Last Tuesday I had a day off work, mostly because I had an appointment to keep in the morning (which turned out to be a waste of time thanks to one of the parties not turning up!), but it also meant I had a chance to travel up to Barnsley to see the RPS International Print Exhibition #159 that was on show at The Civic until the end of the month. I decided that I’d see the exhibition, then perhaps take a few shots around Barnsley town centre, and then visit Elsecar Heritage Centre (and perhaps Wentworth) on the way back home, and so took my Yashica Mat 124 G loaded with a roll of Kodak Ektar, and also my Olympus 35 RC (with some Kodacolor 200 in it). While I took a number of sots with the 35 RC, I’ve not had the roll processed as yet, so all the shots in this post are from the Yashica.
The exhibition was worth the visit and I took notes of some of the photographers whose pictures I liked so that I could look into their work more closely later. The exhibition ends this month in Barnsley and then moves on to a new venue elsewhere in the country I believe.
Despite Barnsley being only a short distance from Sheffield, it’s a place I’ve visited rarely – I’ve been maybe half a dozen times in my life – and so there was quite a lot of interesting things to photograph. However, as my plan was to go to Elsecar, I only shot a few frames in the town, mostly in the area just behind The Civic, where the exhibition was hosted.
Three shots were of a bar / restaurant called The Old Chemist. The place has, as its name wold suggest, an old apothecary style theme, and the windows are lined with vintage and antique bottles, and there’s an old-style gas-lamp on the corner (probably not gas-powered any longer). I think the third of these three is my favourite.
The final shot I took with the Yashica in Barnsley was of The Arcade, a pleasant pedestrian shopping row with an ornate glass ceiling. The shot’s ok, but it’s a little meh too. Better light would have helped, I think (the sun kept disappearing behind clouds – usually a second after I’d taken a meter reading – and I didn’t have time to hang around for the perfect conditions), and would have allowed me to use a smaller aperture.
After returning to the car (and taking a few random snaps with the 35 RC) I set off out of Barnsley, down the M1, and to Elsecar (after a quick stop at KFC for a bit to eat. I sat in the car to eat and listened to the awful unfolding news about the previous night’s terror attack on the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester).
Elsecar Heritage Centre is located on the site of a former ironworks and steam railway. The railway still exists as a heritage line and runs a short distance from the centre. I’ve been on the train-ride several times as, at Christmas, there are special trips where Father Christmas is on board and gives the children presents while their parents have a cup of hot-chocolate or mulled wine. It was all very festive, but my kids have outgrown such things now. The station is small, but quite nicely appointed with a vintage feel to it, and I took three shots.
The first is of an old phone box tucked into a corner of the station building. The colour looks a little off, but that is the actual tone of the phonebox, which I suspect has either faded slightly in the sunlight, or maybe been painted an incorrect shade at some point.
Next is an old set of scales that were on the platform. This ought to have made for a nice shot, but I’ve missed focus ever so slightly, so it’s a little disappointing.
And here is a shot of a set of vintage carriages that were pulled in at the station (there were a few old locomotives too, but I couldn’t get a decent composition on any of them). I think this shot is probably my favourite from the day.
Walking out of the station alongside the railway line leads to an old Newcomen beam-engine, the only one remaining in the world still situated in its original location. Sadly, I couldn’t find a composition of this that I liked either and so, instead, took this photo of a nearby footpath leading up the hill towards Wentworth.
After this, I walked back into the heritage centre area proper and took the next three photographs. Most of the buildings are now given over t shops and other commercial enterprises (there’s a large children’s play area in the main building – again, we used to take our kids there sometimes when they were younger), and one of them is a large antiques shop. I spent most of my time in here to be honest, and it’s a lovely Aladdin’s Cave of a place. They had a few old film cameras for sale, but I resisted the urge to buy any! It was upon leaving this place that I realised my phone battery had decided to kill itself and was now bereft of any power, leaving me with no way to meter my shots other than Sunny 16 estimation. Luckily, the day was now quite bright and I managed to get my estimations close to the mark and all the remaining shots were well exposed. I’ve decided to buy a dedicated meter though so this doesn’t happen again. Back to the shots, and I’m in awe at the saturated colours that can be seen in the phone box shot (this was the first roll of Ektar I’ve shot), but the long shot of the foundry building and chimney is the best of the three, I think.
The final shot of the roll was taken as I walked past a pub on the way back to the car. I like the juxtaposition of the sign, flowers, and beer barrels, but I’m not really happy with the shot. The sun was glancing into the viewfinder of the camera and it was difficult to focus and compose the shot, so I didn’t really get what I’d wanted. Anyway, here you go, warts and all…