Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Twisting trunk, the end of Christmas, and Covid

Another Padley Gorge photo today, again of a tree right up near the top of the wooded area where it opens out into heather and bracken covered moorland. There was another photographer making pictures of this same tree when I was there, so we were being careful not to get into one another’s shots.

Today was the day the Christmas decorations came down. I think the intent had been to dismatle them tomorrow but we ended up with a gap in the schedule this afternoon, so got it over and done with. I always used to find taking the decorations down a horribly depressing task, like it was making real the fact that the festive period and all the buid-up was done, and it was just back to work / school / wet and cold January days with not much to look forward to in the immediate future. It would really get me down and the house would look bare and empty with all the trees, lights, garlands and other trimmings packed away.

I don’t seem to feel it nearly so much now (and, if I’m honest, the excitement in the run up to Christmas either). I’m not sure exactly why this might be. Perhaps a sign of getting older? Maybe the fact that our kids are not so young and some of the magic has disappeared? Whatever the case, I don’t feel down like I used to. While I don’t want to lose my fondness for Christmas, losing the post-Christmas blues is not something I will complain about too much.

Both of my kids who still live with us have now tested positive for Covid-19. One late last week, the other today. Neither of them seem particularly ill – they have cold-like symptoms but not much else – and they’re still playing video games and watching the stuff they find entertaining. My wife and I are (so far) still testing negative. It’s actually something of a mystery how the first one managed to be infected – he hasn’t left the house since mid-December and the only visitor we had prior to him starting to feel ill was his big brother who came over on Christmas day (but he’s not been positive either). I’m assuming that either my older son, or my wife and I were infected but asymptomatic at some point and passed it on, or we’ve brought something contaminated into the house. It’s a bit of a puzzle to be honest.

Sinuous

Bronica ETRSi, Zenzanon 50mm f/2.8 MC & Ilford Delta 3200. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9.5mins @ 20°

Taken on 23 December 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Can’t see the wood for the fog

A couple of days before Christmas I took myself out into the Peak District national park. The weather forecast showed fog, with rain expected later in the day, so I headed to Padley Gorge in the hope of getting some nice woodland scenes.

Padley Gorge looks great at pretty much any time of the year, being a steep sided valley filled with tumbles gritstone boulders, twisted and gnarled trees, and the peat stained waters of Burbage Brook cascading through the bottom on its way to Grindleford and it’s appointment with the River Derwent beyond. In the fog though, well those twisty trees take on a whole new level of character and the place feels like something out of a Tolkien story.

I shot a full roll of Ilford Delta 3200 film during the outing, as well as making a number of digital photos with my little Ricoh GRIII compact (the image stabilisation on this little camera is excellent, and I am able to drop the shutter speed down to 1/8 second handheld and still get sharp images, making it an excellent companion to other cameras). I decided to shoot the Delta a stop over at 1600asa and to then develop it at box speed. It’s a grainy film, but I thought that it might suit the murky conditions that presented themselves on the day.

I’ll be sharing a number of these shots over the coming days, and here to start us off are a couple of eerie looking large trees that stand at the head of the gorge.

Above the gorge
Great old one

Bronica ETRSi, Zenzanon 50mm f/2.8 MC & Ilford Delta 3200. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9.5mins @ 20°

Taken on 23 December 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Tree silhouettes

The final two frames from this roll of Shanghai GP3 which I shot just before Christmas are shown here today. Almost the final two anyway – there is still another I might use if needed, and a few more shots of leaves covered in raindrops, but I’ve started scanning a fresh roll that I developed today, so hopefully those will start to appear soon.

Tree silhouette #1

Tomorrow I need to think about doing one of those “Looking back at the year“-type posts with my favourite photos from the past twelve months. It will be interesting to see which ones I choose from the autumn’s crop of images – I feel like that entire period was something of a dry spell and I’m not sure what I will choose. Anyway, that will appear tomorrow all being well.

Tree silhouette #2

Yashica Mat 124G & Shanghai GP3. Lab developed in Xtol.

Taken on 18 December 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Hollow trunk

Here’s another photo from my foggy morning walk just before Christmas. The tree in today’s photo will likely feature again tomorrow or the day after as also go a long shot of it – I’m still stretching out the posting of images from this roll of film until I get one of my other rolls developed. Thankfully my fresh bottle of DD-X arrived today so I might get one of them sorted out tomorrow.

Split trunk

Yashica Mat 124G & Shanghai GP3. Lab developed in Xtol.

Taken on 18 December 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Winter fog and a lone tree (and running out of developer)

I’d hoped to develop one of the two rolls of unprocessed film I have today, but I’m uncertain as to the state of my developer. I use Ilfotec DD-X which Ilford states has a shelf life of around four months once opened. As I’ve not developed many rolls of film in the past four months, I suspect that my partially used bottle might be older than that and I don’t want to risk my time and effort, plus a roll of film, to discover that it’s gone bad. I guess it could be fine, but I’m not going to take the chance.

As a result, I’ve ordered a fresh bottle. The website told me it will be here on Wednesday, but I’m not sure that’s taking into account the fact that today and Tuesday are the Christmas Day / Boxing Day bank holidays, so it might take longer. I do have a bottle of Adonal I could use, but I’d prefer not to use that on the film I have waiting as it’s a roll of Tri-X (that I need to push a stop) and some Delta 3200, and Adonal (Rodinal) tend to be something of an acquired taste when it comes to faster films.

Hopefully I’ll get at least one of the rolls developed before the weekend though, which is when I’ll run out of photos from this roll of Shanghai GP3 that I’m currently sharing pictures from.

Alone in the fog

Yashica Mat 124G & Shanghai GP3. Lab developed in Xtol.

Taken on 18 December 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Cannery lady

Driving through Eckington recently I noticed a new memorial had been placed. It depicts a lady with a sack of peas and tin cans to commemorate the Derbyshire Canners Factory which used to stand nearby. I know little more about the factory and have no idea how long it stood, or when it operated, but I liked the look of the memorial and thought it worth a photograph, especially in foggy weather.

Cannery lady

Yashica Mat 124G & Shanghai GP3. Lab developed in Xtol.

Taken on 18 December 2021

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Ducks and geese

I’m absolutely shattered this evening. I’m having a bit of a stressful week at work – nothing bad, just something I’m working on that I’ve not done fully before and I’m focussed on trying to make the best job of it that I can, which is taking a bit of a toll. Plus, on the physical side, I completed week seven of Couch to 5K today – the last of the 25-minute runs. Two more weeks to go, and three 28-minute runs for the next week. I always feel a sense of achievement when I complete one of the runs, but I wasn’t in the mood today, and it took effort and willpower to not stop moving.

Another grainy HP5+ photo today.

Geese on the water
So serene on the surface
Liquid hides effort

Ducks and geese

Olympus OM-2N, E.Zuiko Auto-T 135mm f/2.8 & Ilford HP5+ (@800asa). Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 10mins @ 20°.

Taken on 1 March 2021

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Across the lake

A bit of a mystery about today’s photo, which depicts a foggy morning at Rother Valley Country Park. The puzzle is in regards to the graininess of the image. It was shot on Ilford HP5+ rated and develoed for 800asa. I’ve shot HP5+ pushed a stop before (and pushed by much more in fact) and not encountered the amount of grain that is present in this shot (and a few other misty, low-contrast scenes made on the same roll of film). Even more curious is the fact that it’s only a handful of frames affected – most of the images show smooth and unobtrusive grain.

My thoughts are that it could be the way the scanner handles this type of scene (or perhaps my settings). I tried scanning the picture with both Silverfast and Vuescan and received similar results from both. It would be interesting to see if the grain is present on the negative itself, but I don’t have a loupe to use and haven’t bothered trying to use my digital camera and macro lens.

Despite the unexpected and unplanned look of the image, the grain gives it a very pleasing atmosphere, so I’m not disappointed by the result.

Golf ball sized film grain
Appearing out of the fog
It’s a mystery

Across the lake

Olympus OM-2N, E.Zuiko Auto-T 135mm f/2.8 & Ilford HP5+ (@800asa). Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 10mins @ 20°.

Taken on 1 March 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Tail lights

Today’s photo is another of those that I really like without really being able to say why – although I think it’s probably the swipe of the red tail-lights across the scene on a jaunty diagonal. The red contrasts nicely with the overall blue tint that the photo has.

Passing by

Bronica ETRSi, Zenzanon 50mm f/2.8 MC & Cinestill 800T. Grain2Pixel conversion.

Taken on 11 December 2020