Ships and boats on Agfa Precisa slide film


I blogged recently about my first experience with Agfa Precisa CT100 slide film. It wasn’t a totally succesful experience because my task was to photograph waterfalls and the dynamic range of the locations were a bit too much for the range of slide film.

However my second roll produced a much better match of film to subject. I took a short journey to Blyth, a harbour town in Northumberland, previously home to mining and shipbuilding.

I took my new Mamiya ZM 35mm SLR together with a Mamiya 50mm f2 standard lens, and Tamron Adaptall 28mm and 135mm lenses. I took my Sekonic Digital Master L-758 spot meter to help ensure accurate metering and that worked well. I squeezed 38 shots out the roll and only two of them were out exposure-wise.


I don’t usually use lenses longer than 50mm very much, and I’ve been through a few telephoto lenses in the past and sold them on without making many images with them. On this occasion however the the 135mm lenses was used for over half of the images and proved ideal for searching out small details in the ships and boats to be found in the harbour.


It was a bright sunny day which gave typical exposures of 1/125s at f11. The winter sun was at a low angle which gave vibrant colours, well matched to the Agfa Precisa film (rebadged Fuji Provia).


Some of the jetties are locked near the ends but there is still room to get a substantial number of images. The get the image above. I poked the lens though the gate shown below.


I always get a surprise when I see a ship at the bottom of a street:


This lighthouse used to be on the shore, but the harbour extended outwards so it is now land-locked, and built onto the end of a house:


Nearby is the remains of a “rocket station” where rockets were used to send ropes over to boats which were wrecked near the shoreline. This is the door of the rocket station:


The support ship “Grand Canyon” was moored at what used to be a dedicated quay serving Bates Pit,. a coal mine:


The local fishing boats were dwarfed by the 125 metre long Grand Canyon:


Bates Pit, which once employed 1800 men, closed in 1986. It stood behind the sign below and the state of the sign sums up the desolation left by pit closures. The National Coal Board, in closing the pit, ignored the advice of an independent tribunal, and the Government Minister in charge didn’t even turn up to debate the issue in Parliament.


On a brighter note, a family of swans enjoyed the sunshine and basked in the reflections of a shop on the opposite bank of the river:


I hope you enjoyed these images, which I hope give a good impression of the capabilities of Agfa CT Precisa film.


  1. Hello Kevin. You’ve certainly made the best use of the Precisa slide film with these images. It seems to respond to warm lighting very well. I’ve got a photo of the famous phone box at Duntulm on Skye taken in evening light and, although you shouldn’t praise your own photos, I’m pretty pleased with it. As you say elsewhere, dynamic range can be a problem with slide films. To be honest I don’t generally find shadows with no detail objectionable, whereas blown highlights are a pest.

    I’ve just come across your blog through your Flickr site and I must say I absolutely love it. Plenty of photographs and intelligent and interesting writing. I’ve got loads of back posts to keep me occupied for a while. Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks for your kind words Les ! I agree with the desirability of preserving the highlights, in preference to showing detail in shadows. People understand shadows.

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