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Salvaging Miranda

A few weekends ago, I decided to use up four rolls of 35mm film I’ve had for a while.  I bought them cheaply off eBay – all were well-expired rolls of completely unknown condition.  Had they been kept in a fridge?  Or did someone store them on a radiator right next to an x-ray machine?  Who knew?

For this task, I chose my Miranda MS-2 Super and plumped for the f2.8 24mm lens – I broke the zoom lens a while ago and the other lens I bought, again cheaply of eBay, is the wrong mount so I guess my choice was rather limited!  I’m still getting used to this camera, with its strange focussing thing in the viewfinder and a meter so far over to the left of the viewfinder as to be barely visible in the periphery of my vision.  I like it though.

I wandered and I snapped. I pondered, crouched and was at one point mocked for photographing a puddle.  And then I went home.  A couple of weeks later, I finally got round to processing the rolls of film.  I had recently bought some Ilford Ilfosol 3 developer and was going to try this out.  I usually use ID-11, but I didn’t want to make up a batch of solution that I wouldn’t use that quickly, so Ilfosol 3 in theory fills the gap when I want to do a quick bit of processing.

It was at this point things started to go wrong.  I somehow managed to mix up my films (I had 1x Ilford HP5+, 2x Kodak 400 TMAX and 1x Kodak BW400CN) and ended up developing the HP5+ with one of the 400 TMAX rolls, then the other two rolls.  On the off-chance that someone with any real knowledge of film stock is reading this, did you spot the other problem?

I use black and white films because:

  1. I like black and white photos
  2. I have a shedload of them, thanks to an addiction to eBay
  3. They’re easy to process at home

The HP5+ and 400 TMAX films fall nicely into the easy to process at home category (as well as being really lovely films anyway).  However, the Kodak BW400CN isn’t actually a black and white film.  Well, technically it is since it will produce black and white images – but it requires C41 processing, which is what your local Snappy Snaps can do in a day (or shorter, if you’re really desperate and don’t mind paying more for it!) and is basically how colour films are processed.  Your average photo shop (Snappy Snaps, Boots, Jessops) will tend to send actual black and white films away for processing, meaning an agonising wait for photos that may or may not live up to expectations.

I digress.  Having a C41 film loaded in the tank along with a normal black and white film meant that my suck it and see weekend of happy snapping had now gone truly experimental.  Would I get any viable images from this process?  Only time would tell.

And time did tell.  Too much time, as it turned out.  Not being used to Ilfosol 3, I slightly messed up my timings.  Sadly, a slight error is all it takes to cock-up the negatives.  The HP5+ and 400 TMAX films came out a tad over developed, but salvagable.  The BW400CN (non-B&W process) film – itself a gamble – was blown out almost completely.  I say almost – I could see images on the negatives once they were drying, but I knew I had a challenge on my hands getting my scanner to make head or tale of what was there.

So began the salvage operation.  How many images could I rescue from this horror show?  Seventy-two, apparently (the gallery is below).  They’re not great, but I’m not showing them as examples of nice photos I want to share.  This post is all about the fun of learning, because that’s what I’m doing.  I’m still a total novice when it comes to processing films and mistakes are going to happen.  (Admittedly, mixing up rolls of film was a stupid mistake!)  Being presented with four over-developed sets of negatives presented me with the challenge of scanning and editing them to see what detail I could rescue and which photos had to be given up on.

The BW400CN film – the one that suffered worst of all – yielded a few images for me, but not without a lot of head scratching and a bit of Googling.  To rescue these images, I had to scan them not as negatives, but as positives – ending up with an image looking just like the film does when you hold it up to the light.  Then, in Lightroom, I had to invert the curve to get a normal-looking image.  After that, it was just whatever tweaks I fancied to bring them to life.

I can tell you’re itching to get to the gallery of salvaged images – or perhaps to pop the kettle on and have a nice cuppa.  I’m boring, I know this – I’m just laying all this out because I like to talk about the process from time to time, especially when what should have been a straightforward thing turns into distaster recovery.  I have learned much from this and it hasn’t dented my confidence to keep trying with film photography.

Now, without further ado, I present the seventy-two salvaged images in all their grainy glory…

The Murder Room

Some more photos from the soon-to-be-new offices. There’s a space in the building that is particularly grotty and it has been dubbed ‘the murder room’. However, today the lighting conditions were not conducive to creating that sort of atmosphere, so I chose a different corner of the building to have a little… er… fun.

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Took a few photos today, but not whilst wandering semi-aimlessly as usual. I was, instead, in a building that will soon be the new premises for the company I work for. The building has been standing empty for a while and has aged accordingly. But a clean up and a lick of paint will soon have it looking like a lovely office space.

For now though, it has a certain character…

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Odds and ends

Just a few random photos taken on various wanderings around Edinburgh and Glasgow. Only posting them because I’ve been a bit quiet of late and didn’t want anyone to think I’d fallen off the edge of the planet or owt.

Experiment: medium format 35mm

I bought a little gadget earlier this year that allows me to use 35mm film in a medium format camera.  On paper, it’s a nice idea.  The whole of the film is exposed, resulting in images that include the spool holes and frame info.  I’ve used used it once, on a thirty-six exposure film.  It took forever to finish the roll, which surprised me since I expected it to run through almost as quickly as a proper 120 film.  I took seemingly endles photos, desperately trying to finish it.

When I had the film developed, I discovered where I’d gone wrong – for the most part, I’d not been winding the film on enough.  Or perhaps it hadn’t wound tightly enough around the spool.  Either way, the developed film was a mixed bag of double and triple exposures, half frames and some other ropey images.

That said, with a little (read: a LOT) of tinkering in Lightroom, I salvaged some of the more interesting mishaps.  I may possibly have turned a few into little works of art.  Or not.

I hereby present to you some experimental happy accidents.

Lovely Locks on Brooklyn Bridge

It has to be done.  No, really it does.  A stroll across Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn (or the other way round – it’s a free country).
Along the bridge, despite official signs requesting it not be done, lovestruck couples have left padlocks in some bizarre effort to illustrate their love.  I don’t get it, personally, but then I’m a grumpy old fart.

Lovely Locks on Brooklyn Bridge

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Spent part of my birthday inside a lady. It’s not as rude as it sounds, for I am sure the local law enforcement would have had something to say about it.
No, I went up… hang on, this is still bad… Wait, I have it.

I spent part of my birthday climbing to the top of the Statue of Liberty, right up to the crown. (Phew)
Naturally, I took photos of Liberty from many angles on the outside, but it was also fascinating to see the constuction of the statue from the inside too.
This gallery offers a bit of both viewpoints.


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Popped over to New York at the end of January, to celebrate my 40th birthday.  Bad weather and (self-inflicted) illness hampered some of the trip but I managed to get out and about enough to see some of the sights and grab some nice photos.
Because the city is so tall and closed in, I relied quite a bit on the Canon EF-S 10-22mm lens and have now decided that this hateful object must be removed from my kit bag.  I genuinely cannot stand this lens – every photo taken while using it is awful and required a fair bit of editing afterwards.

Aaanyhoo, this is the first of a few wee galleries from this trip…


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Blue London

I’m making a concerted effort to sort through the myriad photos stored on various harddrives just now.  Most of them are organised in some manner, but there are many that aren’t and I’ve no idea how I’d like to categorise them.  Hey ho.

I have, however, found a very old project from many moons ago that involved me snapping anything and everything blue whilst on a short trip to London – hence the title ‘Blue London’.  The only rule for this was that the primary subject of the image had to be blue. And in London.  Simple, really.

Since I’m in the mood for sharing older stuff today, here be that project.

1. This project is over twelve years old
2. Twelve years ago, the internets weren’t as good as they are today
3. Back then, the internets weren’t very good at offering up large files
4. That’s why these photos are so small
5. Sadly, I think the original source images were on a harddrive that has long since carked it
6. Yes, that’s me in a couple of the images – with blue hair.
7. There’s every chance that may have, in some small way, been part of the inspiration for the project
8. A couple of the images features my old web address. It still works (as of this posting) but for how much longer..?

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