35mm · Film photography · Photography

Abandoned bridge

The area close to where I live was once occupied by coal mining. The local colliery – Brookhouse Colliery – closed for good in 1985. While the colliery land has been re-purposed in the intervening years – much of it as a country park with large lakes where opencast workings once were – there is still plentiful evidence for it’s industrial past.

Abandoned bridge

In the area around the Trans-Pennine trail there is a network of railway lines, one still active for passenger and goods use, but the others now disused with the tracks and the other equipment removed. Their presence can be felt in the various cuttings and bridges that still remain though.

Beneath the abandoned bridge

Today’s images are of one of the surviving bridges – this one crossing the River Rother. Once, while exploring the surrounding area, I found myself atop this bridge and walked its length – a process that became significantly hastier when I noticed holes in the metal beneath my feet! I’ve not been atop the bridge since then, but there is a footpath that runs beneath it beside the river, which is where these were taken.

Abandoned bridge detail

Canon Sure Shot Telemax & Ilford Delta 400 – Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9mins

Taken on 4 April 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Pandemic scenes #3

The majority of the hospitality industry in the UK has now closed. After a period where the government advised people to avoid socialising in groups and that they shouldn’t go to pubs -something that caused dismay to the owners and operators of the establishments as, apparently, without a formal government order for them to cease business, they were inelligible to make claims against their insurance policies that would pay out necause they were unable to trade because of the situation – the government formally ordered their closure.

A number of pubs in my local area (although I suspect it to be a widespread thing across the nation) placed messages of support to NHS and other key-workers on their notice-boards when the closed. Today’s photo depicts one of these messages.

During the lock-down, with significantly less opportunity to go out, I’ve started to make progress on enjoying the large (and continually growing) stack of photo books that I’ve bought. Today I chose one of the books further down the pile that must have been there for a significant amount of time now: Portraits of America, by William Albert Allard. The book contains images from his National Geographic work in the US. I’ve only looked at the first set of images so far: a series on the Amish shot back in the 1960s, but the photographs are beautiful and I’m looking forward to enjoying the rest of the book.

Pandemic scenes - Thank You NHS

Canon Sure Shot Telemax & Ilford Delta 400 – Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9mins

Taken on 28 March 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Pandemic scenes #2

The local park is quite small and is essentially an open space in the middle of the housing estate where we live. Nonetheless it still contains a 5-a-side football / basketball court and sets of swings, climbing frames and a slide for children to play on. In normal times, the park would be populated by children of various ages, from older kids hanging out and playing football, right down to toddlers having fun on the infant swings or climbing on the frames while their parents watch them from one of the benches – something I used to do regularly when my boys were younger.

It’s a different story at present, and the park is largely deserted apart from the occasional person walking their dog, taking some exercise, or just passing through on their way to somewhere else.

Pandemic scenes - No swinging

The swings have been tied up and, on the day I took these photos, the equipment had been cordoned off with hazard tape (although someone has since removed it). No-one plays there at present.

Pandemic scenes - Helicopter

Canon Sure Shot Telemax & Ilford Delta 400 – Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9mins

Taken on 29 March 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Pandemic scenes #1

I took this photograph not long after the start of the UK’s lock-down. People can be seen observing social distancing while queueing to enter the superstore to buy groceries and other essentials. The store was operating a “twenty at a time” rule when this photograph was taken, but this changed the following day so that is was limited to twenty individuals instead of groups (couples etc.). The system worked efficiently and the waiting times were quite short.

Apart from items like pasta, hand-sanitiser, paracetamol and other previously panic-bought items, the store was well stocked with most goods.

As the lockdown has continued, and panic-buying has (thankfully) subsided, most stores are largely back to normal in terms of the stock they are carrying. The social distancing rules are well implemented and most customers now understand how they work. In some ways, and despite the fact you have to queue to enter the store (admittedly something I’ve not had to do in bad weather yet), the lower numbers of people in the shops makes for a nicer experience

Pandemic scenes - Social Distancing

Canon Sure Shot Telemax & Ilford Delta 400 – Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9mins

Taken on 28 March 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Not the best news

Today has been somewhat disconcerting. While I’ve not, as yet, looked at the news at all today to see what’s been happening, I was nonetheless personally reminded of the current pandemic situation when I found out that my wife will be seconded onto a ward containing COVID-19 positive patients from next week. While the secondment is not unexpected, the thought of her coming into close contact with people infected with the virus is not a pleasant one.

I know that, for most people, the symptoms are mild (and even undetected in some cases), and that the percentage of people developing severe symptoms is pretty low, but that doesn’t make me any less concerned knowing how seriously it can affect others.

There isn’t a great deal that can be done to avoid the situation though, beyond taking the greatest care that we can, so it’s important to make sure I don’t worry about this unduly. Worrying about things I can do nothing about isn’t good for anyone. No-one in our family has contracted the virus (thatwe know of) and certainly no-one has become sick, so I shall continue to hope that this will remain the case.

Another photo of the Humber Estuary and bridge from back in 2017 today. Again, this is a photo that’s been sat on my hard-drive unpublished since I took it.

Out into the estuary

Yashica Mat 124 G & Ilford FP4+

Taken on 30 August 2017.

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Figures in a gallery

Another sculpture in The Hepworth (and, yes, once again I didn’t make a note of it’s title or the artist’s name because I am an idiot…). I took two photographs of this scene, one with the figures in focus, and the one published here, with the sculpture sharp and the couple out of focus. I definitiely prefer this one – partially because of the effect, and also because the pose they’re in is much nicer in this shot.

I decided to take a walk before I began work today and got out for about half-an-hour. Although still lovely and sunny, the temperature has dipped considerably since Sunday and there was a distinct chill in the air. Although it wasn’t too early, the sun was still low enough to cast some beautiful light, especially on the local churchyard with is currently full of blossoming trees.

I had a Canon Sure Shot in my pocket, so took a few photos during my walk. The blossoms made me wish I had some colour slide film in the camera rather than the Delta 400 that I’d loaded.

Orbit

Minolta SRT 101b, Rokkor 50mm f/1.7 & Ilford HP5+ (@800).

Taken on 14 March 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Bank holiday scanning

I’ve spent much of the afternoon listening to music while scanning the roll of film I developed yesterday. I’ll post about my second attempt in another post (once I’ve uploaded some of the pictures), but suffice to say it all went well on the whole.

The OCD part of my brain likes to do things in a certain way, so it’s a little on edge that I’m scanning and uploading my home devved rolls before some of the lab devved rolls that were shot earlier. It’s hardly ruining my life or anything, but there’s still a niggling sense that I’ve broken some sort of rule.

The truth is that any rule I’ve broken is one that I’ve abitrarily set myself anyway. Maybe I should just set a new rule that states that I should learn not to worry about such silly things and just, like, chillax man. 🙂

Today’s photo is an earlier one – from my trip to The Hepworth gallery before the lock-down came into force.

Ston R

Minolta SRT 101b, Rokkor 50mm f/1.7 & Ilford HP5+ (@800).

Taken on 14 March 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Two teazels

I think I’m seeing a definite decline in my photography now we’re under lock-down conditions. Not technically – I don’t think I’ve lost those abilities (and keeping my hand and eye in are reasons to keep shooting as much as possible withing the confines of the situation we’re caught up in) – but in terms of subject matter, well, things are feeling much more difficult.

There are undoubtedly a thousand photos to be found in the places I can reach while exercising or, indeed, within our house and garden, but it can be difficult to see them through the fog of over-familiarity. Some of the shots that might be interesting in the limited time I’m out would require more time and kit (such as a tripod), and I’m not going to allow myself the option of those. I’m very concious of the fact that my outings must be, first and foremost, for the purposes of exercise (or other essential reasons such as fetching necessary provisions), so the thought of setting up a tripod somewhere and fiddling with camera settings, even if I could safely keep clear of others, would make me feel something of a hypocrite.

My choice of camera can make a difference though. Even if restricting myself to quickly obtained opportunistic images, then an SLR will give me greater creative control over aperture, shutter-speed and depth-of-field for instance, which can make for far greater scope in the photos I am able to make. On the other hand, a compact point-and-shoot auto-focus camea is easy to just drop in a pocket without the need for a bag (even a small one).

I’ve spent some time today on my second home-developed roll of film. I managed to put the chemicals in in the right order this time! Some parts were still tricky – loading the film onto the spiral, mainly – but everything else went a little smoother than before. The negatives look good and I’ve avoided any drying marks this time around too.

The UK has, today, passed the heartbreaking milestone of over ten thousand people now lost to COVID-19. The figure given today of daily losses is down by a couple of hundred over previous days, but the trend has been that the figures tend to dip over weekend – a factor of how the reporting processes work rather than a true reflection of casualties – and I fear that they will rise again in the next few days. There is some potential good news in that the number of admissions to hospital for infections might be levelling off though. Again, maybe it’s too early for optimism, but even a small ray of sunshine can cast a little light on the darkness.

Today’s photo is of a couple of teazels that were poking out of the foliage beside the path where I took a walk one day last week.

Two teazels

Minolta SRT 101b, MD Rokkor 50mm f/1.7 & Ilford HP5+. Ilfotec DD-X, 9 minutes at 20° .

Taken on 30 March 2020

Film photography · Instax Mini · Photography

Life in lock-down could be much worse

It’s the long Easter weekend and, unlike the usual case here in the UK – when you would find it to be miserable, cold, wet weather during a weekend that the majority of people have off work – it is instead beatifully sunny and warm. While this is nice, and means that people with gardens (or places to safely take exercise) can enjoy the pleasant conditions, it’s undoubtedly frustrating that we are blessed with such days while being cursed with the inability to venture very far from our homes.

As we do have a back garden, I’m going to count my blessings though and be thankful that I’m not affected in the terrible ways that so many others sadly are. While I might be mostly confined, at least we are all fit and healthy, surely the most important thing.

After spending some time editing photographs this morning, I spent a few hours this aftenoon in the garden, both taking photographs (I’m lucky to have a macro lens, which opens up a whole new avenue of possibilities), and then reading. I received a book of interviews with Henri Cartier-Bresson from my very kind Emulsive Secret Santa last Christmas, and decided that I would sit in the sunshine and make a start on it.

I’ve only read a couple of the interviews so far but have found it interesting that, while the book contains no photographs, just reading Cartier-Bresson’s accounts is making me yearn to get out and make images.

Today’s photo was taken on my Instax Mini 9 on monochrome film. I can’t scan these on my flatbed as the scanner light reflects from the image surface rendering the scans largely useless. Instead I’ve used the Google Photoscan app on my phone. While it’s done a better job than my scanner would in this case, it’s resulted in something of a washed out result. Oh well, not to worry – it’s rare that I post a photo on my blog that was taken during the day of writing!

Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 & Instax Mini Monochrome film.

Taken on 11 April 2020