Colour Nottingham Street Photography With the Lomo LC-A [Fujicolor C200]

colour nottingham street photography

Images shot on Fujicolor C200 in the Lomo LC-A

The first roll of film I ever put through the wonderful Lomo LC-A was some Ilford HP5 Plus which, as you may well know, is a black and white one.

I used it to shoot some street shots around Nottingham, which was good fun and gave me some results that I was happy enough with. This whetted my appetite and made me want to go back into town and do it again, but this time in colour.

So a few weeks later, on a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon, I loaded a roll of Fujicolor C200 and did exactly that. Shot some colour Nottingham street photography.

And just like on the previous occasion, I enjoyed doing it and got a bunch of photographs I’m happy to share with you here. So read on if you’d like to see them, friend.

Ayup from Nottingham’s Old Market Square

Just like that previous post documenting a roll of film I shot around Nottingham, this one opens with a set from the city’s Old Market Square.

Unlike last time though, when the photographs were monochrome and taken on a wet, dreary day, these have some life and colour to them. Because this is a colour film, obviously, but also because there was some pop-up market on that day that I didn’t know about until I got there.

The Ay-Upmarket – a kinda smart play on words in a place where folk say ayup – was put on to give Nottingham’s independent businesses an opportunity to promote themselves and trade at an event where it was guaranteed lots of people would be at.

Organised by Nottingham City Council in collaboration with Nottingham Business Improvement District (BID) and featuring live music and other street entertainers alongside the market stalls, this was the first time the Ay-Upmarket had been held.

I hope it isn’t that last either because, one, it must have been good for those traders who participated, two, it brought in a healthy crowd who seemed to be enjoying it, and three – selfishly – it provided a decent setting for some street photography too.

Disparate colour Nottingham street photography shots

That’s not a typo. I wasn’t getting desperate after leaving the Ay-Upmarket. What I mean is I’m about to show you a few shots from that day that don’t really have any theme running through them.

You know. A disparate bunch. The kind you often get when walking around shooting a roll of film.

Yes, there are some mini-sets within your 36 exposures. Like those above, bound together by location as they’re all from the Old Market Square. And as you’ll see later, there are some bound together by having a similar composition.

But these right here. They’re the ones you shoot when you see a scene that might work but that doesn’t really fit with anything else you shot that day or on that roll.

That’s cool, though. The variety perhaps keeps the interest a little more than a mini-set of images that could get too samey if they’re too… well, samey.

I find windows can often be used to good effect in street photography. Be that their reflections or just looking through them. I tried a couple of those shots here.

And there’s also a couple of throwaway images of an ice cream van and people outside a restaurant.

There are certain photography quotes that get trotted out so often my eyes now glaze over when I read them. But then you sometimes get reminded that, as trite as they are, there is at least some truth in there somewhere.

They wouldn’t have become overused if there wasn’t.

That old Robert Capa one that says ‘if your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough‘ fits this mould.

On one hand it’s like yes, thank you person on the internet for telling me that for the 159th time. But then on the other hand I look at the next two shots below and think they might have been better if I’d gotten a bit closer…

I don’t know. I’ve tried to shoot that Sky Mirror a few times now and every time I come away thinking there must be a better composition than I’ve not been able to come up with. It seems such a lay-up to do something cool with, photography-wise.

And the masked lady across the street, I also don’t know. Perhaps I did the best I could with this fixed 32mm Lomo LC-A lens. At least the light was nice though, and that’s what had attracted me to the scene really anyway.

And finally for this section, three shots that feature the Theatre Royal. One where it’s the main feature, and two where it’s in the background.

The last of these is one of my favourites from this entire roll of Fujicolor C200.

Some eye contact looking out from inside the tram would have been nice, but I do like a bit of symmetry in a photograph so this will certainly do for me.

Four Notts shots with nobody in them

If you were to look at a list of the top things to see in Nottingham, the cathedral would probably not be on it. And if you were to look at a list of the best cathedrals in the UK, Nottingham’s would probably not be on there either.

The relatively nearby Southwell Minster often is, though.

But in terms of size, scale, imposingness and other adjectives associated with such buildings, Nottingham Cathedral is – to me at least – nothing really special. In fact if you’re unfamiliar with the area and were to walk past I think you could be forgiven for thinking it was just one of the city’s churches.

Still, its spire and roofs looked nice enough in the sun for me to get a shot of and include in this little set of images with nobody in them.

There’s also another one through a window, pigeons on the closed-down Debenhams, a Royal Mail post box that has been messed about with in a way that made me laugh too much for someone my age, and Rock City.

That last shot is pretty much a rerun of one I shot on monochrome film. But the light was good again, so I thought I’d try it in colour. And yet again, I chopped off some of the name. Must do better next time.

Shooting some of Nottingham’s buildings straight on

Earlier in this post I mentioned a bunch of posts that are bound together by having a similar composition. Well here they are.

When I’m walking the streets of a city looking for things to photograph, my first concern is pretty much always the light. If it’s shining nicely on something, there’s a chance I’ll shoot whatever that thing is.

Here, that thing was the frontage of some places. A few bars, a restaurant, a pink theatre rendered very nicely by the Fujicolor C200 film, a Greggs, a big window, and the distinctive lines of Nottingham’s City Gate building. I think that’s what it’s called.

I try not to simply photograph people walking down the street with no other thought going into the shot these days. In these images here the idea was to fill the frame with the lines of doors, windows and walls, and let the light and shadow do its thing too.

The third one did come out looking like what I just said I try not to do, though. I think because I wasn’t close enough to really accentuate the features of the building, the light, and the people visible through the glass.

But at the same time, getting nearer by standing in the middle of a road that trams go up and down didn’t seem very sensible or worth it just for this shot either.

Finishing with a few that didn’t work

In the interests of both completeness and transparency, I’ll finish this post with a few more shots that didn’t come out as I’d hoped.

Overall, I’m quite happy with how this roll went. To get around 30 images I like from a 36-exposure roll is a ratio I’ll take every time. When I shoot digital it wouldn’t be uncommon to shoot the same scene 30 times and just keep the best one of those.

But these remaining three are the ones that jump out to me as the worst of the bunch. And I think, rather than only publishing what worked, it’ll benefit us to go through what didn’t also.

The repeating patterns of the shadows on the floor were probably what caught my eye on the first one, and there probably was a decent enough composition to be found there. I just didn’t find it, and ended up with a shot that really does nothing at all.

The second one could have worked if I’d shot it at a different time of day. Unfortunately, what I did do goes against everything I preach about shooting with the light. To have the steps and the people in the shade was pretty boneheaded of me, to such a degree that I’m not even sure what I was thinking there.

For the final one, obviously the light was good, but I remember standing there for a long time trying to figure out a good layered shot. I envisaged people inside on the escalators, coming out of the doors in the background, and more in the foreground too.

In the end I think I’d stood there for so long that the enthusiasm for waiting for what I wanted to happen had drained and I took what ended up being a subpar that’ll do shot. Compared to what I had in my mind’s eye, at least.

Wrapping up this day of colour Nottingham street photography

If I didn’t find film photography fun, I wouldn’t do it. And I can tell you that I had a decent amount of fun that day shooting some colour Nottingham street photography on this roll of Fujicolor C200 in the Lomo LC-A.

The LC-A is a very enjoyable camera to walk around with, point at things, and shoot them. And I’ve always been pleased with the results I’ve got from C200 too – be that on a beach near Shanghai or in the beautiful town of Yangshuo where I once lived also.

Nottingham might not be as exotic as those places – unless you’re from that part of the world, and then I guess it is from that opposite perspective – but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good playground for shooting this or any other film.

Yes, your own town or city might not seem as exciting or photogenic as others because it’s all so familiar to you. But that familiarity is an advantage too because you know where the interesting compositions are and what time of day the light will be shining nicely on them.

Before I moved back home from Shanghai, I was a little worried about shooting in Nottingham. And the even-closer-to-my-home town of Mansfield, too.

How long would it take to exhaust the possibilities of shooting there? I would now say, never.

The more you shoot in a certain place, the better you’ll get at making the most of the backdrops that it provides. And the people that play their part in your shots will always be different from one day to another.

Combine that with knowing when and how to use the light and I’d say you could keep shooting in your town or city for the rest of your life. And that you should too, for as long as you want to.

Because there’s a good chance you haven’t yet taken the best shots of it that you ever will. 🙂

If that account of shooting some colour film in the streets of Nottingham piqued your interest for more analogue photography essays, why not have a look at some of these:

And if you think others will find this post worth a read, help them find it by giving it a share 😀

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