Hongzhen Lu

This weekend I went back to my favourite haunting ground for shooting documentary/ street photography. Another block is being knocked down and there will soon be nothing left of this, once vibrant community. Out of all my photos taken in China, these are my favourite. The people are (generally) warm kind and generous in revealing glimpses of their lives to the camera, and ultimately to me. Here are three recent photos.

If you would like to join me in a photoshoot around this area, hit me up soon!  Enjoy the pics and keep clicking!

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Using Film

Finally received my film back from the new (old) camera. This was using a roll of Fujifilm stock (and yes I chose colour). Would I recommend trying film? Hell yes. It slows you down and really makes you think about pressing the button, knowing it is going to cost you 20p to develop it.

What is ultra cool is that you get them back on a disk, which allows you to play with them in Photoshop.

There is, quite frankly, nothing in life as exciting as getting your prints back from the lab… Here are some of my favourites.

Now if you are in Shanghai, why not head down to Luban Lu and get yourself a film camera! There is a great little lab on the third floor that will develop the film for you.

Nikon F80, first impressions review.

P0020570 An ongoing review….

I have just bought a Full-Frame camera for $60. This is a stark contrast to models like the Sony A7rii, at over $3000 without a lens (and yes I want one). The catch, it’s a film camera.

Why shoot film? You get consistency if you use the same stock, at the moment I am trying Fujicolor Print, 400ISO colour. Lets see if Fujifilm’s reputation for great colour rings true. Secondly, my shots will not be stored in Data land. I will have them on a CD and in a book of negatives.

The downsides of shooting film, you have to wait for it to be processed, and this means you can’t see if you are shooting with your settings all correct until the film is processed. I made a huge mistake with this camera yesterday and spent an hour shooting with the camera set in a mode that did not wind on the film. The result? 20-30 shots all recorded on top of one another. Film v’s digital – maybe there needs to be a full on post about this soon.

Anyway – the camera.

The F80 (N80 if you are in the states) is lightweight in the hands. As always, this is a good and a bad thing. The weight is great, but sacrifices weather sealing and robustness. Saying that, it did still feels pretty good in the hands and is working fine, despite being over 20 years old.

It takes my 50mm lens from my D7100, in fact I can use all my Nikon lenses with this camera, and it still autofocuses! This is awesome, and if you have a Nikon, then the 50mm 1.8 should be up there on your list of things to get, it retails at around $150.

I can shoot with it in the same way I do with my Nikon D7100. Yes I looked at the classic cameras that don’t need batteries and are all manual but I came away thinking that this would just slow me down. The F80 focuses fast, and powers up quickly. On top of this is has aperture priority mode, a method of shooting I live by. I can control my depth of field in the same way I do with all my other cameras. On top of this it has bracketing (useful for HDR), different focus modes and a flash.

This camera has everything you would expect to find in a modern digital camera (minus a confusing menu system and a screen). It even has a cool little joystick to help select a focus point. This really made it an easy film camera to come to after living with digital cameras for so long.

Picture quality, wait and see. This is an ongoing review so I will add pictures and thought as they come and when the film is developed.

Stay happy, keep clicking,



Photoshop is an integral part of most photographers workflow. However, it is often used as a dirty word outside photography and shots are criticised if they have been ‘Photoshopped’. Street photography is one area where photoshop receives a lot of criticism, and shots are often disqualified from competitions if anything has been added or erased.

Personally I want to create great pictures, so I don’t have a problem with this practise. Just be honest with what you have done.

Lastly, you do not have to be a Photoshop expert (I certainly am not!) to tamper with your photos. For one of the examples below I used a program called Snapheal, an app created by Macphun (macphun.com), they have loads of great and easy to use apps. Sorry PC users, they are for Macs only.

Another great alternative is the Nic collection, this used to be fairly pricey but is now totally free. Download it from https://www.google.com/nikcollection/. It will make your pictures better!

In the meantime, check out the pictures below. What do you think, have I ‘cheated’, or have I improved the shots?  Can you spot what is missing? Make a comment and let me know!

Stay happy, keep clicking. Chris

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Colour v B&W

Sometimes colour works well and sometimes pics look great in B&W. Check out the picture below. Which version do you prefer, and, can you explain why? Personally I like the colour version. In the shot the colours compliment each other. The red spirals around from the table to the door, on the way it passes the ladies contrasting blue apron.

Let me know your thoughts and keep clicking!

Cheap Camera Challenge

I recently purchased a camera for 40RMB (about $8). It was a small Olympus film camera. I loaded it up with some B+W film and carried around with me for a couple of weeks. I am posting my best 3 photos here.

Using film was an interesting experience. You definitely shoot less when you have to pay to develop the film. Also this camera was a point and shoot. No focusing or having to choose any particular setting as you have no choice.

Keep an eye open for these camera, they are being sold at give-away prices if you keep an eye out. Using them is becoming a unique, yet rewarding experience.


Luban Lu

I took this shot on the way to the Luban Lu camera mall, an amazing place and I will post a blog about it soon. On the way out of the Metro station I encountered this performing dog. The crowds parted just enough to make an interesting frame around the edge of the shot.

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