Leica M6

365...

With the start of a new year comes an urge to try something different. It's an excuse to challenge ourselves. Over the Christmas holiday I began thinking about attempting a 365 photography project. Many others I know through Twitter had already begun or would be starting on the 1st January. I have been shooting a lot more film over the last year with the acquisition of the Leica and Hasselblad. I really enjoy shooting film but there is no question that it's an expensive hobby. 

With this in mind I decided to use the 365 as a way of teaching myself more about home developing and scanning. So I decided to embark on a 365 project which involves shooting at least one image per day and then developing and scanning the b&w film myself. I have limited myself to only using my Leica M6 with the Summicron 50mm f2 lens attached and shooting ilford HP5 400 film. I realise I won't be able to produce a great image each day, some days not even a mediocre image. But for me its really about learning more about the process of shooting film and being able to develop and scan myself. I also want to be able to shoot more without having to rely on a light meter.

Now almost a month into the project I can safely say, its been hard. I have set myself the target of shooting at least 1 roll per week (often more) which I then develop and scan over the weekend. This makes it more manageable. I have however struggled to write about each image and to post on a daily basis. This is why I am now sharing January in one post. I will add the last two days into the next post as we fly out to Iceland tomorrow and I wanted to get this up before we leave.

So far I have learnt a lot about the do's and don'ts when developing film. Having now developed a handful of rolls successfully I feel fairly confident with the process. It hasn't been all smooth sailing though. I have managed to ruin one roll by not fixing it for long enough and scratch part of another roll as one of the ball bearings had slipped out of the spool, causing it to get caught when winding on. As frustrating as this has been I realise it's all a learning curve and I won't make these same mistakes again.

Going forward with the project I hope to be able to post more consistently. I also want to try and get some thoughts down for at least some of the images I post. Anyway here is the first batch. The good, the bad and the ugly!

 

 

Barbados

It already feels like a lifetime ago we took this trip. I wanted to share these photos sooner but had a big hold up getting my film developed. I had sent off my rolls on the 21st September and they only arrived at Carmencita Lab in Spain on the 3rd November, that’s 6 weeks! Not good from Royal mail! Finally getting the email saying they had arrived at the lab was the best feeling, as I really thought I wouldn’t see them again.

Travelling to Barbados in September was a bit of a gamble as it falls in their rainy/monsoon season. But after doing some research and speaking to friends that had been at that time we decided to go for it.

As our plane touched down we were greeted with some of the heaviest rain I have ever seen. It was so heavy that they didn’t let us off the plain until it calmed down. We looked at each other and hoped we hadn’t made a terrible mistake. Luckily throughout our trip we experienced a couple of days of rain but on the whole the weather was great.

We were staying on the south coast near the village of Oistins. The island is much smaller than I had imaged. Measuring just 21 miles from north to south and 14 miles across. This made it fairly easy to get about and see a lot of the island's beautiful landscape. It's amazing just how different the coastline is on each side of the island. The south coast is dotted with smaller hotels and a lively strip of bars called St Lawrence gap. Then there is the more expensive west coast where the 5 star resorts line the pristine beaches and the celebrities hang out. Across the island on the east the coastline is rugged and baron. The water is too rough there to swim but great for surfing.

Whilst we were there we had a mixture of chilling on the beaches as well as doing a few trips. Some highlights were snorkeling with the turtles, going down 150ft in a submarine, exploring Harrison's cave, St Nicholas Abbey and taking the Mount Gay Rum tour. The local people really are some of the friendliest we have ever come across. They were all so welcoming and made our stay really memorable. For anyone thinking about going I would highly recommend making the trip. You won't be disappointed.

I knew for this trip I wanted to shoot mainly film. Having recently bought a Hasselblad 500cm it seemed to be the perfect time to get to grips shooting medium format.I also took along my trusty Leica M6 as well as my Xpro-1. My Fuji didn’t get a lot of use, as the light was so good I just wanted to shoot film. I had a few rolls of b&w Tri-x but I couldn’t bring myself to shoot them, as Barbados is a place, which needs to be captured in colour.

All images below were either taken with the Hasselblad 500CM and the Carl Zeiss Planar CF 2.8/80 or with the Leica M6 and the Voiglander Nokton 1.5/50 VM on Kodak Portra 400, Fuji 400H & Cinestill 50. All images scanned and processed by Carmencita Lab in Spain.