Weekly Photos – [Lights in Edinburgh] – 03/12/2019

It’s the Christmas season in Edinburgh and with it comes many gorgeous displays of light.

The photos for this week are selected from some of the photos I had taken in the past few weeks as I had been unable to have them developed until now.

I had recently obtained a large spool of Kodak Vision 3 500T film and I wanted to test out this film and compare it to the 250D film that I was originally using. The 500T film is designed for tungsten lighting while the 250D film is balanced for photography in the daylight. The faster film was perfect for capturing scenes with low amounts of light and rendered colours beautifully.

The photos from the Christmas market were taken after the sun had set. There were many people at the market, but I wanted to capture scenes where I could focus on a fewer subjects. I was able to use the bright lights to frame individual subjects while still capturing the beautiful lighting in the scenes.

The last image wasn’t actually part of the Christmas market and was actually part of a storefront display. I really liked the framing and amount of detail that was put into this piece.

In addition to the Christmas market, the Edinburgh Zoo has a lantern display during this time of year. This year, the display was “Lost Worlds” and contained lanterns of dinosaurs and other prehistoric subjects.

I am a fan of incorporating people into my photos. In these images, I used the bright lights from the lanterns together with the people at the zoo to create silhouetted figures.


I hope you enjoy this week’s selection of photos.

Photowalk – Manchester [Colour] – Part 3

This post is a continuation of the series of photos from my trip to Manchester [Part 1 and Part 2].

Instead of photographs of people as in the previous two posts, this post focuses on the patterns and shapes that I noticed through my brief exploration of the streets of Manchester. In addition to the change of subject matter, these photos have all been taken in colour using the Kodak motion picture film stock Vision 3.

While black and white film stocks typically offer higher dynamic ranges than colour film stocks, all of the information about hue and saturation is lost with black and white film. Even though colour film results in lower contrasts in terms of highlights, midtones, and shadows, it offers contrast with the inclusion of different hues.

Thirty Thirty Three [Vision 3 250D, 1/250s,f/8, EF 50mm f/1.8 STM II]

Sometimes, beautiful scenes are rewarded to photographers who travel off the beaten path. For this photo, I wandered away from the downtown area of Manchester and was immediately drawn to an alleyway with aesthetically-pleasing designs painted on the walls. On a closer inspection, I realised that I would be able to draw out more from the scene than I initially anticipated (pun intended).

In this image, I focused on two patterns: the patterns of lines underneath the window sills, and the pattern of posters covering the window panes. I was able to frame each set of patterns using the rule of odds (in this case it is the rule of threes). There are three sets of patterns along the main horizontal that are equally-spaced apart.

I have a form of synesthesia where certain numbers are associated with colours. Hearing or reading about the number will result in imagining the colour and vice versa. Sometimes, I have also caught myself thinking, “that is a very [number]-coloured object” or “the number is [sequence of colours]”. For me, the number three is associated with orange so seeing the three orange lines made the lines even more orange (if that makes any sense).

For the photo, I used the piping alongside the walls to separate the scene into three approximately equal frames. Within each frame, there is a poster of a headshot of a futuristic-looking individual for the bar Twenty Twenty Two. Underneath each group of posters, there is a set of cyan, orange, and purple lines. I decided to take the photo at an angle to the alleyway to avoid too much repetition between the frames and also to avoid imprinting my own shadow on the wall.

Wall of Flowers [Kodak Vision 3 250D,1/250s, f/5.6, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM II]

The next photo was taken of a building near the town hall area in Manchester. I noticed that the outside of the windows were decorated with floral patterns alongside the south side of the building.

There doesn’t appear to be an overall pattern in the placement of the designs other than adjacent windows having different floral designs. Again, the number three appears as there are three unique floral designs.

I used a Dutch angle to photograph the building to avoid shooting the scene with a portrait orientation. Personally, I tend to avoid photographing architectural structures with a level horizon as I feel that it results in a boring image. The trees at the base of the building and the adjacent building help to offset the off-balance feeling from the Dutch angle. The use of the Dutch angle also helps to draw attention to the third column of floral designs as they are placed on the diagonal line within the frame.

Tram Lines [Kodak Vision 3 250D, 1/500s, f/5.6, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM II]

Interesting scenes can be found anywhere. It is up to the photographer to make the most of his or her surroundings and create interesting photos. In addition to being observant, it is also important to be able to predict the movement of the objects that make up the scene.

In the case of this image, I used the tram and the overhead electrical lines as well as the cross in the background. I had pre-focused the lens and used a fast shutter speed and narrower aperture. I had intended to capture the tram’s pantograph as the tram travelled past me, but the resulting image exceeded my original expectations with the use of lines.

This photo makes use of the diagonal rule where the points of interest lie on the diagonal line in the frame. On the diagonal line from the top left to the bottom right, the main points of interest are the connection between the pantograph and the electrical wire, and the intersection between the electrical wires and metal rods. On the diagonal line from the bottom left to the top right, the points of interest are the cross (with the metal rod stopping exactly in the center of the cross) and the intersections between the wires and rods.

I Love Lamp [Kodak Vision 3 250D, 1/180s, f/3.5, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM II]

The next image was taken of part of an art installation called The Manchester Lamps which was made by the art and design studio Acrylicize. There were five different lamps, each representing a different aspect of Manchester’s history [1].

This photo was taken underneath a single lamp. I chose to capture only a small aspect of the lampshade rather than the entire lamp as I was attracted to the patterns and shapes rather than the lamp itself. The lampshade combines softer rounded lines and circles with harsher edges and triangular shapes.

Reach for the Sky [Kodak Vision 3 250D, 1/350s, f/5.6, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM II]

Patterns do not always need to involve the repetition of shapes or designs. The repetition of objects may also form a pattern as shown in the above image.

In this photo, I used the rule of odds to compose the three tower cranes against the clear sky. The positioning of the cranes is almost perfect as they all lie on the diagonal of the frame and are equally-spaced apart.

Bars [Kodak Vision 3 250D, 1/250s, f/4, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM II]

This picture was taken in the Cathedral Gardens near the National Football Museum. I was taking a short break from walking around the city and positioned myself to shoot the wooden bars from the bench I was sitting on.

The photo is a bit different from the rest of the images in the set as it is the only one with people in the frame. However, I believe that the inclusion of the people helps to strengthen the image and also contributes to the patterns that were captured.

I waited until the woman on the left walked past the shortest pole from the left side. The curvature of the four poles draw interest to lead towards the woman and it feels that she is a part of the art installation itself. In the same vein, the four windows feel as if they are pointing down to the man sitting on the concrete slab. While the pattern for the woman was intentional, I only noticed the pattern in the windows after I had developed and scanned the film.


The images in the post are a bit different from the normal subject matter that I am interested in. However, it is fun to photograph different things once in a while. I hope you enjoyed reading about the images as much as I had taking them. I believe that I have enough images in colour to do a continuation of the Manchester series (this time with street photography).


The images have been shot on a Canon EOS Elan 7e (EOS 30) film camera using a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM II lens. The film stock used was 35mm Kodak Vision 3 250D (5207/7207) shot at 250 ISO. The majority of the photos have been taken using shutter priority with an adjustment for the exposure compensation depending on the scene.

As this is a motion picture film, the Remjet (Removable Jet Black) layer had to be removed before the actual development process. The film was developed using the Tetenal Colortec C-41 kit colour developer for 3:15 minutes at 38C (Cross-processed as the standard process is ECN-2). The film was then bleached and fixed using Tetenal Colortec C-41 BLIX for 4:00 minutes at 38C, followed by a water rinse for 3:00 minutes at 30C. Finally, the film was stabilised using the Tetenal Colortec C-41 kit stabiliser for 1:00 minute at 20C. The resulting negatives were scanned using the Epson V550 and edited in Photoshop.

Photowalk – Edinburgh Doors Open Days 2019

Doors Open Days is an annual Scottish event where many venues offer free entry to the public. While I have been in Edinburgh for two years, I did not have the chance to visit many of the older buildings and heritage sites. I decided that this event would be the perfect opportunity to visit these places and also practice some architectural photography.

As I knew that I would have more time to compose my shots compared to my street photography sessions, I brought out my trusty Canon A-1. The lack of modern auto-focus and auto-exposure settings required me to slow down and think about my compositions. I chose to bring a 28mm lens for wider-angle shots and a 50mm lens for general shooting situations.

The images were taken over the two day period for the Doors Open Days event in Edinburgh from 28 September to 29 September.

New Register House Dome Interior [Ilford FP4+, 1/30s, f/3.5, FD 28mm f/2.8]

The first stop on Saturday was the New Register House for the General Register Office for Scotland. The building exterior was similar to the other buildings near the central area of Princes Street. However, the interior was a completely different story.

The shelves were lined with binders, books, and other archival materials. There was a television in the center of the room which displayed a video of the frame of the structure and certain points of building. A number of tour guides guided visitors around the room and discussed the building’s history and activities of the National Records of Scotland.

I had originally wanted to photograph the ceiling of the dome directly underneath the center window. Unfortunately, the 28mm lens was not able to adequately capture my vision for the dome’s ceiling. I chose to shoot half of the dome while still capturing the multiple floors of archives and I believe that it provides a better representation of the structure and its contents.

Playfair Library, Old College, University of Edinburgh [Ilford FP4+, 1/60s, f/4, FD 28mm f/2.8]

Next on the trip was the Old College campus for the University of Edinburgh.

The first location I had visited on the campus was the Talbot Rice Gallery. Inside, there was a large art installation of giant-sized musical instruments and lights supported by accompanying music. There were also contemporary art pieces related to music and sounds. I do not have many photos from this section as I am not a fan of photographing art pieces in isolation. However, the art gallery was very enjoyable and I would like to revisit it in the future.

The Talbot Rice Gallery connected to the Playfair Library and this is where I had taken the above photo. Large white pillars lined both sides of the library with busts of famous figures beside each pillar. Shelves and shelves of books filled the opposing walls of the library, only to be separately by large windows overlooking the central area of the campus and the surrounding buildings.

The sun had reached its peak in the midday and it shone brightly through the glass windows of the hallway. This was perfect for capturing harsh contrasts and separate the human subjects from the whites of the pillars.


I had finished off the day with a session of street photography while listening to the buskers in the park.

McEwan Hall Basement [Ilford FP4+, 1/15s, f/3.5, FD 28mm f/2.8]

On the second day, I headed to McEwan Hall, a large auditorium for the University of Edinburgh. I knew that this building was going to be a fun experience as soon as I had entered.

The entrance to the auditorium was a basement-like area with white walls containing the names of whom I believe to be graduates from the University of Edinburgh. There were curved hallways which led to smaller rooms around the circular building and connected to a central miniature atrium area.

The central area of this basement had pillars placed neatly with lights adorning the walls. The tiled flooring was smooth enough to provide reflections of the light from the pillars and the walls. I was captivated by the pattern of the lights from the pillars on the rounded surface of the ceiling of the room.

McEwan Hall Stage [Ilford FP4+, 1s, f/4, FD 28mm f/2.8]

Up the stairs to the main floor was the main auditorium area of McEwan Hall. This section of the building was spectacular in both form and magnitude. Rows and rows of chairs were arranged neatly and the walls were decorated with beautiful paintings and painstakingly-crafted sculptures.

I managed to capture this scene from the second floor of the auditorium. As I did not have a tripod available, I used the seats to steady the camera so that I would be able to expose the shot properly.

While the scene is mostly devoid of people, there is a lone photographer with his camera and tripod on the stage. I have used this person to emphasise the sheer size of the auditorium.

McEwan Hall Ceiling [Ilford FP4+, 1/15 s, f/3.5, FD 28mm f/2.8]

The ceiling of the auditorium was the highlight (pun intended) of the experience. A circular chandelier was suspended from the dome-like ceiling, lighting up the painted figures circling the center. Each figure had a corresponding field of study, ranging from the literary arts to the sciences and mathematics.

While many photographers attempted to photograph the ceiling from directly under the chandelier, I wanted to shoot a mixture of circles and rounded shapes. The curved ceiling above the main stage connects with the circular dome, and this in turn is surround by arched pillars which supported the entire auditorium structure.

I was impressed at the amount of detail that the film was able to capture. I had overexposed slightly in order to preserve the shadow detail, and the overall darkness in the scene meant that I did not clip the highlights (again, pun intended) too much.

[Ilford HP5+, 1/30s, f/2.8, FD 50mm f/1.8

The final set of images photos from the Leith Theatre. The Leith Theatre is a theatre for performing arts and other events. I believe that the theatre itself was to be demolished but the people of Leith were able to convince the council to leave the building alone. The interior of the building was bare, but still had the potential to be filled with life.

There were many small rooms within the theatre. There were change rooms, store rooms, dance rooms, and gin rooms. Each room felt distinct and unique but they all contributed to the larger building of the theatre.

The first photograph is of a disassembled organ that was repurposed as hanging fixtures above a bar area. While the individual pieces of the organ were separated, they were still able to contribute together to a greater, albeit different, whole.

Please take a Seat [Ilford HP5+, 1s, f/2.8, FD 50 f/1.8]

I decided to take an abstract approach when photographing the rows of seats in the balcony area. The seats had a nice alternating pattern of light and dark red hues and formed a sort of checkered pattern that is still pleasing in black and white.

Leith Theatre Stage [Ilford HP5+, 1s, f/3.5, FD 50mm f/1.8]

Finally, I ended with a shot of the main stage of the theatre. While the seats on the balcony are empty, the focus of this scene is the main stage. The borders around the stage, together with the rows of lights hanging from the balconies, provide a frame for the people on the stage. The Leith theatre was the perfect closing act to the day and the event.


Overall, the Doors Open Days was a very enjoyable event and exposed me to many buildings and sites that I was unaware of during my previous two years in Edinburgh. I hope you enjoyed reading through my experience and enjoyed the accompanying photos as well.


The images have been shot on a Canon A-1 film camera using either a Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 lens or a Canon FD 28mm f/2.8 lens. The expired Ilford FP4+ film stock (expired in 1996) was shot and developed at 125 ISO. An expired Ilford HP5+ film stock (expired in 1993) was shot at 200 ISO and developed at 400 ISO. The majority of the photos have been taken using manual settings with TTL metering set to +0.5 EV.

The Ilford FP4+ was developed using Ilford Ilfosol 3 for 6:00 minutes at 20C. The Ilford HP5+ film stock was developed using Ilford Ilfosol 3 for 7:00 minutes at 20C. Ilford Ilfostop was used to halt development for 0:30 minutes at 20C. The film was fixed with Ilford Rapid Fixer for 3:00 minutes at 20C, followed by a water rinse for 3:00 minutes at 25C. The resulting negatives were scanned using the Epson V550 and edited in Photoshop.