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.

Field Marshall Viscount Slim

I wandered past Horseguards yesterday; what caught my eye was how Brooke’s statue appears to be looking at Slim’s.

You can always head to wikipedia to find out more about this leader of men, but as an indication he had 34 different formal styles of address during his life.

Field Marshall Viscount Slim