I loaded my Hasselblad with some Ilford Delta 400. As it turned out, I didn’t load it very well. The winder became a little reluctant about a third of the way through the roll.

Then, when I was loading the film onto the spiral after shooting it, I couldn’t get it aligned correctly.

End result: three or four wrecked frames.

I subsequently Googled ‘Loading a 501CM correctly’ and discovered that I’d been missing out a crucial step: it appears that you have to slide the film leader under a lip at the top of the magazine, which I didn’t know.

Needless to say, the ruined frames were some of the better ones on this particular roll.

Ignorance was the cause of my errors: I hadn’t taken the time to learn how to load the film into the camera properly. I’d also forgotten how to load film onto a spiral correctly. The cost was a couple of lost photographs. I can always go back and re-take the photographs but they’ll not be quite the same. Some lessons are learned the hard way. It seems age is no protection.

The triangular aberration in the lower right of the frame was caused by incorrect loading onto the film spiral. It's happened before. I need to find a solution or revert to sending my films away for processing.
The triangular aberration in the lower right of the frame was caused by incorrect loading onto the film spiral.



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I went out with the camera yesterday and took this photograph. It’s just down the road a bit. It was the first time in a while that I’ve had mud on my boots. Quite pleased with this composition. I see quite a few scenes when I’m out in the car that I would like to photograph but with the roads round here being country ones, there’s nowhere to stop.

Periodically I toy with the idea of getting a little motorbike specifically for camera outings but the thought of another system to feed and maintain puts me off, so for now it’s going to be locations within walking distance or places where I can stop the car.




Recently I gave up dairy and eggs. I’d been vegetarian for about 25 years and had been thinking about going vegan for a while. My older brother has been vegan for a couple of years and kept on telling me how great he felt, how he had lost weight.

As for me, so far so good. I don’t miss cheese, eggs or milk at all. In fact I don’t think I could go back to eating them. I don’t really have a sweet tooth any more so I didn’t really eat cakes, puddings or ice cream. One less problem.

I’ve lost about 7 kilos over the past couple of months and whilst I’ve been on a weight-loss diet, I think being vegan has made it easier to lose the weight.

I don’t know if I’d say I feel significantly healthier but I certainly don’t feel any worse. (I’ve also been avoiding beer, which has made a difference to how I look and feel though.)

Meat and dairy are primary sources of calcium and B12 for most people, so I’ll be taking supplements for those: a B complex pill for the B12 and soya milk for the calcium. Hopefully that’ll suffice, though I have read about vegans with brittle bones here and there. (Possibly scare stories, I’ll do some research and find out.)

Another aspect to veganism its that it’s easier on the planet: meat and dairy are resource-intensive and they account for a big chunk of CO2 emissions.

One of my main motives for going vegan though, is the fact that I like animals, or, more accurately I hate to think about animal cruelty. I don’t think it’s possible to produce meat, eggs or milk without the animals suffering in some way. It feels good to have a clear conscience about that side of things.

The only other thing I have to think about is leather: only one footwear manufacturer’s shoes fit my fat feet (Geox). Unfortunately, they use leather or suede in all their products, so I’ll be doing a search for an alternative when I run out of trainers (I went on a splurge before I decided to go vegan so I have a couple of years worth of them stocked up).

Anyway, veganism seems to be trendy these days. So much the better. I just hope those experimenting with it for whatever reasons will stick with it.



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This is just up the road a bit. Taken a few days ago. I thought I had Tri-X in the camera but it turned out to be Delta 400. A nice film all the same.

I’d like to make a gravure print of this. Might happen, might not.

It would be nice to have a press but they’re big, heavy and expensive, bedsides which I don’t have too many negatives that are suited to gravure.

Maybe one day though…


Oliver Sacks

I’ve read most of Oliver Sacks’ books. I’m not a book critic so I won’t go into detail about why I like his writing but in short, he was humane, learned and interesting.

Yesterday I bought the last book he ever published, “Gratitude”. I got it on my Kindle. It was a great read, if short (It’s only 64 pages). In my opinion it’s one of his best.

I was disappointed to reach the end so soon, but the last lines of the book contained this insight, which was worth the cover price alone: “And now, weak, short of breath, my once-firm muscles melted away by cancer, I find my thoughts, increasingly, not on the supernatural or spiritual but on what is meant by living a good and worthwhile life – achieving a sense of peace within oneself.”




Over quota on this stuff too.
Over quota on this stuff.

I took this photo when I was thinking about doing bottle photography. I’ve since abandoned that particular idea because:
a) I no longer need the money, and
b) I dislike advertising in general and alcohol advertising in particular.
c) I didn’t have a proper studio.

Anyway, if something needs to be advertised in order to sell, I’m not sure I want to help. I’m also generally against consumerism and added to that, I think alcohol is a bad thing for a lot of people and therefore banning alcohol advertising would be a good thing in my opinion.

So whilst I enjoyed (Sort of) trying my hand at product photography, I’m not sorry it didn’t work out.


Leitz Summicron 35mm F2.0 Quick Owner Review

Since it’s late and I have nothing better to do, I thought I’d just post a quick review of my Summicron 35mm 2.0.

I bought this (Used) lens on eBay about a year ago. I think I paid over the odds for it, in hindsight. The (Cypriot) bloke I bought it from said it was unused but I looked up the date of manufacture a couple of days ago and it’s apparently 2000-2004. It seems to me unlikely that it was sitting in the box for more than 10 years…

Anyway, it’s in mint condition so who knows. I’ve only used it on three rolls of film (All Tri-x) but the results have been fantastic. It’s pin-sharp edge-to-edge; nice and contrasty and I don’t see any distortion, even when using it for portraits from nearest focus.

This is a solid lump of metal and glass. The only piece of plastic on it is the little focus grip, which is unfortunate but nothing’s perfect. It’s quite heavy for such a small lens. I think the barrel’s made from from brass, whereas the black version of this lens is made from aluminium. As I said, it’s quite a diminutive piece of engineering – the filter size is only 39mm. My old Canon 35mm 1.4 L was a monster by comparison.

I recently listed this lens on eBay (I was planning to sell it and my M6 body) but got hardly any interest. It may have been that I’d priced it too high – I’m not sure. Maybe there just isn’t much of a market for this particular model.

At any rate, I’m happy to hold onto it for now. It’s a joy to use and the results are fantastic.

Here are some sample pictures from it:






Leica M6 Quick Owner Review

I got this camera about a year ago. I’d had one before and only put one roll of (Colour) film through it before selling it but this time I was determined to use it.

However, I found myself looking at the negs from the last roll of Tri-X I put through this one and feeling distinctly underwhelmed (Not that they were lacking in technical quality, just that they were a bit boring). This was only roll number three too. Not exactly heavy use.

So I listed it on eBay, reasoning that it was too expensive to have lying around. I had it on there for about a week before I had a change of heart. This was inspired by looking back at some photos from film numbers one and two, some of which I was very pleased with. Additionally, I had sent a print from it to a Japanese bloke and he had seen fit to frame it, which encouraged me.

It’s a very nice piece of engineering. It’s solid metal, glass and leather. The only plastic bit is the wind-on lever shroud. Everything about this camera is quality. The controls feel silky smooth. It has heft. The ergonomics are perfect. There’s nothing extraneous on it. It feels as though it’ll last a hundred years and it probably will, if looked after.

I took it out in the dusk tonight and shot some pictures of the housemartins wheeling over the garden. Not sure if I got anything but I just got back from posting the film away so I’ll know in a few days.

I hope to hold onto the M6 for the foreseeable future. It’s such a good tool, I really enjoy using it and it yields great results. (The lens I have for it is a Summicron 35mm F2.0, which is as nice a thing as the camera body but I’ll review that in another post.)




The bread: before baking.

I made some bread yesterday. It turned out fairly well. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer for the first part of the build process, then hand-kneaded.

The recipe I used was this one:

One thing I forgot to do was add the olive oil but I’m not convinced it made a huge difference. I used Doves Farm organic flour since I try to avoid pesticides.

Anyway, I had a slice of it toasted for breakfast this morning and it was fine.

I’ll make some more tomorrow. This time I might add some herbs to the mix. Possibly a few olives too. I’d like to use unsalted black olives but I can’t find any at a reasonable price so I’ll go with what I have.

Making your own bread isn’t much cheaper than buying it from the supermarket, in fact it the cost is probably about the same once you factor in electricity for the oven.

Nonetheless, there’s something satisfying about making your own, so I think I’ll continue.

After baking.
After baking.


Feline Hyperthyroidism


The cat hasn’t been well lately. Primarily, he has been losing weight. We couldn’t work out why so we took him to the vet. They took some blood and the vet said possibly a thyroid problem.

We got the results the next day and sure enough his thyroid looked to be out of whack. They took more blood which confirmed things.

Hyperthyroidism can be nasty. The symptoms in humans include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disturbance

The symptoms are probably much the same for cats I should imagine.

The treatment options we were offered for Gus were:

  1. Radio iodine – a permanent cure but requires a two-week stay at the vet’s, so we ruled it out as he gets stressed there.
  2. Surgery- again, a permanent cure but he’s old and we didn’t want to put him through it.
  3. Dietary restriction of iodine – expensive and not as good as the option we chose.
  4. Methimazole gel – this is what we settled on. You apply a small amount of the gel to the inside of the ear once a day. The drug suppresses production and release of thyroid hormones. Side-effects are rare apparently. Costs are £34 per  month for the gel, plus about £35 every three weeks for a blood test to check thyroid levels. All things considered, I think we went for the best option.

Hopefully Gus will get well again with no side-effects. Costs per annum will be about £1000, which is quite steep but he’s been a great cat and we don’t mind spending the money.

Edit: I’ve discovered that on methimazole, cats can be expected to live for only 3-5 years after starting treatment. They can also suffer liver damage if their hyperthyroidism is left untreated for too long. More here.