52.25/52 So…


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Since there’s actually 52.25 weeks in a year I thought I’d throw in this post to conclude my 52 project. I know it’s not a great shot but, for me, it sums up some things I’ve observed during the past year.

The pictures on the wall are not mine, they are on a wall in Urban Outfitters in Dundrum. I thought they looked Lomographic, which would fit since they sell Lomography cameras in that shop. It turns out that they were all taken with an iPhone using the Hipstamatic app.

Picture the scene, there I am with a seventy year old folding camera loaded with black and white film taking a picture of an exhibit of digital pictures taken and processed to look like old photos. It seems the distinction between digital and film photography has become somewhat blurred. (unintentional pun)

OK, what have I learned?

When I started out I was worried that I might not be able to maintain a high enough standard. I’ll admit I have posted some shots I was not happy with but I am actually very happy with a lot of my pictures. From the comments and ‘likes’ that I have received I guess that other people liked my pictures too. At this moment I have had 2305 views on this blog, about six views a day which I think is pretty decent.

When I began last January, I found it difficult to find enough light to take the pictures I wanted to take. I forgot about this when November rolled around.

Many of my old cameras have seen better days. When I processed my films, I was never sure I’d have anything worth showing though sometimes the defects added to the final result. There were times where I used a snapshot camera to try to get a particular shot that it was just not meant to get. I still like my cameras and consider myself to be a camera enthusiast rather than a photographer.

Things I would do differently…

I’d take more care when it came to guessing distance. It seems I was way out when I guessed focusing distance. I mistook feet for meters with one camera which left one roll unusable.

Many of my old cameras have no auto exposure or light-meter so I had to guess the exposure. I used the “sunny sixteen” rule and got away with it some of the time. I guess I should have been more careful.

I’d allow another second or two before pressing the shutter release to make sure I’d set up the camera and framed my shot properly.

I’d pick a better name for my blog.

What next…

I’m already felling withdrawal symptoms from having finished the project. Though it’s taken me till now to finish posting, my final pictures were taken in 2011. There were times when I had five films running at the same time and trying to remember what film was where was a cause for concern. There were films that ran through the camera within an hour and others that took weeks. There were times when I was grinning with delight while snapping away. I really enjoyed this project. Unfortunately I did not get to use all of my cameras. If that kind of thing interests you, I’ll continue to post here. I have a project in mind for this year maybe with some collaboration… Lets see what happens.

I’ve spent most of the year shooting with film cameras but I’m definitely not averse to digital  photography at all. I do find the simplicity of a darkened box, light-sensitive film and lens quite refreshing but the convenience of digital is very attractive. What I have spent on films , processing and cameras in the past year would have bought me some nice digital toys. Now that I’ve finished my project I’m looking forward to re-aquainting myself with my digital camera and trying to figure out what the knobs and dials do.

Last and not least…

I’ve had great support from my family and friends. It’s great to have someone to include you in their blog tour to give words of encouragement. A big thanks to all of you.

Postscript: I bought a load of film and chemicals last week and have two “new” cameras winging their way to me at the moment. That return to digital may not be happening as soon as I predicted.

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52/52 Inspiration


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I’ll probably be killed for using this picture but you gotta live dangerously. This is Kayleigh, a truly inspirational woman.
She’s working to pay her way through collage and to keep her car on the road. She’s disappointed when she only gets a B in her Psychology Post-Grad exams, (a rare occurrence). She has a beautiful portfolio of modelling shots that she will never use because that’s not what she wants to do.
When I think about how tough life can be and how difficult it can be to get up off my arse to go and do something, I think about how Kayleigh just gets on with it and puts her best into what she does.

51/52 Liquor and Whores


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Trailer Park Boys is a Canadian TV show that follows the exploits of a couple of dope-growing, shopping-cart stealing, kitty-loving characters. I really enjoyed the TV series and when I heard they were coming to town I had to go and see them. They were in the Olympia in Dublin for three nights and they seemed to have a lot of fun while they were here.

The show was great, it was amazing to see the characters in the flesh and in the case of Randy, there was a lot of flesh. The trailer park supervisor, Lahey, was the bad guy, liquored up trying to spoil Ricky and Julian’s fun. In the end, Bubbles manages to hold it all together and finished it all off with a rendition of “Liquor and Whores” though he did stray into George Michael’s “Faith” on the way.

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I brought my Bessa 46 with me loaded with HP5 in the hope that I might be able to grab a shot of the boys in action. It folded up neatly in my pocket and seems to have performed nicely.

50/52 Time makes fools


This was an attempt to take a close up shot of an object with my Bessa L. I measured the distance between the watch and the camera lens with a tape measure to set the focus. Unfortunately, the size of the watch in the frame was pretty small so I have greatly enlarged it.

If you’ve been paying attention you’ll have noticed that I am furiously posting three pictures in an attempt to finish off my 52 project. Oh, I’ve got excuses; a shortage of film, poor light, lack of motivation but basically, I let time get the better of me.

49/52 On the Edge


I’ve discovered that I have a thing for people with a sky background. I wonder where that came from…

The Morning Tog

Northern Light

Only the first picture was taken on film. I’d really like to be able to re-create these kind of images on film. This may be a task for 2012.

Bessa L

The first picture was taken with the Bessa L. Imagine a camera without an LCD display to show you what you got. Imagine a camera with no viewfinder to know what you’re getting.

47/52 Not Stars


Not Stars

Out of focus Christmas lights are a bit of a cliche but that’s no reason not to capture them. I was scanning my negatives the other day and I thought this one looked better in it’s negative state.

Bessa-7

I used a Bessa L for this weeks picture. It is a relatively modern film camera that takes Leica M39 screw mount lenses. Since I don’t have any Leica lenses I have to use one of my Russian alternatives. The camera does not have a built-in viewfinder, you are supposed to fit one on the accessory shoe. Focus has to be estimated and if you don’t have a viewfinder, framing has to be estimated also.

With a wide lens, framing should not really be an issue but it gets a bit more critical with a 50mm lens. A lens longer than that would require great skill or luck.

46/52 Fecked Up Film


Fecked Up Film-3

I’m was so upset when this film came out of the developing tank. I was looking forward to see what I had captured with my Yashica 635. I had taken great care with composition, carried my tripod religiously for two weeks, sacrificed speed for aperture to maximise depth of field with this ‘slow’ film in poor fading winter light.

When it came to processing, I maintained the correct temperature and agitated the tank at the correct interval. I’m sure I added the correct chemicals in the correct order because I had planned and laid everything out prior to processing. My timing was spot on. Despite all of this, the film came out blank.

The only thing that I may have done wrong was put the chemicals back in the wrong bottles when I processed my last film. This experience has shaken my confidence and I can only talk about it now after having successfully processing a black and white film this evening. I’m way behind with my 52 project but I see some promise in the negatives I pulled from the can today. I hope to catch up over the next couple of days.

For those unfamiliar with the word fecked, it’s the past tense of the word feck, sometimes spelled feic. It’s an Irish exclamation that is slightly less offensive than the English equivalent.

45/52 What the cat dragged in

What the cat dragged in - Front Door
If you have a cat you will know the joy of the little gifts they bring. Our first cat, Jess, lived for about three months in our shed before we finally let her adopt us as her servants. She shows her gratitude by bringing mice, rats, birds and rabbits. We put a bell on her to try and save the local eco-system but she still managed to bring home her prey. I think the time she spent living on her own honed her hunting skills.

After taking the picture above, I went to back door and found this poor little creature…

What the cat dragged in - Back Door
As I mentioned above, Jess was our first cat. As a result of her arrival, we now have four cats. The morning in question, the other three cats stayed in the house over-night so I can only attribute these kills to one cat. They all go out at night together and when I close the door behind them, I feel that the world has just become a dangerous place…

This weeks picture was taken with a Kiev 4A which is an earlier version of my Kiev 4AM. I haven’t taken a picture of it yet. It’s a very sturdy camera and quite compact for a rangefinder. I think the rangefinder might need a little calibration but that’s a story for another day.

44/52 Party Time

My plan was to shoot a whole roll, 36 shots, with just a 28mm lens on my Olympus OM1. Michelle dragged me out for a run in the sunshine so I brought my camera to see if I might snap something to finish off the roll of film that had been in the camera for a couple of weeks. We bumped into these two guys waiting at the bus-stop on their way to a party. I told them that they looked great in their costume and they told me I looked great in mine too. I didn’t realise I was dressed as a dodgy bloke in a track-suit with a camera.