Smoke Break

Here’s another photo I took with the Yash* recently.

Smoke Break

Smoke Break


It turns out the Yash is an easy camera with which to get along – unless you like direct control over shutter speed.  With minimal care you can even get 00 and 37 from a roll of HP5+.

* Yashica Electro 35 gsn.  It’s older than me, and in great condition.

She Moves Me

  [Update 30th April 2014: The film did not, ultimately, go ahead.  I’ve left the post with minor edits in place as an historical record.]


Damien Swaby (@DamienSwaby on twitter, and centre of attention above) will be directing “She Moves Me” during the summer*, and asked me to create his pre-production photos.  If you think I’ve mentioned this before, you’re not imagining it.  I couldn’t turn it down – Damien is easy to work with, and the project sounded fun.

It’s gotta be said  – they man knows exactly what he wants.  This sounds like a pain in the arse but, owing to my rubbish mind-reading skills, is exactly the opposite. Damien had already found a location and had shots in mind, so scouting amounted to making sure the location choice wasn’t completely bonkers.  We added a couple of additional shots to the list whilst scouting, but in the end they weren’t used.  All the picks were from the ‘bench’ set; said bench will feature in the film.  Who knows, one day it might be as iconic as a certain blue door in Notting Hill.


I don’t know why, but every shoot I’ve done with actors has been easy as pie**.  All I had to say was “act naturally, and talk amongst yourselves” and it happened, giving me lots of pseudo-candids with which to work.  The real magic, however, came from the instant on-sensor chemistry that the actors provided at will.

An honourable mention should go to Damien’s girlfriend, who wielded a brolly stand like a pro. If only all VALs paid attention like she did.   It’s the little things like that  which keeps the momentum of a shoot going, and stop it turning into a slog.


 Of course, after a bravura performance a time-honoured reward is due.  Off to a nearby waterhole we went.  The DSLR went away, and out came the Yash, loaded with HP5+.  The older-than-me rangefinder has a lovely bright aperture-priority only fixed lens, so the lights went away too and I could forget all about the modern-day curse of ‘settings’.  Beer and old cameras is a mix that is hard to beat – especially when the old camera makes it virtually impossible to bugger up the exposure.

A deserved drink


I really should rescan after dusting the neg, but the effect is starting to grow on me and I can always do it tomorrow.

The first three frames in this post were Damien’s picks for promo duty.  My personal favourite was this candid I got on the second roll in the pub after the camera got forgotten about:

A cool customer


I can’t speak for anyone else, but I had a great day on this shoot.

* He may have even finished the script by now…

** I realise, of course, every shoot with actors from now on will be an absolute mare.  Damn you, Mr Sod.  And damn your law.

Too early?

It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to do any street photography. Here’s a frame I took recently; guess what time it was…

Too Early?


For the interested, I get the low point-of-view by holding the camera at thigh-level and shooting fairly wide to make aiming easier. Walking softly with an air of nonchalance can mean that no-one else is even aware the photo had been taken.  It also helps to resist the urge to chimp immediately after taking the shoot.