5 frames with...

5 Frames of Street Photography in Greenwich with a Minolta SRT-101b – By Peter Roberts

October 23, 2021

For some time now my partner has been dropping heavy hints that she would like to try film photography. She would be the the first to admit, and she does, that she’s no photographer. She’s not even in the happy snapper class subscribing more to the jab it somewhere near the shutter button and hope for the best school of thought. Pondering how to overcome this generally frowned upon technique I reasoned that if she used something more than a point and shoot she would be forced to concentrate on what she was doing. Not, I hasten to add, that there’s anything wrong with a point and shoot as some of the impressive results obtained from them and featured here on 35mmc will testify.

The time to test this theory came the other weekend when I had about half a roll left to go in my Minolta XD7. Set to aperture priority with the rings on a 50mm lens secured midway with tape it became, in effect, a point and shoot without losing its feel and handling characteristics.

Greenwich is just a short bus ride away and spoils you with photographic choice: the Thames riverside, Old Naval College which is now part of the University of Greenwich, Maritime Museum, Cutty Sark, Observatory, I could go on but I won’t. Suffice to say, we took the bus.

We took the bus and I also took a Minolta SRT 101b, with the idea that we would take similar shots of the same subject and then compare results, perhaps even seeing if a sort of his and her Minolta project were possible.

Herself soon got the hang of it and wanted to do her own thing. So leaving her to get on with it I decided to practise some gentle street photography because the other thing that Greenwich has got is people, usually hordes of them but in these strange times not quite so many as usual. Ideally, as I tend to feel self-conscious when it comes to street photography, the XD7 would have been a better choice, it’s unobtrusive and it’s quiet, almost as good as a rangefinder in those respects. However, my partner was already referring to it as “my camera” and had commandeered the spare roll of film so a silver brick with a little more than ten frames left it would have to be.

Concentrating on the next shot.

The Photographer

The colonnades of the Naval Collage provide seemingly endless photographic opportunities. I wonder if she was deliberately posing.

The Reader

I feel a bit guilty about this one.

The Sleeper

A jazz trio outside the Cutty Sark was an enjoyable finale to the afternoon.

First Jazzman, Second Jazzman

Third Jazzman

And that was that, no more film. All that remained was to rescue the budding photographiste from the middle of a busy road – “I want to get a shot of those gates” – and to seek some refreshment.

As a postscript in case some of you may be wondering how my partner fared, here’s a bonus frame from her.


Thanks for reading.

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  • Reply
    Gil Aegerter
    October 23, 2021 at 5:25 pm

    Nice! There’s much to be said about going out with a limited amount of film.

    • Reply
      Peter Roberts
      October 24, 2021 at 5:25 pm

      Thanks Gil and apologies for late reply. The comments don’t appear to be sending to my email.
      I agree with you comment about a limited amount amount of film, it somehow seems to concentrate the mind.

  • Reply
    October 23, 2021 at 6:10 pm

    I really enjoyed your stroll around Greenwich! What a blessing to have someone special to share in the experience with you as well.

    • Reply
      Peter Roberts
      October 24, 2021 at 5:27 pm

      Glad you liked it Dan.

  • Reply
    David O. Garcia
    October 23, 2021 at 6:43 pm

    Where is Greenich? US or UK? Thanks

    • Reply
      Peter Roberts
      October 24, 2021 at 5:31 pm

      Sorry for the late reply David.
      Bearing in mind that 35mmc has a worldwide following I should have made it clear that this is Greenwich in the UK. The original one of the Meridian Line fame.

  • Reply
    Dan Castelli
    October 24, 2021 at 3:22 am

    I can relate to your comment about “gentle street photography.” That’s the style I’m most familiar with, from Cartier-Bresson to Harry Callahan. It’s a slower paced, more humanistic and intelligent rendering of humanity.
    All the photos point to a nice day with your sig. other just having fun. Thanks for sharing these pics.

    • Reply
      Peter Roberts
      October 24, 2021 at 5:33 pm

      Thanks for that Dan.
      Yes, it was a good day out.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2021 at 5:34 am

    “The Reader” sitting next to the columns, well done. Exceptional! All of your frames turned out well. I love the shadows in that photograph of the long hallway with the lamp at the very end.

    • Reply
      Peter Roberts
      October 24, 2021 at 5:35 pm

      Thanks Kodachromeguy.
      I can take no credit for the last one. That was herself on her very own.

  • Reply
    Michael Elliott
    October 24, 2021 at 9:45 am

    Hey Peter! Lovely set of photographs – really enjoyed the article. I live in Greenwich and it’s provided no end of photographic possibilities, but after 18 months I’m starting to need a break from it to be able to rediscover it!

    The final frame from your partner is beautiful. I’ve taken a couple in the collonades myself but that one works so well with the sharp, contrasty light casting beautiful shadows from the columns themselves.


    • Reply
      Peter Roberts
      October 24, 2021 at 5:42 pm

      Thanks Michael.
      I know what you mean about giving a favorite place a break, if only to be able to return to it afresh.
      Josie is overwhelmed with your comment. I must agree though it is a good image isn’t it.

  • Reply
    Bob Janes
    October 24, 2021 at 9:56 am

    Lovely shots.
    The Greenwich waterfront, and particularly the Old Naval College is a wonderful place to visit – in term-time you often get the strains of music students practising as you walk around. I think you have to pay for the painted hall these days, but the chapel on the opposite side is free (and spectacular) and you can go down into the undercroft that connects the two sides of the College (this is a remnant of the old Greenwich Palace where Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I were born).

    • Reply
      Peter Roberts
      October 24, 2021 at 5:49 pm

      Thanks Bob.
      The sound of the music students practising is wonderful.
      And yes, there is much to see in Greenwich. Sometimes we can just wonder around spoilt for choice.
      Please you enjoyed the shots. I was trying to be disciplined about what I did while Josie was getting her hand in.

  • Reply
    Henrik Mundt
    October 24, 2021 at 2:15 pm

    Här finns ett frö som kan vara en god spira!

    • Reply
      Peter Roberts
      October 24, 2021 at 5:53 pm

      Tack så mycket, Henrik!

  • Reply
    October 25, 2021 at 12:09 pm

    That last shot is beautiful! Worth framing imho 🙂

    • Reply
      Peter Roberts
      October 25, 2021 at 4:22 pm

      Thank you Sroyon.
      Your opinion is much appreciated.
      Judging by the comments on Josie’s shot I think I may have to look to my laurels!

  • Reply
    Paul Trantow
    October 25, 2021 at 5:18 pm

    Two old Minoltas and two ice-cold pints? How could I not read this story. I’m powerless. Good stuff.

    • Reply
      Peter Roberts
      October 25, 2021 at 7:03 pm

      Hahaha. Thanks Paul.
      There were two old farts behind each. So glad you found it appealing.

  • Reply
    David Garcia
    October 30, 2021 at 3:16 pm

    Thanks Peter, those are some lovely images. My first camera was the SRT-202 and I learned on that camera. I’ve not used the 101 series but I think they are similar to the 200 series. It is fun to shoot with a prime 50mm once I let go of the need to carry a bagful of gear.

    I have purchased many SRTs on eBay for little money when they sold for about $18 or so. Now since the resurgence of film photography they are selling for $50 or more.

    • Reply
      Peter Roberts
      October 30, 2021 at 5:51 pm

      Thanks for your comment David.
      Minolta used different series names your side of the pond. I’m pretty sure a 101 here is the same camera as a 202 there.
      My first “quality” camera bought back in the seventies was a SRT-303b (which you would know as a SRT Super) which left me with an abiding love for all things Minolta.
      I totally agree that its great to get back to basics sometimes and just go out with a 50mm prime.
      And, yes, film photography equipment is steadily creeping up in price here too.

      • Reply
        Bob Janes
        October 30, 2021 at 6:50 pm

        The SRT 102 was what was known elsewhere as an SRT 303 or SRT Super, the SRT 202 was the SRT 303b or SR 505s… The whole rundown is given over at the Rokkor files: https://www.rokkorfiles.com/SRT%20Series.htm

        • Reply
          Peter Roberts
          October 31, 2021 at 4:09 pm

          Thanks for clarifying that Bob. I thought you’d know.

  • Reply
    David Garcia
    October 31, 2021 at 12:50 am

    I have the SRT-303b which is the SRT-202. I might post a small article on the camera and images I made with it back in 1976.

    • Reply
      Peter Roberts
      October 31, 2021 at 4:11 pm

      Please do David.
      I rather like the articles that delve into the archives.

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