Chris Hannah

The feeling of film photography

I just wrote about my recent experience with shooting film, and I already have something else to say about it.

Because I noticed something, the  apparent lower quality of film photos doesn't bother me at all. If anything, I'd say the soft focus, harsh shadows, blown-out highlights, and of course, the grain, gives the photo character.

After I got my scans back, I noticed that I wasn't drawn to edit them that much. Whereas with the RAW files from my mirrorless camera, I'm sucked into changing the entire aesthetic and fiddling with any slider or number I can.

It was probably the first significant moment when I started thinking of photography as an art form.

I've seen photos before and been amazed by them, in a whole bunch of ways, but there's something visceral about film that I can't quite explain.

I've finally got some 35mm film developed

After waiting quite a number of months, I finally finished three rolls of 35mm film, and I've just got the scans back.

This is my first time getting film developed, and overall I'm happy with the results. There are certainly a few photos that didn't come out so well, a few fingers that I had to crop out, and also one shot that was cut in half. But at least that gives me a few things to focus on when I'm next out shooting film.

To give some background on the film, there were two rolls of Kodak UltraMax 400 that I used with my Dubblefilm SHOW camera, and another roll of super old Tesco film that was already partially used, that came with a Minolta Maxxum 3xi that someone gave me last year.

I don't know if or how I'm going to store these long-term, but for now, you can view the full collection on my Flickr:

These files have had some corrections done to them on Capture One. But they were mainly adjusting the exposure/contrast and also cropping/straightening.

My Favourites

I ended up with 79 photos from the three rolls of film (I haven't shared the photos that I didn't take), and while I enjoy quite a lot of them, I had to share some of my favourites here.

All of my favourites were actually from the Kodak UltraMax film with the Dubblefilm SHOW camera. I only got a handful on the Minolta, so that's not too much of a surprise. But to be honest, I think a lot of the shots were a bit weird because the film was just so old. From memory, I think it was from the mid-2000s.

Looking over Dunstable Downs
The beach near Durdle Door
Spekes Mill Mouth Waterfall
Spekes Mill Mouth


I have quite a few lessons that I've learned from this whole process. Some relating to actually taking the shots, the composition, the cameras, and film in general.

As for taking photos, I found that the resulting shot didn't always turn out the same as I had seen it through the viewfinder. So sometimes the frame was larger than expected, and that seemed to mean my fingers were present more than I'd like. I also seem to have an issue keeping the camera level, which I don't think I can blame on anything else but myself.

Waiting to get three films complete before I could get them developed is something I probably won't do in the future. That restriction was just based on how I'd ordered the scans, as I paid for three in advance, and wanted to ship them all at the same time. But I think in the future, I might find a more regular way of getting them developed.

What's Next

As of yesterday, I've actually ordered another film camera. So I guess that itself shows my current feelings towards film photography.

The camera I chose was a Canon AV1. Primarily because it offers me an aperture-priority mode, which I use on my mirrorless camera. But also because it means I can use different lenses, filters, and sort of get the "real" camera experience.

At the same time, I also ordered more Kodak UltraMax 400 film, because I'm happy with the results, and I think I can get even more out of it.

However, right now I do still have three cameras on the go. I've got the Dubblefilm SHOW with a roll of Kodak Portra, the Minolta has a black and white film with a weird name "Street Candy MTN", and I still have an expired Fujifilm disposable camera that is nearly ready to be sent off.

iPadOS 17 is starting to sound very impressive

Chance Miller, at 9to5 Mac writing about a potential Stage Manager leak:

According to the leaker, one of the biggest areas of focus for iPadOS 17 will be Stage Manager. Apple debuted Stage Manager as a new multi-tasking interface as part of iPadOS 16, but the feature has received mix feedback from iPad power users. As part of iPadOS 17, Apple reportedly has a multiple updates in store for Stage Manager, though it sounds like the basis of the functionality will stay the same.

This leaker also says that Apple is developing a “special version of iPadOS 17” for the oft-rumored larger iPad that’s in the works. Sources such as Ross Young and Bloomberg have said that Apple is working on a 14.1-inch iPad that could be launched sometime this year or in early 2024. There’s even been one rumor suggesting a 16-inch model is in development.

If all of this is true, I can see the iPad becoming a much more useful device for so many people. That's a lot of the annoyances I have with my iPad suddenly vanishing.

My current experience of using Twitter

I signed up for Twitter Blue recently, just to see what all the fuss was about. And while it has a few cool features, such as a customisable navigation bar, and the top stories section, the content, or at least the content that is presented to me, is just an endless stream of homogenised shite.

The majority of tweets I see now, are usually about AI, growth, or people sharing their expertise. All nicely packaged in annoying threads.

There are still things that Twitter does better than any other platform, such as current events, trending topics, the Explore page, etc. I also have a really good Twitter list that I use for football news and opinions. But I think the majority of my social media use is no longer going to be on Twitter.

I've been going back and forward between Twitter and Mastodon. Even cross-posting along the way, but I think I'm now going to be primarily over on Mastodon.

The story behind the game of chess in Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone

I started playing chess a few months ago, and I was recently thinking about the chess game at the end of the first Harry Potter film. Did it follow the rules of chess? Did the moves make sense? Etc.

Fortunately, I found a great[1] blog post on The Leaky Cauldron , where the International Master, Jeremy Silman, that worked with the producers of the film, explains how he planed the game of chess, and that some of it was in fact cut from the film[2].

I probably should have expected that the producers got some professional help for the chess scene, but it still fascinated me seeing how the game was planned, and the constraints that had to be met.

I can't quote any section here without spoiling any section, but if it sounds interesting, head over to The Leaky Cauldron to read the full story.

  1. Apart from the fact that they use "Sorcerer" instead of "Philosopher". ↩︎

  2. It doesn't appear that this specific post was authored by him, but instead used with his permission, and adapted for the websites audience. ↩︎

Personalised radio station

I was browsing Hacker News just now, and I came across an interesting question asked by user l2silver:

[What is the] most interesting tech you built for just yourself? - Hacker News

It's an interesting question, and I'm sure a lot of tech people could some up with something interesting. But probably none as delightful as this answer from sriram_malhar:

My MIL is 93, and the only tech she can really deal with is turning on the radio and TV and changing channels.

She is fond of music from old classics (from the 60's and earlier), so I hooked up a Raspberry PI with an FM transmitter and created her own private radio station. She tells me what songs she likes and I create different playlists that get broadcast on her station. It preserves the surprise element of radio, and there is nothing in there she doesn't like.

The tiny FM transmitter is surprisingly powerful. Her neighbours (of similar vintage) are very happy too, so their requests have also started coming in :)

Now, that's personal tech. My favourite part of it is that it still preserves the feeling and spontaneity of listening to radio. Perfect solution, and requires no extra learning at all!

UK regulators cause Microsoft/Activision Blizzard merger to collapse

Tom Espiner & Will Harris, for BBC News:

Microsoft's president has attacked the UK after it was blocked from buying US gaming firm Activision, saying the EU was a better place to start a business.

The move was "bad for Britain" and marked Microsoft's "darkest day" in its four decades of working in the country, Brad Smith told the BBC.

The regulator hit back saying it had to do what's best for people, "not merging firms with commercial interests".

The UK's move means the multi-billion dollar deal cannot go ahead globally.

When I heard about this potential merger, I can't say I particularly cared much, apart from the effect it could have on one of my favourite games, World of Warcraft. But now I've read more about the potential monopoly it could give Microsoft, and also their childish response to the decision, I'm coming quite happy that the UK blocked the deal.

Even though the UK regulator has blocked the deal from happening (of course, there will be appeals), I would very much appreciate it if the US and EU regulators did the same.

Multiple device support is coming to WhatsApp

WhatsApp is finally adding support for multiple devices sharing the same account:

Today, we’re improving our multi-device offering further by introducing the ability to use the same WhatsApp account on multiple phones.

A feature highly requested by users, now you can link your phone as one of up to four additional devices, the same as when you link with WhatsApp on web browsers, tablets and desktops. Each linked phone connects to WhatsApp independently, ensuring that your personal messages, media, and calls are end-to-end encrypted, and if your primary device is inactive for a long period, we automatically log you out of all companion devices.

This was one of my biggest annoyances when I was going through a phase of switching back and forth between my iPhone and Pixel. This is going to make a whole lot of people's live easier.

One-off upgrade fees are more honest

I'll get right into it, I think most app subscriptions shouldn't exist.

Not because I have a vendetta against subscriptions, but because in most cases, they are used as a substitute. They are used as a mask to hide the lack of real upgrade pricing.

When a developer feels like they need to have a continuous stream of money coming in, for them to work on and improve an app, it's because they want security to allow them to continue. They want reassurance that they won't be wasting time.

A more honest solution would be that if you work on a major update to an app, that you could make it available alongside an upgrade price.

It then gives agency to the user, where they can make a decision on whether they want to pay for an upgrade. Sometimes an app works for you, and there's no extra value to be gained. Other users may appreciate the increase in functionality and would be willing to pay for it.

It also assures the developer that they can work on an upgraded version of their app, and not have it lose them time or money. From both existing users upgrading, and from the potential of new users.

If I suddenly announced that Text Case was moving to a subscription model, I expect a lot of people wouldn't be best pleased. Sure, I could make the argument that this would come with regular updates, but what if someone is fine with the app how it is? Why would you need to pay for something you don't want?

But at the same time, if I spent months working on a whole new version of the app, I'd feel a bit weird releasing it to everyone as a free update. But if I could make it both the new default version for new customers and offer it to existing users at a much smaller upgrade price, that would make a lot more sense.

Feedback results

Yesterday, I asked for feedback on how people read my blog, and some thoughts on a possible newsletter, and their preferences. Well, the results are now in, so I thought I'd share them here.

The first question was to find out some primary information on how people primarily consume my blog, to provide a foundation for further questions.


114 responses.

  1. RSS - 61%
  2. Social Media Links - 25%
  3. Website - 12%
  4. Other - 2%

It's clear to see RSS being the clear winner here, which did surprise me a bit, to be honest. I thought it would be a bit more even.

The next was asking for preferences on a method of delivery.


85 responses.

  1. A blog post that’s also sent via email. - 47%
  2. No newsletter, just blog posts. - 45%
  3. Separate newsletter on a dedicated platform. - 6%
  4. A members-only blog post and free email. - 2%

I suppose this was the main question I needed to ask. How would people want a newsletter, and I guess if they wanted a newsletter? The answer here seems to be that all content should be on the blog, and the idea of separating a newsletter or making it members-only wasn't popular at all.

Finally, I wanted to ask about what content people would want in a newsletter.


72 responses.

  1. An essay that goes deep into a topic/situation. - 35%
  2. A collection of links, thoughts, etc. - 28%
  3. One written article per month. - 24%
  4. Personal updates, current affairs, opinions, etc. - 14%

At first glance, this seems quite even, but I think there's a potential to group together a single article per month and a deep dive/essay per month. Combined, it's seemingly 59% of people that would prefer a single piece of original writing, rather than a collection of links or smaller thoughts. I think this matches what I would prefer to write as well.

Firstly, I was pleasantly surprised with the number of responses and feedback I received from these questions. I think that was mainly because of the kind people on Mastodon that boosted my posts.

Regarding the results, I think overall it shows that the people that read my writing, tend to do so via RSS. And while there are somewhat mixed thoughts on the form a newsletter could take, what I took away from this was that the majority of people would want any content also delivered via the blog/RSS feed as well.

This makes me think that firstly, people seem to be happy with the blog as it is, which is honestly great news. But it also shows me that the people that read my writing, don't want me to start posting content either elsewhere, or via a medium that excludes my blog.

While I don't want to blindly follow the results, it does appear that the best method for the current readers is that any content that forms part of a newsletter is available to read on the blog, regardless of the content.

What I now need to think about, is the type of content that I would like to write about in a newsletter, and how that would fit people's preferences. Along with whether this would be a regular newsletter where the issues are also available on the blog, or simply an option where all blog posts are available to be delivered via email. Similar to how the content is available via RSS.

Anyway, a few things for me to ponder.