I am a frequent traveler to London and in more recent times I find that I do not have the time that I used to for landscape photography. Family life and work life make that a difficult endeavor at the moment. So I have been trying to find an alternative subject for my photography that I can fit in around my busy lifestyle.

Street Photography was an obvious choice but I must confess I have (or generally had, though I am coming round to it) very little passion for street photography. The reasoning is that I only tend to photograph what I would like to hang on my walls as large prints and I could never see the point of photographing total strangers going about their daily life. As a result my subject matter is usually either my family and my loved ones, my friends, my dogs (though they have all now died) or landscapes (which I no longer have time to go out and photograph). I’ve photographed my family so much I need something else to diversify my portfolio, and my friends and family are an ‘as and when’ thing. So other than persuading my wife to enroll in some boudoir shots (!), I think street photography is about my only remaining choice.

So London is about as good as it gets for street work. A rich diversity of people, places and architecture, from old to new, and the area looks entirely different between day and night. So I recently packed my Hasselblad with me for a trip to London and decided, based upon what turned out to be a successful venture, to create this section to my website that I intend to update as my travels continue. It is titled ‘The London Series’. So expect more content to appear periodically.

BATCH 1 : So, batch one is below : these were all taken using the Hasselblad 501CM with standard 80mm f2.8 Carl Zeiss lens using Kodak Tri-X 400 pushed to EI1600 and developed in Ilford Ilfotec DD-X for 14 minutes at ~22 degrees. They were then scanned using an Epson Perfection V550 scanner and then loaded into DarkTable. I did not have a tripod with me, so some were captured handheld which is quite remarkable to be fair! Others were captured by resting the camera on a wall, activating the mirror lock-up and then releasing the shutter.

BATCH 2 : These were also all taken using the Hasselblad 501CM with standard 80mm f2.8 Carl Zeiss lens but using Kodak TMAX 100 pushed to EI400 and developed in Ilford Ilfotec DD-X for 12 minutes at ~22 degrees. They were then scanned using an Epson Perfection V550 scanner and then loaded into DarkTable. This time I had my new mini Manfrotto tripod with me. For all shots, I activated the mirror lock-up first and then released the shutter.

BATCH 3 : So at the end of last week I was in London again when it was really cold! -4C is not the coldest I have photographed in (which is -18 degrees) but it was cold enough when I didn’t have my full winter clothing on! So I only shot one roll this time, but instead of using Black and White film, this time I chose colour slide film; Fujichrome Provia 100 to be exact.

You used slide film for nighttime photography? Are you mad?” I hear you ask. Well, Fuji Provia is not as fussy as people will have you believe. In a city scape, there is still quite a lot of light in the form of street and building illumination, and it creates some nice contrast between the lit (coloured) areas and the dark areas. So the result, actually, is all the wonderful colour of Fuji Provia with the nice contrast.

I used the general rule of “ISO 100 film at f8 needs about 5 seconds” which is what I go with, with general nighttime city work. I give a second or two more, depending on the scene. So most of these were between 5 – 10 seconds. Mounted on my Manfrotto Mini tripod (see link below if you want to buy one) with my Hasselblad 501CM.

What about reciprocity failure? Again, Fuji Provia is off the charts with this! Anything less than 128 seconds (yes, 2 minutes!) and there is apparently no need to take this into account. The technical specification refer where it states :”For shutter speeds longer than 128 seconds, exposure adjustments will be necessary to compensate for reciprocity failure.

Anyway, a few days at the lab, and the results came back. A few of my favourites are below :

UPDATE 4 : So for some time I kept looking at St Pancras train station, in London, as I was rushing through it to join the thousands of other rats (those in the rat race, myself included often!) to the Underground and thinking “some day I will stop and photograph this too”, and the other day, I did just that.

I was not in as much of a rush as usual, and I had my Hasselblad loaded with Kodak Tri-X 400. It was mid-morning, around 10:00, so it was quite well lit and the architecture of St Pancras is quite amazing, and it can make for a nice photograph. So I took 15 minutes to capture a few shots. They are not outstanding I don’t suppose, but they are quite nice.