35mm · Film photography · Photography

Lockdown part III

Well here we are again. The whole country locked down tight for the third time in less than a year (although, to be honest, the second lockdown was less severe and I didn’t really notice any difference). We’re now back to staying indoors except for essential reasons such as shopping for food / medicines; work (if you can’t do so from home); to provide care (or to escape danger); and for exercise no more than once a day (in your local area).

I gues it will mean my photography is limited once more to things at home, or opportunities I have when out for a walk. I’ve just started Couch-to-5k this week, but at this early stage it’s all I can do to keep running and making photos is the last thing on my mind on those outings. Maybe that will change as I become fitter.

I still have a pretty large archive of images that have never been featured on the blog, so I won’t run out of things to post, but I do think that I might run out of new things to post depending on when, where, and how I am able to get out with a camera. I’ll just have to see what happens, I guess.

I like this time of year for photography. Murky weather can make for very atmospheric shots, and pleasant days are blessed with low-angled sunshine. As the lockdown is set to last until mid-February at least (when the government hopes to have the four highest priority groups of people vaccinated), and probably into March, it looks like I will miss out on these conditions for the most part (or will at least need to get more creative and better inspired by my local area). As for my own vaccination, looking at the numbers of people elligible and where I sit in the priority list (basically just above all the fit and healthy young people who aren’t even included), it will probably be just before Christmas 2021 when I get my own jab!

I do hope that this summer will be less restricted than last at least though. Not because I want to sit on busy crowded beaches or visit touristy hotspots, but just to have the freedon to hop in the car and go somewhere nice for the day. I mean, I’d like that freedom any time of the year, but the summer would do for now.

Hope you are all keeping safe and healthy out there.

I’ll leave you with today’s haiku and another photo from Christmas Eve when I was able to go for walks a little further afield.

On my desk I see
Two green frogs on a keyboard
Are they musical?

Wooden stile

Pentax P30T, SMC Pentax 35mm f/3.5 & Ilford HP5+. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9mins @ 20°.

Taken on 24 December 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Closed by Covid

This is a view through the window of The Ship Inn. On Shalesmoor. In Sheffield. And, to continue the alliteration, it is shut.

Many pubs in the UK are closed at present because of stricter lockdown measures currently in place. While the rules differ across the four nations that make up the UK (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales), here in England pubs must remain closed unless thay are providing takeaway meals.

This situation will remain in place until early December at least, when the current rules will be reviewed. However, given the desire to allow people to see one another at Christmas – something itself fraught with risk – I don’t expect that pubs will re-open to anything approaching normal rules for a long time.

I suspect there will be fewer pubs come the end of this pandemic.

Closed by corona

Yashica Mat 124G & Ilford Delta. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 8mins @ 20°.

Taken on 1 November 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Crucible & Covid-19

One of two theatres adjacent to one another in Sheffield city centre, the Crucible is the younger of the pair, dating from 1971 (the other, The Lyceum, dates back to the late 19th century). It’s probably most famous for being the host venue for the World Snooker Championship since 1977.

Passing the Crucible

As I write this today, Sheffield (and the rest of South Yorkshire) has been put on notice that we will be moving to the Tier 3 “Very High” level for Covid-19 restrictions at the weekend. While, for the most part, these won’t make much of a difference to what I do (it’s nothing like as restrictive as the full lockdown we had earlier in the year), it does place a restriction on mixing with people outside your immediate family or support-bubble, so it’ll mean I can’t see my dad for the next few weeks (assuming it’s lifted by then).

It also means that I’m not supposed to travel from the Tier 3 area to areas at a lower level of alert. This is disappointing as I have a week’s leave coming up and had planned to make a visit or two to the Peak District National Park. While I can still access part of the park (some of it falls within Sheffield, and South Yorkshire’s borders), it’s a relatively limited area and doesn’t include the places I’d hoped to go to. As I would be travelling in a private vehicle and not interacting with anyone, I’m not sure that there’s a problem or that I would be risking any sort of trouble, but I guess I’ll see what happens before making a decision one way or the other. If not, there are plenty of other places within South Yorkshire that I can visit, and not just the bits within the Peak District. I have a project that I came up with the idea for over a year ago, so maybe I can make a start on making the pictures for that.

Crucible theatre

Olympus OM-2n, Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f/1.8 & Kodak Ektachrome 100 EPP (expired at some unknown date).

Taken on 17 September 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Harthill scarecrows

A few weeks ago we drove through the village of Harthill (the same day I made the photos of the person magnet fishing, the house with the pointed roof, and Shireoaks station) and noticed a whole series of “scarecrows” dotted about the place. I call them scarecrows as it seems a reasonable term, although that wasn’t their purpose. They had been installed as part of the village carnival – held virtually for this year – in celebration of key workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

I didn’t have any film left in the camera or on me when we encountered them, so I drove back out to the village later that afternoon to photograph some of them before they were removed.

Harthill scarecrows

Harthill scarecrows-2

Harthill scarecrows-3

Harthill scarecrows-4

Harthill scarecrows-5

Harthill scarecrows-6

Harthill scarecrows-7

Harthill scarecrows-8

Harthill scarecrows-9

Yashica Mat 124G & Fujifilm Provia 100F.

Taken on 12 July 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Pandemic scenes #13

As the number of people buying face-masks and gloves has increased, so has the number of them I see discarded on the floor.

I try not to be all doom-and-gloom about the human race – we’ve achieved so many amazing things. Sometimes though, it’s hard not to think of ourselves as just a blight on the planet. Consuming that which we don’t need and polluting with what we don’t want.

It really isn’t that difficult to find a bin in most places, and if not, just take the rubbish with you until you do.

Pandemic Scenes - a new type of litter

Canon Sure Shot Telemax & Kodak Colorplus.

Taken on 5 July 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Pandemic scenes #12

14 June was the day before the reopening of non-essential retail stores in the UK. Signs were apparent in windows, both those of retailers re-opening on the 15th, and also those who would remain closed for now. Debenhams, a UK department store, was one of those re-opening it’s doors and there was a sign in the window of it’s cafe area (although I don’t think that this part of the store will resume business just yet).

Pandemic scenes - Non-essential retail

Elsewhere, there are still signs of the contruction project to renovate and re-develop part of the town centre into a new “retail quarter”. I wonder how the impact of the pandemic will affect the plan, particularly if retail is slow to return to previous levels (if it ever fully recovers)?

Pandemic scenes - Coronavirus and construction

Olympus OM-1, F-Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 & Ilford HP5+ (@800asa). Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 10 mins @ 20°.

Taken on 14 June 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Pandemic scenes #11

I had wondered if I might have come to the end of this series of pandemic-related photographs given the relaxing of the lockdown here in the UK, but I’ve got a few new images of scenes in the new, post-lockdown world.

The weekend before last was the final one before non-essential retail was allowed to re-open on the 15 June, so I took a trip up town to see how things looked before the shops returned to life.

 

Down empty alleyways

The town centre was largely empty, with the largest groups of people I noticed being construction workers and homeless folks. It was a little eerie and the weather – dank and grey – felt more akin to a winter’s morning than one approaching the summer solstice. There were pigeons in the Peace Gardens and I wondered if they’ve been forced to work harder for their dinners given the lack of humans feeding them or dropping scraps?

 

Pandemic pigeons

The city has been given new signage outside some shops (although it seemed somewhat hit and miss as to which shops did – it certainly wasn’t all of them), and benches and the like feature signs requesting they not be used, or to keep your distance from others.

 

Queue here

I’ve made a couple more trips since this one (and still have more pandemic-related photos from this roll yet to upload), so I guess this series will continue for a while yet.

Olympus OM-1, F-Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 & Ilford HP5+ (@800asa). Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 10 mins @ 20°.

Taken on 14 June 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Pandemic scenes #10

A slightly larger selection of photographs today made up of most of my remaining pandemic-related pictures. I have a few others, but I’m not sure if they’re worth posting or not.

As retail opens up and the lockdown measures ease, there might be opportunities to make more photographs relating to the situation (and if the whole thing goes belly-up, there might be a whole bunch of new lockdown pictures too!), but for now this is the last of what I have to show.

The photos were made over three seperate outings, using two different cameras (and film stocks). The first three follow on directly from the trig point images I posted yesterday, being made on the same walk. The first shows the KFC restaurant at the local retail park. This place would normally be full of cars at the time I walked past, but on this day is was completely deserted. I think it may have re-opened for drive-through sales now but on this day it was shut. The McDonald’s to the right of the image was similarly closed (although it was part way through renovation as the lockdown took effect, so won’t reopen until that is complete anyway). There’s a Pizza Hut off the edge of the frame to the left too, but that was also closed. Probably good for people’s cardiovascular systems though.

Empty at the chicken place

After walking past the KFC I dropped down to the shopping mall to get some items from Sainsbury’s. The usual socially-distanced queue was in effect and took me past these signs on the store window close to the entrance. The rightmost sign is for the Big Night In, a television special made by the BBC where the majority of the performances came from the act’s own homes. You can just make out the ghostly reflections of other socially-distanced shoppers in the window too.

Pandemic scenes - Please queue here

Walking home I passed by a local pub restaurant, closed up since before the lockdown started. Like many similar venues, the noticeboard features a thank you message to NHS and other key workers.

Pandemic scenes - Thank you

This next photo was taken from practically the same spot as the second picture in this sequence, but on a different day. It shows the supermarket’s promotion of technology to make it easier for people to avoid contact with others while in the store.

Pandemic scenes - Stop the spread

And finally, this is one of the children’s play areas at Rother Valley Country Park, the gates taped up, warning notices applied, and fastened shut with plastic cable ties.

Pandemic scenes - No dogs, no children, no-one

Shots 1-3. Canon Sure Shot Telemax & Ilford Delta 400. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 8 mins @ 20°.

Taken on 25 April 2020

Shots 4-5. Pentax P30T, Rikenon 50mm f/2 & Ilford HP5+. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9 mins @ 20°.

Taken on 29 April & 2 May 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Pandemic scenes #9

The British Isles is dotted with triangulation pillars. These “Trig points” were placed by the Ordnance Survey as a means of triangulating locations when mapping the country back in the 1930s. They can be found all over the country and are generally marked on Ordnance Survey maps (certainly the 1:25,000 scale Explorer maps at least).

Todays post shows a trig point a mile or so from where I live. I’ve known it was there for a long time, but had never walked up to it before this occasion. While the pillar is the usual concrete obelisk, this one has a significant number of rocks, stones and pebbles deposited around it’s base, many of them decorated with pictures and messages.

Pandemic scenes - Trig point

During the Covid-19 pandemic many of these messages are in support of the NHS and frontline workers. Some of them are brightly coloured and this was an occasion where colour film might have been a more suitable choice.

Pandemic scenes - Trig point leavings

Canon Sure Shot Telemax & Ilford Delta 400. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 8 mins @ 20°.

Taken on 25 April 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Pandemic scenes #8

I think that this little run of pandemic-related photographs might be coming to an end shortly. I have a few more yet to post but, as it feels that the country is pretty much out of lockdown now following the latest set of relaxation measures on the existing rules, I’m not sure that I will take many more. Hopefully my fears that this easing of the lockdown are misjudged and that I’m not going to be back posting a whole new set of pictures from lockdown phase 2 in a couple of months time. Having seen pictures of huge crowds of people flocking to the usual beaches and beauty spots to enjoy the good weather in the news today though, I won’t hold my breath.

A couple of photgraphs from the local kid’s park posted here today. I’ve shown some from here previously, but these tie quite nicely into the news that competitive sport is being allowed in the UK from 1 June. This will have to take place behind “closed doors” which means no crowds of spectators will be present at the events for obvious reasons.

Pandemic scenes - no sports

Similarly, people will be able to exercise together in groups of up to six people while observing social distancing measures, meaning that some other recreational team-based sports may now be possible.

Empty pitch

Canon Sure Shot Telemax & Ilford Delta 400. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 8 mins @ 20°.

Taken on 20 April 2020