Lake District Winter Camp – Rolleiflex T

Our annual winter hunt took us to the Lake District this month. Taking up position at Rydal Hall, we stayed in one of their ‘Eco Pods’, which equated to a secure, carpeted but cold, wooden hut. But at least we had no need to carry the tent, and we had access to the best shower block in the Lakes!

Our walking route had been planned to take us from Rydal to the summit of Helvellyn, via Fairfield. However, late starts and winter terrain makes for long days; as such we decided to cut things short on the way down to Grisedale Tarn from Fairfield summit, heading instead for Grasmere and the pub. To make up for it, we took to practicing our glissade technique on the way down. Always fun!

I used the Rolleiflex T and a combination of films on this trip, the remnants of a Fujicolour Pro 400H from last months camp in the Peak, though these were shot at 200 and developed normally, for ISO 400. I also shot a full roll of Kodak Ektar, exposed at box speed. Both films were developed professionally by Ag-Photographic.

I use a Gossen Profisix light meter, (known as the Luna-Pro SBC in the ‘States), reknowned for it’s sensitivity in low light conditions, and overall it is a great device. Though it does tend to get a little wacky in the cold, starting off by being unable to settle on a reading, then by complete cessation of action. It’s had me worried a couple of times, but it starts to work normally after it warms up sufficiently.

I took to metering these scenes using the Profisix in conjunction with an 18% grey card, found on the back surface of my analogbook notebook. Camera light meters are designed to normalise light levels to the reflectance of an 18% grey surface, some more information here. With metering being tricky in the snow, I took it on conventional wisdom that I might get better results if I used a grey card to consistently meter reflected light from.

See for yourself, I do really like the balance in some of these images, though I can’t be entirely sure of what has been done during¬† lab processing.

Enjoy. X

Our sunlit Eco Pod at Rydal Hall. Kodak Ektar shot @ ISO 100.

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Fujicolour Pro 400H – Peak District Winter Camping

It’s always a joy when the snow starts to fall, especially when with friends of a similar mindset. Our good friends Dom & Craig are two such fellows and they were our accompaniment for an overnight camp at Edale in the Peak District, followed by a walk around the dreaded-Knoll-that-never-ends, (Brown Knoll to those who don’t know),¬† to Castleton and the refuge of the Old Nags Head pub.

Winter walking can be arduous, with the terrain underfoot being difficult, let alone when carrying weight, but you know the snow is worth it! The weather progressively varied throughout the day and was perfect for a mini winter adventure, and made for some decent shots.

Also, get yourself some winter gas if you need to cook in sub-zero temperatures. It will save some hassle!

This roll of Fujicolour Pro 400H was shot at box speed, on the 75mm f3.5 Carl Zeiss Tessar of the Rolleiflex T, and was developed by Ag-Photographic.


Breakfast Time!

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Kodak Ektar 100 – Pentacon Six TL Test

Just a few test shots, taken through the Russian MIR 45mm f3.5 and using the Pentacon Six TL; the post-war, East German, medium format SLR whose reputation is somewhat chequered, if you believe the ‘hype’ of course.

Despite these aspersions, this particular specimen appears in mint condition cosmetically and functions really well, at all shutter speeds and came as an absolute bargain, a steal in fact. It’s safe to say that I’m pretty pleased and look forward to shooting many more rolls through it.

Reminiscent of Cajal’s drawings; neuronal documents, like memories.

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Ilford FP4+, Shot At 100 – Pentax SV.

Shot over the X-Mas and NY period on the Pentax, through a Pentacon 30mm f3.5 lens; this film was home developed in Perceptol 1+3 dilution, for ISO 125, and represents my first 35mm developing nightmare!

120 film is a cinch to load onto the old Paterson developing reels, though I had previously had a problem with the reel coming apart during inversion; thus ruining a roll of 120 Ilford Pan F+. 35mm turned out to be pretty much impossible, no amount of releasing and re-spooling was enough to get the full roll on, it just kept on bunching and ripping. And to add insult to injury, the previously occurring fault also featured in tandem, with the reel, (supposed to adjust to fit 35mm or 120 film), popping open, releasing the film inadvertently at the most inopportune moments. Anyhow, after much sweating and swearing, I had to lose a third of the roll, so there went the NYE pics; which were probably drunken-blurry anyway.

Despite the annoyance, it’ s interesting how certain kinds of visual artefact can add to the allure of film. They isolate and accentuate aspects of the image, directing our focus and nursing our nostalgic tendencies but irrespective of character, I guess that the banding evident in these images is probably down to the ‘bunching’ of the film during loading and the resulting uneven exposure to the developer within the tank, (at a guess anyway, please feel free to make any other relevant suggestions).

This old reel and tank was generously gifted to us by Sarah’s Dad, and has allowed us the opportunity to delve into home developing, but given the persistent fault in this old reel, I think I might try and get hold of some of the stainless steel reels and tanks; though these might take some time to source second-hand, as some of the UK-made Hewes products are no longer being manufactured.

Some cropping, straightening and contrast modification was undertaken in PS Elements. Anyhow, enjoy.


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