In which things are squared, and vintage.
Back in August, I talked about photo framing, and the use of square frames. In fact, if you’re viewing this on the main page, there’s a good chance it’s down below somewhere, I’ve been writing so few posts lately. In essence: nowadays you get a rectangular photo, and it’s very, very easy to crop your photo to whatever aspect ratio you like. Back in the day, you got a square photo,* and if you wanted to crop it you had to take a guillotine to your print.
I’ve been trying for a while to be more disciplined with my aspect ratios, and either keep all my shots to the same aspect ratio as the camera uses,** or crop them to square. And, moreover, I’ve had the vintage cameras out. Back in August, I posted a test shot I took to check exposure. Today: the actual shot I was trying to take!
This was taken on an Ensign Selfix 420. The one big problem I have with it: getting the camera straight. It has two viewfinders: a glassless frame finder on the body, and a small brilliant finder attached to the lens. The former doesn’t really tell you if you’re pointing it in the right direction, and the latter is too small to see if you’ve got it properly upright. The light leak, on the other hand, I rather like; it’s only noticeable in bright sunlight in any case.
* Bear in mind that right through the 1950s 35mm cameras were a relatively rare thing, and the majority of the photo market used 6cm film such as the 120 format. It wasn’t until the 60s that the 35mm camera really started to take over the market, even though they had been around earlier.
** 121:81, in case you were wondering.
In which things are squared
Hot weather is not very nice. How people manage with it, never mind enjoy it, I’ll never know. The brightness of the sunlight is something; but even then, winter sunshine is much better for photography. Midsummer sunshine, in the middle of a clear-skies day, is just that bit too harsh.
Recently, our burgeoning vintage camera collection has made me reassess the use of square photos. They’ve often been a bit of an unpopular photography style, seen as a bit awkward, a bit ungainly, and hard to make interesting. Generally, I suppose this is all down to even numbers: they make it rather harder to make a composition interesting, and a square frame is as even-numbered as you can get. With lots of 120-film cameras, though, you don’t get a choice: square or nothing.
This photo started out as a test shot for one of the 120 cameras. So far the film in question hasn’t left the camera, so I’ve no idea how successful it was. As a digital photo, cropped down to square, I think it works rather well, though. Despite the sunshine.
Update, October: the 120-version of this shot is now out of the camera and back from the processors, complete with some interesting light leaks which make me worry there might be a hole in the camera’s bellows. I will have to try to get it scanned some time.
Update, November: well, I scanned it, and it is in my queue of things to upload to the internets. Which might happen some time this year.
In which we go to the seaside
By the time you read this, we will be in internet-connection limbo. The broadband will be down for a few days. No up-to-the-minute topical blogposts. No uploading photos, although, as I’m on a several-months backlog as per usual, nobody is likely to notice.
So, here’s something that’s easy to write in advance. Photo Post Of The Week. Beside the sea side, beside the sea.
In which we go to Whitby
Last month we popped back up north, for a family wedding; and fitted in a side trip to Whitby.
In which we wonder if there are going to be UFOs on the telly
The cruel hoax TV series Space Cadets is due to finish tonight. The contestants have successfully been made to look like idiots; and sadly, no aliens have been caught on camera.
As nobody went into space, you might not expect aliens to be caught on camera. However, as it happens, a huge number of UFO enthusiasts do believe that aliens have visited the site of the Space Cadets set. Twenty-five years ago this month, in fact. The incident – which has become known as the Rendlesham Forest incident – is often described as a classic UFO sighting, by impeccable witnesses,* even though it’s more likely to have been a sighting of a lighthouse, rather than a UFO. I’m slightly disappointed that, as far as I noticed, a mention of it wasn’t slipped into the programme.** If nothing else, the Rendlesham Forest incident is a wonderful example of how eye-witness reports can change over time, and how rumours can be spread. And, of course, how some people will believe almost anything.
It’s a shame that no aliens – if there were aliens, which is rather unlikely – decided to come back for a 25th-anniversary visit just whilst a film crew was in the area. It’s also a shame that the Space Cadets contestants weren’t a bit more alert – and/or paranoid, of course. Personally, I’m hoping that at least one of them will go a bit mad when everything is revealed at the Live Finale. It really would be can’t-stop-watching TV.
Update: sadly, they didn’t. They all seemed, as you might expect, rather baffled and overcome.
* a group of USAF airmen on two successive nights.
** although, in last night’s show, I was quite pleased to notice a joke about Johnny Vaughan’s time in prison.