Summer Holiday, Part 3 – Back to the Streets

As promised, I’ll be starting to post some of the street photographs I took while on holiday. These are all 35mm and predominantly black-and-white; I shot only three rolls of Portra 160 against ten rolls of Tri-X in 35mm.

Before we begin, a few words on equipment, technique, and process. I carried two Canon LTM rangefinders – a P and an L1 – and three lenses – a Canon 35/2.8, a Canon 50/1.5, and a Leitz Elmar 90/4. The standard arrangement was the L1 with the 35/2.8 and Tri-X, and the P with the 50/1.5 and either Tri-X or Portra – the reasoning behind this was mainly that the L1 has an adjustable finder that makes it easier to use the 35mm focal length, while the 50mm framelines on the P are easy to see, and the 1:1 magnification of the latter makes focusing a bit easier when necessary (I zone focus most of the time, but the shallower DOF of the 50 meant that focus had to be adjusted more often than the 35) The 90/4 only came out a few times, and always ended up on the P due to it having framelines for 100 (which is close enough for government work). This is my standard travel kit, and I find it works quite well.

All the Tri-X was processed by me in Caffenol-C-H (RS) – 15 minutes @ 20degC, agitate for the first full minute, then 10 seconds of agitation every minute thereafter. This formula works quite well with Tri-X, as well as with HP5+.

Enough rambling – on to the photos.

I had exactly one day – well, more like half of one day, by the time I got started – to shoot in this old Venetian town, so I had to make the most of it. The streets are very narrow, so the 35/2.8 got the bulk of the work. It’s a bustling place in the summer, with tourists and locals intermingling. The cafes and restaurants are full, people are swimming and lounging (sometimes in unlikely places) – in other words, lots of opportunities for the motivated street photographer.

So you might expect, then, that I shot a lot of photos of people doing their respective things. I didn’t. Sure, I took some, but I concentrated more on the town itself, the alleys and doors, the laundry hanging from windows and streetlamps along the shore. In retrospect, I suppose I was trying to capture the character of the place itself rather than that of the people within it.

Canon L1, Canon 35/2.8, Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol-C-H (RS)
Canon L1, Canon 35/2.8, Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol-C-H (RS)

The streets are only streets in name – by any modern standard, they are narrow corridors between buildings at best. The surfaces are worn by centuries of footsteps, salt from the Adriatic, and the rain that washes it back into the sea.

Canon L1, Canon 35/2.8, Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol-C-H (RS)
Canon L1, Canon 35/2.8, Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol-C-H (RS)

The streets are in shade most of the day, offering some respite from the sun. When the light does pour in, it casts long shadows across anything in its path for a few moments before continuing to swing to the west.

Canon L1, Canon 35/2.8, Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol-C-H (RS)
Canon L1, Canon 35/2.8, Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol-C-H (RS)

It wasn’t all sunshine while I was there. In the late afternoon a downpour blew through – we watched it come across the sea toward us – and took with it most of the people who had been out all day. When the rain stopped the streets were empty. Only as the sun set did they return, their numbers diminished now, still carrying their umbrellas.

Canon L1, Canon 35/2.8, Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol-C-H (RS)
Canon L1, Canon 35/2.8, Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol-C-H (RS)

Thus ended the day. It was a whirlwind tour, but Your Humble Filmosaur tends to work well under pressure. I shot five rolls of film, and while I got some photos I’m happy with, I’m quite sure there’s more work to do there. And photography aside, it’s a fairly idyllic little place, at least from a summer visitor’s perspective. Who wouldn’t want to go back and stare idly out at the boats slowly crossing the horizon under the warm Adriatic sun?

Canon L1, Canon 35/2.8, Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol-C-H (RS)
Canon L1, Canon 35/2.8, Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol-C-H (RS)

More from the Summer Holiday Collection

With a bit of time, I’ve managed to work through more of the film from my vacation, and thus the time has come to begin posting them in an organized form here. The first will be a couple more shots from the Perkeo sticking with the seaside theme.

Voigtländer Perkeo II, Kodak Ektar
Voigtländer Perkeo II, Kodak Ektar

The light following a brief late afternoon downpour made for some nice photo opportunities as the light began to fade. What had been a busy waterfront suddenly emptied with the rain, and people only began to emerge again as the sun headed down in the west.

Voigtländer Perkeo II, Kodak Ektar
Voigtländer Perkeo II, Kodak Ektar

This was the first overseas vacation on which I’d carried the Perkeo, and having a medium format camera provided both an interesting new challenge and some very pleasing photos. Based on how I shot and what I’ve seen of the results, I think I may simplify my approach in the future, carrying only color for the Perkeo and only B&W for the 35mm cameras.

With that said, we’ll be staying by the sea for our next post, but returning to monochrome 35mm, which not surprisingly made up the bulk of Your Humble Filmosaur’s photography on this little excursion.

Summer Holiday

Like many of you, I’ve spent some of the summer on holiday. This has naturally meant a bit of neglect for some things, this site for one. But summer holidays are a necessity if the misery of winter is to be survived with any hope of maintaining a modicum of whatever sanity remains, so such sacrifices must be made. On the positive side of things, I took with me several cameras and more film than any one person should carry. After a marathon of developing and scanning that took almost as long as the vacation itself, I’ve finally begun the process of sorting through the results. Inevitably, some of these will be posted here in due course, but for the moment, please content yourselves with a single photo. More of this collection, as well as others that have been festering for a while and plenty of random tidbits as well, will make there way here as time permits.

Voigtländer Perkeo II, Kodak Ektar
Voigtländer Perkeo II, Kodak Ektar