Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Autumn in the Limb Valley

I took some leave last week in the hope that I would be able to get out an about capturing some autumn colour before the leaves fell, but this was hampered by the pincer movement of a Tier 3 Covid-19 restriction being placed on our county and my old friend, bad weather. The Tier 3 restrictions prevented me leaving the borders of South Yorkshire, but there are still many, many other places I can go make photos within the boundary. It was the dull, rainy weather that was the main anchor on my activities. While I subscribe to the saying: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing”, my cameras are sadly not weather sealed so, no matter how suitable my atire may be, the use of vulnerable camera gear forms an Achilles heel.

So, when there was a break in the weather on the Wednesday morning, I decided to make the most of it and set off for the Limb Valley, a wooded area to the south-east of the city that rises into the hills at Ringinglow at the edge of the Peak District. I’ve never walked the valley before and only realised it was ther because I saw some photographs a colleague of my wife had posted. Not having any better plans, it seemed a good place to visit.

Autum in the Limb Valley

I decided that I would use the opportunity to test the newly acquired Zenzanon 50mm f/2.8 MC lens that I’d bought to use with my Bronica ETRSi. I had been looking for a wider-angle lens on and off for a while to complement the 75mm f/2.8 that came with the camera. I missed out on one a few weeks ago when I was outbid at the last moment, so when I saw this one with a buy-it-now option for half the price of the one I missed out on I got in there fast.

Autumn arboreal

The lens was described as having had a lot of use, with some loss of paint on the barrel. It also said that there was some slight haze in the centre of the glass. I examined the photos that were shown on the auction and felt happy with the cosmetic condition – as long as it works properly, I don’t mind a few scrapes here and there. The haze wasn’t very apparent in the photos so I decided to take a chance and clicked the button to make the purchase.

Forest shades

Upos arrival, I can’t really find anything to complain about. The cosmetic wear is nothing serious, and I can’t see any sign of the haze at all, and it hasn’t (that I can see, at least) made its presence felt in the photos I’ve made so far.

Beech glow

I also decided to use the outing to try out some more expired film that I’ve recently picked up – a few rolls of Superia 100 in 120 format. It’s a consumer grade film, but there are precious few options for non-professional colour film for medium format now, so I decided I would take a chance on it. The scans from the negatives tended towards a green cast slightly, but I’ve beebn able to sort that out in Photoshop without any real issues and I’m generally happy with the results for the film.

Woodland bridge

On the whole I’m really happy with the results from this outing. So much so that I moved them up my pile of stuff to scan and publish (I normally do this in a pretty strict chronological order – blame mild OCD or something:)). It means that they get published pretty close to the period of autumn in which ther were produced.

Bronica ETRSi, Zenzanon 50mm f/2.8 MC & Fujifilm Superia 100 (expired 2008). Grain2Pixel conversion.

Taken on 28 October 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Down by the canal

A selection of photos taken around Victoria Quays and the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal. I thought I’d drop in a bunch of them all at once as I’m getting a bit of a backlog of photos – I’ve currently got two rolls waiting to be uploaded, plus another three rolls that haven’t even been scanned yet.

Harlequin pattern
Black Pearl
Moored
About to depart
Blue Planet
Repairs
Canal cruiser

Olympus OM-2n, Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f/1.8 / Zuiko Auto-T 135mm f/3.5 & Fuji Superia 100 (expired 2008). Grain2Pixel conversion.

Taken on 17 September 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Picturing a picture maker

The chap was painting pa picture of the buildings at the canal wharf when I wandered the area with my camera. We were both taking advantage of the lovely light to make our images and I stood and chatted with him awhile before asking if he would mind me making a photograph or two.

The artist
Painting

Olympus OM-2n, Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f/1.8 & Fuji Superia 100 (expired 2008). Grain2Pixel conversion.

Taken on 17 September 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Bicycle in (and on) chains

When I bought my OM-2n a couple of months ago it came with a Tamron Adaptall lens – a 35-70mm zoom if I remember correctly. The lens was in very nice condition but produced noteably softer results than my Olympus Zuiko lenses, so I sold it on. As I already have an OM-1 I have a small collection of Zuiko glass that I can use with the OM-2n already.

I did notice, however, that my F.Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 lens had developed a bit of looseness in the aperture ring. I don’t think it affects the funtionality, but the firm clicks when it rotates has become gentle bumps. So I decided, if I could find one at a decent price, to buy another.

I ended up with a Zuiko (note the lack of F.) Auto-S 50mm f/1.8 in great condition and at a low price. The lens is in the 5,XXX,XXX serial number range with “made in Japan” on the front ring. Apparently these are amongst the sharpest of the numerous variants of this lens that Olympus produced – not that any of them are optical slouches. While I’ve not done any like-for-like tests against my other version (and am unlikely to), this lens is very sharp.

Chained to the chains

Olympus OM-2n, Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f/1.8 & Fuji Superia 100 (expired 2008). Grain2Pixel conversion.

Taken on 17 September 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Anyone for ice-cream?

When I spotted the couple in the distance when I framed this shot, I knew they would be out of focus because I’d set a wide aperture to give the giant ice-cream cone some seperation from the rest of the scene, but liked how they would fill a gap in the frame.

What I didn’t really notice – partly due to making sure I had focus on the ice-cream, but also because I had to be quick as I was in a queue and about to be served my own, normal-sized ice-cream – was that the man’s top was the same shade of pink as the “strawberry” swirl in the foreground cone, and his female companion’s top a similar colour to the blue flavour (whatever that might be). A nice little piece of synchronicity. 🙂

Anyone for ice cream?

Olympus OM-2n, Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f/1.8 & Fuji Superia 100 (expired 2008). Grain2Pixel conversion.

Taken on 11 September 2020

35mm · Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Day 365 – Twelve favourite photos from 2019

My initial plan for today’s post was to publish 12 photos that were taken this year but which haven’t featured in the blog, but on second thoughts I’ve decided to take the more traditional route. There might still be some that never appeared here before though – I tend to upload more stuff to Flickr than gets featured here – so aren’t you the lucky ones. 🙂

Today also marks the 365th consecutive blog post of the year – a target I attempted once before but which fell through when other events in my life took precedence. Not every blog was written on the day it was posted – in situations where I’ve been away from home I’ve pre-written blogs and then scheduled them to automatically publish (or made them live from my phone). Because of the way I link my photos from Flickr, I’ve found it’s a complete PITA to try and write and publish from mobile devices.

Anyway… Before I get on to the pictures, I just want to take the time to thank all who’ve viewed, interacted or commented on my blog over the year and to wish everyone a happy new year.

So, the photos…

January – This tree sits on the moors just south of Sheffield and is just a few metres from the roadside. It’s distictive shape made for an easy composition. Sadly the tree has now suffered damage – the last time I passed all that remained was the trunk as the upper branches have been broken off. 😦

FILM - In a lonely place (35mm)

Nikon F80, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 AF & Fomapan 400. Taken on 20 January 2019

February – Eyes in the back of his head? One of the tenets of street photography is to be prepared and ready to catch that decisive moment when it occurs. Sadly, this is rarely the case for me and I’ve missed loads of potentially nice shots due to fumbling with the camera. This was one of the times I didn’t.

FILM - He's got eyes in the back of his head

Olympus 35 RC & JCH Streetpan 400. Taken on 15 February 2019

March – Portraiture is not something I have much of an interest in, particularly studio portraits (although I do enjoy looking at environmental portraits), so when an opportunity arose to photograph some models at the local camera club I wasn’t sure whether I’d enjoy it or not. While I can’t say it ignited any desire to take more portraits, I was very pleased with my results, one of which is below. It isn’t prefect (the creased backdrop lets it down a little), but the way the Sigma 105mm lens and the Kodak P3200 rendered the images is lovely.

FILM - WPS Model Session-2

Nikon F80, Sigma 105mm f/2.8 OS HSM & Kodak Tmax P3200. Taken on 19 March 2019

April – A gate on a public footpath through Edale in the northern Peak District National Park. I think this photo has a certain charm to it, there’s a sense of mystery as to where the path leads and what might be beyond the gate. This is from the penultimate roll of film through my Yashica Mat 124G last year. I shall have to rectify this situation and shoot with the camera again post haste!

FILM - A path near Edale

Yashica Mat 124 G & Fomapan 100. Taken on 20 April 2019

May – During May I visited New York with my family. It’s the second time I’ve visited (and I’d love to return – although I think my wife would prefer somewhere else in the US if we get across the Atlantic again) – I could have spent all day, every day just walking the streets taking photos. It was a family trip though, so I grabbed whatever I could. This is just a view down 7th Avenue after a rain shower, but it screams New York to me.

FILM - 7th Avenue

Canon Sure Shot Z135 & Ilford HP5+. Taken on 28 May 2019

June – A box of pre-owned pool balls on a stall at the Sheffield Steam Rally. I think I might have said at the time that colour would have been a more obvious choice here, but I love the contrast given by the HP5+.

FILM - Balls

Nikon F80, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 D & Ilford HP5+. Taken on 30 June 2019

July – The beach at Scarborough. My wife and I took a trip to the seaside and I shot a roll-and-a-half of film during the day. This is just a snap of the beach, the people enjoying themselves there, and some yachts in the sea beyond, but it has a nice “Martin Parr” feel to it that I like. It was also an opportunity to test the little Pentax Espio compact that I’d bought for £1 a fortnight before.

FILM - On the beach

Pentax Espio 140M & Fuji Superia 100 (expired 2008). Taken on 13 July 2019

August – Taken at the Lincoln Steam Rally – the first time I’d attended this event, but it was huge and I hope to go again in 2020. I shot four rolls of film on the day, but this Ektar shot of a vintage truck is a favourite. The almost 70-year-old Zeiss Mess-Ikonta continues to impress with it’s superbly sharp lens.

FILM - ERF

Zeiss Mess-Ikonta 524/16 & Kodak Ektar. Taken on 17 August 2019

September – A day trip to my childhood seaside haunt: Mablethorpe. It’s a place I’m always drawn back to, even though I’m always slightly disappointed that it hasn’t remained frozen in time as I remember it from when I was a child. Another day where several rolls of film were shot (including three botched rolls through my Holga because I had it set to bulb mode!). I’ve many photos from the day that I like, but this is the one that always springs to mind when I think back.

FILM - Water dragon

Olympus 35 RC & Kodak Portra 400. Taken on 13 September 2019

October – I took a trip to Doncaster racecourse with my dad, and this is one of the photos from the day. The weather was awful, with heavy rain all day, but oftentimes bad weather makes for good photos.

FILM - A day at the races

Olympus OM-1, Zuiko 75-150mm f/4 & Ilford HP5+. Taken on 25 October 2019

November – This shot is potentially my favourite of the whole year. The simple but beautiful charms of the Holga coupled with a wonderfully foggy day made for some amazing photographic opportunities.

FILM - The path untaken

Holga 120N & Kodak Tmax 400. Taken on 30 November 2019

December – December is a little difficult as, as I type this, I have three rolls of film waiting to be processed still and there might be a showstopper on there (or possibly not), but this image that I took just before Christmas on a lunchtime walk is definitely worthy of the spot. It’s another Holga 120N image, but cropped to a 4×3 ratio (the bottom of the frame has a river in it, but it didn’t add a lot to the overall image and the landscape crop works much better. The way the Holga renders out-of-focus details is wonderful, and almost impressionistic in style.

FILM - Breaking through

Holga 120N & Kodak Tmax 400. Taken on 18 December 2019

So there you have it. Twelve favourite shots from 2019. As with any list like this it’s subjective, and if I were to do it again tomorrow several of the selections might change, but for now it will do.

One final word – I’ll proof read it later, so apologies in advance for any typos or grammatical goofs. 🙂

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Winter sun

Low winter sunshine is a wonderful thing. It makes scenes you might otherwise walk on past simply glow. This is a relatively ordinary terrace of houses, but the light is gorgeous. It illuminates things with a crisp, warm light and casts relief onto every surface. Lovely.

FILM - emedies

Canon Sure Shot Z135 & Fujifilm Superia 100 (expired 2008).

Taken on 5 December 2019