Saturday, January 30, 2016

Renault at Eurotunnel

In about 1990 I got a call from a PR man I had known for some time with  the offer of a job that I may be interested in.

The brief was to photograph some vehicles at the Eurotunnel visitors centre at Folkestone. For those who are too young to remember, this was a tourist attraction set up across the M20 from where the tunnel terminal is now. Inside was information about what was going to happen with the new tunnel.

Outside was a paved area where we had received permission to park vehicles for the shoot.

On the day of the shoot the car and the truck arrived from the UK but the coach was brought over from France as it was not available in the UK.

The image was set up with several different coinfgureations and one was chosen for the print run.

The print run was the fun bit as Renault wanted the information printed on the front of the image and they wanted too have a run of 1600 prints. 

If it was now then that would be no problem as the text and logo could be added digitally, the file sent of and in a day or two prints would be delivered. 

in 1990 this was very different and I needed to build a temporary setup to be able to hand print all the prints as easily as possible.

Getting the copy approved and type set was not a problem. I then had it sized so that it was the right size for the print. The typeset film was cut to give a straight edge along the top. this was then stuck into the printing frame. 

I then needed to set up a way of exposing the text. I built a triangular box about 30cm high and 3cm wide with a light bulb in the point and the open bottom of the triangular box sitting on the typeset film. The light bulb was wired to a variable transformer and connected too the timer that was also connected to the enlarger.  This triangular box was attached to the masking frame and stuck down on the typeset film so all the light leaks were sealed and that the light bulb was only exposing through the film and no light was fogging the rest of the image. 

I then needed to find the correct exposure for the the negative of the vehicles, once I found that I then went back to set the lightbulb exposing for the text. By adjusting the variable transformer I got the correct intensity for the lightbulb, so that the correct exposure time for the text was the same as the time for the negative.

It was then simply a matter of putting paper in the masking frame pushing the button on the timer. The timer switch on the enlarger and the bulb for the text for the same time, at the end of the exposure the paper was removed and put in the processor and 90 seconds later a correctly exposed print cam out.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

500th post and my first photo.

While I was looking at my blog post list I found that this will be my 500th post to the  I have been posting since July 2009.
Compare this the majority of blogs that only have a couple of posts before they get abandoned, I feel reasonably proud.
For a bit of fun for this 500th post I thought I would find the very first pictures that I took along with the original camera used to take them.

Being the collector that I am, I still have, and can find both!

The camera used was the family camera. A Kodak Brownie Cresta II. The camera was manufactured by Kodak UK between 1956 and 1959. It uses 120 film and shot 12  2 1/4" square images per roll. Looking at these dates and the family pictures I guess that the camera was bought when I was born. All the pictures taken prior to my birth are on a rectangular format and when I arrive they switch to a square format.

I am not sure what date that I took my first images as they are in a folder with some other images which I can date to 1967. The negatives are also in the folder but for some strange reason there are two sets of negatives with the same number. As the 1967 images are better quality I know that these first two images were taken earlier.
Also written on the print folder is the processing and printing costs. It looks as though the cost for processing and printing 12 B&W images in 1967 was 7/9d which is about 40p in todays money. Corrected for inflation that is £6.66.

I can remember taking my first picture.

We were on a family walk around the Knapps which is a small man made Loch near where we lived. I can't remember if I asked to be allowed to take a picture or if I was just given the camera but I did one negative that day.
Some time later we were on a day trip to Largs and took the backroad to Fairlie. As you drop off the moors there was a stream and a waterfall that Dad liked to stop at. 

Neither image is very sharp but I managed to get a reasonable composition, got what I wanted in the picture and managed to keep my finger out of the way of the lens. 

So the last three points are all you need for success in photography!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Ford Focus

Today is the last day with my Ford Focus. Having owned this car longer than I have owned any car in my life, and putting about 80,000 miles on it we are getting a replacement.

There are few cars that I have loved and in the past only one I have hated, heres looking at you Peugeot 405!

This Focus has done its job but now its a bit big for V to enjoy to drive so off it goes.

Below are some of my collection of pictures with the car in them.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


I guess anyone who has a collection of old family photographs has some photographs that they can't associate with any of their relatives.
In my case I have a collection of prints of pictures taken all over Great Britain. Some I can recognise but most are of unknown locations. 
A very few of the pictures have a location written on the back but most don't. 
The composition of the pictures are all of good quality, far more than casual snaps. Very few have people in them. Infact more have horse and carts than people.

The main set of images that are annotated are from the small port of Llangrannog, located on the Welsh coast of Cardigan Bay near Newport.

It is hard to date these images. I would have a guess that they date from the turn off the 19/20th Century.