It’s that time of year again when my feed becomes full of everyones review of the year-type posts, and it’s interesting and inspiring to see the work that people have produced as well as their thoughts on the past twelve months.
I’m not going to warble on too much here about the shape of the past year – you’ve all lived through it and know the name-of-the-game, plus, if I’m honest, I’ve left writing this post to the eleventh hour and am running out of time. That’s me – Mister Organised! 🙂
But suffice to say, I’ve known better years, and I think the thing to do now is look forward to better times to come. So here’s to a happier and less “interesting” 2021!
Below are my own selction of favourite photos made this year. If I were to pick again another day, in another mood, these might mostly change to something else, but as a snapshot of my favourites as of today, here they are…
January – I’ve often commented on my blog how much I love a misty, foggy day for photography, and so my first image from 2020 falls right into this bracket. Early morning at Rother Valley Country Park, a short walk from where I live but somewhere I don’t visit all that often because it feels like I’ve seen it all before. Shots like this one serve as a reminder that even the most familiar locations can still throw a beautiful image our waty if we take care to look for it and make the most of the conditions.
Nikon F80, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 AF & Ilford HP5+. Lab developed. Taken on 22 January 2020
February – A gloomy, rainy day walking around Sheffield city centre with my F80 led to me making a few images of people partially obscured by the condensation covered windows of buses. I’d planned on making more images in the same vein but, so far at least, I haven’t managed it yet.
Nikon F80, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF-D & Ilford HP5+. Lab developed. Taken on 16 February 2020
March – Regular readers of my blog will know that I have an affinity for power lines and electricity pylons as photographic subjects. Not as record shots – I don’t find them that interesting – but because I find there is something appealing and evocative in the way they cross the countryside, leading to some far destination – perhaps to power a TV, or boil a kettle for some unknown person’s cup of tea. This was from my final pre-lockdown roll of film and was developed by the lab the day before it closed for a few months. From this point on, almost all of my black and white film was developed by myself.
Yashica Mat 124G & Kodak Plus-X (expired 2008). Lab developed. Taken on 22 March 2020
April – While this is supposed to be a selection of favourite photos from the year, this one is chosen more as being indicative of the situation we found ourselves in during most of spring. The UK was under a national lockdown, non-essential retail was closed as were schools. There were shortages of hand-sanitiser, latex gloves, pasta, and even toilet-rolls. The freedom to roam was largely removed except for work (where it wasn’t possible to do so from home), shopping for food and other essentials, to provide care for the vulnerable, and for exercise. The latter option was when most of my photography took place, carrying a camera when I went for local walks, grabbing opportunistic images where possible. As I write this, I’m pretty sure we may be headed back into a similar set of restrictions soon as the second wave – predicted (but perhaps not properly planned for) – takes hold.
Canon Sure Shot Telemax & Ilford Delta 400. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9mins @ 20°. Taken on 11 April 2020
May – It was the month of my ill-fated initial foray into 6×9 medium format with a Zeiss folder that had an unfortunate alignment problem that caused the images to be soft at the edges. It was also, at the end of the month, release from the lockdown, granting freedom to travel a little further afield for photography. The image I’ve chosen is a definite favourite from the month and one that perhaps symbolises the new found sense of freedom and promise that I felt.
Yashica Mat 124G & Shanghai GP3 (expired). Ilfotec DD-X 1+9 10mins @ 24°. Taken on 22 March 2020
June – I’d had this roll of expired Ektachrome knocking around for a while and decided to take it alon on a walk around Dale Dyke reservoir. My main camera on the day was the Yashica Mat, but I took along the Zeiss Mess-Ikonta to shoot the slide film. I didn’t really have high hopes for it based on my previous roll of expired E6, but the roll came out pretty nicely. On it was thsi picture of what looks like a tiny palm tree, but is just some bracken. I’m still not sure if it was just stuffed there by a passerby, or if it had taken root atop this piece of wood. I’m erring to the former though – those rocks look distictly “placed”.
Zeiss Mess-Ikonta 524/16 & Kodak Ektachrome E200S (expired 2003). Lab developed. Taken on 22 June 2020
July – I took a drive out to North Leverton windmill, a location I’d not visited before and which (until I did a search for “windmills” online) I didn’t know existed despite having driven a road only a mile or two away on multiple occasions. I took a number of close shots of the building, but this one from a neighbouring field is my favourite, I think.
Canon Sure Shot Supreme & Ilford HP5+. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 7mins 45 secs @ 22.5°. Taken on 25 July 2020
August – This replica of the classic Ford Gran Torino from 70s TV classic, Starsky & Hutch, was parked in the market square of Chesterfield when I went for a wander around back in august. I’d just started using the Grain2Pixel plug-in to convert my colour negatives at this time, and it made a great job of this Kodak Gold.
Canon Sure Shot Z135 & Kodak Gold 200. Lab developed. Taken on 31 August 2020
September – Another month, another roll of expired slide film. Ektachrome again, but a different emulsion this time. I was enamoured by the colours I got from this roll – a subtle, pastel, Portra-like set of tones. It’s often said that flat blue skies do a photo no favours, but in this case I like the look very much. There’s a subtle graduation that works well against the light brown bricks of the building.
Yashica Mat 124G & Kodak Ektachrome 100 EPN (expired 2008). Lab developed. Taken on 14 September 2020
October – Yet more expired film – you might think it was all I shot! I made quite a lot of autumnal shots this year but this stands out as a strong favourite. It was made in the Limb Valley on the outskirts of Sheffield on a day where I was testing both the expired film AND my recently acquired 50mm f/2.8 MC Zenzanon lens. Both performed at and above expectations. I nearly didn’t go out on the day either. I’m glad I did!
Bronica ETRSi & Fujifilm Superia 100 (expired 2008). Lab developed. Taken on 28 October 2020
November – A beautiful foggy morning in early november saw me out with the Bronica and the 50mm lens again. I pushed the HP5+ a couple of stops to give me some extra versatility in the dim light and was very happy with the results. I made several photos of trees in a small plantation (immediately behind me in this shot), but this frame showing the river disappearing into the mist with a stand of teazels in the foreground is the one I’ve picked.
Bronica ETRSi & Ilford HP5+ (@1600asa). Ilfotec DD-X 1+9 13mins @ 20°. Taken on 7 November 2020
December – The biggest surprise of the year, photographically, was the set of results I got from this little Fuji point-and-shoot. I’ve mentioned this before, but it was a car-boot sale find and cost me just £1. The roll of film from which this frame is taken was already in the camera when I bought it. I wondered if it might be partially exposed, but it turned out to be unused apart from a few fogged frames at the beginning, and this shot was made on a beautifully lit morning early this month at Rother Valley Country Park. Who needs expensive cameras!
Fujifil DL-270 Zoom Super & Kodak Colorplus. Lab developed. Taken on 4 December 2020
So there you go. Twelve favourite shots from each month of 2020. I wish a very Happy New Year to you all!