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.
My favourite photographer’s quote originates from Garry Winogrand: “I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed“.
This quote pretty much encompasses why I make many of my photographs. I’ll see something, be it a scene or an object, and I’ll be inspired to see how my camera will render it as an image. How will the lens make it look?; What if I use a different aperture or focal length?; What about the film I’m using – how will it render the contrast / grain / light / colour? etc.
I’ll still make pictures of more obvious, traditional compositions, but even then the impulse is still the same – how will it look as a photograph? It means that pretty much anything might be a suitable subject for a photograph to be made, whether a beautiful landscape, or a dirty, rainwater-filled plastic cup left on a window-ledge after someone’s night out. Anything can catch my eye. Given that all my photos are made with an audience-of-one in mind – namely myeself – everything is good. I’m sure that some people will wonder what the hell was I thinking when I raised the camera to my eye, but all that needs to be understood is that I saw a photograph that, to me, was worth creating.
Today’s photgraph falls firmly into this remit. The first shot on a roll of HP5+ I shot last weekend, depicting the box of “wonky veg” that was sat in the window of a ground-floor flat close to where I’d parked my car. The rising-sun motif, the grain of the wood, the Pepsi can, and the slightly dirty window all caught my attention.
This is the first roll of film I’ve pushed and then home-developed, and the Ilfotec DD-X has done a great job.
Another dip into my (recent-ish) archive with a shot taken at the start of the year which I’d not published on Flickr until a couple of days ago. It shows a weather-worn fencepost beside one of the footpaths near Baslow Edge. Not sure why I didn’t publish it before – I possibly had a surplus of images to upload or something.
I ventured up town again today and finished the roll of HP5+ in my recently acquired OM-2. I felt much more inspired than I did on yesterday’s outing, although I’m still not convinced I have anything great to show for my efforts. I think that, as this has been my first roll through this camera, that I’m subconsciously treating it as a “test” roll and as such didn’t want to invest too much effort in the photos in case there’s an issue with the camera (not that I have any reason to think there might be). Anyway, the roll is shot now and I’ll hopefully get it developed tomorrow.