What’s in the box?

What’s in the box?

Hey all,

I am so excited. This is something I have wanted for a long time and it has finally arrived!  Can you guess what’s in the box?



Fear not, it is not Brad Pitt’s girlfriend’s head! Why would you think I want a head? Chill, now what’s in the box?






Haha, just kidding, ok see video clip: what’s in the box?

Yay now you know. Finally it is here in my hands.  It is mine, woohooo! I can’t wait to shoot with it.

  • Shattered

While my husband, Martin was cleaning this camera, I picked up the cotton buds box without realising the focusing screen was on top. It fell off and smashed on the floor.


(focusing screen, made of glass, shattered)

Martin and I looked at each other, staring for ages with no words, like our time had stopped while the whole world was still spinning. My heart dropped, big time. Suddenly we started ranting about who was at fault. I blamed him for putting it on that stupid box where it was unnoticeable and he blamed me for not seeing it – we have mutually agreed that it was both our fault.

It was a horrible feeling and I felt as if my heart had shattered into a million pieces. I was so looking forward to taking photographs with this camera.

I searched online for a replacement and was shocked to see how much it is worth,  about £70 and up! I wasn’t prepared to pay that much more,  especially after paying £900 for the camera. I left the room because I couldn’t bear anymore upset.

Meanwhile,  I thought about the focusing screen, ‘what was it made of?’, ‘could it be made with normal ground glass?’ I went back and checked the website and confirmed it was made of ground glass. My hopes started to rise but I didn’t want them to get too high. I decided to visit a small window/glass shop. Unfortunately, they didn’t have ground glass, but then a member of staff said he would be right back.  I wasn’t sure what was happening as we had had some communication difficulties,  but I waited. He came back with 2 cuts of ‘lustre like’ glass, exact measurements of the focusing screen only a little thicker, and some sanding papers. He showed me what to do with the sanding papers and when I asked him the price he said no charge. Free, really?  He nodded with a smile. My heart lifted, feeling so blissful. I am so thankful. He has no idea but he made my shattered heart into one piece again.

  • DIY

I was excited and eager to do this. As soon as we got home,  Martin first checked to see if the glass fit in the camera,  as we were a little worried about the thickness.  Phew, it fit!

I started with the sand paper on glass 1. Martin and I took turns because sanding on glass for a long time makes your hands ache. I think it took us about 2 hours to make it almost perfect ground.  My mind was racing with positive and negative thoughts: ‘will it work?’, ‘it will work’, ‘will I be able to see through it?’, ‘no, it’s not going to work’, ‘believe it. It will work’, ‘have faith’ and ‘please,  please work’.


Ground Glass 1

Ground Glass 2

  • Before and After



Yay! it is done, almost perfect! Fingers crossed that it will work. I stood well back out of the way while Martin installed it and put the camera back together.

Result: Can I see? Yes, yes I totally nailed it! Ha £70, fuck you!  I was overwhelmed by how I nailed it, I was so happy. I have to be honest, my focusing screen is not perfect but it is good enough for me. What a relief, so proud of it. DIY, I ruled!

Ahhh finally I can shoot…  oh wait I am 11 months late – Yes I did take many shots with this camera… ooh, I will put the photos on soon. Wait for it… in the next blog.



An okay and a disappointing shoot.

An okay and a disappointing shoot.

Hey all!

I have lot of catching up to do with my blogging. I am 9 months behind so I’ll just write a short one and put two different medium format cameras’ photographs on one post.

I wanted to try out a couple more of my old cameras that I have used before to see if I can improve.

  • Okay.

(fifth camera and thirteenth film)

For Brownie (Six-20 model D) I thought of a scrapyard in Monkwearmouth plus it was a good opportunity at the time as my car was in the garage for a service. Something fun to do instead of waiting around for my car.


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Below: Tyne Bridge (near scrapyard).

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Brownie Six-20 model D – Ilford XP2 Super 400 – self developed C-41.


  • Disappointment.

(Second camera and fourteenth film)

This is my second time using CC (Coronet Clipper), remember my first time I didn’t do well because I used it in low light indoors. CC only have the f6 and f22, and shutter speed B, 50 and 100. (see Coronet Clipper blog).  The photographs below I shot in Durham and the weather was nice, it was late winter time.

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Above: shot from my window, snowing at night time. Long exposure: Bulb set for about 15 seconds.

Below: The next morning, last photo to finish off the film.

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Coronet Clipper – Ilford XP2 Super 400 – self developed C-41

Now you can see why I was disappointed with the outcome.  I try to keep my camera still when pressing the button to avoid blurring the picture.  This camera will need a tripod or something that can help keep it still.  I don’t think I will be using CC again, maybe not for a while. :o(




(Sixth Camera, Twelfth Film)

Hello everybody!

  • Confession

I have a confession to make. This blog has been in draft and half finished for a long, long time (since June). I just lost track because of my lack of confidence with writing. I simply can’t just type away and post – so yeah it took me a while. I think I did quite well last year and I am going to try and keep it up. I like doing my blog, I like showing the world my film photography because it is something that I am very proud of.

Today is a simple blog about the film Ilford XP2 Super 400 which is now my favourite Black & White.  Before I go any further, have a look at the photographs that I took with Duaflex II camera.

It was winter time (January 2015), after the school run, we went to a little park:

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Above: Haha I did it again!

Below: I was experimenting to see what motions would look like with bulb setting.  I can’t fully remember but I think it was around 5 secs. Too much I think!

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Below: Multi-exposed as planned, again experimenting, 3 exposures on 1 frame.

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I put my camera on the ground to keep it still. First exposure was my two boys on opposite sides of each other facing the camera, the second exposure the boys moved back a little and the third, the boys moved further back.  I kind of like it but it was not what I wanted, as I was hoping the boys would be more visible.

  • XP2

Wow I like the new XP2, okay it’s not new but I think it was my first time using it.  I found this has more contrast and is smoother than HP5.  Don’t get me wrong, I do like HP5 too but for modern pictures I’d go for XP2.  I did some research, which was lucky as I didn’t know that XP2 uses C-41 (colour) processing for black and white film. So I bought the C-41 kits called “Tetenal Colortec C-41” from Amazon.

  • C-41 Developing

Wow, this is a bit different from Black & White processing.

1 litre at temp 38ºC

  1. Pre-Wash with water – 2 mins.
  2. Colour Developer – 3 mins and 15 secs.
  3. Bleach/Fix – 6 and half mins.
  4. Rinse with water – 3 mins.
  5. Stabiliser – 1 to 1 and half mins.

Ta da!! Well you saw the photographs above and not bad, right?  If you think the temp or time is wrong – please do comment here because I am still learning.  I found Black & White processing is easier and safer than this Colour processing, I get the feeling that I may have got the time wrong.




(Sixth Camera, Tenth Film)

Hello all,

Today a quick blog to post photographs that I took in Hexham.

This is a special dedicated to Edwin and Ethel Jamieson.

  • Edwin and Ethel

They were my brother-in-law’s grandparents.  They both used to live in Riding Mill, near Hexham. The first time I met them was about 13 years ago, they both were lovely, so warm and friendly. I have not seen them very much.  I wish I had, sadly they passed away.  Now they are both together again after Edwin first went about 3 years ago and then Ethel joined him last Christmas.

In January, on Ethel’s funeral day I went to a little park at the Tyne Green in Hexham for some photographs with my Duaflex II. The place I went, unfortunately, wasn’t in Riding Mill but close, it was a cold day and I didn’t know the area well.  On that day I decided to pick the right camera because I wanted capture a very old mood as if I had photographed during the 1930-40s, so with this in mind I used Ilford HP5 400.  I felt sad and appreciative at the same time when taking photographs and I sort of felt like I was back in time when they were young.

  • Time Travelled

Now I have the photographs and it worked. I think I did very well and it does look like I have time travelled back to 1930-40 because the photographs look so old.  I get a little emotional when I see the pictures as I think about Edwin and Ethel.  The first and last pictures are my favourites.

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Duaflex II, Ilford HP5 400.  Self-Developed.

Cherish every moment and every person in your life, because you never know when it will be the last time you see someone.


Hexham vlog



My First Home Film Developing :o)

(Sixth Film)

Hey-yo all!

Wow what a busy month!

  • A different kind of ‘Busy’

Sorry for your long wait for the results of my first film developing.  To be honest I have been a little lazy when it comes to things I need to do such as blogging, office work, website, Facebook updating etc. I have not sat more than five minutes in my office for a while due to finishing all my work for clients. I have also been spending some quality time in the nice weather lately doing some jobs around the house that needed to be done such as cleaning, gardening, painting the fences, and taking more film photographs while my house became like a train station.

  • Train Station

My house became a train station due to my kids’ friends that have been coming in and out every day since the sun came out!

Did I say every day?!

That is one of the reasons why I didn’t write a blog. When kids are in bed I just like to curl up on my sofa with my best pal, Netflix!
Alright, enough with the waffle!

In case some of you have not seen my previous blog, I got my first film developing kits from my wonderful husband for Christmas. And I am writing about my first home film developing that happened in January! 

  • Home

This was my very first home film developing. As I mentioned ‘home’ because I have done some developing when I was in college many years ago. There it was all set up and ready for developing however, at home I have to set up by measuring the right amount of chemicals and water mixture for each jug.


  • Researching

I did plenty of researching on the internet about how to develop, for Ilford chemicals and Iford HP5 iso 400 film, for times and temperature. I found some useful tips from Ilford information leaflet.

  • Film loading

This was my first time loading the 120 film into the spiral and it was not as hard as I thought. I did get a little worried that I had put the right one in, the negative and not the paper backing.  I used the light-tight changing bag which is fantastic because I can see what’s going on around me while my hands do the spiral things in the bag.

See video clip 1

  • Developing time:

I used the 500ml developing tank and iPhone for timer. All chemicals at temperature 20 degrees.

1. ILFOSOL 3 (Developer) – 7 minutes.

2. ILFSTOP (Stop Bath) – 20 seconds.

3. Rapid Fixer – between 3 and 5 minutes.

4. Wash – clean running for about 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Success?

See video clip 2

Whoo hoo I nailed it!  I have never been so happy and proud.  The drying took longer than I thought and because I didn’t have the film squeegee.


Later in the evening I scanned them with my new scanner, Epson Perfection V600 Photo.

As you can see some of the photos were already in the previous blog 12, Tynemouth Markets  (Fifth camera, Sixth Film) but here are the rest of the negatives which are not good pictures:

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What a result, I love it and I am itching to do more!!

My First Home Film Developing vlog


Christmas Pressies!

(No Camera, No Film)

Hello everybody!!

I just thought I’d just drop a quick blog here…

 Today I’d like to tell you about the Christmas presents that I got from the best and most awesome Santa!

  • Ta da

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Yep that’s right, I got my own film developing kit that I can use at home, Yay!

  • 3 Ilford chemicals (for Black & White): ILFOTEC (Development), ILFOSTOP (Stop Bath), RAPID FIXER (Fix).
  • Universal developing tank (500ml)
  • 2 Film spirals
  • A starter kit in a box:
    • Universal developing tank (300ml)
    • 1 Film spiral
    • Graduated measure
    • Glass thermometer
    • A pair of Film clips
    • Film opener
  • Dark changing bag

And extra bits:

  • 5 Ilford HP5 400 (35mm films)
  • 5 Kodak Portra 400 (35mm films)


Wow, right? Boy I am so lucky!  Thank you very much to my wonderful husband, the best and most awesome Santa!

I was so excited to try it out for the first time.  Watch out for a new blog coming up.


Tynemouth Market

(Fifth Camera, Sixth Film & Forth Camera, Eighth Film)

Hello everyone, Spring is finally here and it’s a good start with lovely sunny!  I’ve had BBQ four times already and will have another one tomorrow!!

  • Tynemouth Market.

As I explained about our meet up at Tynemouth Market in my previous blog ‘Surprise Camera’.  So that day I decided to bring my 2 cameras, Canon AE-1 for colour and Kodak Brownie for black & white.

  • Canon AE-1 (Fourth Camera, Eighth film).

I personally don’t like this film, it was cheap and bought for practise use.  However I do like some images.

FR08 - 01 Above:  The very first image of the film.   

Light leak, might not have wound properly after putting the film in.

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 Above: The ceiling is supposed to be white!

Below: Rachael holding my Duaflex II.  A proud day!

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  • Tynemouth Beach

I was a little bit disappointed with the lighting.

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FR08 - 14Canon AE-1, fixed lens 50mm, 2.8f. Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400. Developed by Asda. 

  • Kodak Brownie (Fifth Camera, Sixth Film)

This is my first time using Brownie. I have been wary to use it because I didn’t want to spoil the images like I did with Coronet Clipper.  And because the film 120mm with this camera only has 8 exposures due to the medium format size 6×9. So I wanted it to be right for the first time.


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Above: This is me, photo by Martin (my husband)

I knew this camera would not be good indoor with the low light. Which is why I did not use it at the Market.

FR06 - 02Below: Arghhh I did it again! I forgot to wind the camera for next frame.  

Multi-exposed by 3 times.

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Kodak Brownie Six 20 model D. Ilford HP5 400.


  • (Just a little extra thing for Christmas) films continued…

Santa’s Grotto (at Liberty Brown, Sunderland).

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While my boys were inside with Santa for some stories. My husband Martin and I shot each other for fun.

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Bang bang, my baby shot me down

Tynemouth Market vlog