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alison mcmullonIndonesia and the promise of constant swell was where I left you last. For me this trip was indeed a learning curve… that quickly developed into a circle… a circle which resembled my washing machine drum on a spin cycle!!

 Finally my surfing had been given the chance to improve, feeling confident, it was time to head out back. I wanted bigger waves and nothing was going to stop me… well nothing except my wave selection!

I guess I had a lot to learn, I took off on the first wave that came my way. Big mistake, that wave sucked me up then drilled me head first towards the ocean floor. I was going so fast my eye lids turned inside out, all I could think was… I tried this eye lid trick as a kid and found it impossible… the spin cycle kicked in and eventually spat me out. N.B to myself- don’t go on a 90 degrees wave, selection is key. Needless to say my next wave was far more enjoyable!

Indo allowed me to be in the water all day every day, taking my surfing to the next level and destination… Australia. Bells beach was waiting as were the sharks but I’ll save that for next time.

As for the swell here in Tynemouth over the last two weeks, it’s been a case of four days on four off which I’m certainly not complaining about having enjoyed clean 4-5 foot sessions.

The question is… will it last and what are we doing during the flat spells. Well it seems a lot of us are heading to our local skate park to surf the concrete waves and photograph the sick tricks.  On the 22nd August 2009, Panama skatepark in Whitley bay will host ‘Panamodium’ a competition which claims to give instant skate relief!

PanamodiumI dropped by Panama last week with my Holga 120CFN medium format camera to take some ‘doubles’.

Loving the 6×6 format, I loaded Holga with a roll of 120mm slide film- Fuji Velvia 100. This produces twelve square photographs with a red/yellow cast once Cross processed (XPRO).

Cross processing, simply involves using a roll of slide film and developing it, as if it is color negative film. Intentionally processing a film in the wrong chemicals (usually your slide film goes through a process called E-6 but you want to process it in C-41).

I Xpro my film because I love the unpredictable colour shifts, crazy contrasts and increase in grain but I realise this is not for everyone. It took me some time and a great deal of film to understand that, the largest differences in the results of your cross processed photographs, in terms of colour shifts are to do with the film you use and indeed the chemicals/lab you’ve  persuaded to develop your film (not all your local labs will XPRO).

 Each film has an obvious difference in the color cast which is produced during development. Here are a few  examples but I suggest that experimentation is the way forward… and it doesn’t have to be too expensive as the colour shifts you get from expired film will only add to the XPRO effect.

  • Fuji Velvia 100 shifts towards reds, magenta and yellow.
  • Fuji Velvia 50 and Sensia 200 and 400 shift towards blue and green
  • Kodak EktaChrome is very green.

So now that’s as clear as mud… back to doubles, which are simply multiple exposures (taking two photos on the same piece of film).

Unlike the majority of cameras once you’ve pressed the button, you’re forced to wind on before you can snap the next shot… not Holga! Holga allows you to take multiple shots on one frame, producing cool combinations and truly unique shots.

So choose your subject and take a couple of shots before you wind onto the next frame (the number can be seen in the red window on the back of Holga)

So as you now know, I got the image I wanted for Panama Skate Park by firstly photographing the graffiti then the guy skate boarding, without winding onto the next frame. I have to be honest, Holga can be frustrating at times but she can also rock your world! I hope this has inspired you to give it a go. I’ll be back soon to share more of my surf adventures and photography techniques.


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