I’m feeling a bit frustrated at present. Nothing to do with my photography, but all to do with my ears. Which are blocked.
I have a problem with blocked ears, and have done for years. Every so often they will get clogged up and I need to put in drops and visit the GP to get them cleared out. This is the case at present. I visited the nurse last week to have them syringed (after a couple of weeks of putting in olive oil drops), and had been really looking forward to getting my hearing back. Unfortunately, my ears were so clogged that the drops had only penetrated part way and the procedure left further wax deeper in my ear. On top of that, after I came out of the GP’s my hearing gradually became worse through the day – my right ear wasn’t too bad at first but in the evening I tried watching some TV programmes on the iPad with headphones – trying to listen to the TV in the living room as fruitless, with all the sound becoming a bit of a mush and any dialogue being very difficult to make out – and while the headphones on the iPad worked ok at first, after a while I felt my right ear gradually close up with whatever was still blocking much of it. So that was that.
I’m now putting drops in several times a day in preparation for round two with the nurse later in the week. Sigh.
That had nothing whatsoever to do with photography, but a photo you shall get nontheless. Not of the inside of my ears thankfully, but some dried grasses that I photographed a few weeks ago.
My Olympus OM-1 camera has suffered an annoying fault for a while now. After firing the shutter the mirror will sometimes lock up. Advancing the film drops it back down but the shutter remains locked and the only way to release it is to advance the film a second time (which shouldn’t be possible with the OM-1). When this second stroke of the advance lever takes place the camera also fires the shutter. After this it can be used normally again for the next shot. The problem means that every other shot is wasted – or mostly wasted as the problem tended to be intermittent.
Fot no real reason at all, I decided to look at the camera again today (without a film in it) and discovered that the issue now occurs on ever shot taken. I like the OM-1 – it was the first SLR I bough when I got back into shooting film cameras again – so I decided it would be worth trying to get it fixed. As the person who I’ve used for repairs and CLAs in the past has now retired, I tried a local repair shop that I’ve heard works on analogue cameras.
Upon phoning the shop, the guy there was quick to tell me that the repair would be costly and that I’d be better off using digital cameras. Rather than slam the phone down in disgust (:)) I explained that I enjoy the experience of using film cameras and that I’m not unaware of the issues that come with using vintage gear. He then mentioned that he’d had a box of stuff come into the workshop, including an OM-1 camera, which he would let me have for £40 sold-as-seen. £40 is a good price for an OM-1 these days so I headed over to the shop to take a look, figuring I could always turn it down if it looked like it might not be working properly. As it turned out, the camera appeared to be working as expected, including the meter, and was in great cosmetic condition so, after chatting with the guy for a while, I headed home with the camera – an OM-1N to replace the OM-1.
The camera probably needs new seals fitting, and it’s missing the hotshoe. I’d though that I could just swap over the hotshoe from my OM-1 (they just screw on and off with a thumbwheel), but it wouldn’t fit and it turns out that the design must have been slightly revised between models. Still, I’ve not once used the hotshoe on the OM-1, so I won’t miss it, and I’m more bothered by the empty screwhole on the top of the camera than any loss of functionality.
The other difference is that this replacement is expecting the original 1.3v mercury battery to power the meter accurately, whereas my OM-1 had been converted to meter properly using readily available 1.5v batteries. This means that I’ll either have to get it converted, or adapt zinc-air hearing aid batteries instead (I could use Wein cells, but these are much more expensive than the hearing aid cells). It’s a bit of a faff, but nothing insurmountable though.
I’ll get the seals replaces when I get the chance and then take it out for a test run.
Today’s picture is from back in 2018, when I took my original OM-1 with me on holiday to Sorrento, Italy.
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.
I’m jumping back in time by a year or so for today’s photo. I’m on the cusp of scanning and uploading some recent images that will likely form tomorrow’s post, but until I get that done I’ll dip into the archive. Hopefully it’s not a shot I’ve published before (I don’t think it is).
It depicts the Eagle Stone, a large boulder that stands alone above Baslow Edge in the Peak District. A footpath passes closely by and it no doubt gets lots of attention, but on this day at the start of the year, the temperature was cold and the wind was blowing gustily – especially along the nearby crags – and there were not many folks about.
As I approached the stone I saw a small group of people near its base. Then, as I got closer, a man appeared on its top. He first lay on his back and took a selfie, before calling his girlfriend to talk about where he was. Then, after taking a drink and standing to survey his surroundings, he clambered back down the edge of the rock, jumping down the last six feet or so (my less supple physique gave an internal groan as I watched this happen, imagining the damage it might have done were it attempted by me!). The other people with him were, I believe, his parents and a sibling, and I passed a few comments before they moved on and I made some more photos of the rock sans human presence.
As I’ve mentioned before, one of the main tolls the current lockdown is having on me personally is the loss of freedom to roam, and I look forward greatly to the day when I can visit places such as the Eagle Stone once again.
Above Baslow Edge A stone stands stark on the land A challenge is set
I’ve got a couple of days off work, making for a long weekend. I’d decided long in advance that I would use these two extra days to take a walk or, more specifically, a long walk. Due to the current lockdown restrictions, I’m still limited in where and how I can travel, but local exercise is permitted so I decided to go for a hike along the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) on the stretch that heads south to Chesterfield. My plan was to walk to Renishaw, then head along the road towards Eckington, before cutting through Renishaw Golf Course and looping back to the trail for the return leg.
The weather forecast looked promising, with a hope of some sunshine, but the temperature was still forecast to be low, -1° as I left the house, so I wrapped up warm.
I took the Yashica Mat 124G with me along with three spare rolls of film. I also had a few frames left to shoot with the Canon Sure Shot Supreme that’s been in my coat pocket through the winter, and I took an extra roll of 135 in case I finished the existing one. My light meter and a bottle of water finished off the stuff I carried.
This section of the TPT runs along a disused railway line, crossing a number of bridges (and going beneath a few others), and there’s even the remnants of the disused Killamarsh Central station along the way, complete with the northbound platform and pedestrian footbridge. It also runs alongside the Cuckoo Way for part of it’s length – the Cuckoo Way being the towpath beside the Chesterfield canal. Much of this length of the canal is derelict and clogged with vegetation, but there are still stretches with water, which today was frozen over with a frosting of snow laid on the surface.
To the west of the trail lies the valley where the River Rother snakes it’s way northwards and recent heavy rain has left large swathes of the floodplain submerged in water, again now coated with a layer of ice. One of the footpath spurs down into the valley that I’ve walked before was completely blocked by this floodwater, but I ventured to its edge to make a few photographs.
I managed to shoot shoot two full rolls of 120 through the Yashica (as well as finishing the roll that was already inside when I set out) AND finish the roll of C200 in the Sure Shot. I now have a backlog of four rolls of B&W to develop, plus the roll of 135 colour to send to the lab. You’ll be seeing many of these pictures on the blog shortly (I hope!).
In total I was out of the house for around four hours and (if my phone is to be believed) walked for the best part of nine miles and my legs and feet are now letting me know just how hard they worked… It was a good walk and good to be out of the house in the fresh, bright air for so long. I saw plenty of robins along the TPT, plus a few squirrels re-stocking their winter supplies. I might also have quite a nice picture of a horse as well if I didn’t mess things up somehow.
The only downer was when a roll of film didn’t load properly, necessitating my re-spooling part of it while stood in the middle of a field. I hope I’ve not introduced any light leaks onto the film, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Thanks to the nature of film photography, I can’t show you any shots for the walk until I get them developed and scanned, but they’ll probably start landing in a week or so as I get through my backlog. So, to illustrate a little what the day was like, here’s an older photo from three years ago made during a walk around Linacre reservoirs.
As Lightroom and Photoshop have decided that this extremely hot and humid day would be the perfect time to test my patience by stealing all my PC resources thus making even the simplest copy-and-paste action into a chore, this will be a short post (it took nearly 40mins to back up the catalog! Why! Why do this to me today!!!). If you don’t see any more for a while it’s because my PC has met with an unfortunate accident and fallen out of the window!
It’s extremely hot anf muggy here today. Despite having a fan blowing air all day, working hasn’t been much fun. As a result, I’m going to keep it short today so I can enjoy the bliss of a cool shower!
A couple of photographs of Trafalgar Warehouse near Sheffield city centre, a former warehouse building dating to the1930s which now serves as an events venue (presumably closed at present due to the pandemic).
There are 136 glass blocks visible in this next picture, in case anyone is remotely interested. 🙂
14 June was the day before the reopening of non-essential retail stores in the UK. Signs were apparent in windows, both those of retailers re-opening on the 15th, and also those who would remain closed for now. Debenhams, a UK department store, was one of those re-opening it’s doors and there was a sign in the window of it’s cafe area (although I don’t think that this part of the store will resume business just yet).
Elsewhere, there are still signs of the contruction project to renovate and re-develop part of the town centre into a new “retail quarter”. I wonder how the impact of the pandemic will affect the plan, particularly if retail is slow to return to previous levels (if it ever fully recovers)?
While walking around the eerily empty town centre a couple of weeks back, my route took me behing the town hall building. There I noticed a door which looked like it might make for an interesting photograph. The door itself is labled “Town Hall” via a plaque afixed to the wood, but carved into the masonery on the lintel above the entrance is the word “Disinfectants”. In all my years of living here in Sheffield, I’ve never noticed this before.
A quick bit of searching online reveals that this dates back to the Victorian period and formed part of a strategy to rid the city of the disease and vermin which would have been rife in some of the slum conditions that existed at the time in industrial cities. As the poorest members of society would not be able to afford the cost of purchasing disinfectants themselves, these would be given out by the local authority via this entrance to the town hall building.
I had wondered if I might have come to the end of this series of pandemic-related photographs given the relaxing of the lockdown here in the UK, but I’ve got a few new images of scenes in the new, post-lockdown world.
The weekend before last was the final one before non-essential retail was allowed to re-open on the 15 June, so I took a trip up town to see how things looked before the shops returned to life.
The town centre was largely empty, with the largest groups of people I noticed being construction workers and homeless folks. It was a little eerie and the weather – dank and grey – felt more akin to a winter’s morning than one approaching the summer solstice. There were pigeons in the Peace Gardens and I wondered if they’ve been forced to work harder for their dinners given the lack of humans feeding them or dropping scraps?
The city has been given new signage outside some shops (although it seemed somewhat hit and miss as to which shops did – it certainly wasn’t all of them), and benches and the like feature signs requesting they not be used, or to keep your distance from others.
I’ve made a couple more trips since this one (and still have more pandemic-related photos from this roll yet to upload), so I guess this series will continue for a while yet.