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.

Weekly Photos – [Reflections] – 10 November, 2019

The theme for this week is “Reflections”.

Reflections can be found in many scenes, from lights reflecting off windows to the reflections in puddles on the ground.

I thoroughly enjoy the images of reflections that can be captured after or during the rain.

The reflections in puddles that are left over from the rain are one of my favourite subjects to photograph. As the shapes of the puddles varies depending on the characteristics of the ground or surfaces, they can provide a uniquely shaped frame for any reflected images.

For reflections in windows, the type of effect that is captured depends on the amount of light from both sides of the window. In some cases, the light from one side overpowers the light from the other side, resulting in a single “scene” dominating the image in the window. Other times, both sides may be equally illuminated, thus resulting in a blend of different scenes.

The rain also brings out different effects and textures that can be used together with the reflections in a scene.

In this photo, the condensation in the window has obscured some of the baked goods inside the shop. However, the light on the right is not obscured and helps to emphasise the image of the man that is reflected in the window. The rest of the objects inside the shop create a frame around this person and make him the focus of this photo.


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

Photowalk – Manchester [B&W] – Part 2

This post is a continuation from the previous post about my black and white photos from my short trip to Manchester [Part 1 here].

The previous part showcased the images that I had taken with a telephoto lens with a focal length of 85mm. For lenses with longer focal lengths, I can take similar photos from farther away or capture details of my subjects without having to get uncomfortably close. As I was still not very familiar with the city and its people, the 85mm lens was a better choice for my shooting style. However, I needed to get out of my comfort zone in order to improve in street photography.

I had used a “nifty fifty” lens, referring to the 50mm focal length, for the majority of the following photos. The 50mm lens is my preferred lens when I am starting out in a location due to its ability to shoot close-up and wider angle shots. With a shorter focal length than the 85mm lens, this lens required me to get closer to my subjects. However, the advantage of the wider lens is that I am able to capture more of a scene than if I am to shoot with a longer lens from the same distance.

Although the autofocus had been very useful in both the 50mm and 85mm lenses, I did not want to rely on the autofocus to shoot from the hip. One small issue with the 50mm f/1.8 STM II lens is the lack of a zone focus indicator so it is difficult to judge the exact distance to which the lens is focused. This is a minor inconvenience as the autofocus has provided me with more shots than I could have gotten had I been using the manual focus FD lenses with my 1979 Canon A-1. When the autofocus wasn’t working with my vision for a scene, I was able to adjust the focus quickly with the muscle memory I had gained through shooting with the Canon A-1.

Man in the Park [Ilford FP4+, 1/125 s , EF 50mm f/1.8 STM II]

This first photo was taken in one of the parks near the University of Manchester. While walking through the park, I noticed a man on a bench who was feeding a large group of birds. I got close enough to capture some detail of the man but not too close to startle the birds. I had also wanted to photograph some of the birds flying in and out of the larger group, but I decided that I still wanted the man to be the main focus of the scene and the movement of birds would have drawn interest away from the man.

I adjusted for a slower shutter speed so that the camera would choose a narrower aperture to keep more of the scene in focus. I didn’t want to have a shallow depth of field as I knew that I could use the negative space in the grass to draw more attention to the man. I’m not too happy with the location of the tree being in the center of the frame, but I believe that this was the best angle at the time.

The man and the bench fuse together to form a single object, and this is complemented by the large group of birds in the center of the frame. I decided against a tighter crop in order to provide more context for the man. While the man is the only human in the frame, he is not alone as he is surrounded by a large group of birds. By including more of the surrounding park area, there is a sense of isolationism that is juxtaposed with the crowdedness in the center of the scene.

Life Moves On [Ilford FP4+, 1 s, EF 50mm f/1.8 STM II]

I wanted to capture the busyness of the city and I knew that a long exposure would be the perfect way to achieve this goal. Here, I saw a pavement area with a lot of pedestrian movement. I had held up my camera to pretend to shoot some shots and observed that many people just ignored me and kept on moving. This was a welcome change from the touristy city of Edinburgh where the inhabitants and visitors are sometimes a bit too considerate of people with cameras.

For a one-second shot, I propped my arm up against a pole in order to stabilise the camera. Thankfully, the slower shutter speed was compensated by a narrower aperture and this allowed me to keep more of the scene in relative focus. I decided set my focus point to a distance which was approximately 1/3rd of the way into the scene.

The results from long exposures are difficult to predict, but they are very satisfying when they work. There is a diverse selection of people in this scene, and the differing amounts of motion blur reveal the uniqueness of each individual. Some people are moving quickly and busily to their destinations, while others are slower and enjoying their walks.

Between the Frames [Ilford FP4+, 1/250 s, EF 50mm f/1.8 STM II]

Sometimes mistakes can occur in the photographic process, either in the development and printing of the film, operation of the camera, or otherwise. I believe that it is important to embrace these mistakes as they are an important aspect of shooting with film. In this case, there are light leaks in the frame and these led to two overexposed rectangles at the top and bottom of the frame. The light leaks are likely the result of a mistake I had made when I had respooled the film from a larger spool into the film canister.

The original scene itself is not particularly interesting. There is a woman talking on her phone and standing beside a traffic sign. I have included the out-of-frame person with the umbrella in order to indicate that it is raining in this scene. The reflections on the road also contribute to the rainy scene.

The light leaks help to remove distractions from the scene and increase the emphasis that is placed on the woman. While not forming a conventional frame around the subject, I feel that the light leaks around the woman also achieve a sub-framing effect. Interestingly, the top and bottom light leaks stop right above and below the woman respectively, leading me to wonder if there is something special to the woman.

The Disappearing Man [Ilford FP4+, 1/180 s, EF 50mm f/1.8 STM II]

Similar to the previous image, the things that you fail to account for sometimes produce the most interesting effects. In this photo, the man on the right’s upper body appears to be transparent while his lower half remains opaque. This is contrasted with the other people in the frame who are quite nontransparent (with the exception of the reflection of a person with an umbrella and a stroller).

The photo was shot in the rain while I was waiting under a bus shelter. I looked behind me and through the glass to see pedestrians walking past the stores. I decided that the man on the right would be my point of interest and placed him in the lower right corner of the frame using the rule of thirds. A mixture of the reflections caused by the rain and the reflections in the glass resulted in this peculiar effect.

The disappearing effect is caused by the reflection of the bright bricked building being reflected in the glass. The surrounding buildings around this bricked building are not as brilliant, and as a result are not displayed as prominently in the reflections.


I hope you enjoyed the images as much as I had enjoyed taking and editing them. I may continue the series in the future with more black and white images or move onto the colour images that I had taken on this trip.


The images have been shot on a Canon EOS Elan 7e (EOS 30) film camera using either a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM II lens. The expired Ilford FP4+ film stock (expired in 1996) was shot and developed at 125 ISO. The majority of the photos have been taken using shutter priority with an adjustment of EV +0. I have only listed the shutter speeds for the images as I do not recall any of the corresponding apertures.

The film was developed using Ilford Ilfosol 3 for 5:30 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.

Photowalk – Manchester [B&W] – Part 1

I had recently travelled to Manchester as a break and also to do some street photography. I had never been to Manchester before and I thought it would be a good experience to broaden my horizons and improve my photography. For the first few days of the trip, I explored the downtown and surrounding areas and was mainly photographing in colour. I used these days for scouting areas which would contain interesting scenes and people, and also to identify any areas to avoid.

My preference for street photography is still black and white film and I chose to use the expired Ilford FP4+ film stock for this purpose during the last couple of days of the trip. I brought my 50mm lens for general shooting but also used my 85mm lens for some shots where I wasn’t able to get close enough to my subjects in time. The benefit of using prime lenses with these particular focal lengths is that it forced me to move around and keep my eyes open.

I Want to Ride My Bicycle [Ilford FP4+, 1/500 s, EF 85mm f/1.8 USM]

Sometimes, there’s no time to think about composition and you need to take the shot and hope it turns out well — especially with a medium such as film. This was one of those times.

I was resting on a bench in front of the town hall when I had noticed a boy performing tricks on his bicycle. As he was about to pass by, I turned around quickly and readied my camera for less than half a second before I snapped the shot. Thankfully, the autofocus on the 85mm was fast enough to focus on the boy as he performed a wheelie across the tiled floor.

The positioning of the boy in the scene ended up being even better than I had expected. The negative space in the image is perfect as the light-coloured floor and pillars in the background contrast against the boy’s dark-coloured clothing and bicycle. Due to the faster shutter speed and longer focal length of the 85mm lens, the other objects in this scene are not in focus, placing an even greater emphasis on the boy.

Street Portrait [Ilford FP4+, 1/350 s, EF 85mm f/1.8 USM]

This photo was also shot in front of the town hall, but on the other side on the bench. I was watching the trams pass frequently and figured that I would be able to work with the windows to sub-frame the passengers within the tram. I noticed this scene as the tram had pulled up to the station at the perfect location.

The metal pole and seat inside the tram, the border of the tram window, and the metal framing around the glass pane all combine together to form a frame for this “portrait” of a woman. I had intentionally metered so that the woman would be underexposed and appear as a silhouette against the white pillar in the background.

Unlike the previous photo where I did not have time to react, I had a bit more time here and noticed another pedestrian walking down the ramp from the station. I had adjusted the shutter speed to be able to freeze the motion as well as capture both the man and the woman in focus, and waited patiently for the man to come into the frame. Both people have similar postures, but the bright visage of the man provides contrast against the darkness of the silhouette.

Child-like Curiosity [Ilford FP4+, 1/250 s, EF 85mm f/1.8 USM]

In this scene, I was walking along the sidewalk and I noticed a little girl walking alongside her father. They had stopped at the bus stop and were likely waiting for the bus. I realised that the bus stop would be perfect for framing subjects and possibly be a subject in itself.

The adults are obscured by the signs and supports of the bus stop, leaving the children as the focus of the scene. The girl is interested in something outside of the frame while the child in the stroller is preoccupied with something in front of him.

I attempted to use the rule of odds in this composition with the three panels of glass of the bus stop. The scene may be enhanced with the addition of a third child in the last glass panel. Of course, part of the fun of street photography is unpredictability and oftentimes I find that the scenes are not exactly as I would like them to be.

City in Motion [Ilford FP4+, 1/2 s, EF 85mm f/1.8 USM]

I had wanted to capture the motion of the city while still having a stationary subject. Due to the placement of the tram tracks and the openness of the roads, many pedestrians were interrupted momentarily in their crossing of the streets by the crossing of the trams or other vehicles. With this knowledge, I took an opportunity to photograph a man who was waiting for a tram to pass before continuing on with his journey.

The difficulty of photographing motion in the scene arose from the high amount of light present. I did not have a neutral density filter available so I would need to use the smallest possible aperture in order to achieve usable images with slower shutter speeds. Thankfully, the slower film speed of FP4+ was a huge boon for longer exposures even in the daylight.

The blurred movement of the tram, together with the darkened trunks of the trees, frame the man perfectly. The trio of trees to the right also draws attention away from the other parts of the frame.

I feel that the man represented myself. While I was remaining stationary and resting on a bench, the world wasn’t going to stop and would continue on moving without me.


I hope you have enjoyed these images and I look forward to sharing more photos from this trip in the future.


The images have been shot on a Canon EOS Elan 7e (EOS 30) film camera using either a Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens. The expired Ilford FP4+ film stock (expired in 1996) was shot and developed at 125 ISO. The majority of the photos have been taken using shutter priority with an adjustment of EV +0.5. I have only listed the shutter speeds for the images as I do not recall any of the corresponding apertures.

The film was developed using Ilford Ilfosol 3 for 5:30 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.