Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

The incinerator across the marsh

One of the routes I sometimes take while out for a walk takes me past an incineration plant. This was built recently and is an EfW (Energy from Waste) facility which produces electricity from the burning on non-hazardous waste. I recall there was considerable uproar when the plant was first proposed – one of the concerns being that nearby residents would suffer from the smell of burning. As it stands, I can’t say that I’ve ever noticed any odours from its operation (although the usual prevailing winds probably blow it away from where we live most of the time anyway).

Across the marsh

It makes for quite an imposing structure, both from the road that runs beside it, and from the marshy area of land that lies across the road to the east. I’ve walked through (or rather around) this area on many occasions as there is a public footpath that skirts the edge. However, on a recent walk, I noticed that there has been some significant work done – both here, and also in the woodland around the nearby Trans-Pennine Trail. There has been some tree felling, but the most noticeable change is the appearance of what seem to be a number of small ponds.

The marshy area used to be a large, open reed bed, but now has a number of more clearly defined ponds with footpaths snaking amongst them. My assumption is that this is some sort of improvement programme intended to aid wildlife and also make for more pleasant and interesting walking activities. I’ve not seen anything official to back up this theory though.

Today’s photos show both the marshy area and the looming incinerator and are from the first roll of 120 film I’ve home developed. I’m pretty pleased with the results.

A new path through new ponds

Holga 120N & Ilford HP5+ – Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9mins

Taken on 9 April 2020

6 thoughts on “The incinerator across the marsh

  1. Those are pretty neat frames, showing the uneasy juxtaposition of the environment and human impacts. Hopefully the groundwater here isn’t too polluted (if at all) from the EfW plant. We have a beautiful natural area a couple miles away that used to a be a major landfill and now it’s a popular place for birding and most incurious people or newcomers have no idea whatsoever of the past history. It’s amazing to me that you developed these at home. I feel like what I do can’t even be considered photography, it’s just too easy! I don’t know recall that you’ve written about it in a recent post, but where’s your darkroom? How much space does it take up? Those are probably rather pesky rudimentary questions, you don’t really have to answer them if that’s the case. But at any rate, good on these…..

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    1. Thanks. A lot of the green spaces around where I live are recovered coal-mining land, including a large country park with several lakes that used to be opencast workings. To my knowledge, there is little to no pollution – this is a huge turnaround form how it used to be 30/40 years ago, when the local river used to run orange with industrial runoff.

      The home developing was a bit of a nerve-wracking experience the first time I tried it, but has been less so on subsequent tries. As long as you have everything you need for the job, and can follow the instructions, then it’s relatively straightforward. I don’t have a darkroom, so transfer my film from the cannister/reel using a changing-bag. This is a light tight bag into which you place the film cannister, the light-tight developing tank, and other bits and pieces that are required (some scissors to cut the film, and a tool to open the film cannister for instance). The bag has two sleeves with tight elasticated cuffs so you can insert your arms and get the film out of the cannister and into the developing tank without and light getting into the bag. Once the film is in the tank and the top is affixed, it is light-tight and you can do the rest of the process with the chemicals in daylight. A darkroom is pretty much essential if you want to make wet-prints, but isn’t a necessity for developing film.

      In terms of what can be considered photography, my only rule is that I make photographs that *I* enjoy. The process of making them is almost irrelevant – for me it’s the end result that counts, but I do like the tactile nature of using film cameras. If your process of making photographs is easy but you enjoy the pictures you get, then there’s nothing at all wrong with that IMO. No need to make things complex for their own sake, just do what you enjoy!

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  2. Very nice Holga shots, as usual.

    I’m glad the process of loading 120 film on the reel wasn’t problematic for you. I use stainless steel reels/tanks and I think for 120 the risk of accidentally buckling/warping the film and ending up with “crescent moons” on the film is a bit greater than with the ratcheting plastic reels. But otherwise I prefer stainless, especially for 35mm. I’m sure that largely comes down to the fact it’s what I started on.

    Are you still using your V550 to scan your medium format negatives? These scans look great.

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    1. Hi P. Thanks. And, yes, still using the V550 for medium format (unless it’s colour, in which case I mostly tend to send those out for dev and scan). A lot of the look comes from the additional post=processing I do on the scan files – I’ve developed a bit of a “style” that I like which I tend to apply to most of my B&W photos.

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      1. While I don’t think the Epson flatbeds hold up very well with 35mm, even the crazy expensive pro ones, they are certainly more than adequate for sharing medium format images online, as indicated by your scans.

        Regarding your “style” and post-processing your scans to achieve it, yeah, I assumed you did so.

        People who don’t post-process their film scans confuse me quite a bit. A good quality scan contains all the information in the negative, is therefore generally rather flat, lacks pure blacks/whites, and actually typically requires post-processing to be performed on it to bring it to life. Just like printing in a darkroom, the contrast, black/white points, and a whole other slew of things are absolutely intended to be controlled by the photographer in order to achieve their vision with the print. Scans are no different. Now, I do take issue with people editing their photos in ways that can’t be done in a darkroom, but that’s another conversation.

        All that said, I’m a fan of your “style.” Keep it up.

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      2. As you say, scans can be a little flat – I try to maximise the information at the scanning stage so that I can then edit in post-processing. Most of my PP consists of fairly basic tweaks – contrast, highlights, shadows, whites, blacks, curves adjustments etc.

        I’m perfectly happy for people to make dramatic edits and apply digital (or analog) manipulation if that’s what they want. It might not be to my own particular taste, but it’s their image and they should do what makes them happy. This thing I don’t like is where people make significant edits to an image and then try to obscure the fact and pass it off as some sort of perfect moment where everything was just right when they took the shot (when in actual fact they’ve cloned out a fence and a car and composited in a dramatic sky from another photo 😀 ).

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