The Cartier Kid. Photographing Swans With Fomapan 100 and Canon AF35ML.

Photographing Swans With Fomapan 100

Hi everyone. I'm glad you're here because I need to talk to you about swans. I love taking pictures by the river and I've photographed a lot of them over the years. Although maybe it's just the same few - I guess they all kind of look the same.

These pictures were all taken on Fomapan 100 with a Canon AF35ML camera. It's a very fine, contrasty film that gives the pictures a beautiful texture to them. There's something about these pictures that I've not seen in my photography before, I think it's that particular texture, and I'm very fond of it.

When I looked at my first scans from these three rolls I was immediately surprised by the pictures on my screen - it really felt like it didn't need any editing at all and that's quite rare for me. That's not to say I haven't worked on these - I have, but I hope I've retained the overall character of the film.

I took these pictures in a few relaxing hours on the quay in St Ives - my St Ives - the one near Cambridge. It's a shame there are no surfers here, but it's got a lot else going for it - elegant, occasionally moody swans in particular.

I've talked before about photography being a kind of meditation - and there's something very relaxing and hypnotic about photographing swans for hours. Again I'm reminded of that guy HCB and things he's said. He loved how the chaotic, disorganised world would align itself at times and how you if you were observant and in tune to it you could capture those moments.

If there was a photography version of The Karate Kid, and I hope we can all agree that there should be. There would be a Mr Miagi Cartier-Bresson character sending his sulking student out to photograph swans all day. They would hate him, but it would pay off in the end.

Swans are a great analogue for the chaos and disorganisation of human life. You could think of sitting by the quay in St Ives photographing swans as perfect practice for non-swan photography. Non swan photography is an exciting, crowded genre and on a sunny day in England it's easily my second favourite type of photography.

I'd like to end with a quick thank you to the three people who sponsor my blog and YouTube videos through Patreon. Trying out different films is pretty expensive and the few pounds I get from there each month I dedicate to experimenting.

A particular thank you to Alex Young, who not only sponsors me - if that is the right word - but suggested I tried Fomapan 100 - one of his favourite films.

I'm very grateful for the recommendation as I don't think I would have discovered Fomapan otherwise. I didn't start the channel because I thought I knew more about photography - especially film photography - than anyone else - that's clearly not the case. I thought it would just be a fun way of learning new things and sharing ideas and experiences. And here we all are - looking at my pictures of swans. Thanks again everyone - see you in the next one.