35mm · Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

A walk on a wet day

About a month agao I went for a walk on a Saturday morning. I planned my route the evening before and checked the weather, which all my apps informed me would be overcast but dry after some early rain. My path would take me from a place about 20 minutes drive away called Lindrick Dale. It’s a place I’ve walked from once before, albeit when I was a teenager – so over thirty years ago now! That particular walk had been somewhat ill-fated…

Myself and two of my friends had decided to catch the bus there and then walk over to the Chesterfield Canal (we were all into fishing at the time and were curious as to what the canal would be like to fish in. Although I never fished it, it was like some sort of angler’s fantasy with countless huge fish visible in the water!). From there, we would follow the towpath to the town of Worksop and then catch the bus home. It was a hot summer’s day and we were not really prepared to do much other than our planned walk so, when we got to Worksop and discovered that the bus service had stopped running, we were in a pickle. None of us had anyone who could drive out and pick us up, so we ended up having to walk home, hungry and thirsty, for the entire 14-mile distance. I remember the blessed relief when we found a shop that was open – a rarity in the UK on a Sunday afternoon in the 1980s – and were able to buy a can of cold pop each. I’m not sure I’ve ever had such a welcome drink (except maybe the one I had when I finally reached home, feet aching and exhausted, later that evening).

On this recent occasion I planned on walking some of the same route again, though with the benefit of knowing I had my car to get me home at the end of the walk. Still, there had to be a degree of ill-fate I suppose, and this time it came in the form of rain. As usual, the 21st century weather forecasting technology let me down. A couple of minutes after leaving the car and beginning to walk, the heavens opened. I continued walking a while longer – I’d worn my waterproof hooded jacket so my top half was nice and dry. Unfortunately my trousers were only water resistant and it soon became apparent that they would get very wet if I didn’t take shelter. So, with a degree of annoyance at the weather forecasters of the world, I hurried back to the car to sit it out.

Eventually the rain eased off and it looked like it might stay that way, so I headed out again. The weather was still gloomy, but there was a pleasant freshness to the air from the heavy rain, laced with the scents of vegetation. Following the narrow road through Lindrick dale led to a footpath that skirts the southern edge of Lindrick golf course and I grabbed a quick photo of one of the greens. I was up a small slope above the green and I might have been better served if I’d gone down to make the photo, but it is what it is.

Four or fore

It’s probably worth noting at this point that most of the photos featured in this post are snaps from my walk taken with my Nikon F80 and 50mm lens. I’m not sure that any of them are great photos, but they serve well enough as illustrations. I also had my Yashica Mat 124G and some of those photos are more, er, artistic (some have been featured on the blog already here and here).

A little further on I stopped to take a photo of the canal feeder stream which winds it’s way through the landscape for a mile or so from the River Ryton until it empties into the Chesterfield canal. I find something interesting about these sorts of man-made waterways – they remind me of some sort of fairground water-ride on a grand scale. I’m not including most of the Yashica photos in this post, but I’ll let this one sneak in as it shows the canal feeder (shot on Fomapan 100 film).

Canal feeder

The path then entered an area of woodland and thankfully it was when I was beneath the shelter of the trees that the rain started again. It absolutely heaved it down and I was forced to loiter in the woods for a good twenty minutes before it stopped enough to venture out again.

The path now took me past an interesting looking farm that I made a mental note of as a possible future photo opportunity (in nicer weather!) and then continued towards a nearby railway line with a pedestian crossing place. Unfortunately, this section of path was bordered by tall grasses which were now saturated with rainwater. It’s remarkable the volume of water that plants can hold on their leaves and stems and my legs were soaked by the time I reached the railway crossing. Thankfully, the other side was an open field leading up to the canal at Turnerwood. There was a nice looking old greenhouse on this section that was also added to the photo-op file of my memory banks.

My plan had been to walk from here to nearby Shireoaks and then back on a long loop around the golf cours. However, my wet trousers forced the decision to take a shorter route back to the car instead. So, from Turnerwood, I walked west along the canal towpath and shortly afterwards made this photo of a moored barge.

Early morning barging

A little further along the path and I saw a curious horse watching me from the other side of the water.

It's that horse again

And, a little further again, some lock gates that were nicely lit by the sun which had peaked through a gap in the cloud.

Lock gates and reflected trees

This section of the canal has a long series of locks and I made a number of photographs with the Yashica Mat. Eventually I reached a bridge over the canal that marked the place where I would lead the towpath and head back towards Lindrick Dale. This involved crossing the railway line once again and then walking up a long, slighty muddy and slippery path through a field of growing crops. Here I took a couple of the photos posted in the blogs linked further up this piece.

A paved farm road at the top of the footpath made for easier walking and I followed it over a railway bridge and past a house stood alone in the countryside. The road dipped downhill and just as it veered right, under a railway bridge, I noticed a field of cows to my left. There was a stream at the foot of the field with a simple wooden bridge. The stream also passed under the railway embankment through a culvert and te next three shots show the scene. The field was laced with cowpats and I was fortunate that my luck held out for once and I didn’t tread in any!

Footbridge from a cow field

An entrance

Another view of the footbridge

Crossing back over the stream and under the railway bridge, I was now on the home stretch back to the car and was soon back on the narrow road through Lindrick Dale. There are some lovely houses here and I expect that they cost a pretty penny.

Past the posh houses

There is some private, manicured land at the bottom of the dale with stretches of lawn, lovely shrubs and trees, and the odd swing set. Colour film, even on this dull day, would have better served me here.

Swings beside the lawn

The final shot of the set, taken just before I got back to my car, is one of the expensive houses perched high on the edge of the dale.

House on the edge

Better conditions might have made for a better walk (and maybe photos too), but it was enjoyable for all its discomforts and I was glad to have taken the time.

Nikon F80, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF-D & Ilford XP2 Plus.

Taken on 6 June 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Early walk and late frost (a couple of months ago)

A couple of quick photos today from one of the regular routes I walked back when lockdown was still in full force, perhaps a couple of months ago now (although it doesn’t feel that long). It was a nice morning but there was a chill in the air and the remains of a light frost were still evident in places the sun hadn’t yet found.

I liked this rotted-out fence post in which new life was making its presence known.

New growth in old

And another fencepost, this one surrounded by an average and ordinary selection of grasses and weeds, but which the frost made appealing.

At the bottom of a fence post

Nikon F80, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF-D & Ilford XP2 Plus.

Taken sometime in late April / early May 2020 (I think)

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Snail and cane

On the patio behiand our house stand a number of planters containing various flowers and shrubs. We haven’t re-planted any of them this year and they’re in a slightly sorry state with weeds growing amongst the remnants of the original inhabitants.

One of the pots contains a lily which flowered recently but is now dying back down again. At some point the pot must have had a different occupant though as there’s also a cane sticking out of the soil that would have been used to train and support some other plant.

Halfway up this cane is a small snail shell. I suspect that the snail is no-more. The shell has been afixed there without moving for months now, so is probably glued to the cane by what remains of occupant. It’s now been immortalized in photographic form though.

I’m not honestly sure when I made this photo. Sometime in May is my best guess. When I go out-and-about to a location I can use Google Maps’ history to remind me of the date I visited a place, but shots made at home have little evidence to place them in time.

Small snail-shell on a cane

Nikon F80, Sigma 105mm f/2.8 OS HSM & Ilford XP2 Plus.

Taken sometime in May 2020 (I think)

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Gennel

“Gennel” (pronounced “Jennel”) might be an unfamiliar word to some, but it’s a widely used term in Sheffield and refers to an alleyway or passageway, often running between houses (sometimes used specifically as a covered passageway between terraced homes).

Similar terms are used in other areas, such as the similar “ginnel” used in neaby Barnsley (this time with a hard “G” as in “Gun”), or “snicket” which is more widely used throughout the north of England.

Today’s photograph is a good example of a gennel.

FILM - Gennel

Olympus OM-1, Zuiko 28mm f/3.5 & Ilford XP2 (expired).

Taken on 19 December 2019

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Framed

Another of my shots taken for the film photography competition I’m in this year. The theme for the month was pictures within pictures / frames within the frame. I decided on an alternative shot in the end, but this would likely have been my second choice.

FILM - Framed

Olympus OM-1, Zuiko 28mm f/3.5 & Ilford XP2 (expired).

Taken on 19 December 2019

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Yet more pylons

Yeah, yeah, I know, more pylon / powerline photos. But I make no excuses as I still think they make for excellent photographic subject matter.

Both shots here are 1:1 crops because my OM-1 created a partial double-exposure when winding on the frames (which it did again later in the roll too). Fortunately, these two shots didn’t suffer (and maybe even benefited) from the crop.

FILM - Along the National Grid

FILM - Reflections of power

Olympus OM-1, F.Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 & Ilford XP2 (expired).

Taken on 17 December 2019

35mm · Film photography · Photography

In suburbia #3

A third batch of suburban scenes – this time in black and white – that I shot just before Christmas. I never give up the chance to take photos on misty or foggy days unless I have no choice, so while this was only a quick half-hour walk, it still deliverd a handful of nice photographs.

FILM - In Suburbia #8

FILM - In Suburbia #9

FILM - In Suburbia #10

Olympus OM-1, Zuiko 28mm f/3.5 & Ilford XP2 (expired).

Taken on 17 December 2019

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Merry Christmas!

Whatever your beliefs may be, here’s wishing you and your loved ones health and happiness, and I hope you have a good day wherever you may be.

The residents who live across the road from this country phone box seem to decorate it on various occasions (on the times I’ve passed it), and I think it makes a suitably festive image for Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas!

FILM - Festive thoughts

Olympus OM-1, Zuiko 28mm f/3.5 & Ilford XP2 (expired).

Taken on 19 December 2019

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Disposable fun

A forum I frequent has been running a disposable camera challenge where each participant can enter up to three photos taken with a single-use camera. I didn’t have a disposable laying around, so I bought myself an Ilford XP2 model especially to take part ( I had planned on getting the HP5+ variant, but the shop didn’t have them).

I’ve used it on three occasions – in Sheffield on the day I bought it; in London when visiting for a work meeting; and in Sheffield again this weekend just passed.

The camera itself is (or was – it’s been destroyed presumably when the film was developed) a very lightweight piece of kit with a snazzy red and white striped design. It feels like it would smash into a million pieces if dropped on a hard surface. Feature-wise, it has a viewfinder, lens (30mm f/9), flash activation button, shutter button, and a film-advance wheel. And that’s your lot.

In operation there’s not much to do other than frame the shot through the basic optical viewfinder, click the shutter, and wind on to the next frame. The frame counter is reversed so you can see how many shots remain. The flash is advisable for dim conditions – I took several frames in what appeared to be decent light in St. Pancras railway station and they’re all pretty much useless.

In terms of the results produced, they’re pretty much as you’d expect from a disposable camera with a plastic lens – soft at the edges, but with acceptable sharpness in the centre of the images. Of the 28 frames I eked out of the roll I probably have half-a-dozen that I like, several more that are ok, but nothing to write home about, and the rest are underexposed or just badly composed – I think I had a bit of a tendency to ‘snap’ images with this camera rather than taking my time to find better pictures with it. That said, I’m really happy with the first two of the five shots I’ve posted here today, and the others aren’t bad either.

I can’t honestly say I’ll bother with a disposable camera again – even if the competition is run anew in future – especially given the other good cameras I have, but it was a good experience nonetheless.

So, here are five of the photos I took with the camera.

This one is my fave of the bunch. It’s not a sharp as it might have been had I used a different camera / lens, but I’m really happy with the result. This was taken at the Barbican Centre in London

FILM - There's no such word as Barbican't

Another one I really like. It’s mostly negative space, but I think it works well. This is Blast Lane near Sheffield city centre.

FILM - Blast Lane subframe

This golden taxi sits atop the cab firm’s offices on Abbeydale Road in Sheffield.

FILM - Taxi

The lens on the camera had a tendency to flare in certain conditions, here rendering the figure with a ghost-like haze.

FILM - Barbican ghost

And finally, another shot from Blast Lane where a dmaged bicycle lay (I presume) abandoned next to the tunnel.

FILM - Buckled

Anyone else gone the lo-fi disposable route?

Ilford XP2 single use camera.

Taken in April and June 2019