35mm · Film photography · Photography

New Topographics

In 1975 an exhibition named New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape was held in the International Museum of Photography in New York City. It featured works by a number of photographers – the Americans Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Joe Deal, Frank Gohlke, Nicholas Nixon, John Schott, Stephen Shore, and Henry Wessel, Jr., and the German couple Bernd and Hilla Becher. Each photographer exhibited 10 photographs.

New homes

New Topographics presented a different way of photographing landscapes, eschewing the traditional natural environments and instead presenting images of scenes with a clear human footprint, such as industry, suburbia, gas stations, parking lots and the like.

New Topographics

While I only came across the term in recent years, and at no point set out to be a “new topographer”, it’s clear that many of my photographs fall into the style. I’ve no doubt found influence in the works of photographers who were in turn influenced by the works of the artists presented in the original exhibition, although of the ten, I only have photobooks by Stephen Shore (though there are undoubtedly works by the others collected in other books in my collection).

It’s a style that doesn’t appeal to all. For many, the subjects of such photographs are ruinous blots on the landscape, detracting and imposing on the traditional bucolic scenes more often considered as landscape photography. But I have a place in my heart for both.

Grass fields and blue lakes
Overlooked by new homes
It was once a mine

Power to the people

Olympus OM-2N, Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f/1.8 + orange filter & Ilford Delta 100. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 12mins @ 20°.

Taken on 4 April 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

Fuzzy geese at the country park

The final snowy Holga shot today, unless I make more We have had a snow warning for the coming weekend…

This water-side willow tree has featured a number of times previously in the blog. It (and a couple of other trees) tends to make a nice point of interest on this section of the lakeside, which is otherwise a little bland.

The ground here, despite it looking nice and snow-covered in the photo, gets very waterlogged, and I had icy mud pouring across the toes of my boots as I walked. Good job they’re waterproof! The geese were a little wary of my presence, and quite a few of them skedaddled out of the scene before I made the picture, but I still got enough of them in the frame, I think.

A snowy lakeside
Geese forage in the wet earth
My boots are soaked through

A winter's tale

Holga & Ilford HP5+ (@800). Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 10mins @ 20°.

Taken on 14 January 2021

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Life ring

Dotter around the shore of the lakes at Rother Valley Country Park are these life ring holders. They all show environmental wear with cracked paint and algae growth. I expect that they are regularly checked to ensure that they’re fit for purpose, but they have a definite patina’d look about them now.

Although the lens on this compact camera doesn’t feel as sharp as some others I use, it still has a nice took to it. There’s a painterly feel to some of the images it’s made and I like the way it has rendered the waterski cafe on the opposite side of the lake, along with the caravan and (way back on the top of the hill) a white-sided building.

Life ring

Fuji DL-270 Zoom Super & Kodak Colorplus. Grain2Pixel conversion.

Taken on 26 November 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Golden willow and white swan

Another photo from my “Whoah! Where the heck did those colours come from?!?!” series. I know I’ve mentioned it on more than one occasion already but, just, wow. The shots with this willow lit by the rising sun have got beautiful complementary tones – that classic, and perhaps over-used, orange and teal thing. I’ve not tinkered with the colours at all in these shots – it’s how they popped into being after converting the negatives with Grain2Pixel. Sometimes I can have to work at things with certain film stocks and Grain2Pixel, but these just landed perfectly.

I will confess to a bit of Photoshoppery to remove a trio of distracting ducks (or maybe they were gulls) bobbing about in the water behind the swan. I’m usually relucant to edit my photos in this way (apart from getting rid of bits of debris), but in this case I think it made the picture a lot better.

Swan and willow

Fuji DL-270 Zoom Super & Kodak Colorplus. Grain2Pixel conversion.

Taken on 26 November 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Once more through the willow and into the sun

This is almost the same composition as the one I published last week here, albeit that being a medium format black and white image made with the Bronica. Again, the colours on this Colorplus shot are, I think, beautiful. While it might not have the detail of the medium format version, and I’m slightly miffed that I cut off the tree on the left (I should have kept all of it in frame, or omitted it altogether, but I think I was too busy concentrating on getting the sun behind the trunk of the willow to have noticed at the time), I think that this version is more impactful. The colour film has captured the lovely subtle tones in the clouds and the golden light on the grasses of the lake side.

This time in colour

Fuji DL-270 Zoom Super & Kodak Colorplus. Grain2Pixel conversion.

Taken on 26 November 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Through a willow and into the sun

This willow stands at the lake’s edge at Rother Valley Country Park and I’ve photographed it on more than one occasion – there will be more photos of it to come soon, in fact!

It was a bright morning, with a hint of mist on the water and a touch of frost on the ground. I had a few frames left on the roll of HP5+ that I was pushing to 3200asa in my Bronica ETRSi, so I took a walk down to the lake before work.

The sun was low in the sky, peeking under a blanket of high cloud, and casting long shadows across the ground, so I decided to shoot into the light and use the branches of the willow to block the bulk of the glare. A small star of brilliance peeks between the branches.

Rother Valley willow

Bronica ETRSi, Zenzanon 50mm f/2.8 MC & Ilford HP5+ (@1600). Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 20mins @ 20°.

Taken on 26 November 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Fence in the lake

I’ve often wondered what the purpose is (if any) of this short section of fence that extends a few feet into the lake. There’s a gap on the shore (with the remains of a latch where a gate presumably once stood) so it serves no purpose in preventing passage. I guess it could be a holdover from before the lake was there (when it used to be a quarry) and was never removed when it was filled with water and the country park developed.

Whatever the case, it makes a nice subject for the occasional photograph.

Water's edge

Pentax P30T, Rikenon 50mm f/2 & Ilford HP5+. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9 mins @ 20°.

Taken on 2 May 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Floating leaf

I obviously thought that this leaf floating on the still water at the edge of the lake was worth photographing, but I’m very pleased with the resulting picture. At the time I though about using a polariser to remove reflections and increase the visibility of the lake-bed, but I’m so glad I didn’t. The reflected clouds are what make the photograph for me.

FILM - Leaf

Nikon F80, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 & Ilford HP5+.

Taken on 22 January 2020