35mm · Film photography · Photography

Bear pit

Tucked away from the glasshouse in Sheffield Botanical Gardens sits the Grade II listed bear pit. The pit was constructed in 1836 to house a black bear and, later, two brown bears. Local legend has it the a child fell into the pit and was killed in 1870. It is said to be one of the finest surviving bear pits in the country thanks to it being preserved by it’s later use as a gigantic compost pit!

There is still a bear in the pit, although this one is made of rusty steel, its colour perhaps not dissimilar to a real bear’s fur.

The edge of the bearpit

Olympus XA-3 & Kodak Tri-X. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 8mins 20°.

Taken on 09 April 2022

35mm · Film photography · Photography

A trip to Manchester (and pictures of Sheffield Botanical Gardens)

I took a trip to Manchester today to visit the Photo North exhibition. It’s been quite a tiring day.

The exhibition was good, but my planning was not, and it would have been much better had I booked earlier / later trains for the outbound and return journeys as, as it stood, I felt somewhat rushed, especially when the train in the morning was delayed by a half hour! Oh well, I still visited and I managed to attend the screening of a documentary on Picture Post magazine, which was interesting and enjoyable.

I shot about half a roll of film while out – using my Olympus 35RC, a great little camera, but one I’ve not used for a while – but when I came out of the exhibition the weather had changed from bright contrasty sunshine to flat grey conditions, so I held off shooting more. I have another trip to Manchester planned in a month or two’s time, so hope to make more photos then.

In the meantime, and completely unrelated to the rest of the post, here are four photos of Sheffield Botanical Gardens that I scanned this week.

Botanical Gardens
Botanical Gardens
Botanical Gardens
Botanical Gardens

Olympus XA-3 & Kodak Tri-X. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 8mins 20°.

Taken on 09 April 2022

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Ode to a highwayman

On a wall beside the canal towpath, not far from Victoria Quays, is painted this piece of artwork. I though it would make a good photograph, but didn’t know what it represented.

Googling the words revealed them to be part of a folk song about a highwayman named Spence Broughton. In February 1791 Broughton, and his accomplice John Oxley, robbed the Sheffield to Rotherham mail coach as it travelled across Attercliffe Common. Suposedly the only item of value they were able to get away with was a French bill of exchange with a value of £123, which they had difficulty in attempting to fence. Oxley was later arrested for his part in another robbery and, fearing for his freedom, in October of that year Broughton sought help from another criminal, Thomas Shaw, in London. Unfortunately for Broughton, he was recognised and arrested by the police and Oxley and Shaw both gave testimony against him, although Oxley was later able to break loose and make his escape.

Spence Broughton was found guilty in York assizes and sentenced to be hanged. The following April, after the execution, the body of Broughton was transported back to the scene of the crime on Attercliffe Common and placed in a gibbet. This attracted large crowds – supposedly 40,000 people – and the landlord of the nearby Arrow pub claimed that he was able to make a fortune from the passing trade. Broughton’s boy was to ramain in the gibbet for the next 36 years!

Nearby Broughton Lane is alleged to be named after the criminal, although this is disputed by historians.

It’s fascinating what a walk along the canal can reveal.

Poetry crow

Olympus XA-3 & Kodak Tri-X. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 8mins 20°.

Taken on 27 March 2022

35mm · Film photography · Photography

The Expiry Files – preparing to shoot a load of expired film

I’ve aquired some more expired film, some of past it’s best date by quite some margin – the oldest roll being the Ilford FP3 which is dated 1970! Now, normally I would stay away from old film such as this, but this didn’t cost me too much and I thought it might make for an interesting series of blog posts as I shoot the stuff and present the results here.

For the curious, the batch includes the following (in chronological order – oldest to newest):

  • 1 x Ilford FP3 – 1970
  • 1 x Ilford FP4 – 1981
  • 4 x Ilford HP5 – 1982
  • 1 x Kodacolor VR 400 – 1989
  • 5 x Kodak Vericolor HC – 1991
  • 1 x Ilford FP4 – 1993
  • 1 x Kodak Vericolor VPL – No date on packaging, but I expect 1980s / 90s
  • 1 x Kodak Tmax 200 – No date on packaging, but again probably 1980s / 90s (it was manufactured from 1986 I believe)
  • 1 x Polaroid Polachrome – No date on packaging, but sometime after 1983 which is when it was introduced.
  • 1 x Polaroid Polapan – No date on packaging, but sometime after 1983 which is when it was introduced.
  • 1 x Polaroid Polablue – No date on packaging, but sometime after 1983 which is when it was introduced.

My plan is to try and shoot at least a roll of this each month. The HP5 and Vericolor both have the advantage of there being multiple rolls so I can shoot one and then re-assess exposure times for the remaining film. All the others are something of a crapshoot though, so I’ll be using the 1-stop of overexposure per decade of expiry rule for the colour stuff, and probably the same but with just half as much overexposure for the B&W. I’ve not decided on what chemicals I’ll use to develop the B&W (the colour will go to the lab), but probably not my expensive DD-X. Maybe Adox Adonal, but we’ll see.

The Polaroid film is possibly the most interesting of the lot – each roll comes with it’s own developing cartridge (and the film needs to be processed in a dedicated Autoprocessor device), so I’m looking forward to seeing how that stuff turns out.

It may be that the whole lot is an absolute waste of my time and effort, but I’m going to aim for optimism and, at the very least, there will be some blog posts falling off the back of the experience.

The oldest roll of expired film I’ve shot previously was some Kodacolor Gold 200 which had expired in 1989. While that showed definite signs of deterioration (odd colours and a mottled appearance) I was quite taken by the results, and I managed to win a prize in Expired Film Day from one of the shots. You can see some of those results here. I still have another roll of that same film in the feezer too.

As this post has been about expired film that I plan to shoot, here’s a photo made on some expired film that I did shoot five years ago. That roll was over twenty years expired and still produced lovely images, including this one.

FILM - White rose

Nikon F70, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF-D & Kodak Tmax 100 (expired 1994 – shot at 50asa and developed for box speed).

Taken on 19 August 2017

35mm · Film photography · Photography

May the 4th be with you

So, it’s Star Wars day today, so it seemed apt to publish a photo aligned with that theme. Not that I have many Star Wars related photographs – and even fewer shot on film (two or three at a stretch) – but this one certainly fits the bill.

These two Barcelona manequins must be clones given the headgear they’re wearing. And, yes, that is Darth Vader in a t-shirt lurking in the background…

FILM - Imperial forces

Olympus OM-10, Cimko 28mm f/2.8 & Ilford HP5+.

Taken on 17 June 2019

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Synchronous things seen from beside the canal

I thought I’d lump these two photos together in today’s post. There are two reasons for this.

Firstly, both shots were made while I walked along the towpath beside the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal, heading back towards Victoria Quays, so there is a connection there.

Secondly, there is (to my eye at least) a visual connection in the shape of the piece of sky in the railway bridge picture, and the chimney in the second shot. It almost feels like, if you were to overlay them that they might somehow intersect and fit together. Obviously it wouldn’t be a perfect fit, but compositions definitely have a synchronicity about them, a kind of positive / negative relationship.

Railway bridge

Olympus XA-3 & Kodak Tri-X. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 8mins 20°.

Taken on 27 March 2022

Photography · Film photography · 35mm

Along the canal

I’ve been tasked with going out to fetch ice-creams, so I don’t have much time to type a post today. I’ve been scanning more negatives which has also taken up time, although they will at least bear some fruit for the blog at some point (there are some nice ones, I think).

So, her’e a photo I took about a month ago. It was on the same walk where I started shooting the expired TruPrint FG+ and, as the light had faded, I switched over to the XA-3 with some B&W loaded.

Sheffield & Tinsley Canal

Olympus XA-3 & Kodak Tri-X. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 8mins 20°.

Taken on 27 March 2022

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Out with the Holga part 1

On the day I tried out my first roll of the new Kodak Gold 120 variant, shot with my Yashicamat, I also took the Holga with me. I still had a couple of rolls of the “bad batch” Fomapan 100 (the one that liberally sprinkles little white specks on the resulting pictures), and it seems a good fit to shoot it with the Holga as, while I don’t want to use faulty film with the camera, it is great at covering up such defects due to its uniquely rendered images. I also have quite a stash of film at present and aim to try and get through some of it this year.

This was the first time I’d used the Holga in over a year – the last time was for some snowy shots back in January 2021 – and it’s easy to forget how much I like the pictures it produces. While this roll didn’t produce twelve bangers, I still got several I was happy with, and so I’ll post them here today and tomorrow.

I developed the roll in some of my remaining trial bottle of Adox Adonal (Rodinal in all but name) and used a 1+24 dilution which gave a pleasingly short 4 minute developing time. I’m pretty happy with the way they’ve turned out.

Corner plot
Behind the pollarded trees

Holga 120N & Fomapan 100. Adox Adonal 1+25 4mins @ 20°.

Taken on 10 April 2022