Monthly Archives: December 2009

Snow scenes again – the images

First posted 30 December 2009

I have been out on a number of occasions since writing the last post. Some of the films are processed, but not all. We have had days when I could get to my darkroom and lots of days when I could not. I have had to scan the negatives to show the results here, but intend to print them at some point on high contrast matt FB paper, as I think this will really suit the look of them. Hopefully, they will look like pen and ink drawings.

contact sheet

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  1. Posted 30/12/2009 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful photos Sandy!

  2. Posted 16/01/2010 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Looks a lot like Giacomelli, I’m curious to know how you achieved this rendering!
    Did you use a specific extremely contrasted film (forgot the name)?
    Or just extreme pushing/long development/very high filters/long exposure when printing?
    probably a combination, but I’d love to know if you’re willing to share :)

    Greets from Belgium

Snow scenes again

First posted 21 December 2009

It’s almost a year since I started this blog and one of the first articles I wrote was about shooting in the snow on Ortho film (See ‘High contrast snow scenes’, Feb ‘09). I also wrote another article on achieving higher contrast by altering the film ISO and increasing the development time (see ‘Flexible film’ October 2009).

After doing the tests on these films I had a result which I was eager to take further, unfortunately the snow went rather suddenly and I could do no more (The images used in the October article were shot at the same time as the ortho tests in Feb). Here in the UK we have had heavy snow again and I’ve been wanting to continue my tests.

I like the effect of having black shapes floating in a white space, the images are abstract, but recognisable. Here’s one from last time;

square field

I prefer overcast days with white skies for this kind of shot, there are no strong shadows to distract from the forms.

To get high contrast the trick is to over process the film so that the heavily exposed areas become black on the film. The exposure is determined by an incident reading to ensure that the large areas of white don’t influence the meter too much.

With the Delta 100 film I rated it at 800 ISO and developed for 24 minutes in Ilfotec DDX diluted one to four. The resulting negatives print well on a normal grade of paper, but will give more tonal separation if printed on a hard grade.

I’ll be going out tomorrow with the Delta 100 loaded, but this time I’m planning on shooting with a long lens so that I can pick out shapes in the distance and reduce the angular distortions that come with wider lenses. This hopefully will add to the abstraction.

We’ve not had great snow here for around twenty years, so this has been a great opportunity to add to my snow scenes. I’m going to continue with the high contrast shots on 35mm Delta 100, but I’ll also be taking other snow landscapes on medium format loaded with HP5 rated at 200 to give a beautiful long tonality.

This is a 35mm shot from 1983 (I think).

210 snowy gate


Images on glass

First posted 1 December 2009

In the small town where I live, there used to be a company who became famous for making illustrated postcards. These humorous cards showed cartoon images of seaside holidaymakers and ordinary working people and often had double entendre meanings.

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The company was known as Bamforths and although the cards they produce are famous worldwide, not many people are aware that they also had a photographic studio. In their early days they were leading producers of magic lantern slides on subjects such as romance, tragedy and the temperance movement. They also produced movies which were seen all over the world. According to Wikipedia, the films made here in Holmfirth, surpassed those made by Hollywood at the time!

If the company had not ceased the film making part of their business during the first world war (due to shortages), the place where I live could have been the centre of the worlds film industry. When film making finished they continued with postcard production up to the latter part of the 20th Century.

The company closed in the early 1990’s and the daylight photographic studio of the building was turned into homes. The rest of the building was left to rot and a few years ago plans were put forward to develop the site and build a large new development of flats. These were opposed by locals, but the work seems to be going ahead anyway.


There are a couple of websites which give a little more detail here; and

About fifteen years ago I was approached by a local man who had been living behind the derelict Bamforths building and had discovered a pile of old lantern slides covered with pieces of carpet. The slides had suffered some damage from years of weather, but images could still be seen. He gave me the glass positives and I stored them away in my studio. I was reminded of them recently as I walked past the old Bamforths building and noticed workmen knocking down one of the smaller buildings (the little studio where the illustrations were drawn). I approached one of the guys and asked if it would be ok to have a quick search round the back to see if there were any more lantern slides hidden in the undergrowth.

He waved me through and I clambered over rubble and weeds to a little area behind a wall where my friend had located the glass images so many years ago.

behind bamforths

I hadn’t been prepared for the fact that not only had the whole area been left to go wild with creeping plants and nettles, but the nearby houses had used this ‘waste’ ground for years to dump all their grass cuttings, old pushchairs and broken pots. I struggled through and found an old iron bar which I used to dig around and lift rubbish, but all I could find was clear squares of glass and broken pieces of glass which had once held images. The emulsion had completely rotted away from these.


It was quite depressing to find no trace of the photographic history, so I went back to the studio and dug around in my own collection for the lantern slides that I had been given years previously.

I found some really interesting images, not least of which, are three photographs of the Lusitania in Liverpool docks.


Luisitania (2)jpg

Luisitania (3)

Although the search had come to nothing, it had spurred me on to find the Glass lantern slides I had forgotten I owned. How many other great images had been lost to the damp and cold though? If only I had gone to search after I received this small collection.

Woodland river