35mm · Film photography · Photography

Misty junction

A photo I took on a walk around Eckington just before Christmas.

Shortly before I took this photo, a day or so prior (it might even have been the evening before) one of my sons went to a birthday party held at a cricket club that is located about half a mile up the road on the left in this picture. It was extremely foggy on the evening – pretty much a wall of blankness in front of the car as soon as the streetlights were left behind. While I love fog as a weather condition where photography is concerned, I’m definitely less inclined towards it when it comes to night driving…

Foggy junction

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

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

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Scaly woodland beast

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.

Woodland beast

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.

Copper scales

Bronica ETRSi, Zenzanon 50mm f/2.8 MC & Ilford Delta 3200. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9.5mins @ 20°

Taken on 23 December 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Twist

Here’s another couple of photos of a grnarled and twisted tree on the upper slopes of Padley Gorge. I’ve photographed it before, including this digital shot made on the same day. The whole area is filled with interesting trees to be photographed and, when the weather is right – especially with some mist present – the opportunities just seem to multiply.

Today was my last day off before returning to work tomorrow. Before Christmas I’d intended to go out with a camera on a few occasions but, apart from the day I made the shots featured here, I’ve not done any photography beyond making pictures of my family. I’ve instead just spent a lot of time watching TV and playing videogames. I do have the itch to get out and make new pictures, and today had some lovely winter sunshine I could have taken advantage of, but sometimes it’s nice to just chill out and relax with other things and I’m glad to have taken the time to do so this Christmas.

Analog twist
Dark perch

Bronica ETRSi, Zenzanon 50mm f/2.8 MC & Ilford Delta 3200. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9.5mins @ 20°

Taken on 23 December 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Twisting trunk, the end of Christmas, and Covid

Another Padley Gorge photo today, again of a tree right up near the top of the wooded area where it opens out into heather and bracken covered moorland. There was another photographer making pictures of this same tree when I was there, so we were being careful not to get into one another’s shots.

Today was the day the Christmas decorations came down. I think the intent had been to dismatle them tomorrow but we ended up with a gap in the schedule this afternoon, so got it over and done with. I always used to find taking the decorations down a horribly depressing task, like it was making real the fact that the festive period and all the buid-up was done, and it was just back to work / school / wet and cold January days with not much to look forward to in the immediate future. It would really get me down and the house would look bare and empty with all the trees, lights, garlands and other trimmings packed away.

I don’t seem to feel it nearly so much now (and, if I’m honest, the excitement in the run up to Christmas either). I’m not sure exactly why this might be. Perhaps a sign of getting older? Maybe the fact that our kids are not so young and some of the magic has disappeared? Whatever the case, I don’t feel down like I used to. While I don’t want to lose my fondness for Christmas, losing the post-Christmas blues is not something I will complain about too much.

Both of my kids who still live with us have now tested positive for Covid-19. One late last week, the other today. Neither of them seem particularly ill – they have cold-like symptoms but not much else – and they’re still playing video games and watching the stuff they find entertaining. My wife and I are (so far) still testing negative. It’s actually something of a mystery how the first one managed to be infected – he hasn’t left the house since mid-December and the only visitor we had prior to him starting to feel ill was his big brother who came over on Christmas day (but he’s not been positive either). I’m assuming that either my older son, or my wife and I were infected but asymptomatic at some point and passed it on, or we’ve brought something contaminated into the house. It’s a bit of a puzzle to be honest.

Sinuous

Bronica ETRSi, Zenzanon 50mm f/2.8 MC & Ilford Delta 3200. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9.5mins @ 20°

Taken on 23 December 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Can’t see the wood for the fog

A couple of days before Christmas I took myself out into the Peak District national park. The weather forecast showed fog, with rain expected later in the day, so I headed to Padley Gorge in the hope of getting some nice woodland scenes.

Padley Gorge looks great at pretty much any time of the year, being a steep sided valley filled with tumbles gritstone boulders, twisted and gnarled trees, and the peat stained waters of Burbage Brook cascading through the bottom on its way to Grindleford and it’s appointment with the River Derwent beyond. In the fog though, well those twisty trees take on a whole new level of character and the place feels like something out of a Tolkien story.

I shot a full roll of Ilford Delta 3200 film during the outing, as well as making a number of digital photos with my little Ricoh GRIII compact (the image stabilisation on this little camera is excellent, and I am able to drop the shutter speed down to 1/8 second handheld and still get sharp images, making it an excellent companion to other cameras). I decided to shoot the Delta a stop over at 1600asa and to then develop it at box speed. It’s a grainy film, but I thought that it might suit the murky conditions that presented themselves on the day.

I’ll be sharing a number of these shots over the coming days, and here to start us off are a couple of eerie looking large trees that stand at the head of the gorge.

Above the gorge
Great old one

Bronica ETRSi, Zenzanon 50mm f/2.8 MC & Ilford Delta 3200. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9.5mins @ 20°

Taken on 23 December 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Tree silhouettes

The final two frames from this roll of Shanghai GP3 which I shot just before Christmas are shown here today. Almost the final two anyway – there is still another I might use if needed, and a few more shots of leaves covered in raindrops, but I’ve started scanning a fresh roll that I developed today, so hopefully those will start to appear soon.

Tree silhouette #1

Tomorrow I need to think about doing one of those “Looking back at the year“-type posts with my favourite photos from the past twelve months. It will be interesting to see which ones I choose from the autumn’s crop of images – I feel like that entire period was something of a dry spell and I’m not sure what I will choose. Anyway, that will appear tomorrow all being well.

Tree silhouette #2

Yashica Mat 124G & Shanghai GP3. Lab developed in Xtol.

Taken on 18 December 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Hollow trunk

Here’s another photo from my foggy morning walk just before Christmas. The tree in today’s photo will likely feature again tomorrow or the day after as also go a long shot of it – I’m still stretching out the posting of images from this roll of film until I get one of my other rolls developed. Thankfully my fresh bottle of DD-X arrived today so I might get one of them sorted out tomorrow.

Split trunk

Yashica Mat 124G & Shanghai GP3. Lab developed in Xtol.

Taken on 18 December 2021