Capture the night: a Lomography workshop

There is currently a photo exhibition at the Museum of London that I wanted to visit called London Nights.

London Nights Exhibition shows photos of the capital at night. There are over 200 works displayed by 60 photographers which range from the late 19th century to the present day (with some photos never seen before).

I have lots of fond memories of many nights out to London over the years so I knew I’d find this exhibition very interesting.

Whilst planning my visit, I noticed that Lomography were holding a workshop there on Friday 13th July called ‘Capture the night: a Lomography workshop’ which was tied in with the London Nights photo exhibition. I immediately knew I wanted to incorporate this workshop into my visit, since I’m recently knew to learning about the Lomography cameras so I booked two tickets for my husband and myself.

The cost of the workshop was £45 each (including access to the London Nights exhibition and use of a disposable lomography camera) and started at 6pm which lasted for 4 hours. The first hour was spent looking at the London Nights exhibition by ourselves (unfortunately I wasn’t able to take any photos inside the exhibition).

I did enjoy the exhibition and enjoyed reading about each photo. The photos taken at the early part of the 20th century were really interesting and some of them almost looked like paintings. I also enjoyed looking at some fashion negatives which had been taken in the 1920’s and wished I could have taken those home with me to frame on my wall.

After we had finished looking at the exhibition we were told to head to a conference room in the museum at 7pm to meet the Lomography workshop organisers.

Once we met them we were given a goody bag each which consisted of a Simple Use camera, a lomography Fish Eye 2 camera keyring, an information card about the lomo lab and 3 x greeting cards where I can add my own photos before giving them to somebody.

The Simple Use camera is a disposable camera (but we were told by the organisers we would be able to load it with further film if we wanted to once we had used up the current film). It is pre-loaded with 36 frames of 400 ISO colour film.

The camera has three different Colour Gel Flash filters (Yellow, Cyan and Magenta) which can be mixed and matched to tint the shots with different colours. I especially loved the Magenta and Cyan combo which produces a purple tint to the flash. There is a battery built into the camera which enables the flash to work.

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The camera also came with helpful instructions on the back:

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In the workshop we were given a brief overview of the Lomography company and how it all began. We were also shown how to use the Simple Use camera.

It’s been years since I’ve used a disposable camera…..I used to use them a lot during the late 90s on nights out with friends and also the odd wedding when they were put on the table (although photo booths have become quite popular at weddings recently).

We were then told to head out around London and take some photos and meet back at the conference room at 9pm.

We weren’t made to go around together as a group but to go off by ourselves. Most people in the group had come with either a friend or their partner so we all naturally went off with whoever we had come to the workshop with.

When we initially headed outside it was still quite light and the purpose of this workshop  was to take photos at night using the coloured flashes on the camera so we had to wait for it to get a bit darker. Thankfully it didn’t take too long to get dark so we wondered around near the museum and took some photos. It unfortunately began to rain by 8pm and we were beginning to get a bit hungry so decided to pop to a sushi restaurant to get a bite to eat.

We used up the remainder of our film and headed back to our meeting place at 9pm. Our organiser kindly unloaded the film for us and told us that as part of the workshop package, Lomography would process the film for us free of charge and email the shots to us in a week’s time. She also asked us if we had any further questions or wanted any further advice regarding the Lomography products as the workshop didn’t technically finish until 10pm. By this point my husband and I were quite exhausted (we had been at work since 7:30am and had rushed up to London in the afternoon) and we both knew we had the inevitable train journey back to Brighton so were keen to be gone before 10pm as my husband had to work Saturday morning.

After a week of waiting I hadn’t received the emailed photos that I was expecting so I phoned the Lomography store in London where I discovered the organiser had taken my email address down incorrectly (good job I checked!) so then I instantly got the photos emailed over to me and here are some of them:

 

I’ll be completely honest and say that I didn’t have high expectations of using this camera since it was a disposable one and like I previously said, I had used them a lot years ago so was fully aware of the quality of photos they produce.

I therefore did find the photo quality pretty average and not always great. The flash only works at close range so a lot of our photos taken of buildings were dark and underexposed.

I think these cameras are fine if you’re on a night out with friends and are taking close up shots and having fun with the flash. I wouldn’t recommend it for architectural shots!

If I was to go around London at night taking photos again, I would take my Pentax K1000 loaded with Cinestill 800 film and a flash as well.

Overall, I’m glad I got to see the photo exhibition and do the workshop as it was something a little different rather than just going to London for the night and sitting in a bar all evening.

Since I didn’t have high expectations from using this camera, I wasn’t disappointed with the results. My only disappointment was that I didn’t prepare in advance more and bring along my Pentax K1000 as I reckon I would have got some really nice shots. At least this gives me an excuse to visit London one evening again and take more photos so that’s good.

For anybody interested in attending the workshop, it is on again in October and here is a link:

Capture the night: a Lomography workshop

Also for anyone interested in purchasing the disposable camera, they can be purchased here:

Simple Use Film Camera

 

Half Frame Club

I’m finding from my journey into film photography this year that I’m developing a real passion for half frame photography.

In previous blogs I’ve spoken about a couple of the Olympus Half Frame Camera’s I own and the results of the photos I’ve taken with them.

Through Instagram, I’ve discovered that I’m not the only person with a love of half frame photography and it was great to see so many other people also loving half frame cameras and seeing what photo’s they’ve taken.

It was via Instagram that I stumbled upon a website called #HalfFrameClub – Half Frame Camera and Photography Club.

I’ve got to admit it was a website I wish I had invented but since I’ve only recently discovered half frame photography it was understandable that somebody would have thought of this idea first and I’m really happy to see they came up with a website dedicated to it.

It’s an online community for half frame 35mm film photography and cameras which is curated by @danmar_photos. The website ‘does what it says on the tin’. It’s a community for half frame camera enthusiasts to discover and look at photos taken by half frame cameras.

On instagram myself and other people are able to tag #halfframeclub onto our photos that were taken with a half frame 35mm camera and the curator will feature various ones on a daily basis, which is great to see. There are also themes such as ‘Monochrome Monday’.

The website itself is concise and clear and really easy to navigate. On the home page you are greeted with photos taken on half frame cameras and if you click on each photo, it will take you to a link in instagram where you can find out more about the person who took the photo and look at their other work.

This website and their instagram page certainly does provide a lot of inspiration for people who like to take photos with 35mm half frame camera’s.

The website releases a Zine every season and will ask for submissions for this from the half frame community. They’re currently looking for submissions for their Summer Zine until August 15th.

I love the fact that you can easily click onto the submission page and a theme is brought up for the type of photos they would like submitted for that particular zine issue which is great and gets the photographer to have more thought into the type of photos they would like to submit (and possibly inspire them to go out and take further photos to meet the theme).

The website also has a section for reviews of cameras and film. The curator encourages fellow members of the half frame community to contribute to this which is great.

Lastly there are links to websites for General Photography and another one specifically for Half Frame Photography and the types of Half Frame Cameras which is very informative.

Here is the link to the website which I encourage all half frame photography enthusiasts to check out:

www.halfframeclub.com

 

Olympus Pen EE

A few weeks ago my husband and I had a few days off work and on one of the days we decided to have a walk around the lanes in Brighton with our dog.

I needed to pop to one of our local shops, Zoing Image in Sydney Street as I was after some Cinestill 800 film to practice some night time shots using my Pentax K1000 (blog to follow on this).

As well as the unusual film selection that Zoing Image stock, they also sell a selection of second hand cameras. Every time I visit, there are always a new selection of secondhand cameras to choose from so I love to browse.

Whilst my husband isn’t really into photography, he always takes a keen interest in any camera I buy and was extremely fascinated by my Olympus Pen FT half frame camera and the quality of images it produces.

I think this is what led him to noticing the Olympus Pen EE Camera in the cabinet for sale.

He told me he was instantly drawn to the size and grey colour of the camera. Once I explained to him it was an automatic half frame camera he wanted to have a look at it in more detail. He absolutely loved the tiny viewfinder window and the feel of it in his hands so we bought it along with some Kodak Colour Plus 200 35mm film and loaded it in the shop there and then so we could take some photos of our day around Brighton.

In some ways, this camera is similar to the Olympus Trip where a red flasher will pop up in the viewfinder if the image is too bright or dull and won’t expose correctly. This took some getting use to for my husband as he tried to take several shots where this happened.

The film number counts back from 72 to 0. The lens is a D Zuiko f/3.5 (4 element) with a focal length of 28mm.

I already knew the lens would be of good quality from my experience of using Zuiko lenses on my Olympus Pen FT.

A great edition to this camera in the shop was the fact it also came with a UV lens which screwed into the middle of the camera:

The shutter was quite small so could be hard find by feel when taking a picture:

I solved this problem when I got home by adding a metal shutter button which definitely made taking pictures easier:

The camera also came with an Olympus lens cap although I don’t think it’s the original as I think they have EE written on them.

The camera unfortunately didn’t come with the original case or wrist strap but the shop were kind enough to provide me with a small black case which was in great condition. Also I know that the original olympus cases for this camera can deteriorate over time as the plastic outer coating of the case tends to flake off. Thankfully I had a grey wrist strap at home which had originally been for my Panasonic TZ70 digital camera which I’d never used as I prefer to use a leather neck strap with that particular camera. Personally, I would never use a neck strap with the Olympus Pen EE due to it being so lightweight (12.5 ounces).

I’ve also since purchased a skylight filter for the camera which I picked up for a couple of pounds on eBay.

I was surprised how quickly my husband and I were able to get through 72 frames over two days but with a point and shoot style camera I don’t really think so much about the image since it’s automatically focused (unlike my Olympus Pen FT where I spend much more time thinking about the image I’m taking and what lens to use etc).

Here is a little selection of pictures we took:

I got the film developed at Moorfields Photographic in Liverpool as they have the half frame developing equipment which means that each image is exposed correctly rather than a compromise of exposure between two images as would occur at a normal lab with standard 35mm equipment.

Overall I was happy with the quality of the images and was what I expected from the Zuiko lens. I also liked the vintage feel of the photos. The sharpness was a little hit and miss at times since it’s automatic with only one lens type.

I will always prefer my Olympus Pen FT because of the gorgeous crispness I get with that camera along with the variety of lenses I can use for a particular shot.

However, if out and about in a rush and if I’ve only got a little handbag on me during the daytime then I would happily put this little camera in my bag and use it for the day.

It’s also handy for my husband to use when we’re out and about as he’s not so keen on all the time that can be spent perfecting a shot using a heavier SLR Camera 📷

Tokyo Camera Style Book

I discovered this book by John Sypal during one of my regular visits to Zoingimage in Brighton where they had the book for sale.

I was instantly drawn to the front cover and could tell it would be about film cameras. I also love Tokyo which I visited a couple of years ago as I have several friends who live there (one of them owns a really nice bar called the Ipcress Lounge).

I purchased the book and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Apart from the introduction, the book is made up of pictures of vintage cameras that people had in Japan. The book also makes a note of the camera the person is holding which I found to be really helpful.

There are so many amazing cameras in this book from the Leica’s to the Nikons, Pentax etc.

As a newbie to film photography I really did enjoy looking at all the different cameras and learning what they were.

One of my favourite looking cameras in the book was the Olympus Pen FT camera.

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Trip Magazine Issue One

It’s great to see other people keeping film photography alive and I was very excited when I learnt on instagram about this recent magazine that had been made by @trip.zine

@trip.zine describes it as a visual love letter to the Olympus Trip 35. It’s ultimately a visual magazine which comprises of pictures taken by the Olympus Trip 35 from 20 photographers from across the world.

It’s A5 in size which means it’s easily portable and is printed on lovely quality 150gsm silk paper.

The photos are amazing and it provides so much inspiration as to what photo’s could be taken using this smart little compact camera.

I’m really happy with the purchase and I wasn’t surprised to recently discover that there aren’t many copies left for sale so if you’re interested, I’d buy one before they sell out.

They retail at £8 (plus postage costs) but in view of the quality of the magazine with over 60 pages of 35mm film photography, I personally think the cost is well worth it.

This magazine is something I will certainly keep as it’s truly unique and special.

I really admire @trip.zine for publishing this magazine and I do hope there will be further issues for sale in the near future which I will most definitely purchase.

The magazine is currently for sale online at http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/609019891/trip-zine-issue-one?utm_medium

Their shop name on Etsy is TripZine.