Typewriter and Polaroids

On a recent trip back from Singapore I watched a couple of documentaries on the flight.

The first one was called ‘Instant Dreams’ which was all about Polaroid Photography so I was in my absolute element watching this.

The second documentary I was drawn to watching was ‘California Typewriter’ which is about a Typewriter shop in California and people whose lives are connected by typewriters (including Tom Hanks who I discovered through this documentary that he is an avid typewriter collector).

I began to think how I would love to own a typewriter again. Being a child of the 1980s, I inevitably did own a typewriter back then which I remember being beige and brown that my parents had bought me at a car boot fair but I stopped using it once the ribbon ran out and my parents never bought a new one for it.

My mum also briefly owned an electronic typewriter when she did a typewriting course and I remember I used to practice her homework which helped me learn to touch-type. She eventually sold the typewriter onto a friend.

The documentary had re-ignited a love for typewriters and I knew I really wanted to get one but I kept thinking what would I use it for and could I really justify buying one?

Then I started to think about all the Polaroid photos I had been recently taking and how it would be quite nice to label the dull white frame ones.

Unfortunately for me, my hand writing is terrible and I just feel that it would really let the actual photo down if I just wrote on them.

I think at some point I must have subconsciously seen some polaroid photos that had been typewritten and thought about how I’d much prefer to do that.

I also like writing fiction and although it’s very easy to write it on a laptop, I do tend to get distracted by misspelling and re-reading, re-writing etc so like the thought of having a typewriter to be able to bash out the story (errors and all) without the distractions, then refine it on my laptop.

At this point I therefore felt I could justify getting a typewriter but I would be patient and wait until the right one came along rather than go out of my way to really look for one.

I don’t really have a lot of time to visit boot fairs etc and I also didn’t like the thought of buying a typewriter online as I wanted to try it first as I really do believe that you need to get a feel for it to see if you’ll work well with it.

Every now and again I like to visit a shop in Brighton called Snoopers Paradise as they are well known for selling second hand items and it’s not far from Zoing Image where I buy a lot of my camera film.

After popping to Zoing Image to get some film, I decided to pop in there and as luck would have it, Stall number 52, owned by a gentleman called Lexi, specialises in servicing and selling typewriters.

There were two typewriters I was interested in on his stall. The first one was a Triumph Tippa from the 1960s which was cream in colour. However, when I tried it out I quickly realised the keyboard was a ‘QWERTZ’ one which meant it was a German model so was no good to me. The standard British keyboard is ‘QWERTY’.

I also liked a blue Brother Model 200 typewriter from the 1970s which he also had for sale. I was particularly drawn to the font of this model which I think is a Pinta Typewriting Font and thought would look great on the Polaroid photos.

I tried out the Brother machine and really liked the feel of how it typed and it was in such an amazing condition, almost like it had never been used.

I really liked the colour of it and it was great that it had been serviced with a new ribbon so I could get typing on it straight away.

The typewriter cost me £30 and I personally feel I got a real bargain in view of the fantastic condition it is in.

Lexi was really helpful and also provided me with the original case which was immaculate and an original typewriter manual for the machine so I could easily learn how to use it without having to spend time looking online trying to find one.

If anybody is in the Brighton area and are looking for a typewriter, then I’d highly recommend visiting his stall.

I can honestly say I’ve not been disappointed by my purchase. I’ve been using the typewriter every day since I got it.

Here are a couple of Polaroid photos I’ve typewritten on so far. The first two were taken with Polaroid colour film:

The next three were taken with Polaroid 600 colour film which expired in 2009:

My Contact Sheet Obsession

Back in July I took an adult education course in Black and White Darkroom Photography (which I’ve written about in some of my previous blogs).

I decided to take the course again from September because it was slightly longer (eight weeks rather than five) and I felt I’d be able to expand on knowledge from what I learnt in the original course.

One of the parts I have really enjoyed from doing the course is making the contact sheets. For some reason I love this process over actually enlarging a photo and making a larger print and have ended up spending the last few weeks of the course purely doing contact sheets from some of my existing black and white negatives.

Developing contact sheets has almost become second nature to me from working on a test strip to establishing the length of time the negatives need to be exposed under the enlarger.

Here is a contact sheet I originally developed back in July with some negatives that unfortunately had a light leak (please refer to my previous blog post about this).

The negatives were taken on my Pentax K1000 using Kodak Tmax 400 black and white film:

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On this particular contact sheet I placed the negatives over the photographic paper and placed some glass on top to keep them nice and straight. My first rookie mistake was not placing the negatives in number order and also the first row of negatives are upside down.

However, I had learnt from this mistake and was ready to do better in my current course. What was even better was my tutor introduced me to a really handy piece of darkroom photography equipment called a 35mm contact proof printer which is made by Paterson:

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The reason he had suggested I use this was because the negatives I was trying to develop into a contact sheet were really curly and it was proving impossible to get them straight under a piece of glass.

In this current course I initially wanted to develop some black and white half frame negatives I had taken on my Olympus Pen FT camera using Cinestill BWXX film.

However, after doing the test strip and then using this device, to my disappointment I found the contact sheet came out really blurry:

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After chatting to my tutor, I’d found I’d made yet another stupid mistake……I hadn’t shut the door of the contact proof printer properly, hence the blurry images.

I had to wait until the following week of my course to develop a couple more of the above contact sheets until I got the exposure I was happy with (as the first one was under exposed):

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I absolutely love the Paterson Contact Proof Printer and for me, it’s the best and quickest way of developing my black and white negatives into a contact sheet.

I developed a further contact sheet from my black and white negatives I had taken on my Pentax K1000 camera using Kosmo Foto Mono 100 film and the Paterson Contact Proof Printer:

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I’m hoping to develop another contact sheet in my lesson next week from another set of black and white negatives.

 

My Olympus Pen FT Camera and Lomochrome Purple 35mm film

I’m a big lover of the Lomography Lomochrome Purple film (since purple is my favourite colour!) and have really liked the results in other cameras I’ve used it in.

I therefore wanted to try it out in my Olympus Pen FT camera. I already knew from trying out the film previously that it worked well with landscapes.

I therefore visited Seven Sisters Country Park in Eastbourne to take some landscape photos and here are some of the results:

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I was really happy with the results of the film with the landscape and I managed to achieve the cool purple effect I was after. I wasn’t sure how the pictures of the sheep would turn out but I was pleased with those photos too.

Since the half frame camera has twice as many photos to shoot, I didn’t manage to use up the film whilst at Seven Sisters.

I therefore headed to Brighton Marina and took some more pictures using my 25mm Zuiko lens and also my 150mm Zuiko telephoto lens and here are some of the results:

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You’ll see that the film wasn’t nearly as effective as it had been on the landscape shots. I did feel the photos taken at the marina had a vintage feel to them and there is clearly a hint of purple and a lot of the blues on the boats have turned into a green colour.

I also took a couple of photos of the cliffs nearby:

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Again, the purple was only really effective on the green parts of the landscape but I did like the effect the film had on the blues of the sky and sea.

I still had a couple more shots of film left to use up (72 exposures goes a long way!), so I decided to head to my local cemetery in Hove and here are some of the results:

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I was really pleased with the results of these photos too. I got the purple effect I was after along with a nice contrast of turquoise sky in some of them.

I know I’ll definitely be using this film again when taking landscape shots as I absolutely love the colours it produces.

 

Polaroid Filter Kit

For the past week I’ve been trying out my recently purchased Polaroid Filter Kit for my Polaroid 600 camera and the Polaroid Originals 600 colour film.

I found this kit for sale on the Polaroid Originals website and since I like experimental colour photography, I knew this would be a great addition to my camera.

The filters come in a really nicely packaged box so I can continue to store them in there when they’re not in use. They also come with a velvet drawstring bag which I can put them in when I’m out and about:

The filter set contains the following:

  • Blue
  • Yellow
  • Red
  • Orange
  • Starburst
  • Multi-image 3
  • Multi-image 2

Here are some photos I took using the Blue filter:

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I wasn’t particularly impressed by the blue filter but I think in hindsight I had used the wrong things to photograph for this filter.

In the first picture I took a coastline photo where most of it is blue anyway (the sea and sky) so it looks like a pretty normal photo. As with the usual quirks of polaroid pictures, there are blemishes at the bottom of the photo which I actually think livens the photo up a bit otherwise it would have been extremely dull. The bottom part of the blemish almost looks sand like.

The next photo I attempted with the blue filter was of a green tree. Again, I didn’t feel particularly excited by this photo and thought it was rather dull. By this point I had got bored of trying out the blue filter. I’ll perhaps try it again when I find a subject with colours that have no elements of blue in them already.

Here is a photo I took with the Yellow filter:

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This colour is ok and I think it works well with the coastline but when I decide to use this filter again, I think I will need a particular idea in mind that I think will also work well with the yellow.

Here are some photos I took using the Red filter:

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As you can probably tell from the amount of photos I’ve taken, this was by far my most favourite filter to use. I initially thought the photos would come out red so didn’t think I’d like them, but when I discovered they actually come out as this cool pink colour I was over the moon with the results.

As you can see, I used a variety of different settings for my photos and I think the colour works well in all of them. You’ll also see there are again, some classic polaroid quirks (blemishes) at the bottom of some of the photos.

Here are a couple of photos I took using the orange filter:

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The orange is quite similar to the yellow filter although the colour is slightly darker and richer so I actually prefer the orange filter for this reason, hence why more photos were taken using it.

Here are some photos using the Mulit-Image 3 filter:

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Both images are of the coastline divided into three of the same image which I think looks quite cool and I’ll definitely be using this filter again.

I haven’t yet used the Multi-Image 2 or Starburst filters. The reason being that I haven’t yet found any particular subjects where I felt the need to use either of these but I’m sure I will at some point.

Overall, I’m really happy I purchased this filter set from Polaroid Originals. It gives a different style of photo to a bulk standard setting and since the limited edition colour photos such as the duo chrome from Polaroid Originals are few and far between, I think this is a good way of getting that colour fix I’m after if I’m unable to get hold of the duo chrome style films again which at some point will run out or get more expensive when there are less of them about.

I recently purchased some ‘Gold Frame’ polaroid 600 colour film so I’m keen to see how the filters may work with that as a contrast.

Streaky Polaroid 600 Film

Whilst getting some photos developed in my local lab, I bought some Polaroid 600 colour film from them as I was keen to see how the photos would look when taken with my (new to me) vintage Polaroid 600 camera.

This was the first photo I took:

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As you can see the photo has streak marks on it and my initial reaction was that there was possibly something wrong with my camera (since I had bought it in good faith on eBay). I also wondered if it was because it had been taken indoors.

I decided to take some more photos outside:

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Yet again, more streaks! At this point I wondered was it my camera or was it the film? I struggled to believe it was the film because I had bought it recently from a reputable camera shop in Brighton and not on eBay.

I was reluctant to put some more film in the camera in case it was the camera that was the issue so didn’t want to waste another £18.99.

I therefore decided the best thing to do was contact Polaroid Originals and submit copies of these images and ask their opinion on what they thought the issue was.

I was surprised to get such a quick response within 15 minutes of my initial email explaining to me that they thought the film was at fault. They asked me for the serial number of the film (which is on the back at the bottom of each photo) and upon further investigation they confirmed to me that this film was manufactured by them in January 2018 but the reason for the streaks was most likely incorrect storage and the fact the film was several months old.

I’ve read in the past that the new Polaroid film can have issues with developing correctly but as time progresses and further research is carried out by Polaroid Originals, I think the film quality is improving.

I was relieved to know it wasn’t the camera that was the issue so armed with this information I went back to my local shop to let them know in case they still had any of this particular batch of film left. They informed me that it had all since been sold so I pre-warned them that they may get some other customers coming back to them confirming the same issues with the film.

Whilst I don’t doubt that my local cameral shop had stored the film correctly, I can only put the issue down to the fact that we recently had a mini heatwave in Brighton and perhaps the heat had affected the film whilst on their shelf or if refrigerated and only recently put out after the heatwave, perhaps it was just a dodgy batch of film supplied to them (we’ll never know).

I didn’t expect a refund as quite frankly I had used up all the film, plus the owner of the shop wasn’t there so I understood that an employee may not be in a position to make a decision on whether they were able to do this.

However, whilst I’m extremely pro supporting local businesses, in this instance, I think I’ll be buying a majority of my polaroid film direct from Polaroid Originals.

There is no difference in cost of the film (except for added postage and also the film is discounted if bought in bulk) and Polaroid Originals assured me that if I ever receive a pack of film I’m unhappy with from them, they’ll either provide me with a replacement pack or a complete refund. For this reason I’m happy to pay a few extra pounds for postage.

I’ve since purchased some colour and black and white film from Polaroid Originals which arrived within a few days of ordering and can see that the film has been freshly manufactured in July which is encouraging.

I’ve been extremely impressed with Polaroid Originals as a company. Their customer service is great and I would highly recommend anybody to contact them if they ever have an issue with their Polaroid Camera or film as they are really helpful.

On a final note, for all this particular films faults, I have to admit that I do really like the effect of the middle picture of the West Pier in Brighton as I feel the streaks give the photo an atmospheric, horror look. I think this works quite well with the decaying pier.

My Olympus Pen FT Camera and Cinestill BwXX film

I’ve been a fan of the Cinestill film ever since I tried the Cinestill 50D colour film using my Olympus Pen FT and got some great photos at a car show.

I’d also used the Cinestill 800 colour film with my Pentax K1000 and had managed to take some nice evening shots.

In a nutshell Cinestill film is a motion picture film for still photographers.

I’m fortunate enough to have a shop in Brighton called Zoing Image which stock Cinestill 50D and Cinestill 800 colour film.

However, when I discovered the Cinestill BwXX black and white film, they unfortunately didn’t have any in stock for me to buy. I therefore had to look online and bought the film through Analogue Wonderland  as there were a couple of other creative style films I wanted to try that they sold so I bought them altogether.

I already knew that I wanted to use my Olympus Pen FT camera for this film because I love the high quality lenses this camera has and I also knew I mainly wanted to take architectural style shots. Also, the size of the photo taken on a half frame camera is very similar to cinematic style photos.

The Cinestill BwXX is a high speed, classic black and white film emulsion with a recommended ISO 250 under daylight.

What I also love about this film is the fact it’s a classic black and white film stock left relatively unchanged since it’s release in 1959 for still and motion picture use so this really adds to that vintage film feel of a photo.

I’ve read that it’s a classic film stock to fill the void left by the discontinuation of it’s sister films, Kodak Plus-X (which was discontinued in 2010) and TXP320.

The film produces 36 exposures (or 72 on a half frame camera) and is a 35mm film format. It’s not the cheapest of films and retails at around £10 per roll.

Here are some photos I took whilst out and about in Brighton

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Since I had architectural photo’s in mind for this film I also visited the Barbican in London and took some photos:

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I got the film developed at my local lab and I scanned the images using my Epson V600 scanner.

One thing I did notice when the negatives were developed was the high quality negatives produced. They were really thick and not flimsy and the images on the negative were very bright and clear to the naked eye.

As I expected, the photos have a real grainy, cinematic look about them which I do think has worked well with the architectural shots.

Going forward I would definitely use this film again if I had a black and white vintage style photography project in mind as i think the film would work well with that.

The Sprocket Rocket Camera and Street Candy ATM400 Film

I had been looking for interesting black and white films to shoot with my Sprocket Rocket camera which had an ISO of 400 as that is what is recommended for this camera to get the best exposure since this camera doesn’t have an ISO range to choose from.

Whilst visiting the Analogue Wonderland website I came across the Street Candy ATM400 film.

This black and white film initially came out in 2017. It’s a 35mm film which was originally used in surveillance cameras. The film was described as having high contrast and high sensitivity so would work well in dramatic light conditions. The film brand said it works well in street photography and the logo is very striking on the film.

The film retails at around £8.00 per roll (although Analogue Wonderland currently have a sale on so they have reduced the price to £7.00 a roll).

It therefore isn’t the cheapest film in the world but one of my love’s of film photography is trying out the different types of films for my camera’s so I was happy to pay this. Also at the time of purchasing, Analogue Wonderland had an offer on where you got a free colour film with any purchase so that was good in my opinion.

Here are some pictures I took with the Sprocket Rocket camera using this film which I got developed at my local lab and scanned myself using my Epson V600 scanner:

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These photos were taken whilst I was on a boat cruise along the River Thames in London. It was a bright sunny day so was the perfect weather for a boat cruise and taking photos with this style film.

I do feel the photos have a grittiness about them which would make sense if the film was originally used for surveillance and I can see how this film would work great in street photography (although street photography isn’t really my thing).

The film brings out some really interesting cloud detail in the sky. I also like how the last few pictures have interesting light detail around the sprocket holes which makes the photos more interesting and I’m not sure if that’s due to the film or if it’s possibly where the sun has just caught that part of the film?

I’m glad I tried this film and if I have a photography project in mind where I require a gritty style of black and white photography then I would definitely use it again.