The Whole Roll

29 Frames / A Whole Roll (Almost) of Rollei Retro 400s – #FullRollFriday – by Gary Quinn

May 8, 2020

Lockdown, quarantine, self-isolating, social distancing; call it what you like it boils down to one thing – we’re staying in today. That’s what we do every day now. We don’t go to work, the kid doesn’t go to school and we don’t go to the shops, at least not as a group – just as socially distant individuals.

But once a day all that changes when it’s time for our government sanctioned exercise or as it has become known in our household ‘family fun time’. The tone in which we say that becomes a little more sarcastic with each slowly passing day.

We’re advised to stay within a mile of home and normally I’d venture further for my photographic fix, alas, we must make do with what we have. Luckily I have a visually rich neighbourhood.

My wife suggested instead of walking around the local park we take the longer walk to Glasgow Cathedral. This immediately made me think of shooting the Retro 400s, although the sun wasn’t out, the contrasty nature of the Rollei would accentuate the dramatic architecture.

The sequence follows an obvious pattern for me. When I decide what I’ll shoot I find it hard to adjust eg. If I say I. Shooting building the odd picture of people will be poorly composed or if I plan to shoot people the opposite will be true.

The roll starts off as I’d expect with some nice shots of the environment. Interestingly, the repeat shots of the mirror balls and the selfie were attempts to bracket exposures which speaks wonders of this films forgiving nature.

Then I get start getting my groove on and I’m shooting the kid on her scooter but using the cathedral for a batter than average background. Most of these I managed to expose well but some are way off and I’ll blame that on the new camera (I’d recently purchased an old Chinon Memtron and shot all these on Av mode).

On the way home we pass through the Necropolis which I’ve shot the crap out of lately so I ignore the tombs and fire off a few shots of my P & J but these shots shout loudly about how little thought I put into them.

The roll winds up with some frames taken around an industrial area shortcut we often use and these, well, I don’t know how I feel about them. I’m some of them are absolute guff and some I’m being hard on as the environment isn’t as ‘picturesque’ as the earlier frames.

In the time it took to write that last paragraph I’ve decided I don’t like the second half of the roll at all. I called it in. I do this a lot when I’m about what I have and just want to get it developed without feeling I’ve wasted half a roll.

Anyway, there it is, a full (almost) roll of Rollei Retro 400s.

So that’t that.  For those who care about such things I shot the first half of the roll with my Takumar 35mm f/3.5 and finished off with the Helios 44-2.  The film was developed in Rodinal 1+50 for 23 minutes.

If you want to see more of my stuff you can catch me on Instagram and if you fancy a chat come and find me on Twitter

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  • Reply
    Eric Norris
    May 8, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    I think our wives would offer each other condolences. They suggest a trip out with the family, and their husband’s first thought is of what film to shoot!

    Nice photos. They capture the somewhat faded glory of the setting.

  • Reply
    Mikey K
    May 8, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    With a bit of light, this film really looks amazing. I just stocked up.on it.

  • Reply
    Castelli Daniel
    May 9, 2020 at 3:37 am

    Did I read this correctly? You’re allowed 90 minutes per day for exercise? Ouch.
    Thanks for sharing your visual thought process. I like the shots of your daughter (?) on the scooter.
    I enjoyed the narrative.

    • Reply
      Gary Q
      May 9, 2020 at 6:56 am

      We are ‘allowed’ as much time as we want but government recommend 60 minutes which we frequently exceed.

  • Reply
    Castelli Daniel
    May 10, 2020 at 2:13 am

    OK, now I understand. Thank you. Keep healthy and good shooting (film – not handguns :-))

  • Reply
    Khürt Louis Williams
    May 10, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    My wife’s has learned that when I ask her to go for a 30 minute walk that it means we won’t get very far. I wish I had known about the Memtron before spending US$200 for a Pentax ES II on eBay.

    • Reply
      Gary Q
      May 11, 2020 at 8:20 am

      It’s definitely an unsung hero of a camera. I’ve been tempted to review it here but I don’t want to influence the price before I get a few more of them.

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