Had a few shots left on a roll of Fuji Neopan 1600 from Morocco, so I loaded it into my Зоркий-4/Zorki-4 (another Soviet rangefinder like the FED-2, can’t remember if I’ve written about it before) & put the Индустар-50/Industar-50 that I cleaned of fungus a while ago on it.Obviously 1600 was complete overkill for the lighting conditions, but it came out okay & there’s a certain nice feeling about using a lens you’ve dismantled & serviced yourself, it makes the whole process feel a bit more ‘personal’.
A bunch of snapsh!ts taken on Tri-X 400 with the FED-2 & the 35mm Jupiter-12. All shot without a lightmeter using Sunny 16. Some people say that if you’re going to shoot with Sunny 16 a lot it helps to stick with one film so that you get to know it, so I’m probably going to stick with Tri-X in my meter-less cameras.Despite the fact that the lens essentially has its own built-in hood & is a coated version, it still seems to flare. Either that or the body isn’t as light-tight as I thought it was… Not entirely sure why a lot of the shots came out with so much dust on them. 400 speed film at f/2.8 seems to be just about enough for the sort of dim light in the lab. Can’t tell if this is Hamish (famous cat about town) or just another cat. Never did work out why this shot is darker in a band at the bottom… FED-2 shutter moves horizontally, so it can’t be a slow/sticking shutter. Didn’t quite know how to expose this one. Thought this was a tiny bit funny. Somebody had the great idea of categorising all of our final year dissertations into how well they were going to grade. I won’t say which one mine is. Bit of vanity. I went out at dusk & completely screwed up the exposure. This one looks somewhat surreal. Whereas this one I was hoping to blow out the highlights & get more detail in the shadows. You know you should do some washing up when it wouldn’t have fitted in the shot with a 50mm… I had the camera wound on & prefocused for f/16 when this bird jumped out in front of me, but it was far too dark for f/16 so I tried to quickly open up & refocus, but wasn’t quite quick enough. Not sure whether this is flare or leaking. I’ll just call it ‘lomography’.
Despite having lived in St Andrews for almost 4 years now, I had never walked along the Lade Braes, a lovely path that follows the old walls of the town out along the route of the ‘lade’ (an artificial stream) that was cut to ensure a freshwater supply to the cathedral.This first one was probably my favorite of the bunch, but at the time I wasn’t expecting it to be anything special. Rewinding back to the beginning of the walk here. I dropped the colour from most of these after I scanned them, but for some reason I left this one with the tint it ended up with after the scan. I took the dSLR with the 100mm macro as it had just rained (& still was a bit) & I was hoping to get some clichéd close-ups of droplets on leaves, but with most of the walk in the shade of the trees, the sun behind the rainclouds & the fact the 100mm macro is only an f4, I couldn’t really get anything without cranking up the ISO into noisy territory. Luckily I grabbed the Canonet as an afterthought as I was heading out the door & was glad I did as even though I still had to shoot most things with a very slow shutter, the combination of f1.7 & not focusing on subjects less than 30cm away meant I at least came back with some usable snaps. I had it loaded with Tri-X & with a yellow filter screwed on. Of course the filter wasn’t of much use with no blue sky about & I think it actually caused the washed-out almost IR look to the foliage, but at least it didn’t completely ruin the shots. A lot of them would’ve looked better if I wasn’t forced to shoot wide open because of how dim it was, but hey – at least I got something. This might’ve come out nicer with a longer shutter (& no ugly sandbag wall in the background), but even managing to get it this slow handheld was a feat! Likewise with this. I might go back at some point with a tripod, cable release & a set of NDs or something. Really need to start taking more attention to my framing. Even with more DOF this would still look bad with the end of the branch jutting out at the bottom. Not really the sort of subject I wanted to shoot at f1.7. This came out better than expected though. The almost IR like quality to the foliage helps it I think. But then I am biased. Wanted to finish the roll before I started retracing my steps on the way back. Time for bench shots. Just look at how this is perfectly framed so the angle of the bench draws the viewer’s eye… straight off the edge of the photograph in the opposite direction to the rest of the image >.< It takes some skill to be able to frame a shot so badly after actually stopping to consider the framing.
Just some snaps from when I first got my FED-2 rangefinder (a type C2 if I identified it correctly) with a 52mm Industar (Индустар) 26M, which is both sharp & has a surprisingly large number of aperture blades for a ‘standard’ prime.I think these were all on Ilford FP4 which I’ve had in the fridge for years after seeing it cheap in Boots & buying it all up. I was impressed how sharp this one came out, it probably would’ve come out even better if I had a better scanner. The lens is coated, but it doesn’t handle flare reduction quite as well as modern Japanese coatings… 125 speed film inside with a f2.8 is just about doable, it seems.
The final destination of our Moroccan adventure was the lovely coastal city of Essaouira. We left the Atlas Mountains early in the morning after our one (very cold) night in the (well-hidden) Ait Souka guesthouse & headed back to Marrakech where we took the CTM bus all the way West to the coast.Essaouira, which is still referred to in some places by it’s Portuguese name ‘Mogador’, was the exact opposite of Marrakech. Whilst Marrakech was busy, polluted & a hunting ground for the locals to exploit unwary tourists, Essaouira was calm, had lovely clean sea air & the markets were genuinely lovely to walk around. Whereas we didn’t buy anything from the pushy, rude shopkeepers in Marrakech, we came away with all sorts of things from their counterparts in Essaouira; tea (& a teapot!), spices, jewelery (after a lengthy haggling session where I walked out at least twice & eventually paid less than a 1/3rd of the asking price) & even a tajine (which just about fitted in my hand luggage). Ironically this wasn’t the shop we bought drums from. Much cleaner than Marrakech as well! However whilst Essaouira was a lovely place to walk around, it didn’t boast much else to do – in Marrakech we were spoiled for choice with museums, galleries, gardens & palaces, but Essaouira only has the one museum, albeit a very nice one. We stayed two nights & by the morning of the third day some of the shopkeepers were beginning to recognise us as we walked by! One thing Essaouira had plenty of though, was fish. Neither of us eat meat but we do eat fish, so after 4 nights in Marrakech & the Atlas with not a single piece of fish to be found & living off of vegetable tajine & vegetable cous-cous every night, the abundance of wonderfully fresh fish was very welcome. In the main square there are a number of open-air grills, each with a huge display of fish from the harbor less than 250m around the corner. You take a tray, pile whatever fish you want onto it, pay for how much it weighs & a few minutes later it comes back from the grill. Even though the locals here were much friendlier than in Marrakech, a lot of these photos were still hipshots. My hipshot technique still needs work… But sometimes they come out okay. All of the woodwork (doors, windowframes, etc.) is a beautiful blue, something to do with a blue dye they used to extract from crustaceans that lived on the rocks off the shore. The expired Velvia came out red in the shadows again. And the classic Essaouira shot, as seen in the Lonely Planet guidebook… Lovely to walk around in the evening as well, though as with Marrakech everywhere closed pretty early. The cat wouldn’t move out of the frame, so I included it. There were cats everywhere in Essaouira. One final pot of tea :) After our two nights in Essaouira we headed back to Marrakech for one last night, but any photos from then will be in the Marrakech post.