London, New York, Pontycymmer … Artist at work .. Kevin Sinnott

Over the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of spending time with world renowned artist Kevin Sinnott who lucky for me lives here in Pontycymmer where he also has his studio and his most excellent gallery “Studio 18”.

My first thoughts about this series of images was to shoot it completely on film which after my initial test shoots was not going to show how I pictured the project in my mind where I had some sort of control over the colours of the paintings.

So I used a mix of film & Digital hopefully to give a good overview of a working artist.

Before we start here is a very brief snippet about Kevin that I procured from the web….

Kevin Sinnott

Born in Sarn, South Wales in 1947, Kevin Sinnott is a contemporary Welsh artist with a truly international reputation. He trained at Cardiff College of Art & Design, Gloucestershire College of Art & Design and at the Royal College of Art, London. Kevin remained in London throughout the 1970s and 80s, building a very successful career, and exhibiting at leading London galleries, major galleries in the USA and mainland Europe.
Kevin’s work is collected worldwide and he is represented in many important public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. His large canvas, ‘Running Away with the Hairdresser’ has proved to be one of the National Museum and Galleries of Wales’s most popular acquisitions.
Kevin returned to live in Wales in 1995 and has quickly established himself at the forefront of the renaissance in Welsh painting. While his work is primarily concerned with human relationships, the influence of the south Wales landscape is strongly felt in his paintings. He was elected to the Royal Cambrian Academy in 2007.

 

I will include some links at the end of the post to various articles featuring Kevin that may be of interest.Hopefully this will be the start of an ongoing project where I hope to spend time with artists in their studio or place of work where I can document the process of their discipline whether they are a painters, photographers, illustrators, musicians, sculptors etc

This 1st post may be an exception as Kevin gave me unlimited access to him and his studio for which I am so grateful.

 

I was very lucky with my timing as Kevin was in the middle of a painting on the day we arranged for me to pop over to do the studio shoot.

I was privileged to watch him work and then re work the painting “SuperMam” which will feature in most of the following images, please excuse the slight colour variations as obviously they are a mix of Film & Digital.

The paintings need to be seen in life to appreciate them  🙂

The images were shot on a mixture of Kodak Portra 400, Fuji Pro 400H for the colour and ilford HP5+ and Kodak T-Max for the B&W.

Cameras used were Nikon F100, Mamiya 645, Mamiya C330 and Leica M2.

Digital were Nikon D600, Fuji XT-1 and Fuji X-Pro1

Martin Tinney Gallery
http://www.artwales.com/artists-detail-mtg-en.php?artistID=49
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Wales online link
http://www.walesonline.co.uk/whats-on/kevin-sinnotts-new-paintings-go-4891977
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Studio 18 link
http://studio18.wales/
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Youtube video link

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National Museum link
https://museum.wales/art/online/?action=show_item&item=1671
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Flowers Gallery
https://www.flowersgallery.com/artists/view/kevin-sinnott

Thanks for looking ….

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All images are available as prints just drop me an email

I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

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Summer Velvia 50 colours ….

Last week I did my good deed of the month by giving away a camera to a twitter photographer friend who was happy to pay the postage but also gave me a lovely surprise by also sending me a little Lomo camera along with a selection of films one of which was some Fuji Velvia RVP50 which I have not had a great deal of experience with. I have shot plenty of Fuji Velvia RVP100 in both 35mm and 120 with lovely results but the RVP50  was quite a new experience.

I loaded up the Nikon F100 as I find the metering to be the most accurate and rated the film at 25 iso as it had expired back in 2006 and processed it using the Tetenal E6 kit. When opening the developing drum the colours were popping even before holding up to the light and once I got the scans into Lightroom I began to understand why photographers rave about this iconic film stock. The day that I shot the film was bright and sunny which obviously aided the look of the images with the Reds and greens almost aglow.

Obviously I will have to add a few rolls of this to my film fridge very soon and I will look forward to loading it up the next time we get any sun here in the South Wales Valleys.

Thanks for looking ….

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All images are available as prints just drop me an email

I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

I love shooting expired film ……

Last week I managed to source some of my favorite colour negative film Fuji Reala from ebay and along side of the Reala the vendor also had some Kodak Vericolor II which I also bought to give it a try.

I have previously shot a roll of Vericolor III that I had been given and really liked the muted tone that I gave so I was hoping that this gave similar results.

I decided to take the Mamiya C330 for a run out as I had been neglecting it over the Yashica Mat 124G recently, I used both the 80mm f2.8 and 65mm f3.5.

Here are the images, only 9 as the other 3 were bracketed shots ….  It was an overcast day with glimpses of sunshine now and again.

I rated the roll at 80 iso with my Sekonic meter which was pretty much spot on.

If I shoot the next roll in brighter conditions I could probably rate the film at 100 or even box speed as it didn’t seem to have lost a lot of sensitivity even though the 2 boxes had expired back in 1994  🙂

Thanks for looking ….

Click on an image to view larger

All images are available as prints just drop me an email

I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

All my #SummerFilmParty entries in one place ….

I have been taking part in a Twitter competition #SummerFilmParty where the photographers have to use certain types of film during shoot week then over the following 2 weeks develop and then post the results.

Today was the last posting day so I decided to also post all my entries her together.

I used 2 cameras … Nikon F90 with a 50mm f1.4 & Sigma 105mm f2.8 with some Kodak Ektar.

and Yashica Mat 124G with Fuji Reala 100 both rolls developed and scanned at home.

Here they are in no particular order … Obviously the Square images are from the Yashica Mat  🙂 As usual it was fun to be a part of …. here is the link to Emulsive where you can see the info about this and future competitions .. Summer Film Party also here is the Twitter link @summerfilmparty 

Thanks for looking ….

Click on an image to view larger

All images are available as prints just drop me an email

I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

#Camerachallenge time ….

Over the last week or so I have been taking part in the #camerachallenge on twitter organised by fellow photographer Jason Avery @Jaysargo who came up with the idea of buying a camera for under £5 or equivalent in any other currency and then shooting and posting the results followed by a twitter Q&A today all about the process.

I am always looking on ebay and in charity shops for cameras so that part was not new to me so this challenge was right up my street.

I managed to get 2 cameras for under the £5 price both of which were Pentax Espio’s … the 115 and 140 which differed slightly but the main difference was the zoom length as the numbers in the names suggested 38mm to 115 and 140mm.

Also the 115 had a so called macro setting that the 140 did not have while the 140 has an extra spot af setting and both of those were useful, it would have been nice to have both on one camera.

They both also had a pano setting which only seemed to crop to the centre of the 35mm frame and most importantly you could shoot without the flash if you wanted and not be automatically forced to use it .

Also there was a landscape af mode on both which I assume  focussed to infinity and stopped down the lens to achieve a greater DOF. I tried all the of the available modes and was pretty impressed with the results. The Espio 115 shot a roll of Kodak Tmax 400 while the 140 already had a roll of what turned out to be Tudor XFG 100 which had 6 frames already shot.

I developed both rolls at home and here are some of the images.

First the Pentax Espio 115 & Tmax 400

And the Espio 140 and Tudor XFG 100

All in all both cameras were great and if I had used a better roll of film in the 140 instead of the expired roll that was already in there I would have said that both cameras had great lenses that gave very sharp and contrasty results.

This challenge has been good fun and I would recommend other film photographers reading this to give it a try … follow Jason and keep a lookout for the next challenge, I am not sure how it will differ from this one but thats the fun really.

It just goes to show that you don’t need expensive kit to get nice images and also how cheap it is to get into film photography.

After the Q&A today I may give one of these cameras away to someone who is interested in getting into film photography so follow me on twitter or leave a comment below.

Thanks for looking ….

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I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

Going Lomo with my Olympus XA1 ……

As it was a Bank holiday weekend here in the UK the weather forecast was for heavy rain as you would expect here in the South Wales Valleys.

I decided to travel light on my walk and dug out my Olympus XA1 and loaded it with some expired Fuji Superia 400.

It was quite nice to be able to just point and shoot for a change, the only settings on the XA1 are the ISO … either 100 or 400 and thats all you have to set and you are free to jus hopefully just compose an image.The only other thing to take into consideration is the close focus which is a measly 1.5 metres so everything must be further than arms length away.The light was pretty poor so I was not really expecting much from the roll but every now and again the sun popped through and I managed to shoot most of my frames in reasonable light.

I was pleased how the colours looked considering the age of the film which I got in a mixed bag of stuff from a friend who had no idea how it had been previously stored before he got it.When the sun raised its head a little the greens really popped and I was happy with how the little XA1 performed … so much so I am going to treat it next time with a nice fresh roll of film to see how much better the images will be.

Thanks for looking ….

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I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

My 1st impressions of my Plustek 8100 Scanner …..

Quick disclaimer … this is not a full in depth techy review its just my personal impression after a few weeks playing about with this scanner.

I have never been totally happy with any of my own scans, not that there has been anything wrong with them really but they never seem as good as when I get stuff done in the lab.

I usually use an Epson v500 flatbed scanner and the bundled epson software.

I try to scan as flat as I can capturing as much of the Highlight/Shadow detail as possible by adjusting the individual RGB channels then do all the heavy lifting in Adobe Lightroom.

This workflow seems to yield the best results for me.

I was debating wether to upgrade my flatbed to an Epson v800 (I may have to as I am now looking to scan 4×5) but came across a review of the Plustek 8100 and saw that it was only £150 here in the uk so decided to jump in and give it a go.

Here is the link to where I bought it …

Its a nice compact unit and feels pretty solid but the film holders are just as flimsy as my epson ones.

This is a totally manual scanner in the sense that you can only scan one frame at a time, no batch scanning and no motorised loading you just have to push the holder to the next frame but it stops in position with a nice positive click so you know that the frame is aligned correctly.

The film holder is not the easiest thing to use if you have curly film as it is a pain to position and then close the top flap without actually handling the film surface so gloves are a must.

Also as a side note …. this is a 35mm only scanner

It comes complete with a nice little bag that holds the scanner/film-slide holders and leadsThe supplied software is Silverfast SE Plus 8 which I must admit has a damn steep learning curve compared to the Epson Scan software.So now to the results ….

Well before that just a quick word on the Silverfast software …

There are so many options that unless you enjoy scanning this is not for you.

My 1st scans were pretty awful, I clicked and tweaked away at every option and got nowhere fast.

I then tried to scan flat like I was used to and that was poor also so I then decided to check out the web for some instruction and to be fair the silverfast website really helped big time.

The best thing that this scanner/software does is multi exposure scanning … yes it takes quite a while but the results are worth it also the Negafix option gives you a great starting point with the colours as it features a ton of film profiles that you choose when you begin scanning.

All in all I bought this scanner to hopefully get better scans which It really does but I am not going to scan all my images with it as the workflow is pretty time consuming rather I am scanning my rolls with the epson 1st then re scanning the frames that I may want to process further or especially if I want to print an image as the amount of detail that it captures is way more than the v500 for sure.

This is the cheapest version that Plustek sell.

The next one in the range is about £80 more and features infrared scanning for the dust removal this model has dust removal but without the infrared pass so obviously its not as accurate but I never used it much on my v500 so didn’t want to spend the extra £80.

I have used the SRD which is what Silverfast calls the dust removal and it works fine but if its something that you require I would recommend buying the 8200i SE which incorporates the infrared scanning.This was a really old negative that had slipped out of a folder some how and was pretty badly marked and scanned on my v500.This is the Opticfilm 8100 scan using the SRD attempting to find the dust.This is the scan after the dust removal which is pretty good considering it does not have the infrared channel to help.Using the Negafix part of the software you get much closer to the correct color straight from the scanner and before Lightroom ….. this is Kodak Ektar. Epson V500 scan of some Tmax 400 … the 2nd image is a 100% crop This is the Opticfilm 8100 version which captures much more detail and it can then be processed further in Lightroom.

Click on the crops to see ….

 

Here are some more samples to compare 

The V500 versions have been through Lightroom for full editing while the Opticfilm 8100 versions have only had dust removed in Photoshop CC then re-saved as jpegs … no colour editing or sharpening etc….

V500 … Kodak Ektar

Opticfilm 8100 … Kodak Ektar

V500 … Kodak Ektar

Opticfilm 8100 … Kodak Ektar

V500 … ilford FP4@200

Opticfilm 8100 … ilford FP4@200

V500 … Fuji Superia 400

Opticfilm 8100 … Fuji Superia 400

v500 … Fuji Superia 400

Opticfilm 8100 … Fuji Superia 400

Just to finish off I am very happy that I bought this little scanner it doesn’t break the bank as far as scanners go and gives great results if you are willing to give each scan a bit of time.

Its not an everyday scanner unlike the V500 and I would find it quite hard going if this was my one and only scanner especially as I tend to shoot at least 1 roll of film a week so in conclusion I would have to say that if you shoot 35mm and want your scans to get to at least lab standard (not drum scanning) then this is a must buy especially at the £150 price point.

Thanks for looking ….

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I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

A Month with my Leica …

I have been thinking about and then putting off buying a Leica M for an absolute age.

I don’t really know what the actual reason for putting it off was to be fair … everytime I saw one I liked and put it into my online basket something stopped me pressing the checkout button.

Well last month I bit the bullet and got hold of an M2 which was made the same year of my birth which made it that little bit extra special.

I got it without a lens from Red Dot Cameras but purchased an adapter for my Jupiter 8 50mm f2 as a stop gap until I decide which lens I am going to get.

Here follows 4 galleries featuring a selection of images shot on 4 different film stock all processed and scanned by myself.

The Jupiter 8 really impressed me with the colour rendering and sharpness/bokeh … God only knows how excited I will be when I get around to upgrading this little beauty.

Click on an image to view larger ……..

  1. Kodak Ektar

    2. Ilford XP2

    3. Agfa Vista 200

    4. Kodak Tmax 400

    Overall my 1st month with my 1st Leica has not disappointed in the least … this little camera oozes class and charisma it is such a pleasure to use.

    I now know why photographers heap praise on the Leica M even a 50+ year old model works like a dream and it has to be said .. this is the best camera I have ever shot with … I don’t mean in techy imagey sort of way but as something that makes you feel happy everytime that you use it

    God I even like just looking at it … ha haThanks for looking ….

    I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

E6 Processing …. Well how hard can it be?

As you may know if you follow any of my posts here I develop and scan all my own C41 and B&W film but until now I have either cross-processed my slide film or sent it out to a lab.

The problem with E6 is its not cheap to get processed and scanned and it seems to take at least twice as long to come back so I decided to do it myself.

So I purchased the Tetenal Colortec E6 kit and proceeded to scour the internet for hints and tips on the best way to go about the processing.

When I develop my C41 I use the 30 deg method as I find it easier to maintain that temperature rather than the 38 deg method and also (may be due to the temp fluctuations) seem to get far more uniform results.

It is a 8 step process including the pre soak/wash and except for the final Stabilizer bath the temperatures were all at 38 deg which started to get me a bit worried.

After watching some youtube videos I purchased 2 medium size plastic storage tubs in which I could put all of my bottles including my filtered water as there are 3 washes in between all of the chemical baths ( we have very hard water here so tap water washing is not an option).

I usually do my normal processing in a bowl as all of my bottles fit and the temp is not so high but by having 2 tubs and the bowl I managed to keep the temp pretty stable with plenty of kettle boils to top up.

All in all it was quite stressful for my 1st attempt, worrying about the temp and the constant 15 second agitation along with swapping thermometers about (I have 3 but could have done with more) but the thrill of seeing the film emerge from the drum was brilliant.

It was such a buzz seeing full colour images as opposed to negatives that the stress it caused was worth the effort.

This was a roll of expired Fuji Sensia 100 35mm and I have since processed my 1st roll of 120mm Kodak Ektachrome E200 which was not such a success as this roll due to me trying to push it to 400 iso but a few of the frames were so under exposed I could not get anything out of them … that is another blog maybe.

 

Thanks for looking ….

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I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

Garw Valley Mountain Walk with some Velvia 50 ….

After some friendly banter with a fellow twitter photographer about how slide film should not be cross processed and that it was almost a sin I decided to shoot a roll of Velvia 50 as the Gods intended and get it processed and scanned by AG Photographic and here are the results. They were shot using my Nikon F100 and Nikkor 24-85 VR … they are untouched scans that I got back from AG and I am pretty happy with the results, I still love to Xpro E6 but I have just bought a Tetenal E6 kit and have started processing my own so I am now almost a convert … ha ha I am pleased that the exposures were pretty spot on which I don’t worry about when I know that I am going to xpro the roll … I did notice the difference in colour when shooting with the sun behind me compared to in front, I could have warmed them up a bit in Lightroom but I thought I would just post as is….

 

Thanks for looking ….

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I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂