Well I survived the Camera Club evening.
I took along a few prints, on different papers so as the audience might get a feel for what this thing is up to. Some regular resin-coated stuff, some fibre, some toned and some lith. Some from FADU Print Exchange and some from Roy Karlsvik. I wasn't sure what to expect by way of feedback/interest - I got a couple of questions about different papers and 'what camera was used here' but that was about it.
And I took along a developing tank, a couple of reels and a few exposed films so people could see how easy it is to load a reel in the dark. Well, mostly it is, provided everything is clean and dry. But when it goes wrong, as we know it can do from time to time, it can get quite stressful. Best I find to dump everything in the tank, close the lid, go for a cuppa and start again sometime later.
I took along a few cameras - a couple of point-and-shoot charity-shop finds, the old 6x4,5 Zeiss (another charity shop find) and a rangefinder (no - not that rangefinder, the Yashica GTN. You know - the one that the back keeps springing open 'cos some-one (cough) put the wrong felt in when re-doing the seals a while back and never got round to sorting out. It's on the list - promise). And I took the Nikon N80. I decided that the Franka was just too delicate, the German Rangfinder just too expensive and the FM3a was just too nice to take along. And the recently-acquired Square-Shooter was just, well, too new. Plus, I would still like all those to work for some considerable time. In the end there weren't that many people there - perhaps 20 in total and it was all very informal. As to be expected there were lots of oldies like myself who had used film in the past - quite a few still had cameras sitting in lofts etc. But it was clear that a lot of members simply stayed away - for last week's talk on Aurora chasing the place was packed out, maybe 50 people. "Auroras are interesting, film photography isn't" I guess is the lesson for this week.
I took along the 'Field' camera - the Sinar. Not that I'm an expert on large format photography by any means but I can get by and I thought the good peeps from the Ballymoney Photography Club might appreciate seeing a proper camera for once. So I built it up 'live' and invited people to inspect the ground glass and get a feel for what the whole LF thing is about. I introduced it as 'the perfect antidote for those of you who feel it's just too easy to come home with a few images too many after a day out with the camera'. I think they got the picture, so to speak. Let's face it, you are never going to come home with too many large format images no matter what the occasion. Actually it garnered a lot of interest and quite a few people remarked how it was great to look through the ground glass, the clarity of it and being able to use both eyes (I have a binocular viewer for it - not reflex, just straight so you still see a reversed, upside down image).
It appears the club has one other darkroom user - Freddie, who brought along some kit (including a lovely Mamiya C330) and some nice big prints. He's been gradually moving to digital, though, and I got the impression his darkroom might not be in use for much longer but at I'm happy there's at least one other guy who for now at least still enjoys this sort of play.
It'll be interesting to see how the whole club thing plays out over the next few months. I'll keep you posted.