Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

A bit more autumn

Just a few days ago I said that I was at the end of my autumn colour images for this year. Well. turns out I’m not – I forgot about this roll of Velvia 50 that I shot on a walk along the Chesterfield Canal near Thorpe Salvin a few weeks ago.

Leafy canal mooring

The roll was tricky to meter with confidence. Given that I don’t have a spot meter (just a reflective setting that’s has a pretty wide angle and no meand to accurately point it) I almost always use incident readings instead. Incident metering usually serves me very well, but a canal withich has irregular tree cover along it’s banks makes it difficult to match the light falling on the meter with the subject unless it’s pretty close by, or you’re sure it’s in the same levels of light.

Wilderness autumn

As a result, quite a few of the images on this roll are poorly exposed, and the ones here are probably the best from the canal-side walk.

Chesterfield Canal

Of the four, the sycamore leaf below is the best I think (even if it did keep attempting to blow away in the light but irregular breeze!).

Sycamore leaf

Bronica ETRSi, Zenzanon 75mm f/2.8 PE & Fujichrome Velvia 50.

Taken on 24 October 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Moored on the Cuckoo Way

I took this shot while using up the final frames on this roll of Shanghai GP3. The walk along the towpath beside the Chesterfield Canal is known as The Cuckoo Way and can be followed from Chesterfield all the way to the point where the canal enters the River Trent, approx 50 miles away.

Although it was a very hot and bright day, the place where this canal-boat was moored was in shadow from the trees beside the canal towpath and I had to open the Zeiss to it’s widest aperture to get a decent shutter speed on the 100asa film.

I don’t normally shoot the camera wide open as it performs better when stopped down, plus the uncoupled rangefinder design can make it a bit of a best guess for fine focusing.

In this case though, the boat was far enough away for the focusing to not be too much of a concern and I quite like the way the lens has rendered the scene. It’s hardly some kind of “bokeh monster”, but has given a nice hint of seperation in the focus.

Moored on the Cuckoo Way

Zeiss Mess-Ikonta 524/16 & Shanghai GP3. Ilfotec DD-X 1+9 10 mins @ 24°.

Taken on 31 July 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Magnet fishing

My wife and I went for a walk a few weeks ago and, when it turned out we needed to book to enter our original destination, instead took a walk beside the picturesque section of the Chersterfield Canal that joins Shireoaks and Turnerwood.

On the way up to Turnerwood we passed a man swinging some sort of weight on the end of a cord into the canal and then fishing it back out.

After reaching Turnerwood, we turned around and re-traced our path back along the canal. The man was still there, casting his weight into the water of the canal. My curuosity piqued I asked him what it was he was doing.

It turns out he was “magnet fishing”. This practice involves the use of a powerful neodymium magnet to try and grapple metalic items from the bed of the body of water. Looking it up later I saw reports of people “catching” somewhat less-than-desirable items such as live hand-grenades and unexploded bombs that have lain submerged since the 2nd World War.

At my time of asking the man about it, all he’d found was a 3′ length or rebar though.

Magnet fishing

Yashica Mat 124G & Ilford HP5+.

Taken on 12 July 2020

35mm · Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

A walk on a wet day

About a month agao I went for a walk on a Saturday morning. I planned my route the evening before and checked the weather, which all my apps informed me would be overcast but dry after some early rain. My path would take me from a place about 20 minutes drive away called Lindrick Dale. It’s a place I’ve walked from once before, albeit when I was a teenager – so over thirty years ago now! That particular walk had been somewhat ill-fated…

Myself and two of my friends had decided to catch the bus there and then walk over to the Chesterfield Canal (we were all into fishing at the time and were curious as to what the canal would be like to fish in. Although I never fished it, it was like some sort of angler’s fantasy with countless huge fish visible in the water!). From there, we would follow the towpath to the town of Worksop and then catch the bus home. It was a hot summer’s day and we were not really prepared to do much other than our planned walk so, when we got to Worksop and discovered that the bus service had stopped running, we were in a pickle. None of us had anyone who could drive out and pick us up, so we ended up having to walk home, hungry and thirsty, for the entire 14-mile distance. I remember the blessed relief when we found a shop that was open – a rarity in the UK on a Sunday afternoon in the 1980s – and were able to buy a can of cold pop each. I’m not sure I’ve ever had such a welcome drink (except maybe the one I had when I finally reached home, feet aching and exhausted, later that evening).

On this recent occasion I planned on walking some of the same route again, though with the benefit of knowing I had my car to get me home at the end of the walk. Still, there had to be a degree of ill-fate I suppose, and this time it came in the form of rain. As usual, the 21st century weather forecasting technology let me down. A couple of minutes after leaving the car and beginning to walk, the heavens opened. I continued walking a while longer – I’d worn my waterproof hooded jacket so my top half was nice and dry. Unfortunately my trousers were only water resistant and it soon became apparent that they would get very wet if I didn’t take shelter. So, with a degree of annoyance at the weather forecasters of the world, I hurried back to the car to sit it out.

Eventually the rain eased off and it looked like it might stay that way, so I headed out again. The weather was still gloomy, but there was a pleasant freshness to the air from the heavy rain, laced with the scents of vegetation. Following the narrow road through Lindrick dale led to a footpath that skirts the southern edge of Lindrick golf course and I grabbed a quick photo of one of the greens. I was up a small slope above the green and I might have been better served if I’d gone down to make the photo, but it is what it is.

Four or fore

It’s probably worth noting at this point that most of the photos featured in this post are snaps from my walk taken with my Nikon F80 and 50mm lens. I’m not sure that any of them are great photos, but they serve well enough as illustrations. I also had my Yashica Mat 124G and some of those photos are more, er, artistic (some have been featured on the blog already here and here).

A little further on I stopped to take a photo of the canal feeder stream which winds it’s way through the landscape for a mile or so from the River Ryton until it empties into the Chesterfield canal. I find something interesting about these sorts of man-made waterways – they remind me of some sort of fairground water-ride on a grand scale. I’m not including most of the Yashica photos in this post, but I’ll let this one sneak in as it shows the canal feeder (shot on Fomapan 100 film).

Canal feeder

The path then entered an area of woodland and thankfully it was when I was beneath the shelter of the trees that the rain started again. It absolutely heaved it down and I was forced to loiter in the woods for a good twenty minutes before it stopped enough to venture out again.

The path now took me past an interesting looking farm that I made a mental note of as a possible future photo opportunity (in nicer weather!) and then continued towards a nearby railway line with a pedestian crossing place. Unfortunately, this section of path was bordered by tall grasses which were now saturated with rainwater. It’s remarkable the volume of water that plants can hold on their leaves and stems and my legs were soaked by the time I reached the railway crossing. Thankfully, the other side was an open field leading up to the canal at Turnerwood. There was a nice looking old greenhouse on this section that was also added to the photo-op file of my memory banks.

My plan had been to walk from here to nearby Shireoaks and then back on a long loop around the golf cours. However, my wet trousers forced the decision to take a shorter route back to the car instead. So, from Turnerwood, I walked west along the canal towpath and shortly afterwards made this photo of a moored barge.

Early morning barging

A little further along the path and I saw a curious horse watching me from the other side of the water.

It's that horse again

And, a little further again, some lock gates that were nicely lit by the sun which had peaked through a gap in the cloud.

Lock gates and reflected trees

This section of the canal has a long series of locks and I made a number of photographs with the Yashica Mat. Eventually I reached a bridge over the canal that marked the place where I would lead the towpath and head back towards Lindrick Dale. This involved crossing the railway line once again and then walking up a long, slighty muddy and slippery path through a field of growing crops. Here I took a couple of the photos posted in the blogs linked further up this piece.

A paved farm road at the top of the footpath made for easier walking and I followed it over a railway bridge and past a house stood alone in the countryside. The road dipped downhill and just as it veered right, under a railway bridge, I noticed a field of cows to my left. There was a stream at the foot of the field with a simple wooden bridge. The stream also passed under the railway embankment through a culvert and te next three shots show the scene. The field was laced with cowpats and I was fortunate that my luck held out for once and I didn’t tread in any!

Footbridge from a cow field

An entrance

Another view of the footbridge

Crossing back over the stream and under the railway bridge, I was now on the home stretch back to the car and was soon back on the narrow road through Lindrick Dale. There are some lovely houses here and I expect that they cost a pretty penny.

Past the posh houses

There is some private, manicured land at the bottom of the dale with stretches of lawn, lovely shrubs and trees, and the odd swing set. Colour film, even on this dull day, would have better served me here.

Swings beside the lawn

The final shot of the set, taken just before I got back to my car, is one of the expensive houses perched high on the edge of the dale.

House on the edge

Better conditions might have made for a better walk (and maybe photos too), but it was enjoyable for all its discomforts and I was glad to have taken the time.

Nikon F80, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF-D & Ilford XP2 Plus.

Taken on 6 June 2020