Post 10: A chilly stroll around Roath Park

Here are a collection of photos I recently had developed from my Olympus OM-10. These were snapped on a winter’s afternoon walk around Roath Park during our last snowfall. 

Roath Park gate

Roath Park gate

Across the lake

Across the lake

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Profile 3: Rural Lithuanian life exposed in silver prints at Ffotogallery exhibition

A young, bare-chested boy stares at the camera, a cigarette hanging from his lips, as a man lies passed out at his feet, a bottle of vodka beside him. A middle-aged farmer bends over, a chicken on his back, as he blow-torches the belly of a pig in the snow. Another sleeps on a rickety chair outside his home, a ramshackle wooden hut which looks like it could collapse at any moment.

These are just a few of the thought-provoking photos currently on display in the Borderliners exhibition in Turner House, Penarth.
Aleksandras Macijauskas, Rural Markets no. 319 Alytus, 1970

Aleksandras Macijauskas, Rural Markets no. 319 Alytus, 1970

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Post 9: How to make a pinhole camera

Pinhole camera (noun): a simple camera in which an aperture provided by a pinhole in an opaque diaphragm is used in place of a lens.

In other words, a pinhole camera is a light-proof box with a tiny hole in the front. It’s a really simple concept and thankfully really simple to make your own. I’ve often stumbled across many different types of pinholes cameras on the internet and there are brilliant and creative designs out there (you only have to take a quick google search to see for yourself) but if you’re on a cheap budget how about making a matchbox pinhole camera?  Here are 15-steps to creating your own, tried and tested by myself. So from the very top, let’s see what you need to get started.

Matchbox pinhole camera

Matchbox pinhole camera

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Post 8: Finding the right film

By now you’re probably thinking once you’ve got sussed out your camera the hard bit is over; you can just grab a film, load it up and off you go. However, you might want to think again. The broad assortment of film in Express Imaging, City Road, is enough to show you need to make sure you’re using one that is not only compatible with your camera but one that is going to suit your type of photography and will produce the best image in your shooting conditions. 

Kodak fims

Rolls of film

There are three main types of film but to break it down for you I’m just going to focus on the most familiar type for now – colour negative film, also known as C-41. This comes in 35mm, 120, 126, 127 and 110 film.  Colour negative is made up of three layers of emulsion which are individually sensitive to different colours; the top layer is blue, then green, then red.  Once you’ve snapped your shot, your image is developed on an orangey-brown negative.

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Post 7: And then there was Fisheye colour

To shoot in black and white, or to shoot in colour? It may seem like a simple question but depending on which film you choose you can create an entirely photo.

Following on from my last post I thought I’d share some of my other Fisheye photos but this time these are in colour. I’d shot a couple of black and white rolls so thought I’d have a change and give colour film a go. I’m still undecided as to which I prefer. The quality of these images are by no means perfect. Photographing colour seems to highlight the lack of sharpness, and some are off-centered. But then again I wasn’t expecting quality photos considering the camera I was using. Despite this, there’s still something about them which I like. The colours are striking and I think colour photography especially suits summer shots as it captures vibrancy. What do you think?

Treetop

Treetop

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Post 6: Through a Fisheye

I’m sure most of you will have heard of Lomography (if not, there when have you been?!)  – a company which reintroduced analogue cameras which have become so popular there is now a global Lomography movement and community. One of their best sellers has been the Fisheye camera. But what makes this chunky, cheap and plastic camera so much fun? 

Fisheyes are great experimental cameras for those who don’t want to take photography too seriously. They’re simple point and shoot cameras, taking 35mm film which can easily be picked up in most places.  Images are framed in a bulbous shot giving the effect, as you may have already guessed, of looking through a fish’s eye or of being in a fish bowl. Photographers can also play around with the multiple exposure settings and coloured filters to create artistic photos.  If you’re thinking of picking one up yourself, a top recommendation would be to buy one with a fisheye viewfinder. This is a little mount which sits on top of the camera and gives you a sense of what the image will look like.

My first camera was a Holga Fisheye K200 NM and I’ve had great fun with it. It’s not technical in any way, shape or form and that’s probably why I like it so much. What might have been a straight forward photo has become more interesting because of its spherical effect, distorting images in a humorous way, or just bringing a different perspective to the photo. Here are an assortment of some of the shots I’ve taken with this camera. Try and spot the ones of Cardiff!

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Profile 2: Street photography with Mike Crippen

The most interesting kinds of photos are often those that look simple. They’re photos with a pure, straight forward vision but which you know, in fact, took time and expertise to capture. These images are ordinary yet most striking at one and the same.

Street photography falls under this calibre. It simply captures public places and snapshots of people within those spaces. These may be every-day locations, perhaps streets you even walk daily, yet these images can show places in a different light in one single photo. In a way, they sort of make you open your eyes and actually see the city around you.

I chatted to Cardiff street photographer Mike Crippen, 37, who met me after a long day at work and kindly took the time to tell me what it’s all about and fill me in on his own experience of working with film.

Walking past a billboard

Walking past a billboard

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Feature Post: Beginners Guide to purchasing a film camera in Cardiff

So you may have read up on the pros of film photography and you’re getting to grips with the jargon. But you’re still missing the most important piece of kit you’ll need as a film photographer– the camera itself.

Now, Christmas is quickly creeping up on us all and what better way to spend your kindly received dosh. Yet as a newbie to film photography you’re confronted by two issues; where can you buy a film camera in Cardiff city-centre, and what features do you need to look out  for?

I was surprised to find that there are very few film camera shops in Cardiff centre. Those that do exist are also hugely varied in price range and sell very different camera types. In this current economic climate most of us are constrained by cash, especially after the Christmas squeeze, so you’ll want to know what type of camera you can get for your money. I sent out a Twtpoll to figure out how much people are prepared to spend on a film camera. From 32 votes the results are as follows:

How much would you spend on purchasing a film camera?

How much would you spend on purchasing a film camera?

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Post 5: A new purchase at the Pumping Station

I’ve added another camera to my growing (albeit still small) collection; a 1960s Kodak Brownie Vecta camera to be precise. Stumbling upon the purchase of this old camera was like stepping back in time, in more ways than one.

If I suggested taking a trip to the Pumping Station in Cardiff you’d probably be quick to make up an excuse, thinking it was some sort of rather old and boring water or petrol depot. Well, you wouldn’t be far wrong as it used to be a Victorian sewerage works. However the grade II listed building on Penarth Road is today home to an antiques memorabilia warehouse where you will stumble upon a treasure trove of old clothing and jewellery, books, china, clocks, collectable toys and decorative arts. And then there are cameras.

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Profile 1: Camera-less Photography with Sera Wyn Walker

It was in the attic-room of a typical student house in Roath that recent art graduate Sera Wyn Walker introduced me to her extraordinary photographic creations known as lumen prints.

Walking up a narrow staircase to the top floor I didn’t know where to look first. To a couple of film cameras perched on the windowsill, to old photos framed on the wall or to vast amounts of her photography artwork lined around the room. That was before I even saw the colourful butterfly collection hung above the bed!

Establishing Cardiff artist Sera Wyn Walker

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