35mm · Film photography · Photography

Barnsley & Elsecar remnants

I mentioned in the last post that I’d also had my Olympus 35 RC with me on the trip to Barnsley and Elesecar Heritage Centre. Most of the roll it contained was shot subsequent to that day and will probably form the basis for another post soon, but here are some shots from that same trip (plus a few  bonus extra pictures that were not).

I like the 35 RC, it’s capable of some nice results and has the great bonus of being absolutely tiny. This means it’s easy to take on trips and also means I can usually get an extra shot or two out of a roll (although I only managed 36 from this 36 exposure roll this time). The film used was Kodak Colorplus 200, Kodak’s budget offering. I’d not used this before but liked the look of the film in other people’s shots (where it had a slightly vintage, 1970s look to it, I thought) and I have to say I’m pretty happy with the results. I like the look of the film and it seems to have less noticeable grain than the other low-cost film I often use – Agfa Vista Plus 200. On the downside, it was an absolute pain in the backside to scan, with the entire roll having a defined bow along the length, and necessitated me scanning just one strip at a time, and then only two or three frames at once as I had to use some pieced of card to flatten the negatives in the holder. In the end I estimate it took at least four times longer to scan than other 35mm films I’ve used. And I still have a couple of rolls left – good job I do like the look then, eh?

The first set was taken in Barnsley in the car park where I’d left my car before attending the photo exhibition, and as I was saving the remaining frames of Ektar that were in my Yashica Mat for Elsecar, I fired off a number of snaps with the Olympus. There’s a bit of lens flare on the second shot, which is a shame, as I like it otherwise, but the third shot with the red fire sticker is may fave of these three.

FILM - Feels like another country

FILM - Buildings with flare

FILM - Flaming 6

The next small batch are from Elsecar Heritage Centre. I took a shot of the same phone box with my Yashica MAt 124 G and there’s a clear difference in tones between the Colorplus shot below, and the medium format Ektar image, with the Ektar practically vomiting saturated colours from the frame! However, of these three, the window with the teddy bear is, I think, the best.

FILM - Lighting up the sky

FILM - Phonecalls and sweets

FILM - Looking out

And finally, a few bonus shots. The first two pictures (of the cactuses and camper-van planters) were taken at Wentworth garden centre a couple of days before my trip to Barnsley, while the rhododendron is in my back garden.

FILM - Cacti

FILM - Campers

FILM - Rhododendron-2

So, there you have it. It was nice to use the 35 RC again, and the results from the Colorplus were pleasing. I’ve another batch (taken elsewhere) to post about soon, so  keep your eyes peeled!

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Barnsley, and Elsecar Heritage Centre

Last Tuesday I had a day off work, mostly because I had an appointment to keep in the morning (which turned out to be a waste of time thanks to one of the parties not turning up!), but it also meant I had a chance to travel up to Barnsley to see the RPS International Print Exhibition #159 that was on show at The Civic until the end of the month. I decided that I’d see the exhibition, then perhaps take a few shots around Barnsley town centre, and then visit Elsecar Heritage Centre (and perhaps Wentworth) on the way back home, and so took my Yashica Mat 124 G loaded with a roll of Kodak Ektar, and also my Olympus 35 RC (with some Kodacolor 200 in it). While I took a number of sots with the 35 RC, I’ve not had the roll processed as yet, so all the shots in this post are from the Yashica.

The exhibition was worth the visit and I took notes of some of the photographers whose pictures I liked so that I could look into their work more closely later. The exhibition ends this month in Barnsley and then moves on to a new venue elsewhere in the country I believe.

Despite Barnsley being only a short distance from Sheffield, it’s a place I’ve visited rarely – I’ve been maybe half a dozen times in my life – and so there was quite a lot of interesting things to photograph. However, as my plan was to go to Elsecar, I only shot a few frames in the town, mostly in the area just behind The Civic, where the exhibition was hosted.

Three shots were of a bar / restaurant called The Old Chemist. The place has, as its name wold suggest, an old apothecary style theme, and the windows are lined with vintage and antique bottles, and there’s an old-style gas-lamp on the corner (probably not gas-powered any longer). I think the third of these three is my favourite.

FILM - The Old Chemist

FILM - The Old Chemist window

FILM - The corner of Hanson Street and George Yard

The final shot I took with the Yashica in Barnsley was of The Arcade, a pleasant pedestrian shopping row with an ornate glass ceiling. The shot’s ok, but it’s a little meh too. Better light would have helped, I think (the sun kept disappearing behind clouds – usually a second after I’d taken a meter reading – and I didn’t have time to hang around for the perfect conditions), and would have allowed me to use a smaller aperture.

FILM - The Arcade

After returning to the car (and taking a few random snaps with the 35 RC) I set off out of Barnsley, down the M1, and to Elsecar (after a quick stop at KFC for a bit to eat. I sat in the car to eat and listened to the awful unfolding news about the previous night’s terror attack on the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester).

Elsecar Heritage Centre is located on the site of a former ironworks and steam railway. The railway still exists as a heritage line and runs a short distance from the centre. I’ve been on the train-ride several times as, at Christmas, there are special trips where Father Christmas is on board and gives the children presents while their parents have a cup of hot-chocolate or mulled wine. It was all very festive, but my kids have outgrown such things now. The station is small, but quite nicely appointed with a vintage feel to it, and I took three shots.

The first is of an old phone box tucked into a corner of the station building. The colour looks a little off, but that is the actual tone of the phonebox, which I suspect has either faded slightly in the sunlight, or maybe been painted an incorrect shade at some point.

FILM - On the platform

Next is an old set of scales that were on the platform. This ought to have made for a nice shot, but I’ve missed focus ever so slightly, so it’s a little disappointing.

FILM - 97.6 kilograms

And here is a shot of a set of vintage carriages that were pulled in at the station (there were a few old locomotives too, but I couldn’t get a decent composition on any of them). I think this shot is probably my favourite from the day.

FILM - Guard

Walking out of the station alongside the railway line leads to an old Newcomen beam-engine, the only one remaining in the world still situated in its original location. Sadly, I couldn’t find a composition of this that I liked either and so, instead, took this photo of a nearby footpath leading up the hill towards Wentworth.

FILM - Another mystery path

After this, I walked back into the heritage centre area proper and took the next three photographs. Most of the buildings are now given over t shops and other commercial enterprises (there’s a large children’s play area in the main building – again, we used to take our kids there sometimes when they were younger), and one of them is a large antiques shop. I spent most of my time in here to be honest, and it’s a lovely Aladdin’s Cave of a place. They had a few old film cameras for sale, but I resisted the urge to buy any! It was upon leaving this place that I realised my phone battery had decided to kill itself and was now bereft of any power, leaving me with no way to meter my shots other than Sunny 16 estimation. Luckily, the day was now quite bright and I managed to get my estimations close to the mark and all the remaining shots were well exposed. I’ve decided to buy a dedicated meter though so this doesn’t happen again. Back to the shots, and I’m in awe at the saturated colours that can be seen in the phone box shot (this was the first roll of Ektar I’ve shot), but the long shot of the foundry building and chimney is the best of the three, I think.

FILM - Things to see and do

FILM - Telephone

FILM - The memory of activity

The final shot of the roll was taken as I walked past a pub on the way back to the car. I like the juxtaposition of the sign, flowers, and beer barrels, but I’m not really happy with the shot. The sun was glancing into the viewfinder of the camera and it was difficult to focus and compose the shot, so I didn’t really get what I’d wanted. Anyway, here you go, warts and all…

FILM - Burgers, blooms and beer

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Oddshots #3

This has come rather closer to the last Oddshots posting than I expected, but as I haven’t gotten around to writing about the roll of Ektar I shot on Tuesday as yet, I thought I’d drop this in to keep up the flow of posts (I promised myself I would update the blog at least once a week, but seem to have gotten into a faster pace, so I may as well keep it up while I have stuff to show).

So, today’s oddshot was taken back in January this year with my Olympus OM-1. I’d bought a roll of Rollei Retro 400s film after being impressed by the results I’d seen produced by other people, so I loaded it up and off I went on a somewhat misty and gloomy winter’s day. What I’d not considered however, was the double whammy facts that, 1) Rollei Retro 400s is better shot at 200 ASA rather than box speed (at least according to most of the reports I looked at after I’d shot my roll) and, 2) that my OM-1 meter was out by about a stop due to it containing a 1.5v battery rather than the 1.35v it was expecting. I thought I was compensating for this by the meter needle placement, but I was clearly out by some margin (I’ve since had the camera modified to meter correctly with a 1.5v cell). The result of this was that the entire roll came out pretty significantly underexposed.

While some of the shots were write-offs, thanks to film being film, I was still able to rescue a good percentage of the photos. They’re all still underexposed, but in a way that I wasn’t unhappy with, and which rather suited the murky day on which they were shot. The picture below is an example of this. While’s it’s pretty dark, I really think that it’s added some atmosphere that might otherwise not have been there and resulted in a photo I like a lot. I’ll maybe post others from the same set in future.

FILM - On bleak winter days

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Oddshots #2

Another of the occasional posts featuring a single shot, which I’m posting today primarily because I wanted to keep the flow of posts going on the blog, but haven’t yet gotten around to sorting out the pictures from the roll of Ektar I shot yesterday.

So, here’s a random shot from a while back. It was taken in Manchester while I was attending a training course, and as I was early on this particular day, I decided to take a circuitous route to the building where the course was being held. During the walk I spotted this little scene. It was the bicycle chained to the parking meter that drew my eye, but as I composed the shot I noticed the mini parked further up the street and made sure I included it in the frame, and I think the double-yellow (or grey in this case) lines lead you up to it and then to the distant tower of the crown court building.

The two people add a dash of interest. It’s a shot that I think will age nicely as, although the parking meter and Mini are contemporary to now, they’ll look pleasantly old-fashioned a few decades hence.

The camera used to take the shot was my cheapo Olympus Superzoom 105 G loaded with Fomapan 100. It’s not the sharpest of cameras, but it’s a very handy size and shape to just throw in a coat pocket when I’m out and about and, although I’ve not used it since finishing the roll of Fomapan, I can see myself picking it up again in future for similar trips out. The main downside I found was that the flash is automatically triggered in low light unless you first disable it, and I got at least a couple of unexpected flash bursts that I wasn’t expecting.

FILM - Bicycle

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Doors, doors, doors…

I’ve not finished off any rolls in the past week, so this post is from a trawl through my archives (which only really go back to last summer, film-wise).

I’ve noticed that I often take photos of doors, doorways, windows etc. I don’t think I’m alone in this, and there are entire Flickr groups dedicated to just this subject, but I thought it might make a decent subject for a blog post. I’ll limit the post to shots taken on film, and just those where the door is the focal point of the image (or at least a significant part of it) and will give a little background (in so far as my memory allows) on where and, perhaps, why I took each photograph. They’re shown in rough chronological order, oldest first.


First of all, apologies for the quality of this scan. It has loads of dust and marks on it. Partly, no doubt, due to my not doing a great job when scanning it, but mostly because this entire roll came back from being processed in quite a sorry state. Almost every shot had odd marks, smudges, scratches and horrendous blobs of dust-like artifacts on the negatives themselves. It was as though the roll had been fallen down the dusty back of the processing machine and then been scraped back out from underneath with someone’s shoe. Indeed, I’ve never used this particular place for processing since, and now instead use Peak Imaging, who do a marvellous job.

Anyway, this shot was taken at the Lincolnshire seaside town of Mablethorpe – a regular and frequent holiday destination throughout my childhood and teenage years thanks to my grandparents having a caravan nearby – in September 2016 and this house stood out due to the interesting collection or artifacts surrounding the door. The film used was Agfa Vista Plus 200 (converted to B&W in Lightroom) and it was shot on my Olympus 35 RC.

FILM - Public warning not to trespass


This shot was taken in September 2016, again with my Olympus 35 RC. The film used here was an expired roll of Kodak Ultra 400 (which expired around 2004). The film suffered from some additional grain and I think I ought to have overexposed it a little more to compensate (I think I overexposed it by a single stop), but was otherwise ok. I didn’t notice any significant colour shifts or other faults, although I’m by no means the expert on such matters. I still have a few rolls of this expired film left to shoot.

The door in the picture is in Elliot House on Sylvester Street in Sheffield. The building is now converted to apartments, but used to be part of the Joseph Elliot & Sons cutlery works that was based on the same street (although very little now remains, and the cutlery firm closed in 1990).

Fun with expired film - Roll #1, shot 20


Taken in early October 2016, these doors are the main entrance to the central glass house in Sheffield Botanical Gardens. The glass houses are grade II listed structures and were built in 1837-38. They were renovated and re-opened in 2002 which is why the clock above the doors is dated as such.  This is another Olympus 35 RC & Agfa Vista Plus 200 photograph.

FILM - The entry to the glasshouse


This was taken on the same day as the shot above. Same camera, same roll of film. It was taken on a road near the botanical gardens and I liked the autumnal look of the leaves piled up on the path and the encroaching holly bush. It’ll not win any prizes but, hey, it fits the theme of todays’ post.

FILM - Autumn's doorway


Taken in November 2016 at Barrow Hill Roundhouse, Britain’s last surviving functional roundhouse. The venue is closed at present due to National Lottery funded renovation work that is being carried out. I discovered this to my detriment after driving out for a visit earlier this year without checking the website, only to discover it was closed when I arrived (I ended up going to Bolsover Castle instead). While I’m not particularly a rail enthusiast, I do find that museums such as this offer lots of nice photo opportunities, so are well worth a trip. The shot below is, again, on Agfa Vista Plus 200, but this time shot with my Olympus OM-1, which I’d recently acquired. The lens used was a 50mm F Zuiko f/1.8. I like the way red comes out on colour film (see #2 above), so this was an easy shot, helped by the nice light on the day in question. I particularly like the inclusion of the smoker’s bench and associated “fag-ends” bin, although I’m not sure that dropping cigarette ends into what looks like a plastic container is a good idea. I suppose it might’ve been full of water though – I’m sure these things were carefully considered by the good people who keep the roundhouse going!

FILM - Where the smoke break takes place


Guess the film… Yes! It’s Agfa Vista Plus 200 again! This time shot with my Olympus Trip 35, which is a great little camera with a nice, sharp lens. This is in Paradise Square, Sheffield (if only I’d stepped to right slightly, you’d have seen the full street name for yourselves! Oh well…). This was taken in January on one of my first film-only outings following the (mostly digital) 366 project I did through 2016. The light was great and I went out with my Lubitel 166 U and the Trip and shot a full roll through each.

Paradise Square is a cobbled square surrounded by Georgian houses built through the 1700s. Thankfully it survived the bombing raids that ruined or destroyed much of the city’s historic architecture the Second World War. It now seems to be mostly home to a variety of solicitors and accountancy firms.

FILM - The corner of Paradise Square


This is the doorway of St. Peter & St. Paul’s church in Eckington, Derbyshire. The church dates back to the 12th century, although has had modifications in the intervening time. I hadn’t gone out to intentionally photograph the church, but I parked my car right outside and the afternoon light was lovely, so I took a couple of shots, one of which you see below. This is the first ‘true’ black & white shot from this set, being shot on Ilford FP4 Plus with my OM-1.

FILM - The path to redemption-


Another church doorway, this time St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic church at Handsworth, Sheffield. My wife had an appointment on our way out on a shopping trip, so I decided to go for a walk rather than sit in the car, and I liked the look of the tree’s shadows cast upon the church wall. The camera I had to hand was an Olympus Superzoom 105 G, which is a point-and-shoot compact that was produced around the turn of the century. I bought it for £2 at a camera fayre and it had a partially used toll of Kodak Gold 400 still inside. This was one of the shots taken to use up the remaining frames. As the camera used doesn’t have any way to change the film speed setting, the expired film was shot at box speed and as a result came out with considerable grain. As a result, I decided that B&W worked best for this (plus a crop to a square). For the curious, the other shots on the part-used film consisted of several photos of the (presumably) previous owners’ cat in a kitchen, plus a series from trip to Scotland (After a bit of larking around on Google Maps, I was able to place the specific location of several of the Scotland pictures, which was nice).

FILM - Shadows on the church


Another shot from the £2 Superzoom 105 G. This one is on Fomapan 100. The doorway in the picture is set in the side of the Manchester Crown Court building, and is a suitably imposing entrance. This was taken in April 2017 while I was attending a training course nearby.

FILM - Doors


Taken while waiting for the train to Manchester to attend the training course I mentioned above. This entrance to the hidden luxuries of the first-class lounge is on one of the platforms of Sheffield’s Midland Station. Shot on our old chum, Agfa Vista Plus 200, and with a Konica Pop camera (the third of the £2 cheapies I picked up at the camera fayre). The camera still had batteries in when I bought it, but they’d leaked and had corroded the battery terminals enough to prevent the electrics from working. Thankfully, if you like a challenge, you can shoot the camera manually by using Sunny 16 guidelines. Although the lens is fixed focus, and the shutter speed is locked at 1/125 sec, you can alter the aperture between f/4 and f/16 by a combination of the ASA setting switch and whether the flash is in it’s up or down position. I know it all sounds a bit Heath-Robinson, but it works nonetheless!

FILM - Not for the likes of me


Olympus OM-1 again and another B&W conversion on Agfa Vista Plus 200. This is the entrance to Chesterfield town hall. The framing is maybe a little tight on this at the bottom, but I think I might’ve just about gotten away with it.

FILM - Three ways in


Broad Lane, Sheffield. I liked the weathered, graffiti-scrawled look of this particular door. It was taken with a Pentax P30T on (you guessed it!) Agfa Vista Plus 200. I had to stand in the road to get it in shot using the 50mm Rikenon f/2 lens that was attached to the camera.

FILM - Quiet


Not far from the door above, is the next one, not a dissimilar shade of blue, on Trippet Lane. They could almost be related! Again, the weathered look drew my eye, and this one has a nice bit of sticker-art affixed. Same camera, same roll of film.

FILM - Inside Number 9(0)

Well, there you go. This turned out to be a longer post than I expected. Thirteen shots in all (I hope no-one is superstitious!). At the rate I photograph scenes like this I ought to have enough for another bakers’ dozen in about a year’s time!

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Victoria Quays part #3

This is the third and (I think) final post regarding last Sunday’s walk around Victoria Quays in Sheffield. The first two parts can be found in the links below.

Part #1

Part #2

The main difference in the shots posted in this piece is that they were shot with a different camera – a Minolta Hi-Matic G2 – and on colour negative film – Agfa Vista Plus 200. I picked the camera up a few months back for £2 when I saw it in a box of compact cameras at a camera fayre. All the items in the box cost £2 each and I ended up with three of them: the Minolta, a Konica Pop, and an Olympus Superzoom 105G. I like to have a camera on me when going out even if not specifically to take photographs, and small compacts like this are ideal for the purpose. I’ve used a number of them over the past six months or so, usually just loading them with a roll of film and then chucking them in a coat pocket to be used in the event that something interesting turns up while I’m out and about.

I always use Agfa Vista Plus 200 as the first film through a newly acquired camera for the simple reason that it can be had for £1 a roll at Poundland (or at least it could, recent developments have revealed that Poundland are to stop stocking the film) and I’d rather that, if the camera turns out to be faulty, I waste a cheap roll of film than some more expensive Tri-X or Portra or something. That said, despite its low-cost, I do like the results the film gives, especially in bright, sunny conditions, and it has a slight magenta tone to it that I think looks nice.

The Minolta is quite a nice little camera. It’s pretty no frills, being a zone-focus camera with little manual control other than setting the focus distance via the lens barrel. It’s very similar to an Olympus Trip 35, but has the advantage of having the distance scale as well as the icons on top of the barrel (the Trip has the icons on the top only, and the distance scale beneath the barrel, which is a little awkward if you’ve not memorized them and can’t remember just how far away the head-and-shoulders icon represents). I also prefer the wind lever on the Minolta to the Trips’ thumb-wheel winder. It’s not as nice looking as the Trip 35 though, but it still has its own charm and it feels nice in the hand. The lens is a 38mm f/2.8 and is nice and sharp. Out of the 25 frames I got from the roll, none is out of focus, a testament to my skill in measuring distances (or perhaps that they were almost all shot in bright conditions and the narrower aperture would’ve covered my mistakes!). The camera’s aperture is set automatically but can be seen through the viewfinder on applying a half-press of the shutter button, giving an idea as to the results you will get from the shot. The camera takes a discontinued 1.35v mercury cell, but mine has a 1.5v inserted and I just compensated by setting the ASA dial two-thirds of a stop slower so that the camera thought I was shooting 125 ASA film rather than the 200 ASA roll that was inside, and the exposures are all pretty much spot on.

These shots were taken after finishing off the roll of Fomapan 200 in the Yashica Mat, and are mostly from the walk away from the canal basin and onto the beginning of the canal proper. I’ll not post every shot I took, but the ones here give a flavour of it and some indication of what this little camera can produce.

The first is of a boat used for cruises up and down the canal – I think they have discos and dining onboard sometimes. I’ve heard of people going on these events but have never done so myself.

FILM - I.B. Hardfeet

The next couple are of the Sheaf Quay building (I also posted a shot of this taken with the Yashica Mat 124 G in part #2).

FILM - Sheaf Quay in colour

FILM - Sheaf Quay in colour-2

Next is a random barge. The shot above was taken from the towpath just in front of this boats’ bows.

FILM - Barge

The next shot is still on Agfa Vista Plus 200, but converted to black & white in Lightroom. I think the contrasts of light and shade suit mono better than the colour original.

FILM - Chimneystack

Just beyond the chimney stack and under the next bridge, I took a couple of shots of other boats, one in the water (I like the wavy, geometric reflections of the building in this shot), and another up on the opposite bank of the canal.

FILM - Planet

FILM - Little Pud

I took a few more shots in this area before walking back to the canal basin and back to the car park. I had to wait for a short time while a man the manually operated swing bridge that joins the north and south parts of the quay. Just on the opposite bank is a bicycle used to advertise a local second-hand shop. Again, I took a similar shot (albeit of a different bike) with the Yashica Mat which can be seen in part #2.

FILM - Emmaus

The final shot of the day was taken as I walked through the car-park back to my car. I liked the way the sunlight was falling on the space between the alternating decks of the car park and so grabbed the shot below. Again, I think this works better in black and white.

FILM - Between levels

All-in-all, the little Minolta is a nice camera. I’m pleased with the results and will likely use it again at some point. I don’t think it really offers anything the Olympus Trip 35 doesn’t also provide, but it’s enjoyable to use. Certainly well worth the £2 I paid for it!

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Victoria Quays part #2

Part #1 of this trip to Victoria Quays can be found here.

Following on from my last post, this documents the next section of the outing (and presents the remaining seven shots taken with the Yashica Mat 124 G).

After walking around the wharf buildings, I ventured to the area surrounding the canal basin. This is the terminus of the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal and a mooring point for a number of narrow-boats and other small vessels, including a few used for commercial use (canal trips and the like). The canal was opened in 1819 and links the centre of Sheffield to the point at which the River Don (which also runs through the city) becomes navigable at Tinsley. It’s a relatively short canal, being approximately four miles in length. The canal’s route takes it through the heart of the city’s industrialised east-end which was formerly the site for a large number of steel foundries and associated works. While Sheffield still retains a notable steel industry, it’s vastly diminished from its heyday, and where once large steel-mills stood, there are now retail parks, shopping malls, sports facilities and modern industrial parks. I didn’t venture more than a couple of hundred yards from the canal basin on the day though.

The fist shot of this batch was taken next to the Straddle Wharf building (seen in the last blog post), and was of a small cabin-cruiser type vessel (I know very little about boats, so please forgive my ignorance, and excuse any errors I might make in my descriptions). The boat had some nice reflections on its hull from the sunlit ripple on the water that were being stirred by an occasional breeze, and stood overshadowed by the new Hilton hotel building to the rear.  A little cruelly, I thought to myself that it looked like Sheffield’s cut-rate answer to Monaco, and took the shot.

FILM - Just like Monaco...

There were narrow-boats moored along the water’s edge where I walked and so I took a couple of shots of those, one taken head on (I like this shot, but the floating carrier bag in the water maybe isn’t the best thing to have included int he shot, eh?), the other with faded but attractive Chinese characters on its side.

FILM - Floating

FILM - Barges with character(s)

Further along the canal is a hand-operated swing-bridge which has some wooden “buffers” set into the water to prevent collisions from any approaching vessels. Atop one of these wooden structures were a couple of ducks having an afternoon nap.

FILM - Let sleeping ducks lie

There were a couple of similarly sleepy ducks sat on the edge of the towpath close-by too. I tried to take their picture, but one of them woke up with a quiet, but slightly alarmed quack as I got in close to focus. I would still have gotten the shot, but then a couple walked past talking loudly and scuffing their feet on the floor and the awakened duck made a bolt for the safety of the water. Despite the other duck remaining, the moment was lost.

The next shot looks up the towpath. The iron bridge to the rear of the shot (behind the chimney stack) formerly carried the railway lines into and through Victoria Station. The station and line were closed in 1970 following the Beeching Axe.

FILM - Towpath

Just visible in the shot above is the subject of the next shot, the Sheaf Quay or Sheaf Works building, a former cutlery works built in 1823 but now home to telemarketing firms.

FILM - Sheaf Quay

The final shot of the roll was taken back near the swing-bridge and is of one of a number of bicycles used to advertise a local second-hand store. The shot has been cropped due to a mark on the negative (akin to a staple hole – this is the second time this has occurred with a roll of Fomapan 200. It has never happened with other film stocks, so I’m wondering what the cause might be?). The 6×4.5 crop still works ok I think, but the “No Fishing” sign on the wall in the upper left of the frame has been lost as a result.

FILM - Emmaus Second Hand Superstore

So, there’s the last of this particular roll of 120 film. Fomapan is pretty cheap in comparison with Ilford and Kodak stocks, but I’m not unhappy with the way it looks. I have found that it tends to have scratches on some frames though and a number of small black speckle marks, plus the issue I’ve had with the strange holes in the last frames of both rolls I’ve shot so far. I’ll certainly be likely to use it again in future (I have a roll left still, so there will definitely be at least one more outing for it).

I still have a lot of shots taken on the same trip but using my Minolta Hi-Matic G2, so those will appear on here before too long. They’re in colour too, so that will make a change for the blog!

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Victoria Quays part #1

Saturday was tied up this weekend with various jobs to be done, so I had little time for any photography, but Sunday dawned with bright weather that looked like it might have promise, should I decide to take advantage. However, despite a desire to make use of the available time to take photos, I was also feeling lazy, with a conflicting need to just sit on my backside watching TV and reading books. And, for a while, this secondary need prevailed as, after my dad’s usual Sunday morning visit, the cloud cover had thickened considerably, draining much of the contrast from the world outside. Now, I don’t mind dull or inclement weather where photography is concerned – in fact it can be a positive boon in some cases – but I wasn’t really feeling it at the time and so the pull of the settee won out.

After dinner (I’m from Yorkshire, so “dinner” is actually the midday meal around these parts, and what others would call “dinner” is actually “tea” – not the drink, the evening meal) the weather had perked up again, the clouds had thinned back to large puffs of cumulus, and the light was bright. Not exactly golden-hour stuff, but suitable enough to jump in the car and head out for an hour of two. I’d already planned on a destination in the event of going out, and so off I went to Sheffield’s canal basin and wharf, now known as Victoria Quays (presumably because they lie just below the site of the former Victoria Station and adjacent Royal Victoria Hotel.

I took a couple of cameras with me – the Yashica Mat 124 G, and a Minolta Hi-Matic G2 that I’ve been chucking in my pocket when I go out, and I’ll split the results over a few blog posts as I get round to uploading the photos (12 frames from the Yashica, and 24 from the Minolta – although not all the Minolta shots were from Sunday).

I parked the car in the multi-storey adjacent to the canal basin. The last time I parked here I made the mistake of trying to use the lift / stairwell to get to ground level, only to discover the lifts to be out of service, all other doors locked, and the entire area stinking like something from hell that had been slowly baking in the heat radiating through the glass windows. This time, for the sake of my nose, I parked on a lower floor and just walked down the ramps..

The exit near where I was parked opened onto the north quay, a pleasant, cobbled area with benches looking out onto the canal basin and backed onto shops built into stone arches. Most of the shops appear to be disused at present, although there is a cafe that was making the most of the passing trade, and a number of people were sat outside with coffees and ice-creams. It’s a shame that more of the shops are not in use, but I think that the conversion of a lot of the surrounding buildings to residential units has perhaps not taken off as much as the developers hoped, and so there is not enough passing footfall at present. It’s a shame as it’s a nice enough place, but it’s a little off the beaten track from the town centre.

I decided to look around the wharf area first, and it’s the shots that I took there that will be shown in this post. The canal basin shots will come in another post, and then maybe a couple more containing the Hi-Matic shots.

The first shot I took was of the Straddle Wharf building itself. I’d have liked to have gotten more of the building in shot, but the fixed focal length of the lens, and lack of other vantage points meant this was the best I could get. I’ve cropped the shot slightly to remove a bit of sky at top-right, and I like the skewed symmetry that now results between the light and dark sections of the shot.

FILM - Straddle Wharf, Victoria Quays, Sheffield

The next shot was taken a few metres from the first, this time looking in the opposite direction towards Merchant’s Crescent, a terrace of houses originally inhabited ny coal merchants, but not re-developed into residential units. Again, this is cropped (to 6:4.5 ratio this time), partly to remove a small wedge of a building that encroached from the left of the image, and also because I didn’t feel the large expanse of mostly clear sky added anything to the top of the frame. I don’t mind negative space, but it wasn’t doing anything for me here. Sadly, I think the crop is now a little too tight at the left of the frame, but there was nothing much I could do with it apart from removing large chunks of stuff with Photoshop. Lesson for self – pay better attention to the viewfinder next time, eh?!

FILM - Merchant's Crescent

Walking past Merchant’s Crescent brings you to the front of the Grain Warehouse, where the next two shots were taken. The first is of a ninety-year-old weighbridge. I liked the way that the sun was casting the manufacturer’s mark into relief. I’d have preferred a shallower depth of field for this shot but the brightness of the sun meant I could only open up to f/8 before the combination of the Yashica’s 1/500sec maximum shutter speed and the Fomapan 200 film would have resulted in overexposure (what was I saying about dull weather before..?). The second, is the front of the Grain Warehouse itself. This is another building that is currently in the process of some renovation, but it thankfully retains signs of its former purpose. Again, the sunlight provided plenty of contrast in this shot, and a smaller aperture was no disadvantage here.

FILM - To weigh 20 tons

FILM - Hoist

The final shot of this post was taken just around the corner from the last two and is a door and window in the Grain Warehouse. I don’t think I would have considered the shot had it not been for the shovel and length of rebar resting against the wall beside the door, which adds interest. The door has a plate beside it reading “The White House”, but I have no idea why – the building is neither white, nor a house. This is definitely my favourite shot of this batch though.

FILM - The White House. Staff only

And that’s it. I’ll post about the remaining seven shots from this roll in a day or three’s time. Bye for now!

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Cleethorpes part #2

This will be a shorter post than part one, no real need to go over the events of the day a second time, but if anyone wants to know, here they are in Cleethorpes part #1.

This set of shots were all taken on the beach (a couple of others – the tyre tracks, and the pier supports – in the last entry were taken at the same time). Again, the camera was my Pentax P30T with a Rikenon 50mm f/2 lens.

While my wife and boys went into an arcade near the foot of the pier, I excused myself to take some photos on the beach. The tide was still out, and although it had turned by this time, there was still plenty of exposed sand (which, as Cleethorpes is at the mouth of the Humber estuary, is a muddy brown colour – the only golden sand available is at the top of the beach and I suspect has been put there by man, rather than nature, to make a more attractive setting for sand castles and donkey rides).

Most of the shots here are of the breakwater just north of the pier, but there are a couple of buoys there too to add a touch of spice (I need to get out more…). Again, the Bergger Pancro 400 has resulted in grainy, but pleasing shots, with plenty of contrast. My post-processing on these has consisted of adding a little extra contrast, tweaks to the highlights, whites and blacks, and a small push on the clarity slider in Lightroom.

The breakwater pictures are my favourites here, especially the first and third shots (I think shot one may be slightly soft in the foreground, but not enough to detract).

FILM - Breakwater

FILM - Breakwater

FILM - Breakwater

FILM - Breakwater

A few of my close-up shots from this roll were out of focus, and at first I was concerned about a lens or focussing issue, but other shots like the one below, are nice and sharp so, pending it happening again in future, I’m going to pin the blame on the fool holding the camera.

FILM - Barnacles

FILM - Beached

FILM - Beached-2

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Cleethorpes part #1

I went to Cleethorpes last Saturday. This was just a family day out, not a planned photography trip, so I’d prepped myself for the inevitable shots I wouldn’t be able to take due to not wanting to inconvenience my wife and children. They never complain about me taking pictures but I nonetheless have a strong sense of self-imposed guilt that I’m spoiling everyone else’s day by constantly stopping to take shots. This is compounded by a frustration when I see a good shot, but don’t have the time to do it justice – I can’t very well expect them to hang about for 10 minutes until the sun emerges from a cloud or something (well, I could, but I don’t, because that would be a bit selfish). So, these things considered, while I still take a camera on these excursions, it’s a secondary thing and I’ll get photos if I can, but not at the expense of the family trip.

The day before our visit had wonderful weather – bright blue skies with lots of cumulus clouds to add a splash of interest. As expected, Saturday dawned to a fug of thick overcast cloud stretching, seemingly, across the entire country. Oh well, such conditions are part and parcel of living in the UK. It did mean we packed some extra coats in the boot of the car, and I decided a 400 speed black& white film would be the best choice for the day. As the only such film I had to hand was a roll of Bergger Pancro 400, that was what it would have to be. I’d never shot this film before and had read that it was quite a ‘flat’ film, with low contrast, although that wasn’t really backed up by my results, all of which had plenty of contrast, even before any post processing on the scans.

The route from home to Cleethorpes is relatively painless, being the only close(ish) seaside town that can be reached by motorways and main roads for almost the full run, and it took a little over an hour to make the journey. The weather was no better there than at home, plus it was a good few degrees cooler to boot (not that the temperature put off a few hardy souls who braved the beach and let their kids paddle in the frigid pools left by the receding tide!), and we had no difficulty in finding a parking space. I’ll not go into the full day’s events, other than to confirm that cafe’s were visited to ward off the chill, fish and chips were consumed (this is THE LAW) and ice-creams were had (in clear contravention of the warming beverages we’d sought earlier). Oh, and pictures were taken. I didn’t manage to shoot the whole 36 frames, but only went home with about half-a-dozen to spare, all of which I shot over the remains of the weekend.

I ended up getting quite a few decent shots from the 36. Not living too close to the coast means that there’s always a novelty to shooting the traditional seaside-type subjects – beaches, piers, arcades, funfairs, seaside shops and cafe’s etc, and I managed my fill on the day.

I’ll add a few to this post, and them add some more in a follow-up in a few day’s time. You can see all these in higher resolution by clicking the images.

The first four shots are of the pier, two from the promenade, one from the beach, under the supports, and the last from atop the pier itself. The film shows a lot of contrast and grain in these shots, and I like the results. The picture of the two people is one of my favourites, but I really wish that bin wasn’t attached to the railings!

FILM - Cleethorpes pier

FILM - Cleethorpes pier

FILM - Humber

FILM - On the pier

Here’s another shot from the beach. Nothing fancy, but I like the way the tracks lead you through and out of the scene.

FILM - Beach ways

And finally three pictures of seaside ephemera. The hotdog dude is my favourite of these.

FILM - Weiner Man

FILM - Flying the flags

FILM - Kingpin

The rest of the shots from the trip are mostly from the beach, some of which I like a lot, so I’ll post them soon.