35mm · Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Day 366 – Twelve favourite photos from 2020

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.

FILM - Lone

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.

FILM - Ghost riders #3

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.

Over the fields

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.

Pandemic scenes - Playgrounds closed

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.

Gateway to yonder

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”.

The world's smallest palm tree

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.

Windmill and fence

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.

Starsky & Hutch Gran Torino

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.

Tarmac confluence

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!

Autum in the Limb Valley

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.

Foggy Rother

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!

Swan and willow

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!

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Campervan thy name is Freedom

Well, it says Freedom on the side anyway. Not sure if that’s unique to this van, or the name of the model. 🙂


I like how there’s a subtle drop off in depth of field in these two shots. They weren’t made with the aperture wide open either – I didn’t make a note, but think these might have been at f/5.6 as, while I’d intended to try and reduce the depth of field, the maximum shutter speed of 1/500 sec on the GW690 in combination with 400asa film and a bright day meant this wasn’t possible.

Freedom profile

Fujica GW690 & Ilford HP5+. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9mins @ 20°.

Taken on 20 December 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

What If?

Today’s photos show the side of the Sheffield Hallam University building. The poem was added in 2007 as part of the “Off the Shelf” literary festival that took place. It was written by Andrew Motion, the British Poet Laureate from 1999 to 2009.

Sheffield Hallam University

The poem is partially obscured in both these shots due to the trees and the temporary buildings, but the full piece reads as follows:

What If?

O travellers from somewhere else to here
Rising from Sheffield Station and Sheaf Square
To wander through the labyrinths of air,

Pause now, and let the sight of this sheer cliff
Become a priming-place which lifts you off
To speculate
What if..?
What if..?
What if..?

Cloud shadows drag their hands across the white;
Rain prints the sudden darkness of its weight;
Sun falls and leaves the bleaching evidence of light.

Your thoughts are like this too: as fixed as words
Set down to decorate a blank facade
And yet, as words are too, all soon transferred

To greet and understand what lies ahead –
The city where your dreamling is re-paid,
The lives which wait unseen as yet, unread.

Andrew Motion

Sheffield Hallam University

Fujica GW690 & Ilford HP5+. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9mins @ 20°.

Taken on 20 December 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Ringinglow Roundhouse

Dating back to the late 18th century, this octagonal building functioned as a toll house and inn when originally constructed, sitting on the Sheffield to Ashby-de-la-Zouch turnpike at Ringinglow on the outskirts of Sheffield. It has also served as a general store and tea room in other times.

If you’re curious as to what the building looks like inside, there is still a listing online from the last time it was on the market here.

Toll house

Fujica GW690 & Shanghai GP3. Ilfotec DD-X 1+9 10mins @ 24°.

Taken on 23 December 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

In Lady Canning’s Plantation

This is one of the underexposed frames of Shanghai GP3 that I mentioned a few days ago – the least underexposed of the three and it’s been recovered for the most part in post-processing. The other two shots were also made within the trees of the plantation, so I suspect it was caused by poor metering on my part. The next wrst exposed shot has also recovered enough that I might post it too, but it’s noticably more contrasty than this one. The worst of the bunch is mostly “soot and whitewash” unfortunately.

Somewhere in the plantation

Fujica GW690 & Shanghai GP3. Ilfotec DD-X 1+9 10mins @ 24°.

Taken on 23 December 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography


The small hamlet of West Handley have decorated their phonebox and streetlamp for Christmas as usual. Santa seems to be re-purposed for various tasks as required, having had the face of previous UK prime minister, Theresa May in protest of Brexit on one occasion, and as an anti-fracking protestor on another. There are a number of other Christmas trees and festive decorations along the road that runs past the small group of houses that make up the settlement, and I expect it looks quite nice in the evening, although relatively low key in comparison with some of the extravaganzas of illumination that I’ve seen esewhere.

I’m still getting to grips with the rangefinder patch of the GW690 and have missed focus on Santa in the second shot. More practice needed!

West Handley Santa

Fujica GW690 & Shanghai GP3. Ilfotec DD-X 1+9 10mins @ 24°.

Taken on 23 December 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Wooden hut

Another shot from the “getting to know you” phase with my GW690. There will be a few rolls of me getting used to the camera, I think. I developed another roll today – this one some Shanghai GP3 I shot yeterday and a few frames are quite underexposed. I think all but one can be rescued (based on my scans so far), but I’m not sure what went awry. I suspect my metering is to blame though as it was only on a few woodland shots where the exposure issues occured. I sometimes think I should bite the bullet on a proper spot meter to avoid these problems, but those things are not cheap! Anyway, some of the GP3 shots will be up here soon.

This shot from my first roll of B&W through the camera isn’t too bad I don’t think – it’s pretty contrasty, but the scene was a mixture of shadowed areas punctuated by bright highlights, so it’s to be expected.


Fujica GW690 & Ilford Delta 400. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 8mins @ 20°.

Taken on 20 December 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Working my muscles with the Texas Leica

I shot my first real roll through my recently acquired GW690 last week. When I say “real” roll, it’s actually the second one – the first was a roll of Velvia that the previous owner had left in the camera when they sold it. It had seven unused frames which, in my eagerness to try out the camera, and the somewhat temperemental relationship I have with that particular film, meant that I was mostly unhappy with the results. The compositions were not especially interesting, the exposures were not good – I blew the highlights significantly in most of the shots – and my scans were disappointing in their colour reproduction. As a result I’ve not uploaded a sigle frame from the roll.

For this second attempt I used something I knew I should have more success with – at least in the exposure and scanning apects, if not the composition of the images (although, in this, I hope I still managed to get something nice). The results are much better than the first set, although still not quite perfect and, given the relative expense of using the camera – just eight shots per roll! – I need to up my game, slow down, and pay full attention to what I’m doing. Also, at this satge, I still have that “exciting new camera” feeling, so I’m probably not doing the best I can. Most of the shots are nice though, but a couple are slightly soft due to camera shake (I think I maybe need to do some weight training before using this handheld 🙂 ), and a couple of slightly dull compositions.

The photo posted today is one of the frames I liked. The curve of the road is nice and the light is good. It also shows the very nice results that the lens on the GW690 can produce.

More to come soon…

The road through the ford

Fujica GW690 & Ilford Delta 400. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 8mins @ 20°.

Taken on 20 December 2020