Friday, August 15, 2014

Don't Hurry, Don't Worry, And Don't Forget To Eat The Chocolate

Greetings playmates . . . I know, I know . . . it's been a long time hasn't it.
Well, tbh, I've been busy, so blogging has rather taken a back-seat as I have been researching . . . ahem . . . and in no particular order: bedroom furniture, paint, how to repair plaster, plasterer's tools, how to repair render, pipe insulation, lime mortar . . . and in general all things DIY-based. 
It's been hell actually, and it still isn't finished - I havent been able to think a thing about photography . . but you know what . . . maybe that is a good thing.
Here's why.
I think, because you blog about photography, and because you are passionate about it, then people assume that you have to be taking pictures every day.
Much like paraphrasing one of the dead drummers in Spinal Tap 'Have a good time . . . all of the time' it is generally assumed that you are toting a camera with you everywhere you go and you are bringing back screeds of tasty negatives, and printing them off every day to an ever-growing pile of meisterwerks. 

The misrepresentation of what a photographer is supposed to be like. 

Hereoes are for boys aren't they? Well yeah, but in my case I can honestly say that as a fully-grown family man, I still have them too. Mr W.Eugene Smith (above) typically toting a mass of cameras. I prefer picture two which was his more typical set-up.

Anyway, back to the meat and potatoes - bringing home the bacon ALL THE TIME
Well, certainly in my case, this isn't the case. 
Photographing can be a struggle
Sometimes, it can be a pain
And then again (whisper it) much like injecting silica gel into your testicles, sometimes it can be the thing you least want to do in the whole world.
It's an art form and it's your art form, but like most creative processes, it can't be hurried. 
I've been there, wrote the book, made the film, set up the silk screens, mixed the ink and printed the T-Shirts . . really. 
I can say it from experience . . whilst it is good to practice your art as often as you can, sometimes, if you aren't feeling particularly creative, it is often better just to stay in bed . . or in my case, with my nose to the plasterboard, thinking about nothing in particular. 
You simply can't hurry it
I know, I know . . it's a super-competetive world. If you dont get out there NOW, you'll miss that shot. These things can play on your mind, but in reality if you are dashing around, firing off at all-comers when you don't really feel like it, I don't necessarily think you are going to get anything worthwhile.
You've got to make like the Cadbury's Rabbit (Jessica) from the 1980's chocolate ad for Cadbury's Caramel. And if you haven't got a scooby what I am talking about, go and look it up!

Anyway, whilst thinking about nothing in particular, I recently made a very reasonable acquisition for the grand sum of £56. 
It's a 1957 Leitz 90mm f4 Elmar. It's dog-eared and scabby, but the glass is really good.
Now normally I would have dashed around like a mad thing and tested and re-tested .  . . but this time I didn't, simply because of the weight of DIY upon me. Instead, I took it for a walk with my wife whilst we enjoyed some of the lovely Summer weather we had a few weeks back.
The photographs, now I've had some time to digest them, are not outstanding, but they have a quiet air to them which I am rather taken by.
The Elmar (possibly the cheapest M-Mount lens you can find) is a beautifully made, excellent performer and a great deal of fun to use.
Here's some of the results - they work well as pairs:

Numbers 1 & 3

Numbers 16 & 17

Numbers 19 & 26

And that's it folks - film was Tri-X rated at my usual EI 320, developed in 1+50 Rodinal for 14 minutes at about 21 C . . careful with that agitation Eugene - gentle and constant for one minute, then only one gentle inversion every 30 seconds. 
It's a good and Sheephouse approved combo.
Till the next time, wish me luck . . nearly there!


  1. Excellent stuff, Phil. The 90mm works really well with these subjects, flattening them nicely. The shots of the greenhouse (last two) are my favourites but I love the tree and water pics, too.

    What do you think of the Elmar in terms of shapness, etc? It seems very good value.

  2. Thanks Bruce - you know, strange to say, but I haven't actually had a chance to run them up the enlarger and see who salutes yet . . these are the dreaded scans.

    Eyeballing the negs though - they look fine and sharp - sort of typical Elmar sharpness, working pretty well in the closer ranges. It does flare, even with the correct hood, but I rather like the way it opens up the shadows. I am looking forward to using it more.

    It's nice and light, but I was making sure I didn't really go below 1/60th with preference given to 1/125th and higher (if possible in Scotland) . . .

  3. Hi Phil,

    It's nice to hear again from you. I wish you many good photos with your new 90.

    I have that feeling that the more experienced we get, the gentler our developer agitation becomes. At least that's what happened in my case.

    Btw, there used to be a "Send me an e-mail" type of box somewhere on your page which seems to have disappeared.


  4. Thanks Omar - I'll need to actually get out with it before I can take any more photos though! And you're right about agitation - I find really gently does it with Rodinal.

    As for the email - I think you have me anyway don't you - just feel free to fire away.