watering can

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Watering Can
Watering Can

This watering can was the first ever mendium format photgraph that I made. I still love it.

One of the things I most love about photography is it’s endless ability to make the commonplace into the extraordinary, and whilst I am in no way suggesting that this photograph is extraordinary, it does have an almosr celluloid quality to it that made me fall in love with medium format film.

Looking at it now, it has all the hallmarks of my early processing too (in Lightroom after being developed my AG Photographic).

  1. Very contrasty. I ‘think’ it’s HP5+ (I don’t have the film in front of me, must dig it out and verify) and even for that, it’s quite contrasty!
  2. A quite obvious vignette. When I started out I put a dark vignette around literally every photograph that I made. Thankfully htat is somethign that I have (mostly) grown out of.
  3. Narrow depth of filed. It’s medium format, it’s the law right? Again, it’s somethig I have learned to use when it’s the right artistic choice for me, rather than just slapping the lens wide open permanently.

Here are some more from the same shoot, which was at Beningbrough Hall just north of York off the A19. It’s a National Trust property and home to a colelction belonging to the National Portrait Museum. There are very pleasant grounds to walk around and the house itselfis full of portraits including several from the Kit Kat Club.

Door to stairs
Gateway to stairs

I was metering using an app on my phone at the time, so I am very pelased with how these all turned out, with one exception I will get into below. You can just about see the bannister to the stairs inside this tower – I would rather you could get a sense of the stairs too, but it’s just a touch too dark for that.

Note the vignette 🙂

There was a beautiful grand piano just inside the main hall and I sat beside it to change rolls (The first time I had ever done it so I am pretty impressed that either came out properly!). An elderly chap came in and sat beside me, very interested in the camera. He was phenomenally well spoken, he pronounced piano “pi-ar-no” for example, and it turned out he sat and played the piano that I was sat next to quite regularly, but his hands wouldn’t quite do what he asked of them any more so he was playing less and less.

I asked if I could photograph him next to the piano but he wasn’t keen on that idea so I settled for some of the instrument itself.

More vignettes, and a lot of crockery! For a long time the shot of the bowl and the door was my favourite phootgraph that I had made. Others have overtaken it now but its still in my top 10.

Horrible over-burning in the sky in the left hand image. Such heavy handedness is somewhat embarrasing now, but I thought it worth sharing as it may spur me to re-process it and see what I can make of it a few years later and with different software.


So there we are, examples from my first two rolls of medium format HP5+. It was about 4 years ago I think. I hope that I have developed as a photographer but I am pretty happy with most of these.

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