Cathedral eagle

A couple of photographs taken on a recent(ish) trip to Sheffield cathedral, when the venue was opened in the evening to a local photography group, enabling the use of (normally forbidden) tripods etc.

It’s the same subject in both shots, just from opposite sides.

FILM -  Eagle front

FILM - Eagle back

Both shots: Yashica Mat 124 G & Ilford HP5+.

Taken on 17 July 2017.

Oddshots #4

Once again, apologies for my somewhat slower paced updating of the blog. In order to at least post something to keep the blood flow going, here’s another in my occasional Oddshots posts – just a single image that doesn’t really fit in a bigger post, or perhaps something from the archive.

This one was taken a week ago following a trip to the local cathedral (which had opened it’s doors to a local photography group for the evening). After the visit came to a close I walked back to the car to find that the street where I’d parked was bathed in gorgeous evening sunshine. Hawley Street consists of a row of terraced houses that were spared damage in the blitz, and the light on them was lovely.  It’s only the contemporary cars (and maybe the odd street sign and road marking)  that really date this image – it might otherwise have been taken 75 years ago. I’m not disappointed by the cars in the shot – they themselves will add a nice historical air as the photo ages.

FILM - On Hawley Street

More classic cars at Brodsworth Hall

This is a follow on post from the previous entry, this time containing the Kodak Portra 400 shots taken with my Yashica Mat 124 G. The film was slightly expired (although the date on it was 2016, so it’s still more-or-less fresh really).

FILM - Brodsworth Hall classic car show 2017-12

Brodsworth Church is not actually part of the English Heritage site and, as far as I could ascertain from my brief walk around it, not accessible from it either. There were a couple of gates that I suppose I could have climbed over, but they were padlocked shut, so I didn’t take the chance.

FILM - Father's day

A couple of close-ups of the Willys Jeeps that were on display:

FILM - Brodsworth Hall classic car show 2017-16

FILM - Brodsworth Hall classic car show 2017-17

And finally, a bunch of car shots, my favourite being the elderly couple looking at the Bond Bug, which I think has a quirky “Martin Parr” feel to it.

FILM - Brodsworth Hall classic car show 2017-13

FILM - Brodsworth Hall classic car show 2017-14

FILM - Brodsworth Hall classic car show 2017-15

FILM - Brodsworth Hall classic car show 2017-18

FILM - Brodsworth Hall classic car show 2017-19

FILM - Brodsworth Hall classic car show 2017-21

FILM - Brodsworth Hall classic car show 2017-20

FILM - Brodsworth Hall classic car show 2017-22

Classic cars at Brodsworth Hall

 

NOTE: Some of the images in this post are showing broken links. The images are still there if you click them, but they are not being displayed for some reason I can’t fathom.

It was a rare Fathers Day this year where I got to go out and do something rather than being stuck at home because my wife was at work and, as luck would have it, there was a classic car event taking place at Brodsworth Hall on the day in question.

Brodsworth Hall has the benefit of both being not too far away, and also being another English Heritage property that I can use my membership benefits to gain free access. It’s not a place I’ve visited before, but it looked very nice in the English Heritage booklet they sent me, and I’d been planning a visit even before I discovered the classic car show was on. The hall is one of the most complete remaining Victorian country houses in the country and has, apparently, remained largely unchanged since the 1860s. The day I visited was probably not the best on which to appreciate the house and gardens however due to the large numbers of visitors, not to mention dozens of vintage motor vehicles parked around the place.

I also managed to lose my way on the drive there. I’d assumed that there would be signposts on the A1 (there are certainly signs for the hall on the southbound carriageway as I saw them on the way back from York last week), but either they aren’t present or (more likely) I managed to miss them – probably because I was overtaking a lorry that obscured the sign or something. That’s usually the cause! Thankfully, despite taking the wrong exit, there were yellow AA signs showing the way to the “Classic Cars”, and after about ten minutes I reached the entrance to the grounds. Along with dozens of other cars… It must’ve been a good ten minutes from entering the grounds to getting parked thanks to the large number of visitors, and as the temperature was over 30 degrees, I was very glad to be in a modern, air-condition car rather than one of the attractive, but less well equipped vehicles on show.

I’d come the the Hall with a couple of cameras – my Yashica Mat 124 G, and my Nikon F70. The F70 contained a roll of Ilford Pan F Plus 50 that I’ve had for a few months but been waiting for a nice bright day to shoot it, and the Yashica had a roll of Ektar, plus a roll of (slightly expired) Portra 400 & some Fuji Acros on standby. In the end I shot the Ektar, the Portra and the Pan F 50, but didn’t use the Acros, and the shots in the post are of the the Ektar (I’ll add another post or two containing the Portra and Pan F shots at a later date).

I’m not going to add descriptions for the all the shots below (I’ll likely embarrass myself by getting the names of the cars wrong or something), but might add a few notes where I have something to say (note: I was going to say “something interesting to say”, but that might be pushing it. 🙂 ).

The first couple of shots are of some US Army vehicles from WW2 – a couple of Willys Jeeps to be precise, and I got a couple of shots with the Ektar (and some later shots with the Portra and Pan F 50 too).

FILM - Brodsworth Hall classic car show 2017

FILM - Brodsworth Hall classic car show 2017-2

The next couple are of a Morris Oxford. This is notable for me as my granddad had the same car and I rode in it on many occasions, including multiple trips to their caravan at Mablethorpe. His was green though. My memory of it from being a child was that it was some sort of big, finned, American-looking thing, but the reality differs a little. Still a nice car though, and one I have fond memories of.

FILM - Brodsworth Hall classic car show 2017-5

FILM - Brodsworth Hall classic car show 2017-6

The rest are shots of various other cars. The line of Morris’s and the two American machines are my favourites of these.

FILM - Brodsworth Hall classic car show 2017-11

FILM - Brodsworth Hall classic car show 2017-8

FILM - Brodsworth Hall classic car show 2017-9

FILM - Brodsworth Hall classic car show 2017-7

FILM - Brodsworth Hall classic car show 2017-4

FILM - Brodsworth Hall classic car show 2017-3

FILM - Brodsworth Hall classic car show 2017-10

As a quick postscript to this post, I noticed that a few of the shots from the roll had a colour cast to them. I’m not sure why this is, but can only assume it down to the direction I was pointing the camera and the angle of the sun as all the shots pointing away from the sun seem to be ok. I didn’t have my lens hood with me, so maybe it was caused by flaring of some kind? I colour corrected the shots in question (maybe not perfectly!) to remove the worst of the cast.

 

Sutton Scarsdale Hall

After spending the best part of £50 on an English Heritage membership earlier in the year, I’ve been trying to ensure that I get value for money on it by visiting various English Heritage sites – although, to date, I’ve only managed to visit three, and the one I’m writing about today was free to enter in any case.

Sutton Scarsdale Hall is in Derbyshire between Chesterfield and Bolsover (one of the other EH sites I’ve visited, Bolsover Castle, can be easily seen from Sutton Scarsdale Hall on the opposite side of the wide valley in which both are situated). It can be observed from the M1 motorway, and this is how the place first came to my attention  many years ago.

The current house dates back to the 18th Century, although it is now just a shell – after falling into disrepair it was asset stripped early in the 20th century and the interior up to, and including, the roof were all removed and sold on. It is freely accessible to visitors, although on this occasion, my first, the interior was off-limits due to maintenance work and the main structure is bordered by some somewhat ugly metal fences that prevent access.

I shot a full roll of Fomapan 200 with my Yashica Mat 124 G during the visit, and I’ll include most of the photos here (three of the shots I took were quite similar, so I’ll just use the best of those, and one was out of focus, so that is omitted too).

#1. Not the first shot of the roll, but I’ll place it first here as it’s the view from the car park and the first thing you see upon arrival.

FILM - Climbing is forbidden

#2 & #3. The ornately columned east wall of the structure.

FILM - Beware of falling objects

FILM - Faded glory

#4. To the east, the valley slopes down into the wide valley and this shot was taken looking back towards the hall.

FILM - Beyond the meadow

#5. Looking down into the valley, I spotted a couple of trees that made for a nice picture.

FILM - Below the meadow

#6. I decided that I’d like another shot of the trees from a different angle. This involved climbing over a walled ditch (although someone had thoughtfully left a small wooden stepladder against the wall by which to climb up and down) and then walking down a track towards the trees. I actually took three variations of this shot (you can find the other two on my Flickr feed if you click one of the images in this post), but this is the one I really like.

https://flic.kr/p/VmRHvV

#7. A shot of some poppies growing in the field adjacent to the track.

FILM - Black poppy

#8 & 9. The final two shots were taken in the churchyard of All Saints church in the nearby village of Heath. I’ve noticed the dollar-like symbols on gravestones before and wondered what they represented, so after taking this shot decided to look up the meaning. I discovered that, despite appearances, it’s not a $ symbol, but the letters I, H & S overlaid on one another and represent the first three letters of Jesus in Greek.

FILM - Steeple-top starling

FILM - Symbols of religion

Victoria Quays part #2

Part #1 of this trip to Victoria Quays can be found here.

Following on from my last post, this documents the next section of the outing (and presents the remaining seven shots taken with the Yashica Mat 124 G).

After walking around the wharf buildings, I ventured to the area surrounding the canal basin. This is the terminus of the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal and a mooring point for a number of narrow-boats and other small vessels, including a few used for commercial use (canal trips and the like). The canal was opened in 1819 and links the centre of Sheffield to the point at which the River Don (which also runs through the city) becomes navigable at Tinsley. It’s a relatively short canal, being approximately four miles in length. The canal’s route takes it through the heart of the city’s industrialised east-end which was formerly the site for a large number of steel foundries and associated works. While Sheffield still retains a notable steel industry, it’s vastly diminished from its heyday, and where once large steel-mills stood, there are now retail parks, shopping malls, sports facilities and modern industrial parks. I didn’t venture more than a couple of hundred yards from the canal basin on the day though.

The fist shot of this batch was taken next to the Straddle Wharf building (seen in the last blog post), and was of a small cabin-cruiser type vessel (I know very little about boats, so please forgive my ignorance, and excuse any errors I might make in my descriptions). The boat had some nice reflections on its hull from the sunlit ripple on the water that were being stirred by an occasional breeze, and stood overshadowed by the new Hilton hotel building to the rear.  A little cruelly, I thought to myself that it looked like Sheffield’s cut-rate answer to Monaco, and took the shot.

FILM - Just like Monaco...

There were narrow-boats moored along the water’s edge where I walked and so I took a couple of shots of those, one taken head on (I like this shot, but the floating carrier bag in the water maybe isn’t the best thing to have included int he shot, eh?), the other with faded but attractive Chinese characters on its side.

FILM - Floating

FILM - Barges with character(s)

Further along the canal is a hand-operated swing-bridge which has some wooden “buffers” set into the water to prevent collisions from any approaching vessels. Atop one of these wooden structures were a couple of ducks having an afternoon nap.

FILM - Let sleeping ducks lie

There were a couple of similarly sleepy ducks sat on the edge of the towpath close-by too. I tried to take their picture, but one of them woke up with a quiet, but slightly alarmed quack as I got in close to focus. I would still have gotten the shot, but then a couple walked past talking loudly and scuffing their feet on the floor and the awakened duck made a bolt for the safety of the water. Despite the other duck remaining, the moment was lost.

The next shot looks up the towpath. The iron bridge to the rear of the shot (behind the chimney stack) formerly carried the railway lines into and through Victoria Station. The station and line were closed in 1970 following the Beeching Axe.

FILM - Towpath

Just visible in the shot above is the subject of the next shot, the Sheaf Quay or Sheaf Works building, a former cutlery works built in 1823 but now home to telemarketing firms.

FILM - Sheaf Quay

The final shot of the roll was taken back near the swing-bridge and is of one of a number of bicycles used to advertise a local second-hand store. The shot has been cropped due to a mark on the negative (akin to a staple hole – this is the second time this has occurred with a roll of Fomapan 200. It has never happened with other film stocks, so I’m wondering what the cause might be?). The 6×4.5 crop still works ok I think, but the “No Fishing” sign on the wall in the upper left of the frame has been lost as a result.

FILM - Emmaus Second Hand Superstore

So, there’s the last of this particular roll of 120 film. Fomapan is pretty cheap in comparison with Ilford and Kodak stocks, but I’m not unhappy with the way it looks. I have found that it tends to have scratches on some frames though and a number of small black speckle marks, plus the issue I’ve had with the strange holes in the last frames of both rolls I’ve shot so far. I’ll certainly be likely to use it again in future (I have a roll left still, so there will definitely be at least one more outing for it).

I still have a lot of shots taken on the same trip but using my Minolta Hi-Matic G2, so those will appear on here before too long. They’re in colour too, so that will make a change for the blog!

Victoria Quays part #1

Saturday was tied up this weekend with various jobs to be done, so I had little time for any photography, but Sunday dawned with bright weather that looked like it might have promise, should I decide to take advantage. However, despite a desire to make use of the available time to take photos, I was also feeling lazy, with a conflicting need to just sit on my backside watching TV and reading books. And, for a while, this secondary need prevailed as, after my dad’s usual Sunday morning visit, the cloud cover had thickened considerably, draining much of the contrast from the world outside. Now, I don’t mind dull or inclement weather where photography is concerned – in fact it can be a positive boon in some cases – but I wasn’t really feeling it at the time and so the pull of the settee won out.

After dinner (I’m from Yorkshire, so “dinner” is actually the midday meal around these parts, and what others would call “dinner” is actually “tea” – not the drink, the evening meal) the weather had perked up again, the clouds had thinned back to large puffs of cumulus, and the light was bright. Not exactly golden-hour stuff, but suitable enough to jump in the car and head out for an hour of two. I’d already planned on a destination in the event of going out, and so off I went to Sheffield’s canal basin and wharf, now known as Victoria Quays (presumably because they lie just below the site of the former Victoria Station and adjacent Royal Victoria Hotel.

I took a couple of cameras with me – the Yashica Mat 124 G, and a Minolta Hi-Matic G2 that I’ve been chucking in my pocket when I go out, and I’ll split the results over a few blog posts as I get round to uploading the photos (12 frames from the Yashica, and 24 from the Minolta – although not all the Minolta shots were from Sunday).

I parked the car in the multi-storey adjacent to the canal basin. The last time I parked here I made the mistake of trying to use the lift / stairwell to get to ground level, only to discover the lifts to be out of service, all other doors locked, and the entire area stinking like something from hell that had been slowly baking in the heat radiating through the glass windows. This time, for the sake of my nose, I parked on a lower floor and just walked down the ramps..

The exit near where I was parked opened onto the north quay, a pleasant, cobbled area with benches looking out onto the canal basin and backed onto shops built into stone arches. Most of the shops appear to be disused at present, although there is a cafe that was making the most of the passing trade, and a number of people were sat outside with coffees and ice-creams. It’s a shame that more of the shops are not in use, but I think that the conversion of a lot of the surrounding buildings to residential units has perhaps not taken off as much as the developers hoped, and so there is not enough passing footfall at present. It’s a shame as it’s a nice enough place, but it’s a little off the beaten track from the town centre.

I decided to look around the wharf area first, and it’s the shots that I took there that will be shown in this post. The canal basin shots will come in another post, and then maybe a couple more containing the Hi-Matic shots.

The first shot I took was of the Straddle Wharf building itself. I’d have liked to have gotten more of the building in shot, but the fixed focal length of the lens, and lack of other vantage points meant this was the best I could get. I’ve cropped the shot slightly to remove a bit of sky at top-right, and I like the skewed symmetry that now results between the light and dark sections of the shot.

FILM - Canal wharf, Sheffield

The next shot was taken a few metres from the first, this time looking in the opposite direction towards Merchant’s Crescent, a terrace of houses originally inhabited ny coal merchants, but not re-developed into residential units. Again, this is cropped (to 6:4.5 ratio this time), partly to remove a small wedge of a building that encroached from the left of the image, and also because I didn’t feel the large expanse of mostly clear sky added anything to the top of the frame. I don’t mind negative space, but it wasn’t doing anything for me here. Sadly, I think the crop is now a little too tight at the left of the frame, but there was nothing much I could do with it apart from removing large chunks of stuff with Photoshop. Lesson for self – pay better attention to the viewfinder next time, eh?!

FILM - Merchant's Crescent

Walking past Merchant’s Crescent brings you to the front of the Grain Warehouse, where the next two shots were taken. The first is of a ninety-year-old weighbridge. I liked the way that the sun was casting the manufacturer’s mark into relief. I’d have preferred a shallower depth of field for this shot but the brightness of the sun meant I could only open up to f/8 before the combination of the Yashica’s 1/500sec maximum shutter speed and the Fomapan 200 film would have resulted in overexposure (what was I saying about dull weather before..?). The second, is the front of the Grain Warehouse itself. This is another building that is currently in the process of some renovation, but it thankfully retains signs of its former purpose. Again, the sunlight provided plenty of contrast in this shot, and a smaller aperture was no disadvantage here.

FILM - To weigh 20 tons

FILM - Hoist

The final shot of this post was taken just around the corner from the last two and is a door and window in the Grain Warehouse. I don’t think I would have considered the shot had it not been for the shovel and length of rebar resting against the wall beside the door, which adds interest. The door has a plate beside it reading “The White House”, but I have no idea why – the building is neither white, nor a house. This is definitely my favourite shot of this batch though.

FILM - The White House. Staff only

And that’s it. I’ll post about the remaining seven shots from this roll in a day or three’s time. Bye for now!