Beside one of the footpaths in Padley gorge stands the remains of a twisted tree. Little more of the trunk is left but it’s something of a focal point on the path as the wood is embedded with hundreds (or more) coins which have been hammered into the surface and bent over (or perhaps they were bent over before they were knocked in). The result is an odd and intriguing texture that resembles the scales of some beast, like a serpent or a dragon.
The effect is even more pronounced when viewed from the right point of view as the broken tip of the trunk resembles a horned face (or I think it does anyway). On this day it had a conifer branch leant against it giving it a slightly festive air given it was a couple of days before Christmas.
I’ve been out all day today and haven’t had chance to upload a photo to Flickr, and I now don’t have much time to write today’s blog post either (mostly because I’m hungry and my belly is demanding precedence…). It’s been a very foggy day today though, so I’ve dug out an old foggy day photo that I don’t think I’ve posted here before (I hope).
It was shot on a roll of Rollei Retro 400s which, despite me shooting it at the advertised box speed of 400asa, came out very underexposed. Some of the shots were pretty much ruined, but a few – like this one – I liked. This is the original scan from my V550 flatbed, so it’s a bit mushier than usual.
Olympus OM-1, Rollei Retro 400s. Lab developed in Xtol.
This viewpoint of Bolsover castle is always striking to behold, I think, and there was clearly good reason to place the castle in this location given it’s commanding position above the valley below. The castle dates to the 12th century and was built by Henry II and further extended in the 15th and 16th centuries.
M1 motorway Runs like a river below Bolsover castle
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about how I’d gone out for a spot of photography as a break from all the renovation and decorating that has been going one, but then forgot to take my tripod with me.
Today’s photograph was made when I realised what I had done. Instead of a medium format picture of this scene, I used my XA3 which I had thankfully taken along too. Although the day was dull and without much in the way of good light, the HP5+ in the XA3 was being pushed a stop to 800asa, so gave me good leeway in the conditions.
I’m not sure how a 6×6 medium format version of this scene shot on Ilford Ortho Plus would have looked, but this HP5+ version came out nicely.
Sometimes a mistake Can lead to good things instead Of disappointment
When using compact zoom cameras, I rarely shoot them at anything other than their wide end. I’ve found that the zoom either leaves something to be desired in terms of sharpness, and also tends to be severely limited by small minimum aperatures. While shooting the Olympus Superzoom 160 though, I decided to see how it would fare with the final shot on the roll.
It always pays to be careful when using the zoom as, depending on the light available, the camera will fire the flash if you don’t manually disable it using the fiddly little button. Some zoom compacts have a mechanical switch to do this that can be left in the off position unless flash is needed, but most tend to flash automatically with the various flash modes being switched via a small button. It can be easy to forget this and end up with an underexposed shot if you’re not paying attention.
So, being careful to make sure there was enough light, I made the following landscape photo with the camera zoomed in. I can’t remember if it was at the full 160mm setting, but a good way towards it if not. The results are kinda what I expected with a definite softness apparent when compared with photographs made with the camera at it’s wide-angle setting, so I guess my rule of thumb will remain mostly in place.
Don’t zoom in too far Disapointment may arise From your photograph
A while ago I posted of my adventure crossing an overgrown field to photograph St. Peter’s church at Elmton. Well the field at the lower left of this picture, behind the wall, is the one in question. It looks pretty innocent here, doesn’t it…
Innocent it looks Though the truth was not so fine Nettled guardians
This is an old barn in the village of Elmton. I was out shooting the remaining frames of film in an Olympus Sure Shot 160 I got as a freebie along with my XA3 when I made this picture. I wasn’t expecting too much from the camera – it has a pretty slow lens, especially when zoomed, and the last Superzoom model I owned, a 105G, made photos which were a little soft – but it’s surprised me with nice crisp results.
I shall drip-feed further images from the camera over the next few days.
Old barn in a field Providing shelter for trees An odd crop I think
Today’s photo shows another angle of St. Peter’s church at Elmton. This was the view that I spotted as first approaching the village by road, but there was nowhere at this spot where I could park (the roads being quite narrow with no verge that I could pull onto), so I continued into the village and parked my car on the road beside the church. After making a few photos around the church itself I decided to walk back to the vantage point I’d seen earlier. I could have followed the road which, in this picture, passes the wall just in front of the church, heads to the left of the scene, and then takes a 90-degree turn back towards a place close to this spot. But there was a shortcut…
Looking at my maps app on my phone, it was apparent that there was a public footpath through this field which cut the corner. Sure enough, I spotted an old wooden footpath signpost and a stile built into the wall beside the field. Climbing the stile I set off across the field. It quickly became apparent that the grass was longer than I expected and also that very few people must use the path as there was no real evidence of it’s existence, not even in the form of some slightly flattened grass. Nontheless I perservered and made my way down the slope to where my map showed the path exiting the field. As I progressed, the grass in the field began to be joined by clumps of large hardy weeds that I had to skirt and also, worse, nettles! Given I was wearing a pair of cargo shorts, thoughts of stung legs came to the fore of my mind, and I had to take even more care over where I walked.
Eventually I reached the spot where I made this photo, and I ducked into the grass to allow it to provide more prominent foreground interest. It turned out to be the final frame on the roll, so I continued down to the corner of the field and the exit. Unfortunately the exit was conspicuous by it’s almost complete absence, with all that I could see was a rusty kissing gate almose buried in tall weeds and more nettles and then continuous growth for about the next ten feet or so. I could have walked back the way I came, which would have been a sensible option, but the thought of forcing my way through the high grass didn’t appeal, so I decided to chance the overgrown exit instead. It probably took me as long to do this as walking back throuh the field would have done.
I had to procede with great caution, carefully placing my feet as to squash the nettles away from my legs with each step. By some miracle I wasn’t stung a single time, although the final four or five feet involved me making a daring leap across a clump of nettles right where the verge dropped down onto the road. No doubt this would have looked highly amusing to anyone passing by, but thankfully no-one was around.
In the end I had to walk back via the road anyway, so maybe it would have been simpler had I used that route for both legs of the jaunt. But then what would I have written about today? Plus the picture was worthwhile, I think.
These stinging nettles And not a dock-leaf in sight A peril for legs
While walking through Pleasley Country Park, my route took me through this metal kissing gate. While not a quaint as some of the older wooden gates I’ve seen, it still made for a nice photos I thought.
The name “kissing gate” derives from the gate itself swinging freely, “kissing” the inside of the frame rather than needing to be latched to prevent livestock from passing through. When I was young however, I was told that it was traditional to kiss the person passing the gate with you. While a nicely romantic idea, I have sometimes had to pass through such gates at the same time as complete strangers, so probably not a practical suggestion! 🙂
Kiss from a stranger? Perhaps not a good idea In a pandemic
Although it probably doesn’t look it from the photograph, the grass in these pasture fields was quite deep – probably a good 8-inches at least. As the footpath was quite loosely defined it meant there was no especially well-trodden route through the fields and so I had to walk through swathes of the tall shoots, which was pretty tiring (especially given the adventure in Monk’s Dale not long before!).
Tired legs in long grass Thighs powering through and up On towards Tideswell