My wife put up our Christmas tree and the trimmings on Monday. Normally I would help with this, but my input this year consisted mainly of carrying all the boxes downstairs. This was mostly because I had to travel into my local office on the day for my fourth attempt at getting my laptop upgraded to a new build. It fell through again, so there will now be a FIFTH attempt next Monday. I could provide details of the whole sequence of events, but they’re really not very interesting.
So, back onto the decorations, my main involvement this year will be to put up the exterior lights on the front of the house, which I think I’ll do this weekend. It’s not too difficult – we have a small first storey roof that runs across the front of the house, so it’s just a matter of using the step-ladder to attach some clips to the guttering and then attach the lights. Probably about a half-hour’s work. We shall see…
The photo today is of the big Christmas tree in Sheffield town centre outside the town hall. It doesn’t seem as tall as the ones I remember from my childhood, although whether this is just one of those misrememberings that you get when recollecting childhood memories, I don’t know.
This sculpture stands beside the City Hall in Sheffield City Centre. It’s named Women of Steel and commemorates the women who took up roles in the city’s steel works during the first and second world wars. I’ve photographed the statues on a number of occasions and they’ve featured in the blog at least once before (here).
My OCD brain at first showed alarm at the fact that I’ve both chopped off a bit of the closest woman’s arm, and also not gotten her in focus (I was shooting at quite a wide aperture), but my rational brain overrode the concerns because, frankly, it looks just fine.
The Christmas market is in Sheffield this year again – I don’t think it was there last year due to the pandemic lockdowns that were in place. The market has had quite a lot of complaints on local social media apparently (although I’ve learnt to try and avoid local social media lest I gnash my teeth to powder at the ignorance and general crappy attitudes that prevail). Apparently it doesn’t compare favourably to previous years, or in comparison with the markets in some other places around the country. Too many food stalls and not enough gifts and other non-edible gifts are amongst complaints I’ve heard.
I think we should be grateful that the current situation is allowing the market to take place at all. It might not be at it’s best (although it looked pretty much like every other UK Christmas market I’ve visited) but maybe let’s give it a bit of leeway given the current global situation.
It’s very rare to see these markets with snow present (apart from the fake variety) as it’s unusual that we get any before Christmas. Even though it was wet and slushy and mostly gone, it was definitely a little bit festive to see these seasonal (not really) weather conditions.
We managed to get out today for out family meal, my son having recovered from yesterday’s hangover. We chose an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant in the town centre and, while I didn’t eat too much, I still feel quite full now as I’m typing this. The plates in the restaurant aren’t huge – perhaps to reduce the amount of waste coming from people overestimating just how much they can eat – but I still managed four platefulls of food. The first was a plate of turkey and vegetables – a small roast dinner basically. The next two contained a selection of Chinese food, and the final one some dessert in the form of some apple crumble and custard, and a piece of pineaple pie.
After the food we went to a nearby pub for a drink, and there I tried some mango cider. I don’t normally go for sweet, fruity ciders, but this one was very nice and we might try and track dome down to guzzle over Christmas. Even my wife, who generally doesn’t consume any alcoholic drinks at all, thought it was very good too.
Somewhere we didn’t go was the Mecca Bingo hall seen in the picture in today’s blog post. This is another one of those places that I’ve photographed a number of times before, mostly because I think the chequerboard of numbers on the sides of the building make for an interesting picture.
I knew I had to get a photo of these pigeons as soon as I saw them. If I’ve counted right, there are one-hundred-and-eighteen of them perched on the overhead cables (including the two in flight). Normally when I see something like this they’ll all fly away before I get chance to take the picture, but on this occasion I was blessed with a flock tolerant of my presence. I guess city pigeons are generally quite accepting of people though, and they were pretty much out of reach up there on the wires anyway. I suspect that, had I dropped some fod on the floor, the whole lot of them would have descended!
The tram has a slight blur as I wanted to maximise my depth of field, so had to use a slower shutter speed (I think it was 1/125s, but it might have been 1/60s.
Today’s post will be much briefer than the ones I’ve been posting over tha past couple of weeks. It’s been one of those days where I’ve been busy at work, and then had to pick one of my sons up from college. Now, as I sit here typing this, it’s just after 7pm and I really want to sit down with a cup of tea and maybe watch some TV. So I’m just going to drop in a few pictures I made of Chesterfield Market Hall a few weeks ago to fill out the post.
I thought I’d take the time today to post the picture I’ve entered for the “magical” theme in the photo contest I’m taking part in. It fits the theme, certainly, although in a rather literal way, but it’s probably not the picture I’d have hoped to get under different circumstances. As I said yesterday, I was up against the ticking clock with the deadline for entries on the 30 November. As I’ve not been in any sort of mood for doing any photography over the past two weeks, it was very much a last minute dash to get something in before closing.
I had though about going inside the shop and perhaps picking up some props to photograph at home as a still-life or something, but they were closed yesterday (it’s normally opened on Saturdays I believe, but there was a sign on the door apologising because they were having some new flooring fitted). So my only option was a shot of the shop from the outside. The weather was very gloomy due to the snowy and stormy conditions we’ve been having, so the light wasn’t great, but on the plus side, the billboard on the side of the shop fitted the theme perfectly too, so that little bit of synchronicity was welcomed.
All-in-all I could have done better in different circumstances, but it is what it is and certainly better than dropping out of the contest. I still want to win it for Stan! 🙂
This somewhat unnerving sculpture is the Knife Angel. It’s officially known as the National Monument Against Violence and Aggression. Apart from its head and hands, its body and wings are formed from thousands of knives that have been handed in as part of weapon amnesty programmes.
Towering above An angel formed out of knives Sending a message
Today’s photo is one of those scenes where, to my eye, everything just looked to be in the right place to make for an interesting picture. It definitely needed the power / telephone pole and wires I think, and I remember placing myself so that the lamp on the front of the building to the right would be silhouetted. It’s one of those pictures where I just though “yes” when I saw it come out of the scanner.
We’re now in that period post-Halloween and bonfire night here in the UK where Christmas kicks into higher gear. Now that those two have passed, retailers, advertisers and all the rest will launch into six weeks of increasing festivity ready for the big day. Last year quite a lot of people actually put Christmas decorations up as soon as bonfire night had passed, claiming the miserable Covid year meant they needed something to cheer them up. I wonder if that will persist? Personally it’s waay too early just yet. December 1st is my unofficial line I think. Advent clandars will appear then, the festive idents will appear on the terrestrial TV channels, and the first weekend after this date is usually when we trim the house. Still four weeks away yet though.
I also need to start putting together my gift for this year’s Emulsive Secret Santa now that names have been drawn. It’ll be back to a chunkier package again this year following last year’s paper-gifts only rule due to the pandemic. I’m looking forward to finding things to pop into the parcel.
Before we know it Christmas will be here again Where has this year gone?
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about how I’d gone out for a spot of photography as a break from all the renovation and decorating that has been going one, but then forgot to take my tripod with me.
Today’s photograph was made when I realised what I had done. Instead of a medium format picture of this scene, I used my XA3 which I had thankfully taken along too. Although the day was dull and without much in the way of good light, the HP5+ in the XA3 was being pushed a stop to 800asa, so gave me good leeway in the conditions.
I’m not sure how a 6×6 medium format version of this scene shot on Ilford Ortho Plus would have looked, but this HP5+ version came out nicely.
Sometimes a mistake Can lead to good things instead Of disappointment