35mm · Film photography · Photography

No-one bowling

The weekend befoe Christmas, we went to visit a Christmas market in the town of Matlock – about a half-hour’s drive away. My eldest and his girlfriend came along and, despite it being a somewhat gloomy day (with heavy fog on the hills), and the market not being as big as we expected, we had a nice few hours wandering around, topped off with some takeaway fish and chips.

I took my XA3 in my coat pocket and managed to grab a number of pictures in the misty winter conditions, including this one of the bowling green in the park where the market was taking place. No-one was out playng bowls on the day.

I remember Crown Green Bowls being a regular fixture on TV when I was younger, although I never had any interest in it, but I’m not sure if it’s still shown these days – maybe on a dedicated sports channel I suppose? I’ve only played the game (which you can find described here) on a few occasions and, as I and my friends were young and foolish at the time, I recall it mainly involved us mischieviously larking about trying to collide with other player’s bowls in the middle of the green than playing it properly.

Bowling green

Olympus XA3 & Kodak Tri-X Pan (expired 2003 – shot at box speed and pushed a stop in development). Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 10mins @ 20°

Taken on 18 December 2021

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Industry and entertainment

Beside the Don Valley Centertainment complex – which houses a multiplex, bowling alley & arcade, kid’s play area, and a selction of restaurants – are industrial streets. This is the east-end of the city where, in it’s industial heyday, the bulk of the steel industry resided. There are still steelworks in the area, and more as you head down river towards Tinsley and Templeborough, but much of it has now become history.

I’m not sure what the building in today’s picture used to house – I’m sure my dad would know, and I’ll ask him next time I see him – but it’s now the home of a scaffolding hire and sales business.

Wood and steel

Olympus XA3 & Kodak Tri-X Pan (expired 2003 – shot at box speed and pushed a stop in development). Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 10mins @ 20°

Taken on 15 December 2021

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Cosmos

I made this picture back in late November I think – it’s on a roll that was shot over the space of a few weeks with my Olympus XA3, which I’d been keeping in my coat pocket. It was taken from the car-park across the road from these buildings on the day I went into town for one of my attempts to get my laptop rebuilt. I was heading towards the stairwell when I noticed the shot and liked the way the buildings stoof against the sky with the central tower flanked by the smaller buildings on either side.

The film was a roll of expired Tri-X dating back to around 2003. I’ve shot a few rolls of this and found that it likes an extra stop of exposure. For the previous rolls I just exposed it at 200asa and then developed it normally, but as the weather was a little gloomy on the day this roll was loaded, I decided to keep the extra stop of speed and push it a stop in development instead. I’m quite happy with the results. The grain is quite pronounced, but I’m not afraid of a bit of grain.

The worst thing about this film is how much the negatives curl when developed. Not only do they coil up like a spring, there is also heavy bow to the film along its full length. This made cutting and sleeving the negatives troublesome, but this was not nearly as problematic as trying to get them into the negative holder to be scanned. The Plustek holders are pretty good at keeping negatives flat – I doubt I would have gotten anywhere with my Epson holders – but you still need to get them in and aligned before it can be closed to hold them in place. Somehow I managed it though, although I’ve only scanned two strips so far.

Cosmos

Olympus XA3 & Kodak Tri-X Pan (expired 2003 – shot at box speed and pushed a stop in development). Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 10mins @ 20°

Taken in November 2021

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Little white house

This small white building is situated in the small town of Eckington. It’s opposite the road that leads to Chesterfield and often catches my eye when I’m driving back from there. In the right light, it’s white painted walls really light up.

I believe the building is a church – St. Luke’s Mission Church – although I think it is closed now – it certainly has a disused air about it, and the billboard beside the path has clearly seen no messages posted for some time. Looking at the Google StreetView historical photos it looks like it might have been disused for a decade or more, although it only looks like the grounds have become more overgrown over the past few years.

Little white structure #1
Little white structure #2

Olympus XA3 & Kodak Tri-X Pan (expired 2003 – shot at box speed and pushed a stop in development). Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 10mins @ 20°

Taken on 25 October 2021

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Cricket ground

This is the cricket ground in Queen’s Park, Chesterfield. This photo was made on my first ever visit to this location, early one Sunday morning (the same Sunday when I took the picture of the Austin A90 featured in yesterday’s post). It’s quite a nice park, with a pond, bandstand, a glasshouse (seen to the middle right of this photo), as well as the cricket ground itself. I believe that the park extends with sports fields beyong the trees you can see in this picture. It’s pencilled into my mental list of interesting places to make photographs, should I be in the vicinity again.

Unexpected park
On a Sunday morning walk
Pleasantly perceived

Cricket pitch

Olympus OM-2N, Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f/1.8 & Kodak Tri-X Pan (expired 2003) . Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 8mins @ 20°.

Taken on 25 April 2021

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Austin A90 Six Westminster

A few weeks ago (well, a month to be accurate) I wend to a local car-boot sale early one Sunday morning on the lookout for old camera bargains. There were none – one stall had an old digital compact, and another had one of those cheap 35mm film panoramic cameras – the ones that use a mask to basically crop a 35mm frame down to a thinner output – but nothing I was interested in spending any money on.

As I’d planned to go somewhere afterwards and shoot some film, I had my OM-2n with me. As I walked through the cars parked on the field beside the boot-sale area I noticed this old Austin rally car, so made a photo.

Today my wife and I visitted Knaresborough, an attractive market town in North Yokshire, about sixty miles or so north from where we live. It’s not a place I’ve visited before but it was a lovely location to wander around, looking in the local shops, having a bite to eat, and making some photographs (which will appear here on theblog in due course). Having just started to scan the first roll I shot through my recently-acquired Olympus XA3, I’m very pleased with the results – no signs of any faults and the photos are lovely and sharp – so I decided to take it with me on the trip. It’s tiny size is a definite boon! I did have another camera in she shape of my Canon Sure Shot Supreme – that one mostly because I have a roll of expired Fuji Sensia loaded that I’m wanting to test (I have a few more rolls of the same film so this is the guinea-pig roll to see how they look shot a box speed). All told, and despite some gloomy, if not unexpected for the UK, rainy weather, we had a nice day out.

In amongst the cars
Of people looking to bag
A bargain or two

Austin A90

Olympus OM-2N, Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f/1.8 & Kodak Tri-X Pan (expired 2003) . Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 8mins @ 20°.

Taken on 25 April 2021

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Sprocket the Hotrod

A few weeks back I went for a walk around Rother Valley Country Park with my dad. While walking around the northerly of the two main lakes I spotted this intersting looking vehicle.

Wandering closer with the aim of getting a photograph or two the owner noticed me and came over for a chat. The truck is a customised Land Rover that has been named Sprocket the Hotrod. It’s currently fashioned into a pickup configuration and there are plans to add a similarly designed trailer.

Customised

This custom Land Rover
Was parked beside the lakeside
Grabbing attention

Customised

Olympus OM-2N, Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f/1.8 & Kodak Tri-X Pan (expired 2003) . Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 8mins @ 20°.

Taken on 18 April 2021

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Exhaustion

I have a week off work and aim to get some photography in the bag while I have the chance. Today I decided to head out into the Peak District and go for a hike.

I chose a location that I’ve not visited before, the village of Tideswell. Or, rather, Tideswell would be on my route. I studied my map beforehand and planned a circular path that would take me from Tideswell Dale car-park (about a mile below Tideswell itself), down the dale to the bottom where it meets Miller’s Dale. The route then followed the River Wye up Miller’s Dale until I would head north up Monk’s Dale. At the top, where the dale meets a road, I’d head back east and then cut through the footpaths in the pastures back to Tideswell, and then back to my car.

The hike would be around six miles, albeit with a lot of altitude to lose and gain along the way, including some steep climbs. While not a long hike, I knew that my backpack and tripod would add some weight and make it more strenuous than if I were travelling light. The part I didn’t really factor into my plans was the trail through Monk’s Dale. Whereas the earlier sections of the walk had been on well defined and surfaced tracks, the path through Monk’s Dale is somewhat more basic. For much of the dale it hugs the stream that runs down the valley and is very scenic, but today, after quite a lot of heavy rain, the path was quite slick with surface mud and I had to keep careful watch on my footing. Further up the valley though is where it got more serious…

Here the path enters into a steep-sided section of the dale which is densely wooded. Over time, the limestone cliffs on either side have shed rocks and boulders which litter the valley bottom and the footpath becomes a half-mile endurance test where every step is a potential sprained ankle, broken hip, or worse! My hiking boots have a nice tread that grips well on many surfaces but, as I found out today, not on worn limestone rubble. It probably took me the best part of an hour to traverse this section of the route, the trees all heavily matted with thick coats of almost orange moss, and I was beginning to think I’d actually lost the footpath and was now just clambering over rocks beside the stream bed (luckily, the water that had been flowing further down the valley was no longer in evidence here, presumably taking an unseen subterranean route through the porous limestone).

I was becoming quite hot from the exertion and sweat was dripping down my face and at one point I almost took a tumble, thoughts about how long I might lay there undiscovered if I became incapacitated flashing across my mind. Thankfully, if this had been the place where I took a fall, I’d have been seen as I then noticed a man nearby examining plants in the undergrowth a little further up the path – he was the first, and only, person I saw on this whole section of the walk, the only other evidence of anyone having passed by being a set of someone else’s footprints that I noticed from time to time in the mud. I stopped to catch my breath, wipe the sweat from my brow, and chat with the man for a while. He’s been to a dental appointment that morning and decided, as he was passing on his way home, to take a look at the valley as it was the first time he’d visited in some time. He was able to tell me that I was maybe more than half-way through the difficult stretch (I’d have preferred to be near the end, to be honest :)) and at least reassure me that this was, indeed, still the actual path.

Continuing along the trail, the way began to become a little easier, albeit still with treacherous footing and the occasional fallen tree to clamber over or duck under, and I eventually managed to reach the open field close the the road. While the worst was behind me, the road itself had a punishing camber that really made my thighs put in the work. The remainder of the route took me through a patchwork of pasture fields back over to Tideswell. I eventually reached the village and found a cafe where I bought myself a sandwich and a slice of “farmhouse slice” – a very tasty shortcacke concoction filled with a selection of juicy dried fruits to eat when I got back to the car – my treat for all the effort!.

The remainder of the route was all downhill back to the carpark and it was with a real sigh of relief that I sat back in the car.

I shot a couple of rolls of film through the Yashica Mat 124G, plus several frames of 35mm with my OM-2. As ever with my blog, these will turn up somewhere down the way after I go through my existing rolls (I have a pretty strict, OCD-style, queuing system for publishing photos if you hadn’t noticed! 🙂

Anyway, to keep things on a bit of a related track, here’s another Peak District photo, this one of Over Owler Tor and a different part of the park. These are gritstone rocks and my boots don’t slip on those!

How long would I lay
Undiscovered in the woods
If I took a fall?

Over Owler Tor

Olympus OM-2N, Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f/1.8 & Kodak Tri-X Pan (expired 2003) + orange filter . Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 8mins @ 20°.

Taken on 6 April 2021

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Encroachment

This wooden telephone pole (I still have an urge to call them telegraph poles, despite that mode of communication having fallen into history) sprouts from a bushy hedge. The base of the pole is becoming hidden by encroaching branches, and tendrils of ivy are starting to reach higher up the structure.

The pole serves a double purpose, also acting as the host for a streetlamp – a charmingly vintage-looking one with its little flourished curl where it holds the lamp.

Encroachment

Weathered wooden pole
So many seasons pass by
Cracking its structure

Light fixture

Olympus OM-2N, Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f/1.8 & Kodak Tri-X Pan (expired 2003) . Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 8mins @ 20°.

Taken on 5 April 2021

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Map and compass

The film photography competition I partake in each month has “Accurate” as its theme this month and my entry is the following shot of my Silva compass sat atop an Ordnance Survey map. It was a pretty rushed shot if I’m honest. I shot two frames and the whole exercise took less than five minutes including digging the map out of a cupboard. Of the two photos, I like this one the best.

Although I favour Ilford HP5+ over Tri-X – especially now that the latter costs almost twice as much! – I had a roll of Tri-X Pan in my OM-2n so that had to serve the purpose. The film is almost 20-years expired and I shoot it at 200asa (I have a few rolls of it still) and it produces decent results. In this case I think the greater contrast from the Kodak film has resulted in a better photo than I might have had from HP5+.

The biggest downside with the film is how much it curls when developed and dried. It coils up like a spring AND has a longitudinal curl as well. This makes it pretty difficult to get into the negative holder for my scanner – it’s easier to get my cat into his box for visits to the vets!

A map of contours
Like my roll of Tri-X Pan
Twisting and curving

Compass

Olympus OM-2N, Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f/1.8 & Kodak Tri-X Pan (expired 2003) . Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 8mins @ 20°.

Taken on 24 April 2021