A quick post today to share another photo from my second try developing a black and white film, more than a year ago. It took me a while trying to get the right point of view, and in retrospect I think I could have done better. By the time I realised, of course, it was too late! Such is film. Teaches me to use the tripod more, and be more deliberate in composing.

I took the photo handheld as a single exposure. Camera used is my EOS Elan II, with a 35mm roll of Kodak TMX 100. I must say I’m rather happy with the tonality of this film. Scanned on an Epson V700 Photo, and processed in Photoshop. If I remember well, I just used selective curves layers to balance exposure and contrast. Nothing that couldn’t be replicated in the darkroom.

Click on the photo for a larger version; comments welcome, and of course feel free to share the link.


Over the last couple of years, following my closer involvement with the photographic society at the University of Surrey, I have been shooting more photos, and generally sharing at least one photo a week on this blog. More recently the average has been closer to two a week, at least until we moved back to Malta. Since then, things have slowed down a bit, but I still have several images I want to share. In the interest of keeping things current, I intend to share all pending images by Christmas. This should help me focus on newer photographic objectives in Malta (and whatever travels come along) for the coming year. And of course helps remind me that there are still several sets to be processed.

Expect to continue seeing some newer stuff on Mondays, which has become my main blogging day. I’ll probably share older images, those that I never quite got around to sharing, on Wednesdays and Fridays. Time permitting, of course.


To kick things off, here’s a couple of photos of a souvenir from a short visit to Zurich last year. I tend to go for foodie stuff when looking for mementos to bring back. R never complains. I was there for a conference, and one of the attendees, an Italian who worked there, highly recommended these sweet treats as The Thing To Get. They’re effectively mini macarons, but don’t call them by that name there!


R originally wrote about these on her blog. I took both photos handheld as a single exposure. At the time I was still using the 30D, which has an APS-C size sensor. Both photos were taken with the 50mm f/1.4, which gives a very usable field of view (equivalent to about 80mm on a full frame), and a shallow depth of field. Both pieces of kit are now mostly in R’s hands, and I must say I miss that field of view. I tried the 85mm f/1.8 a few months ago, which is rather similar on my current full-frame camera, and I must say I am tempted. But then I’ve already bought more than enough lenses to keep me busy…

Click on the photos for a larger version; comments welcome, and of course feel free to share the link.

Fields, Trees, and Verdala Palace

Fields Trees and Verdala Palace (2837)

It’s almost November and often it still feels like summer. I’m not needing the A/C in the car any more but we’re still in tee-shirts. Yesterday we went for a walk near Buskett and this is what it looked like. Bright clear skies, and only a light breeze to take the edge off. This is glorious walking weather, though not ideal for photography. Still, I managed to take a few photos I’m reasonably happy with. Which in the circumstances is not that bad. It will take time to learn (or re-learn) where to go; the good thing is that it will be rather easy to revisit these places in more photographically congenial conditions.

So as we headed out of Buskett towards Wied il-Girgenti this view opened up. Dominating the skyline is Verdala Palace, currently a residence of the president, formerly built by the Knights of St John in the 16th century. The managed woodland around it is Buskett, a hunting ground for the Knights. The walls dividing the fields in the foreground are the traditional Ħitan tas-Sejjieħ, made of carefully placed stones with no mortar or other binding agent.

I took the photo handheld as a single exposure. No filters were used, as I only had minimal gear with me on this walk (read: just the camera and one lens). Post-processing involved the use of selective curves layers to adjust exposure and contrast.

Click on the photo for a larger version; comments welcome, and of course feel free to share the link.

Shooting the Breeze

Shooting the Breeze (1813)

Right now I think this is what I’d rather be doing: having a quiet word with a few friends with Ightham Mote just across the pond. It’s been a while since we visited – I recall there were bluebells in the woods, so it must have been early spring. We enjoyed that day out in Kent, and would gladly revisit.

I took this photo handheld as a single exposure. Post processing was minimal, just a slight adjustment to contrast with a global curves layer.

Click on the photo for a larger version; comments welcome, and of course feel free to share the link.

Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Station (2586)

Several weeks ago, before moving to Malta, work took me to New York City. I had not been there since before the towers fell. I was still shooting film at the time; in fact I had only recently bought the EOS Elan II (that I still have). Also, that time I was only there for a couple of days, so no time to do much.

This visit was also rather short, but I took the chance to go to a few places that I’ve wanted to see for some time. One of these was Grand Central Terminal  on Park Avenue and East 42nd Street. This is such a beautiful and well-kept building, and to see it still being used as a regular train station is just fantastic. Pity that the train I needed to take didn’t leave from there but from the more modern Penn Station.

With all the people there I knew I wanted to take a long exposure shot. There was only one snag: I was leaving my tripod at the hotel. Small as it was, I still found I’d rather not carry it around the city with me all the time. Less weight, less bother. So I found a suitable ledge, composed with live view (to avoid putting myself in awkward positions), and used the self-timer to activate the required exposure, avoiding camera shake. I took a few exposures at different durations to see what would work: I wanted some blurring of movement, but I still wanted the people to look like people. I don’t think I needed any filters, since this was indoors.

In post I used selective curves layers to adjust contrast a little, and eventually decided to go with a black and white presentation. That was rather unplanned, and I think helped bring out the detail in the roof so much better. It also avoids the inevitable clash of colours on people’s clothes.

Click on the photo for a larger version; comments welcome, and of course feel free to share the link.


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