There is nothing quite like shooting and processing my own film. It is a magic that is lost in todays fast paced digital world, where photo's of peoples dinners end up on Instagram before they have taken the first bite, and where film cameras are used as ornaments in glass cupboards, or props in photos shoots...
In 1998 I began to I processed my own black and white film. There have been large gaps in between the years, however i still continue to this day. Most recently, I've been looking backwards, and taking more time to explore the things using a digital camera makes so easy. Being limited to so many exposures on a role, waiting for that decisive moment, reading the light, and understanding what it means to focus and expose the subject manually.
The photographs in this gallery are some of my most recent using black and white film. I am relearning a lot of self processing skills I have forgotten in the darkroom, and experimenting with different types of films, and developing techniques to expand my photography knowledge.
I'm captivated by the patterns in leaves. When you get close up, the intricacy in the veins of them is beautiful. Photographing these intricacies in black and white removes the distractions and focuses in on the subtle differences in tones. I find that in this case, the textures and grain of the Ilford Delta 400 film bring out the depth and magic of this particular subject.
This backlit thing of beauty could quite easily be a birds eye view of a major city. It has its own organic blocks, main roads, B-roads crofts and cul-de-sacs. I used a Canon EOS 1 and 100mm Macro lens to take this photo. When I talk to people about using film for photography, I often find that they imagine an old school fully manual camera, and whilst I do use them a lot, I also use more up to date film cameras, this particular one was built in the early 90's.
Backlit Gunnera Manicata
This little leaf is the beginnings of a gigantic Gunnera Manicata leaf that grow around the pond and stream at Winterbourne House and Gardens in Edgbaston, Birmingham. This photo is part of a set of shots I have captured using my Olympus OM-1 with a roll of Ilford Delta 100 35mm film that I have Home developed using a developer called DDX. I have purposely boosted the contrasts in this shot to eccentuate the detail in the subject.
Arial View of Gunnera Manicata
This lis another Gunnera Manicata leaf from a series I shot at Winterbourne House and Gardens using one of my favourite cameras, and Olympus OM-1.
New gear, in this case a new tripod are always a good excuse for me find an escape to a nearby garden to hone my skills. This particular shot is a Macro using the Canon EOS 1. It is nice to compare the different styles and feel you get from using different cameras, here it is the film that provides a totally different feel close up photography. I love the fine detail in the petals.
This photo was taken at the Birmingham Botanical gardens, in one of the glass houses using Kodak bw400cn film. This particular film is a black and white film that can go through a colour development and is designed for photographers who want the beauty of black and white from the convenience of a local developing lab. I'd brought it off a discontinued rack at Boots for 50p, and was interested in what it would look like being cross processed using black and white chems. I wouldn't recommend processing C41 film in this way to anyone, it's pretty messy, and only develops the blue tones in the film. That said, I really like how this shot came out.
Botanical's Kodak bw400cn 5
Here's another lucky shot from a Kodak bw400cn film cross processed using black and white chemicals. I like the extreme contrasts between shadows and highlights where all the detail of the subject has been removed due to the way the developer has reacted with the film.
Winterbourne Blossom Tree
This is a truly magnificent tree, especially in April when it Blossoms. The photo has a Lomo like feel to it - overexposed and covered in like leaks. The seals on my 30 year old Olympus OM-1 are in need of replacing, the light metre is uncalibrated and to make things worse the tank I was using to develop this particular Ilford Delta 100 film came loose during the developing, and caused more leaks. That said, I really like the feel to this photo. A happy accident, and part of the creation of this piece lets say.
As you can probably guess, if you have been looking through these photos, I spend a lot of time in and around Winterbourne House and Gardens. I feel I know the place intermittently, and have a very special place in my heart for the place. I have always got some sort of Camera with me when I visit and seem to do most of my experimentation with film there.
This shot looking away from the terrace through to the Sundial is another shot from a film before I did some maintenance tomy Olympus OM-1 to replace the seals. I also discovered the light metre has become uncalibrated whilst shooting this film. Most recently I have started using iPhone ap light metre called Lux, however keen to experiment more with the Sunny 16 rule.
How else do you spend an overcast Bank Holiday Week End in Barmouth. I took this whilst taking a break from building sandcastles for the kids. I don't quite have the zen-like skills of balancing stones, but really fond of the greys in this shot. Juging by the grain in this it is from a 400 speed Ilford Delta.
This shot was taken during a walk at lunch around Birmingham to escape the office. This is my favourite photo I have taken using my trusty Olympus OM-1. I know this vantage of The Cube is a little cliche for those familiar with the building, but I love it.
Machines on Film
Cosford Air Museum is a place that offers lots of inspiration for me. The cold war hanger alone is a place I could spend days in. The best part - It is free admission. Doted around the various hangers are examples of different engines. This particular one has been cut open so that you can see all the workings.
I was so captivated setting up for this shot, that I didn't even realise Dan, one of the gardeners at Winterbourne was busy at work repairing the badger damage behind me. We had a great chat. I love the detail in the plants through the windows and the angle of the door in this photo. It would make an excellent framing for a portrait of dome one tending to the plants inside, and one to log for the future.
The sun was lighting this tower on Stokesay Castle from the right, bringing out some spectacular contours and textures in the masonry.
Light on wood
The fine tones and textures in the panels really captured my interest. There is a door to the left of shot the along with the light through the window, made for some interesting shadows. Another from Stokesay Castle
Embo Beach, rotting fence
I finally got around to finishing and developing some of the Fujifilm Acros 100 35mm film I started shooting with on my Whit week excursion. Here's one of the first frames on the role. I was using a red filter, which is why it's lovely and contrasty. What do you think?
Fujifilm Acros 100 35mm film
Ilford Ilfosol 3
I've had my eye on some ruined sheds up near Walton Hill, Clent for some time now, and finally got the opportunity to shoot off a few frames to see whether I could find any interesting angles. I think I will return here in the future for some more shots as I think they have some great potential in the right light. Here's one of my fav's from this visit.
Another frame from the ruined sheds up near Walton Hill, Clent theat I've wanted to shot for some time. I like this angle, the thistles look very imposing and over tower the delapatdated shed in the background.
Here's a shot from my latest film taken at Harvington Hall. If you look closely, there are rain drops just beginning to fall on the pool. The light was that lovely punchy glow you get just before a downpour.
I took this using my OM-1 with my 2nd roll of Fujifillm Neopan Acros 100. I'm very lucky to get any photos from this one at all. I had lots of problems getting the film onto the spool in the developing bag, due to heat and humidity, which very nearly resulted in me loosing the entire film out of frustration!
Winterbourne Gardens in July
This is a really difficult shot to take and look at in black and white. As you can imagine, the colours in the Garden this time of year are bright and vivid. It' is a challenge to capture the different tones in mono.
I took this using my OM-1 with my 2nd roll of Fujifillm Neopan Acros 100 and a red filter on the end of my 50mm Zuiko f1.4 lens. This was taken at 1/125 with f16.
Mawddach estuary toll
I had to wait a while for the bridge to be clear from cars before capturing this, but it was well worth the wait. I love how the grain in the film compliments the textures in the wood.
Olympus OM1, 28mm Zuiko Lens, Red Filter, Ilford HP5 400
Harlech Castle Bridge
When I first visited Harlech Castle in 2010, it had a tiny hut and wooden steps up to the gateway. Now it has the most amazing bridge, visitors centre and most importantly cafe! I had cake, but the breakfast looks awesome too!
Olympus OM1, 28mm Zuiko Lens, Red Filter, Ilford HP5 400
This isn't actually the main waterfall at Nantcol as you can probably guess. I shot this on a very wet and overcast day, using my Lubbitel 166b and some Ilford PanF 50. I'm very pleased it came out as I'd left any kind of light meter in the car.
I try and take a camera everywhere, which is easier than ever, firstly with the quality you get on a mobile phone and secondly, now that the mirrorless cameras offer such versatility.
From experience, It can be difficult to be in the right place during the right time of day to get the best landscape photography conditions, but that's the fun of the challenge.
In this gallery, I have put together some favourites of mine. I can see this section growing over the months to come as I take new favourites.
Lickey Hills in the morning.
The Lickey Hills is a country park on the outskirts of Birmingham, not far from where the Rover factory used to be. The park provides some great photo opportunities all year around. Here's a particular favourite shot of mine looking down one of the main paths towards the sun bursting through the trees.
Start of Autumn at the Lickey Hills
Autumn, in my eyes is the most magical season of the year, closely folowed by spring. The temperatures are just right - not to hot, not to cold, and the colours begin to take on a golden pallete. this coupled with the extended golden hours due to the suns position on the horizon make for some great photo opportunities, and some beautiful walks in the woods with the camera.
Hagley Woods - Banks of Clent
The Clent Hills are another Country Park on the outskirts of Birmingham. There is a lot of ancient woodland covering and surrounding the Hills. In this photograph of Hagley Wood, there are some of the most amazing blanket of Bluebells covering the woodland floor.
Nestled at the foot of the rugged Rhinog Mountain range and close to Shell Island, there is a unique campsite and a set of waterfalls and pools. This hidden gem of a place is called Nantcol Falls, and one of the most relaxing and tranquil campsites I've visited.
This photograph was taken about a 10 minute walk from the main falls which pool flows directly through the campsite. The greens in this ancient mountain woodland around the stream have a wonder lush shimmer to them.
Marshmallows and the Welsh sunset
Marshmallows cooked from campfires on the beach near the Dryffryn campsite near Barmouth, North Wales are a staple diet of my summers. There are some spectacular sunsets in this part of the world, and there is nothing more relaxing than sitting in the heat of the fire, munching away and sipping on a nice red wine whilst the kids build Sand Castles and play in the dunes.
For me, this photo captivates the energy in the elements that Snowdonia has to offer. I took this on my accent of Snowdon, heading towards the split where the Pyg track and the start of the Horseshoe begin. I'd started out in darkness, on the day before New Years Eve, and was sat setting up for the phot watching the rain come up the valley from Llamberris whist eating a mince Pie. Later that day I summited in a complete white out, surrounded by ice and snow.
Beacon Hill is one of my favourite spots in Birmingham. you can stand and look out towards the city and beyond. There is something about this tree that keeps bringing me back to shoot it in silhouette against a dramatic sky.
Taken using a 10 stop ND filter, with my camera precariously balanced whilst sheltering from the wind, this moody black and white long exposure of Snowdonia really captivates the sheer brutal beauty that winter in this area can throw at you. I'm keen to get back here and revisit the surrounding area.
Exploring Anglesey's coastline, I discovered a hidden beach half a miles walk off the grid along the sandy river bank. On some write-ups, it is pend as Anglesey’s Sahara meets the sea. It is a pretty epic expanse. The day I captured this scene, the cloud formations in the sky were incredible.
Plants and Flowers
When it comes plants and flowers, I have very little knowledge of the names of things. There are a hand full of different types I could name, but generally these are the staple ones.
You would think that, as I spend a lot of time experimenting in places such as Gardens, woodlands and country parks that I would know much more, but I don't. When it comes to photographing them, I am more interested in the shapes, the way the light falls on the subjects and the relationships in the composition.
Sadly, I have no idea what this plan is called. I wish I did, because I would love some for my garden. At the time of capture, I was working through a 365 project (a photo a day for a year) of which I have started 5 and completed 3. These types of projects are tough and setting mini challenges throughout them to keep things interesting. There are days were a snap shot anything is acceptable as long as some effort in the course of the week is made to create something interesting. 365's forced me to think differently and photograph things and places I'd never shoot, or in ways I'd not imagine to without doing it. It has left me with a vast portfolio with some true diamonds in the rough.
Spring is my second favourite time of year to Autumn, and a time where I try and ignore my hay fever and dust off the winter cobwebs. After a cold and mostly dull Winter, there's nothing as exciting as seeing the trees in bloom. There's an abundance of varioties lining the roads and parks where I live, and I can often be spotted starring up in awe.
Allium time of year could last longer in my eyes. These things are so dramatic while they last. Here I have captured them on the turn. For me, it is interesting not to forget there is a beauty in decay as much as there is in creation.
What's in a Rose?
Lots of petals. In the subject, low key red saturated ones. Macro photography opens up new worlds often overlooked by the naked eye, but how close is too close?
A lovely mooch in Winterbourne, messing around with the latest operating system enhancements to my iPhone camera. I've also got hold of a tripod mount for a couple of pence which opens up a loads of opportunities such as long exposures and time-lapse. iPhongraphy plays a big part in my photography, and with the quality in all handheld portable devices like phones developing so fast, it would be crazy from a photographers perspective not to embrace it. There will be purists out there that disagree, but I am a firm believer that the best camera in the world is the one you have with you. If that happens to be a mobile phone camera, then so be it.
Sweet dreams are made of these...
Or is it not sweet day dreams, the single word I can come up with which is the exact opposite to word in the English language that is opposite to nightmare. Of course there's day stallion, but that doesn't capture the dreaminess of the light hitting the backs of these Bluebells
We used our free return to the Botanicals to explore some more of the place. Simply wow! Caught this on our way out after they'd hosed down the dome. Interestingly, this came out better than the one I took using the 50mm 1.4
As you can probably grasp from the title, these flowers reminded me of red thread tied in knot. It's like natures sowing box.
Backlit Ferns in the beautiful evening light at the Lickey Hills.
When it comes to shooting People, I like to try and capture a little personality. I shoot loads of informal natural light photos, both inside and out, but for this set I have chosen some studio work.
This is Graham, who kindly modelled for a very messy flower shoot. I'm really pleased with the outcome of this one. Interesting light balance and structure which required minimal post processing. Grahams striking eyes make this shot, standing out amongst the flour. To achieve this shot the flower was thrown from behind Graham, towards the Camera.
In this shot of Marie, I was purposefully adjusting the white balance and saturation to give this other worldly feel to it. I'm attracted to the delicate, moody style to this shot. Marie's dark shadows around her eyes add good depth ad contrast against the light white blonde hair.
Here's one from a fantastic natural light shoot on Three Cliffs Bay. Such an incredible destination.
The power of foresight
This is Jess at Whitley Court. It is one of my all time favourites from a fantasy shoot collaboration I did. It is comprised of two images. The crystal ball first shot at a different location with Jess posing by a small pool.
Flexible kick boxer.
This shot is from a shoot with Zoe, an incredibly flexible model who was literally able to bend over backwards to get the right shot. I am particularly pleased with the light falls on Zoe here.
If you can focus on this, then you are too close...
Low key fight shoot. In this shot, was trying to reflect the moody lighting to match the subject. Fior me, the lighting accentuates his muscle definition showing off a great serrates anterior.
Get a hold of yourself man! This a a shot I did with the help of Malcolm and Pippa. I find that doing surreal stylised shoots like this enhances my editing skills, and enables me to take these skills across into my other work.
The shallow depth of field make this shot for me. I love the Bokeh in the bubble wrap, and the focus on Marie's eye.
Smoke machines, a Heroine and a load of Zombies. What more can you ask for? As you can propbably guess, I had a lot of fun on this colaboration! Group shoots are generally difficult. Getting everyones expression right at the same time, morning everyone into position. Ensuring that everyone is lit in the right way for the shot.
This is a gallery of my long exposure photographs. I use Long Exposures for all kinds of different shots, so there is a bit of variety in terms of subject in the collection of images. I like using long exposures to show the passing of time, and love the way that the method sharply captures stationary subjects, and the relationship moving subjects create flow to an otherwise static scent.
Tate Modern central chimney
Taken from off the floor before dawn on a particular cloudy morning. I had no tripod for this shot so aligned the camera based on the lines in the path.
I like the brick textures the black and white brings out. The perspective, whilst I can enjoy looking up I can also convince myself that this is flat and horizontal and I'll fall off the earth when I get to the end.
The Mailbox light trails
Taken on top of the Red Cage car park Birmingham, looking away from the Queensway tunnel towards the MailBox. i've cpolour popped the reds which brings out some of the beauty of the building and also rear lights of the cars. I particularly like the starbursts in this shot caused by stopping down my apeture.
Bournville Quaker House Christmas Tree
This is a popular location for me at Christmas time. This is such a terrific picture and one that makes people sit up and take notice. I love the way the light and shadows create atmosphere and the detail is superb.
River Arrow Pools - Sunset
You could say that I have pushed this one a little too much. I may agree. Then again, I'm not sure. When does too much become too much any way? Does me questioning whether it is mean that I am already there?
The Water Falls at Betws-y-Coed
I'd took a drive out with the family to Snowdonia early morning, hoping for the perfect sunrise across Llynnau Mymbyr towards Snowdon, but sadly there was heavy cloud so I changed my location.
This was taken on the bridge at Betws-y-Coed. I was a nervous wreck taking it - I was chatting with a nice couple with a dog, and not holding on to the Tripod balanced on the Bridge - I was waiting for the Dog to jump up and know my camera off the wall into the water below. Thankfully, nothing of the sort happened and I captured this gem.
This is The Vennel, with Edinburgh Castle in the distance. At the bottom to the stairs in the right there is a little ice cream shop which looked out into grassmarket and upward to the Castle - I'm told one of the best places in the city to have an ice cream (sadly closed by the time I got there).
After a little while faffing getting this shot right (3 attempts at bracketing before getting the right exposure and angle), I was taken on a whistle stop guided tour of the city. I'm in awe with what I have seen - the history and architecture is incredible!
In this shot I was trying to capture the weather. We had a break from the rain, but the wind was gusty, and I really liked the way that it was moving the plants around in the garden. It could be a book cover to a spooky tale.
My "Another Place"
I would love to have the opportunity to shoot these from beneath the water -or half in and half out.
This one is taken using black glass on a long exposure. Love the movement in the clouds, but it was tough to capture the others in the background
I'm a true believer that the best camera in the world is the best camera you have with you. A lot of the time this is a mobile phone with a built in camera. With the fast paced development of technology over the recent years, this is becoming more and more apparent, and it would be crazy for any photographer to not embrace the.
In this gallery I have some examples of iPhoneography, or photos I have captured using my iPhone. A lot of the time, my shots using the phone take on a very reportage style, but in this collection I wanted to show the vast capabilities in creating fine art photos from the device.
Caught a glimpse of Edinburgh in the sunshine. I want to play tourist there. There are so many different sights to see and take in. This particular shot is very much in the spirit of street photography, but also has an ethereal feel to it due to the light and the editing. I used snapseed to get the final results, but the moment is sublime.
I'm not sure of the complete details, but a tree looks as if it has came down in the middle of Shenley Fields road during a recent storm. I was pulled in by the yellow of the truck against the blue sky.
A deserted Edinburgh Airport and a late departure for me provided this opportunity. I love the minimalistic feel to the black and white processing, and the detail in the mid tones of the roof.
Birmingham Canalside down from Vincent St.
On a lunchtime walk, without my dedicated camera with me, I was scoping out some nice new places to revisit but grabbed this on my iPhone. I like the noise in this shot, it works well with the dramatic style of the processing.
Her is a great example of iPhone depth of field. I love creating something out of nothing and finding the beauty in the everyday. The bus stop off in the background is where I was waiting for a ride into town.
I do a lot of cycling, and whilst not impossible, it isn't easy to carry a camera with me at all times. This was a halfway pitstop shot of a 62 mile round trip taking in the sites of Warwick Castle.
Here's a shot of a building on the Birmingham University Campus using a hipstamatic app, and the bucktown setups on my iPhone. I was captivated by how the light was reflecting off the windows.
Selly Oak Park Willow
I've heard the expression that the best camera is the one you have with you... here's a shot of a backlit willow, using a hipstamatic app, and the bucktown setups on my iPhone.
Oozells of Blossom
Oozells Square, Birmingham, with The Ikon gallery in the background. This is one of my favourite spots in early April, the Cherry Blossom is to die for.
This is The oldest tree in the Clent Hills, And is approximately 250 years old. It's been fenced off these days to protect it and hopefully protect it for generations to come. I shot this on my iPhone earlier this week about 40 minutes before sunset. I love the way the branches are catching the last light of the day.
I have only recently started to process my own colour film, and I am on a steep learning curve. In this collection there are some examples of the results I am getting. Some of the photographs are more recent than others.I shot a few roles back in 2014, but didn't get around to developing the straight away.
Winterbourne Japanese Gardens
This fantastic shot of the Japanese Bridge and Sandstone Rock Gardens is a great find. I finally got around to developing a roll I shot in 2014.
When I last summited Snowdon, instead of carrying up a Canon 7d (my digital camera of choice when this shot was taken, I decided I'd travel light, and finish off a roll of Fujicolor I'd started in my OM-1. I'm very pleased with the result. Another from my 1st batch of C41 home process.
Lickey Hills Country Park
This is a shot of the main path at the Warren Lane side of the Lickey Hills Country Park. I shot this using my Olympus OM-1, and a role of expired Fujicolor I had lying about. I'm extreamly pleased with the tones and colours. This was part of my first batch of C41 home processing.
Taken form climbing up towards Pyg track, Snowdon. Finishing off a roll of Fujicolor I'd started in my OM-1 in style. I'm very pleased with the result. Another from my 1st batch of C41 home process.
Jessie Emery at Whitley Court.
Here's a great shot of Jessie Emery at Whitley Court. I love the shallow depth of field and the lovely magenta cast in the shadows.
Pippa at Whitley Court
Here's a shot of Pippa at Whitley Court. I love the angle and composition in this shot. Another great shot witha lovely magenta cast in the shadows.
I love the dreamlike quality in this shot. The sun was begining to set in the top left of the frame, throwing the flare. The colouring in this shot is a little off, but I think that makes the image. Shot with Kodak Ektar 100, and home processed.
Bluebells in Hagley Woods
Went for a wonder with my Mom to the Bluebells growing in Hagley Wood and Walton Hill. We had a great time being amounts the blue carpet, and I shot off a couple of films. Steep learning cure for me later, this is my first time home developing C41 colour film at home. I shot a roll of 120 too using a TLR camera, but completely failed on developing that film, I had some great success with the 35mm though.
Wenlock Priory, on an Easter BH Weekend.
One of my favourites from Wenlock, shot with an OM-1 not an OM-10 too. 50mm F/1.4 using Kodak Ektar 100. Home
Badeley Clinton Blossom
Awesome detail in this Blossom. really pleased with the way that the Canon EOS 5 handles metering. , 100mm Macro, using Kodak Ektar 100. Home developed and scanned.
Getting intimate in the Orchid House 1
This is one of my all time favourite shots taken in the Glass houses at Winterbourne. Canon EOS 5, 100mm Macro, using Kodak Ektar 100. Home developed and scanned.
Getting intimate in the Orchid House 2
This is the second of a series and one of my all time favourite shots taken in the Glass houses at Winterbourne. Canon EOS 5, 100mm Macro, using Kodak Ektar 100. Home developed and scanned.
April at Winterbourne
Love the colours, detail and sense of depth in this shot. Taken just behind the walled garden at Winterbourne. Canon EOS 5, 100mm Macro, using Kodak Ektar 100. Home developed and scanned.
Embo Beach Dunes
As you can see from the skies, there was a bit of a weather front in just before I took this shot. Really like how moody it looks, and I am incredibly impressed with the way my lubitel 166b captured the grain in the wood.
Lubitel166b, Kodak Ektar 100
On my way back to base from Loch Fleet, I drove past a gateway into a forrest. The yellow shrubs were everywhere, but the direction of the light, was making the yellows really pop against the glowing pines. I stopped the car and set up the Lubitel 166b for this shot. The contrasts on the negative are awesome.
Lubitel166b, Kodak Ektar 100
Sundown near Tal-y-bont
I took this during my August break near Tal-y-bont. The sun had just sunk behind the cloud not to be seen in full again that evening.
This was shot on Fujicolor 200 using my Olympus OM-1 and a Zuiko 28mm lens and Polariser.
I took a similar shot to this using my Fujifilm XT-1 and Velvia film simulation. This is straight from the negative with minimal tweaks to curves in Photoshop. I think it is a pretty awesome photograph.
I took this during my August break near Tal-y-bont. The sun was about to dip behind the low hanging cloud, and there was a lovely golden glow on the grass.
This was shot on Fujicolor 200 using my Olympus OM-1 and a Zuiko 28mm lens and Polariser on a tripod.