Croft Nostalgia Weekend 2012
On the 4th and 5th of August 2012, Croft held it’s annual Nostalgia weekend, with a collection of military vehicles, classic motorsport action and vintage bus rides. I decided to go on the Sunday to photograph the action, with my usual accompaniment of digital and film cameras. I took with me the Canon 5D, Rolleicord 1A, Polaroid 103, Canon 300v and Lomography La Sardina.
My choice of film was the usual Fuji FP-100C for the Polaroid 103, Agfa Vista Plus for the La Sardina, Ilford FP4+ in 35mm format for the Canon 300v, Delta 100 in 120 format for the Rolleicord as well as Kodak Ektar 100.
The Polaroid 103 with portrait kit
I recently aquired the Polaroid 581 Portrait Kit from a seller on Ebay, so that I could start taking photos of people. The Polaroid 103’s native minimum focusing distance is around 4ft, and this Polaroid kit reduces that to around 2ft. The kit included a push on lens, a set of ‘goggles’ for the rangefinder and viewfinder, as well as a cover for the original flash add on (which I don’t have).
I found a gentleman who was very interested in my cameras, as was willing to pose for me by his WW2 truck. I was really surprised with how well this shot came out, with the push on portrait lens producing sharp results. The muted tones of the Polaroid gave a nostalgic feel to the photograph, even if the Polaroid is a little late compared to the WW2 themed subject. Nevertheless, I want to continue doing portraits with the Polaroid, especially after such good results using the kit here.
Rolleicord 1A with Kodak Ektar
After so much success on my Paris trip with Ektar 100, I was keen to shoot a couple of rolls at the Croft event. Due to the bright, sunny conditions, metering proved to be tough, especially when trying to take wide shots. This would cause the sky to be metered correctly, but not the subject themselves. With some adjustments, I still managed to take decent photographs around the event.
I managed to photograph Colin Bourdiec while he was sat in a jeep waiting to go on a tour of the circuit in a WW2 Jeep. Framing with the Rolleicord is always tough when close to subject, even with the minimum focusing distance being fairly short. There is no parallax indicator, as there was on later TLR designs, so leaving some headroom at the top of the viewfinder is usually advised. I felt that this shot was well exposed, with even the very top of the hat being just about visible despite being in shade.
The bright morning sunlight has taken some of the colour out of the skintones, but a film such as Kodak Portra may have performed better here. I was still pleased with the shot, as it really captured one of the key people of the event well.
An irresistible Yorkshire classic
One of the highlights of the shot for me was seeing my favourite cars on display, the Jowett Jupiter. Built in Bradford, this car was not only a beautifully shaped sportscar, it was also a Le Mans winning race car, dominating it’s class in 1950, ’51 and ’52.
I had similar problems with my 120 colour films as I did at the Coys International Event at Donington, in that unloading in such bright conditions was effecting some of the films. I need to be more careful unloading and loading this camera to reduce the light spill through the edge of frames. I’ll use a film changing bag to unload and store film in when I next take the camera out. Despite these problems, the Jowett Jupiter itself looked wonderful in the summer sun.
Using film in fading light
Towards the end of my second roll of Kodak Ektar, I got talking to a lovely couple who were dressed in vintage clothes for the event. I photographed them as dark thunderclouds rolled in, meaning I had to use the f/4.5 aperture on the Rolleicord. This allowed just enough light in to expose correctly, and I ended up with a photograph that really fit the feel of the nostalgia event.
The photograph captured soft, muted tones in the dying light, which suited the format well. Film is less flexible in terms of being stuck with what ever ISO film is in the camera at the time, but this shot shows that it can still perform in difficult conditions.
Using Delta 100 in the Rolleicord
I once again wanted to try the Delta 100 120 format film in the Rolleicord, to see how it compared to the FP4+ that I photographed at Mallory Park earlier in the year.
From the clouds right down to the deepest shodows, the Delta 100 film provided plenty of depth in the tonal range, and had sharp lines and super fine grain. Although this combination works well, I feel that the FP4+ in DD-X combination that I’ve used on the 35mm format looked better, or rather, preferable.
Returning to FP4 in DD-X with 35mm formats
I loaded up the Canon 300v with FP4+, and put on the 28-135mm IS lens to photograph close ups of the cars on display around the track. I wanted to photograph the interesting details and shapes of the classic cars, and iconic badges and motifs.
The FP4+ in DD-X combination made detailed images with a sharp, fine grain quality to them. The overall image has more mids and less blacks compared to the Delta 100, which gives the images a more ‘chromy’ feel to them.
Shapes, shadows and sharp images came out of this camera and film combination, which I still need to try with the 120 variant of the film.
Too bright for 200 ISO in the La Sardina!
My ‘perfect pottering camera’ was defeated by the super bright conditions at Croft. An aperture of F/8, shutter speed of 1/100 and an ISO of 200 produced images that were rather over exposed. I still managed to get a couple of nice shots, including a line up of classic bikes that were on display.
Photographing the racing action on digital
Amongst the classic cars and military vehicles, it was easy to forget that there was an afternoon of classic touring car and single seater action. I photographed with with the Canon 5D with the 70-200mm IS II and 1.4 extender.
I captured cars at speed using the panning technique, giving a sensation of speed. Some of the cars were used in the upcoming Rush film, such as this Lotus 59.
I wanted to experiment further with slow shutter speeds, and this time I turned off the image stabilisation. This would stop the lens from trying to suppress the movement of the camera, and gave a much more artistic and consistent look with this type of shot.
These super slow shots came out better than many other have before, and I think this was mainly due to the disabling of the image stabilisation. I now want to try using very fast shutter speeds, to capture cars with short depths of field when I go to future events.
With so much to photograph at Croft, I was really spoilt for choice. I really want to move into taking portraits with the Polaroid, start using some FP4+ in the Rolleicord, and begin to work on techniques using fast shutter speeds to capture motorsport action.
If you want to see more of the photographs I took at this event, you can look at my Croft Nostalgia 2012 set on Flickr. If you have any comments or questions, please use the form below, or contact me via Email or Twitter. You can see other events at the Croft circuit, and find out more information about the nostalgia event here.