35mm · Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Twelve favourite photos from 2021 (actually eleven…)

It’s the last day of the year, so time for a roundup of my favourite photos from each month.


I remember on the day we got this snow that I felt the urge to go out and make photographs, but also feeling quite cosy inside our warm home. My wife had a letter that needed to be posted though, so I went out. I wasn’t sure what camera to take, especially given the large, heavy flakes of wet snow that were falling, so in the end decided on the Holga. It’s plastic body and lack of any delicate components was a pretty safe choice given the conditions, but more than that, it’s cheap plastic lens once more produced a set of images that had a distinctive look that I felt really suited the day.

Distant figure on a snowy trail


Back in mid-february on a cold and frosty day. remnants of snow still on the ground in many places, I went for a good long walk. I shot two-and-a-half rolls of film that day with the Yashica Mat 124G and my Canon Sure Shot Telemax. There are several that I like, but this one is my favourite – the power-lines, wonky fence, and potholed farm-track adding character to the scene.

Farm track


March is a hard month to choose a photo from as there are several that I really like – I must’ve gotten out with the camera quite a lot that month (and I think it was when the winter Covid restrictions were lifted, allowing me to travel further afield again). The shot I’ve chosen is packed full of atmosphere, but the grainyness was unintentional. Most of the frames on the roll show far less grain but a couple – mainly shots with a lot of low-contrast fog – really emphasise it. I’m not sure if it’s a factor of the scanning or post-processing or a combination of things, but in this image I think it really benefits the picture.

Across the lake


In April the Covid restrictions were loosened to allow people to meet up outddors, so I went out for walks with my dad on a number of occasions, mostly taking a long looping path near to where he lives that traverses what used to be Orgreave pit and coking plant – the one that gained infamy as the site of the “Battle of Orgreave” during the miner’s strike in 1984. The area is now an area of parkland, gradually taking on natural growth as the years pass by, but the area to the north-west is now the site of the Waverley housing estate. This estage has been developing over the past decade or more now and is pretty big – effectively a district in itself, and new homes are still being constructed. This photo shows some of the work that was ongoing back in the spring, and I liked the “New Topographics” feel of the scene.

New homes


The firs half of 2021 was definitely top-loaded with photographs – my Lightroom catalogue has 232 images from May alone – a volume of output which would slip later in the year – but more on that when we get there…
Again, there are many photo’s I could have picked from this month, but this one reminds me of the day it was taken most of all. You can read the full story here, but to say it was a relief when I got to the point when this picture was made cannot be understated.

The beckoning of exploration


The image here was made at the country park at Pleasley. As with Orgreave (mentioned above) this is another former coal mining area reclaimed to nature and outdoor pursuits. In this case though the mine workings have also been preserved as a museum. While I didn’t have time to visit the museum, I wandered around the park and made a number of photographs, including this one.

Behind the trees


While I mostly shoot film, I do still have my old Nikon D3200 DSLR and a few lenses knocking around. One of the lenses is the 35mm f/1.8 DX. This is designed for use on crop-sensor cameras, but I’d read that it would also work on full-frame cameras with some mild-ish vignetting if the aperture is opened up. As the lens is small, light, and very sharp, I decided to give it a go with my Nikon F80 film camera. The vignetting was noticeable, but not distracting and actually gave a nice feel to a lot of the images. The main downside was that the auto-focus was very slow on the F80 for some reason, meaning a few shots were a little soft. This was my favorite image from the set.



August’s film photographs are mostly from three trips – one to a steam-rally in Cheshire, one to Bakewell in the Peak District with my wife, and another trip with my wife to London. Looking at the photos in Lightroom against the ones on Flickr there are loads of shots that I never uploaded. This one I did though, and it’s here as a reminder of the day we visited Notting Hill to see the Portobello Road market. The market was notable by the fact that it was very underpopulated on the day in question – this is what you get for visiting during a pandemic I suppose.

Notting Hill Comic Exchange


Again, the only film photos from this month are from a couple of day trips, this time to Mablethorpe and to another steam rally in Cheshire (I visited both these steam rallies as the ones close to home had been cancelled this year, but also because a bunch of folks from an online photography forum I’m a maber of were atending too). This shot was from my annual day-trip to Mablethorpe though. The ice cream wasn’t intended to be offset, but I forgot about parallax when focussing on close objects (it was held at arm’s length). In the end it was a happy accident though as I quite like the way it is framed.

Ice cream


So, we reach October and the first month where I made no film photographs at all. The reason was that we had a new kitchen fitted in September and them moved straight into having the whole upstairs of the house re-decorated and re-carpeted. This meant that not only were most of my cameras boxed up while we shifted furniture in and out of rooms, but that when I did have the opportunity to go out and do some photography, I was too tired to make the effort. I did not enjoy October very much.


And if October was bad, November was the worst. On the 13th our young cat, Stan, was hit by a car and lost his life. Most of my posts in November following this sad event were about my grief over his loss and were the first time that I posted digital photos on here. I found that speaking about how I felt – literally pouting out what was on my mind – was helpful and therapeutic.
I did take a few film photos at the start and very end of the month though and the one below is the one I like best. Perhaps its somewhat melancholy air suits the month in which it was made.

Village street


And so we reach the final month of 2021. Again, not many photographs were made this month and, of the ones that were, I still have a lot of them to either upload or even develop yet, so they won’t see the light of the blog until 2022. Of the ones I did upload though, this shot of a wet rhododendron bush in the back garden is the one I like best.

Wet rhododendron

Well that’s the roundup done for another year. I hope that 2022 brings better times for the world and that we can start to come out of the pandemic. Whatever may happen though, I wish you all a very happy new year. See you in 2022!

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Tree silhouettes

The final two frames from this roll of Shanghai GP3 which I shot just before Christmas are shown here today. Almost the final two anyway – there is still another I might use if needed, and a few more shots of leaves covered in raindrops, but I’ve started scanning a fresh roll that I developed today, so hopefully those will start to appear soon.

Tree silhouette #1

Tomorrow I need to think about doing one of those “Looking back at the year“-type posts with my favourite photos from the past twelve months. It will be interesting to see which ones I choose from the autumn’s crop of images – I feel like that entire period was something of a dry spell and I’m not sure what I will choose. Anyway, that will appear tomorrow all being well.

Tree silhouette #2

Yashica Mat 124G & Shanghai GP3. Lab developed in Xtol.

Taken on 18 December 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Hollow trunk

Here’s another photo from my foggy morning walk just before Christmas. The tree in today’s photo will likely feature again tomorrow or the day after as also go a long shot of it – I’m still stretching out the posting of images from this roll of film until I get one of my other rolls developed. Thankfully my fresh bottle of DD-X arrived today so I might get one of them sorted out tomorrow.

Split trunk

Yashica Mat 124G & Shanghai GP3. Lab developed in Xtol.

Taken on 18 December 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Winter fog and a lone tree (and running out of developer)

I’d hoped to develop one of the two rolls of unprocessed film I have today, but I’m uncertain as to the state of my developer. I use Ilfotec DD-X which Ilford states has a shelf life of around four months once opened. As I’ve not developed many rolls of film in the past four months, I suspect that my partially used bottle might be older than that and I don’t want to risk my time and effort, plus a roll of film, to discover that it’s gone bad. I guess it could be fine, but I’m not going to take the chance.

As a result, I’ve ordered a fresh bottle. The website told me it will be here on Wednesday, but I’m not sure that’s taking into account the fact that today and Tuesday are the Christmas Day / Boxing Day bank holidays, so it might take longer. I do have a bottle of Adonal I could use, but I’d prefer not to use that on the film I have waiting as it’s a roll of Tri-X (that I need to push a stop) and some Delta 3200, and Adonal (Rodinal) tend to be something of an acquired taste when it comes to faster films.

Hopefully I’ll get at least one of the rolls developed before the weekend though, which is when I’ll run out of photos from this roll of Shanghai GP3 that I’m currently sharing pictures from.

Alone in the fog

Yashica Mat 124G & Shanghai GP3. Lab developed in Xtol.

Taken on 18 December 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Cannery lady

Driving through Eckington recently I noticed a new memorial had been placed. It depicts a lady with a sack of peas and tin cans to commemorate the Derbyshire Canners Factory which used to stand nearby. I know little more about the factory and have no idea how long it stood, or when it operated, but I liked the look of the memorial and thought it worth a photograph, especially in foggy weather.

Cannery lady

Yashica Mat 124G & Shanghai GP3. Lab developed in Xtol.

Taken on 18 December 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Wet leaves (on Christmas Eve)

I’ve had a headache most of the day – nothing too serious, just a mild annoyance really – which was a good excuse to spend as much time as possible vegging out on the sofa and watching TV. So I watched the finale of Amazon’s Wheel of Time adaptation (well, the series finale, not the actual finale yet), some YouTube videos, and then the remainder of some list show that aired the other night about Britains favourite sweets (or candy to any readers across the Atlantic). It was nice to just relax and not worry about doing anything else.

My wife finished work at lunchtime and there were a few small jobs to be done when she got home, including a few remaining presents to be wrapped, but all that is now done and – once I’ve finished typing this – I can chill out for the rest of the evening.

The wet leaves in the post title refer to today’s picture which I shot in the back garden the other week. Probably not very Christmassy, but I like it.

Wet rhododendron

Yashica Mat 124G & Shanghai GP3. Lab developed in Xtol.

Taken on 11 December 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Oak sapling

I’d hoped to write a reasonable length post today but my PC (or maybe just Photoshop) has decided to throw its toys out of the pram and essentially grind everything to a halt. Things that should have taken a few seconds to do are taking minutes, and all the faffing around trying to figure out what’s wrong has eaten into my writing time.

At least you get a photo from a new roll of film though.

Oak sapling

Yashica Mat 124G & Shanghai GP3. Lab developed in Xtol.

Taken on 11 December 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Farewell Clumber Park

It’s the last of this batch of photos made at Clumber Park in today’s blog post. “Phew“, I hear you say.

Today was my first day of leave for the Christmas period and my wife and I went out for lunch. We visited Thorpe Salvin, a small village to the east of Sheffield where a pub / restaurant named The Parish Oven is located.

I’ve been to Thorpe Salvin on a number of occasions as it’s a good place to make photos, being within a nice walking distance of the Chesterfield Canal and the Cuckoo Way footpath that runs along it’s length, but I don’t recall visiting the pub before (although my wife tells me that we did once, back when our eldest was young).

The pub is nice, but I think they were having problems with the heating as it was freezing inside and a lot of the other diners all had their coats on – something we similarly decided was a good course of action. The waiter plugged a small fan heater in for us though which took the edge off the chill, and once the food arived we were warm enough.

We both chose the same item from the menu, a chicken, chorizo, and leek pie, which was very good and came with some extremely tasty thick-cut chips and a small pot of mushy peas. When we paid the bill we were presented with a mystery envelope containing a discount voucher for our next meal – assuming we visit again in January. The envelope can’t be opened beforehand to reveal the discount awarded but it will be at least 10%, and can be as much as 100% (if we are very lucky…).

So, the last photo from this roll today and it’s The Old Parsonage again. Something different tomorrow, I promise.

The Old Parsonage frontage

Yashica Mat 124G & Ilford HP5+. Lab developed in Xtol.

Taken on 6 November 2021