Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A walk to the post office, so why not take photos on the way!?

There's no big elaborate story or mission involved today; I had to go to the post office so I thought id walk around Sutton Bridge looking for some photo opportunities.

The camera and lens of choice today was the Olympus E-PL1 and a M42 mount Polar 28mm f2.8.
All shots taken at 160 iso and apertures ranged from and around f2.8-f4.

I noticed this lone bench in a park last week when walking to a friends house so this was a definite subject for a photo. There used to be a Youth Club building, that I attended when I was child, approx 1 foot behind this bench but this building has recently been knocked down and now grass is growing on the site. The building will be eventually forgotten which is a shame as I enjoyed visiting the youth club numerous time a week when I was a child, the last time I attended though was probably 18 years ago, so perhaps it was not as good as it once was.
Not far from the first shot's this cat caught me by surprise staring at me as I walked past, I liked the way it was hiding behind and looking at me through the broken corrugated plastic.
The beauty in decay.

Thanks for reading.
Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The night the River Nene almost flooded in Sutton Bridge, 5th December 2013.

So as you may know we came very close to flooding here in Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire, unlike surrounding areas such as Kings Lynn that did suffer from an unwanted bath that night.

I got a text from my mum that afternoon saying that she'd received a call from an automated line issuing a tidal surge warning. Safe to say that was a paranoid afternoon at work.

I biked home from work about 5pm and yeah the  river was pretty high, which added to the paranoia. Laura and I were going out for a curry that night and we'd decided to carry on with our plans.

After a shower and putting my best suit, okay I lied, shirt and jeans on, I had half hour to go and look at the impending doom.

It was 7pm and high tide was due until 7.30 - 8pm.

I walked up to the river and was struck with the thought 'yeah that's pretty high!'.

It was quite the popular attraction as there were people coming and going all over, car horns sounding and cars turning round and queueing down the small streets near the river bank. I've seen videos on the net that people took of lorries trying to turn round, I think some found this quite amusing.

I decided not to take my tripod as 1, I didn't really time have to set it up, as we were going out for 7.30 and 2, which I was glad I didn't, there were people everywhere so there wasn't a lot of room for such a set up.

I had my flash gun in my pocket and a camera that's capable of shooting up to an ISO of 102400. So I set the ISO at 2000, set the shutter speed ranging around 1/20 to 1/80 and apertures around f5.6 to f8 and balanced the ambient light available with flash.

The shots did have some noise present, this is to be expected from shooting in the dark at such an ISO but with a small amount of noise reduction the images were very usable.

Im loving black and white more and more at the moment and Im not a fan of the colour of street lamps so it was a sure thing that these shots were being converted to black and white. Personally I think the dark areas with the shape of the bridge and light reflections work really well, do you agree?

As it was dark, shooting hand held and having only limited time I fired off numerous shots of the same scenes knowing that one would be ok to use. This made the task of editing annoying because I had loads of very similar usable shots so in the end I just deleted the rest without much care because there really were no differences between each shot.

I always try to shoot like Im shooting film and only take shots that count but I did get great satisfaction from the look on peoples face when my shutter fired continuously and the flash was going off like it was a rave.

I went home and out at 7.30pm and was told by people who went for a look around 8pm that the water level had got even higher and so the Cross keys Bridge was closed for a short time causing tail backs on the A17.

Here's to the fact the river never flooded at Sutton Bridge as I live very close to the river as the crow flies. Although others in local towns did not fare so well, for those lets hope things are returning to normal.

On to the shots.

I love the dark figure in this shot.

Thanks for looking.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Why do you always find chairs when exploring? Part 1

I've been exploring for a while now and from what i've found and from looking at other photo's on sites such as Flickr and Instagram, other people also seem to find a lot of old chairs in abandoned buildings.

Or is it that urbexer's just like to take photos of chairs?

All shots taken At f/8, ISO 100. Each image is a combination of three photos; one over exposed, one under and one exposed in between these to create HDR style images.

On to the chairs.

Another image created from pictures taken that day;


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Selfie urbex

So the use of the word 'selfie' has increased by 17000% in the past year and Oxford dictionaries have made it their word of the year.

selfie, selfie, selfie, selfie, selfie, selfie.....is that now 17001% ?

I'm not usually a fan of them but who am I to talk, so if you cant beat 'em, join 'em!

I've recently got a new camera thanks to my wife Laura, a Canon 5dmk3, which if anyone knows anything about cameras knows its the bomb. Its now time I start to push myself into doing things with this photography malarkey but until I've gathered up some more new and better equipment this can be put on hold.

So until then.....more urbex and back to my original point of a selfie.

A work colleague, Rob, also a fellow photographer let me know of a little abandoned gem near March, Cambridgeshire, so on Saturday 30th November I went and had a look around and put my new beast to work.

I'll do a few blogs over the next week or so regarding this outing but for now, here's my selfies.

There's not a lot to say about them other than they were taken using a 24-105L lens, which is quite a useful focal range and it is commonly known as an excellent choice for a walk around lens.
I pre focused the lens on the gas bottle that I was intending to sit on, I could of done a better job of this if I spent more time taking these particular shots, as the sharpness on my face could of been improved by focusing slightly in front of the of the bottle.

During the editing stage I converted the pictures to black and white and boosted the contrast and sharpness.

Not much more to mention, oh ok apart from my Mo, its now December 10th and I've still got my Movember, I'm becoming quite attached to it but the Mo's days are now numbered.

More next time............

Monday, 2 December 2013

Night photography at The Walks, Kings Lynn

It had been a long time since I had used my digital camera and also a long time had passed since I had attended the photography group.

A couple of weeks ago I finally attended a group night at The Walks in Kings Lynn. First I should mention that it was freezing!

I had to get used to shooting digital again as a approx a week prior I was still using my Praktica 35mm SLR during a weekend at Matt's, my brother's, house. I've still got approx 5 shots to take in order to finish that roll off.

The cold weather was really taking it's toll on my patience as well as the little quirks my camera has developed over the years, so truthfully I didn't have a good night that night and had no motivation to find any subjects to photograph.

By the end of the night I was getting back into it but was ready to go home.

I've got a few ideas that I need to go back and retry when its not so cold as it will take time to set up by altering the power of off camera flashes etc, so lets wait for the outcome in times ahead.

On to the shots taken.

Im now proper back into digital considering my camera collection has just grown to include a BEAST of camera thanks to my wife Laura but more on that next time.

Next time will be in a few days time by the way.


Thursday, 28 November 2013

3 Films from 3 SLR's part 3 Canon T70

The final post about my recent exploits with film is regarding a Canon T70 that I picked up for roughly the same cost as a Big Mac meal.
This boxy and heavy girl dates back from 1984 and although it was aimed at amateur's it was packed with technology, enough technology that when stood in a shop with the seller and we couldn't get it to work properly prompted the price to drop in my favour. Only to walk out and discover that there was a switch on top that I'd pushed too far and had not noticed, flick the switch and hey presto that's another camera added to the collection.
I slapped a film in that afternoon and went round Amy's, my sister, for a BBQ. I then showed Laura my new purchase in which resulted in a couple of wasted shots when she grabbed the camera for a look and pressed the shutter button in the process, easy mistake to make though as I did the same when she passed it back to me.................amateur!
I like this camera, its got a very futuristic feel, for something made in the 80's, that is, everything is button and switch operated with no dials like more traditional cameras. When changing the shutter speed the camera recommends what aperture to use based on the exposure metering mode and displays this in the view finder. From there you can take this info and decide to over or under expose as you like.
The camera came with a FD mount 50mm f/1.8 lens which is a shame as I already have something similar, it would of been better if it came with a different focal length because then I would of had another lens to use with Laura's (basically mine as we do share everything) Olympus via an adapter I already own.
I like using manual focus lenses every now and then as it adds more of a challenge but it makes things a lot more difficult when trying to photograph a German Shepherd running towards you in the park (such a great dog but those who know me well, already know how much I love my brothers dog Ella), this just resulted in a blured photo.
On to some photos.
All photos taken on 200 iso Agfa Photo Vista Plus 35mm film aka cheap and cheerful!
First the photos taken at my sister's, on the day of purchase.
Damn he's got big feet

 Grumpy Ruby

 Bouncy Ruby
I'm pleased how this one came out. the camera did not like how dark the room was so I just guessed an appropriate exposure and it came out how I wanted it.

The next shots were taken at a park in Sutton Bridge, it probably has a true name but its always been known as the 'big' park.
Ok. This one has been edited as I just thought it would look so much better in black and white.
 Look at this for a dog!
Like me, Ella likes exploring too
All the shots below were all taken inside at home.

These 2 shots below were taken using a Soft Spot filter that come in the bundle of bits and bobs with the 2 Praktica's mentioned in my previous post. Basically it's a hazy filter with a hole in the middle so everything in the middle should be in focus and everything out side should have a dreamy blur to it.

My favourite photo taken on this camera and film is this shot below.
The room was dark, the only light source used was a lamp turned on its side to point the light at Laura, rather than the light spreading across the room.
I went for a 1/30 shutter speed thinking that's the slowest speed I think I could hold the camera steady at. An aperture of f/1.8 was also used along with the long shutter speed in order to soak up as much light as possible in the shot.
I knew this would be the last shot of the film so I took as long as possible, up to the point when Laura started to complain about holding the pose, in order to get the focus as close and holding the camera as steady as possible
Like it!
Thanks for reading.
Please comment.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

3 Films from 3 SLR's Part 2 Praktica MTL-50

This part begins with me walking into a local antiques shop and asking if they had any old cameras. The answer was no however a lady who was sitting behind the till said that she had an old camera at home that belonged to her late husband.

She took my number and gave me a ring when she found and decided that she was definitely ready to part with it.

I drove to Holbeach, Lincolnshire, and was greeted by a large camera bag as well as a tripod positioned on the woman's living room floor.

I sat down and delved into the bag;

1 Praktica MTL-50
1 50mm F1.8
2 28mm F2.8
1 70-200mm
1 x2 Tele-converter
1 Flash gun
1 Pair of binoculars
1 Shutter release cord
2-3 camera straps
Another smaller camera bag
Various lens pouches
Various filters including coloured, starlight, soft focus etc.
Various lens hoods
wait a minute......................................OMG..........there's another camera inside another camera bag.......old school camera heaven!!!!!!

I sat and talked with the lady for approximately an hour as she wanted to tell me about her late husband, children, grand children, old pets, pubs, police and probably more that I no longer remember.

When it came down to talking money, she didn't know what she wanted and I ideally wanted to pay as little possible. After a few minutes I said what I actually had in my wallet and also said honestly to her that I had never planned to offer the full contents of my wallet either. It was then that she said that my maximum amount was only half of what she wanted.

After another few minutes she said as long as I use and enjoy the camera I could have it for what I had offered.


When I got home I layed the contents of the bags out on my living room and spent the next couple of hours cleaning the cameras, lenses, filters and anything else that looked as though it had 10-20 years worth of dust on it.

Both cameras were the same, albeit one was in better condition than the other. In hand a MTL-50 is a solid beast and makes you think 'this thing could last another 20 years'. After looking on the net I found the camera was from approx.  1983-1985. The camera uses a M42 screw mount which means there are loads of lenses out there that will fit the body....yay vintage photography bargain hunting can continue with a reason.

Enough babbling onto the photos from the first roll of film put through the ol' beaut.

Here, ill quickly mention that a couple of months ago I bought a stash of Kodak black and white films off Ebay that have been sat waiting for me to use them.

Being a film that can be developed in C41 chemicals (the same as most high street film kiosks such as Boots) it has various colour shifts so black and white can often be green, blue, sepia etc.

I took the camera urbexing with me, the 400 ISO Kodak BW400CN is a very grainy film in low light.

Urbex selfie
Bawsey ruins, Kings Lynn, Norfolk

The wife

I went camping in Ipswich with my sister Sadie and brother in law Spen as well as my niece and nephew Harriet and Mackenzie on a very wet August bank holiday, a great time as always though despite the weather.

 I love street art.

 Christchurch Mansion

 Damn I had I good time on this ride.
 That's my name don't wear it out

Thee lady who I bought the camera etc from said that I should pop round to show her the results, I do plan on doing this but first ill need to remember her name LOL!

Tune in next time for part 3; shots taken on an 80's Canon film SLR.

Thanks for reading.