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.

January

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

February

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

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

April

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

May

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

June

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

July

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.

Underpass

August

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

September

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

October

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.

November

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

December

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!

3 thoughts on “Twelve favourite photos from 2021 (actually eleven…)

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