get a feeling it is almost 100% certainly the developer that has stayed for too long in the bottle.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


The two of us

Adox CHS Art 100

Experimenting is a good thing. That is how I found my favourite film so far - Acros 100. Pity soon it will be way to grey and dark in London to use it.

I went this Friday to buy some film as I was running low and I thought I would go adventures and try something new, the only film Silverprint has in stock and I haven't tried so far was something called Adox. Cheap and cheerful, so why not try it.

And so I did.

I think the results didn't turn too well. It was already getting dark outside and on top of it was cloudy, so I had to shoot on low speeds hand-held, which led to quite a few of the shots being blurred.

I also messed up the development, which led to the non-blurred shots to get burnt areas. The thing is Adox apparently is a single layer film which makes it very sensitive to all the chemicals, unlike all the others I have used so far (mostly Acros 100, Kodak and Ilford). I normally soak the film in tap water while I am mixing the developer just to get it ready and all. However I realized something is not right when the water I poured out of the development tank was blue. I used just tap water instead of stop bath and fixed for just 4 minutes instead of the 6 I usually do. After I went read a bit more (unfortunately I was too excited to develop it to take the time to read all this in advance) turned out Rodinal (the developer I am using) gives a lot of grain with this film

Sorry for posting the same bench from the back and from the front, but this is only for illustrative purposes of my inadequacy with the Adox film. Plus I have a thing about benches!

I have one more roll and will use it next weekend with proper light and will also do some portraits to check how it behaves with those.

Coming in the next post few of the good shots.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010


My magical friend Marjam turns a year older and wiser. Happy birthday, Marjam!

I took the picture in the evening in very low light, without a flash on a Kodak 400 TX film, hence the grain and the lack of sharpness.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

acros 100 - you've gotta love this film!

People look at you as though you are from another century when they see you with a film camera, it takes about an hour to develop a film, dry it and scan it, you don't know what will come out. But than you get this.

And you know you have the most fantastic hobby in the world!

This is Acros 100 - the best film I have come across so far! In Rodinal it comes super soft, no grain, wonderful tones. I just love it!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Di Lieto - final edit

So it might seem to you you have seen this before, however, this is Di Lieto's final edit. It has been indeed a painful process. Painful because I have shot a lot of stuff. Really. There are pictures I love and there are pictures that can be put together to make a lot of sense.

My story started with the bread. It was supposed to be a story about the bread. Gradually Giovanni came in, eventhough he has been extremely great, helpful and supportive I have found it extremely hard to point the camera at him and make the story about him and not about the bread. However, he is an important part of the bread story since he is the person making the bread. He is also important since he makes all those breads by hand. Really, he does. And me being who I am, I believe you leave a bit of your soul in whatever you make with your own hands.

Each time I tried to put a proper portrait of Giovanni in, I felt I need to get him out. I like having him half-hidden and half being there. This is how I know him at the moment. I think this is another reason why it was hard to take portraits of him and make the story about him. I don't just yet know what his story is and I didn't have the time to get to know him.

I have truly enjoyed the experience and I am ever grateful to Giovanni letting me and becoming my friend. I hope to be able to get the story further, because the bakery is indeed a great community place with an amazing family feel to it.

With this I am off to my three weeks of summer and home and will be back with more stories in September.

From 18% Gray

From 18% Gray

From 18% Gray

From 18% Gray