I wanted to check in and do a little update on some of my photography activity, because we’re getting over halfway through the year now and though you haven’t seen much here, lots has been going on.
I’ve been shooting quite a lot of film, and I started off the year digging out an old friend who I haven’t used in a couple of years, the Konica Big Mini.
As you will see if you’ve watched my review video from last year, I realized recently that some of my cameras are getting older and are developing faults like light leaks and so on, so I wanted to try out something small and compact that I’d already got without searching to buy yet another new camera.
It’s easy when you are a collector of cameras, and when cameras can be obtained cheaply, to just keep acquiring more and more of them. Now there’s nothing wrong with having a collection of course, but when that means you’re really only using each of them very sparingly, it does seem a bit silly to go searching for a replacement for a leaky Olympus Mju II when really you’ve got something equally fun to try already in your collection.
So I dug out the Konica Big Mini earlier in the year and I shot some Fuji Neopan 400CN in it.
I don’t think I’ve discussed this film before. It is a chromogenic black-and-white film made by Fuji. I spotted it in a local camera shop last year and bought three rolls of it, and I’ve shot two so far.
The Big Mini turned out to be a great little camera, very much like a Mju II in terms of convenience, although it’s still not as quite as small and inconspicuous as the Mju II, but it’s beautifully designed and it works great.
That said, there is a catch. As I mentioned, cameras develop problems and in this case whilst the Big Mini seems mercifully free of light leaks, its flash doesn’t work, which is something I discovered by accident.
I’m not much of a fan of flash photography so I was trying to take pictures as much as I can without using the flash, and one of the places that I took it was an art exhibition where I was trying to be inconspicuous.
Photography wasn’t banned there but I find that flash photography in these kind of places is annoying to other visitors to the gallery and most modern smartphones these days can cope with low-light really, really well, so flashes going off seems quite a rare thing these days.
Anyway, whilst I was shooting in this gallery where the light was really low I spotted that the flash didn’t seem to work. That’s not a big deal when you’re not a fan of flash photography, but it is again a case that 20-30 years on from when they’re being made, these cool vintage analog cameras now might have their faults, and when nobody’s really making new ones you’ve got to watch out with what you’re doing with the hobby.
Elsewhere, I also shot some of the 400CN in my EOS 500, which is a lovely camera to use, and in the days in the spring when it was still dark quite early at night I did some experiments with light painting with my mate Rob.
He was shooting digital and I was shooting on film, and as you can see here I’ve got some good examples of that going on. These were shot using the OM 10 and some old Fuji natura 1600 that I had in my stash.
Rob and I also took a trip to Birmingham during the day one weekend to do some street photography in April but I was shooting 100 ASA Kodak TMax on that trip, actual silver-based black and white film, and I haven’t got that processed yet, so that may well end up being some really slow photography since I’m not planning on any real genuine black-and-white photography processing just yet. I might have to shoot another couple of rolls to get me in the mood. I think I might still have a roll of Ferrania P30 in fact…
Now it was in May when I produced the the previous episode of Photo Chat vlog where I compared my Olympus Accura Zoom 80 and my Pentax Espio, and it inspired me to start shooting with those cameras again. Ironically although I said that the Olympus was the better camera, I chose to go out with the Espio!
However, the annoying thing was that in that video I was demonstrating the fact that it had a date back, and because of that I left it switched on when I started shooting, and I only realized halfway through a roll of Kodak gold film which was expired in 2017.
So I not only realized that the date back was on but realised it was also saying you know some date in 1987…and that was a problem.
I switched it off and took some more pictures, but the idea of the date back being on was annoying me and I thought…”what can I do with a film like that?” and of course…it’s a good excuse for a double exposure project. Who did I want to do double exposures with? Well, good old Denise out there in Wichita in Kansas.
So I asked her if she wanted to do it, and she said “yes” and I sent the roll off to her and we had good fun collaborating. Denise did the developing on these and she’s guardian of the negatives now, but we both have equal rights over the images and you can see lots of them already on her Instagram since she’s not a slowcoach like me.
To get over the dateback mistake I immediately put another film in the Espio, and made sure that I went out and took the same kind of pictures that I wanted to in the first place.
Interestingly what I put in there was a roll of Colorama 400 which is a film I’ve never heard of before. My friend Mark was clearing up either his mum’s house or his own place, and he’s long given up analog photography. He asked me if I wanted the film and of course I did.
There was no date on it, but I know I acquired it from Mark at least three years ago, and by the look of the images they are showing some really classic expired film characteristics. Lovely muted colors.
But I also continued with the Big Mini and I got some really interesting effects from what it was evidently a very, very expired roll of Fuji 1600 Super HG which was part of a stash of expired films I got somewhere in the States.
I was out camping with friends on the South coast of England when I took some of these pictures and it’s a real roll of the dice with some of them where the colours are very strange. I wonder because this is the Big Mini where the flash doesn’t work…if this is why some of these pictures look weird because the camera was expecting the flash to come on, and it didn’t, and it ended up being underexposed for that reason…well, who knows? I probably won’t get another roll of super-expired Super HG so maybe I will never know.
I also put a roll through of Imation Color 100 film through the Big Mini, which is again a vintage, expired film. This one’s pretty good and I got some nice pictures with that.
I also shot a roll of Konica 200 VX in the Pentax Espio, and that’s got this wonderful pink cast to it. I’ve spoken about that in previous videos; it’s just a really tasty film.
So that’s it right now for what I’ve been up to this year.
On my Flickr pages I am currently posting pictures from a trip I made last year to Hamburg in Germany, but I’m not currently very inspired by sitting in front of the computer so I’m quite behind on my social media sharing on Instagram and Flickr. I’m not posting every day…and sometimes I’m not even posting every week.
That’s just one of those things I’m afraid…that is just the way it is, and if my audience numbers suffer…so be it. I am NOT a professional, this is not my life and though I like it when I interact with people through this stuff I’ve been on the planet long enough to not be that bothered if it doesn’t happen all the time.
I would like to get back in the game with it of course, getting into a routine because it is nice to share the pictures and it is nice to review the pictures and look back on what you’ve done.
But equally, and it’s very much a buzz-phrase at the moment, self-care is important and if I’m not feeling something, I don’t see any reason to really thrash myself and make myself do it if it’s just not working for me at the moment.
So if you are following me on Flickr or Instagram and miss all that slow photography, bear with me while I get my mojo back in that regard 🙂
There is currently not a loaded film camera in my life. I’m not doing anything much this weekend, so I’m unlikely to get one loaded up for that. But soon I’ll be making a couple of trips away and that I think will be reason enough to get some cameras and films loaded back up again.
I’ve got some stuff in my sights…literally right now I can see an old roll of film that I redscaled a couple years back, so that’ll be interesting to try. I could try that in the Olympus Accura Zoom 80. I may do more experiments with the Konica Big Mini…I may shoot some more genuine black and white silver based film.
There’s a lot of opportunities, and a lot to be excited about, and just because I take my time sharing it with people it doesn’t mean that it makes the process any less exciting…