A few weeks back I went for a walk around Rother Valley Country Park with my dad. While walking around the northerly of the two main lakes I spotted this intersting looking vehicle.
Wandering closer with the aim of getting a photograph or two the owner noticed me and came over for a chat. The truck is a customised Land Rover that has been named Sprocket the Hotrod. It’s currently fashioned into a pickup configuration and there are plans to add a similarly designed trailer.
This custom Land Rover Was parked beside the lakeside Grabbing attention
I have a week off work and aim to get some photography in the bag while I have the chance. Today I decided to head out into the Peak District and go for a hike.
I chose a location that I’ve not visited before, the village of Tideswell. Or, rather, Tideswell would be on my route. I studied my map beforehand and planned a circular path that would take me from Tideswell Dale car-park (about a mile below Tideswell itself), down the dale to the bottom where it meets Miller’s Dale. The route then followed the River Wye up Miller’s Dale until I would head north up Monk’s Dale. At the top, where the dale meets a road, I’d head back east and then cut through the footpaths in the pastures back to Tideswell, and then back to my car.
The hike would be around six miles, albeit with a lot of altitude to lose and gain along the way, including some steep climbs. While not a long hike, I knew that my backpack and tripod would add some weight and make it more strenuous than if I were travelling light. The part I didn’t really factor into my plans was the trail through Monk’s Dale. Whereas the earlier sections of the walk had been on well defined and surfaced tracks, the path through Monk’s Dale is somewhat more basic. For much of the dale it hugs the stream that runs down the valley and is very scenic, but today, after quite a lot of heavy rain, the path was quite slick with surface mud and I had to keep careful watch on my footing. Further up the valley though is where it got more serious…
Here the path enters into a steep-sided section of the dale which is densely wooded. Over time, the limestone cliffs on either side have shed rocks and boulders which litter the valley bottom and the footpath becomes a half-mile endurance test where every step is a potential sprained ankle, broken hip, or worse! My hiking boots have a nice tread that grips well on many surfaces but, as I found out today, not on worn limestone rubble. It probably took me the best part of an hour to traverse this section of the route, the trees all heavily matted with thick coats of almost orange moss, and I was beginning to think I’d actually lost the footpath and was now just clambering over rocks beside the stream bed (luckily, the water that had been flowing further down the valley was no longer in evidence here, presumably taking an unseen subterranean route through the porous limestone).
I was becoming quite hot from the exertion and sweat was dripping down my face and at one point I almost took a tumble, thoughts about how long I might lay there undiscovered if I became incapacitated flashing across my mind. Thankfully, if this had been the place where I took a fall, I’d have been seen as I then noticed a man nearby examining plants in the undergrowth a little further up the path – he was the first, and only, person I saw on this whole section of the walk, the only other evidence of anyone having passed by being a set of someone else’s footprints that I noticed from time to time in the mud. I stopped to catch my breath, wipe the sweat from my brow, and chat with the man for a while. He’s been to a dental appointment that morning and decided, as he was passing on his way home, to take a look at the valley as it was the first time he’d visited in some time. He was able to tell me that I was maybe more than half-way through the difficult stretch (I’d have preferred to be near the end, to be honest :)) and at least reassure me that this was, indeed, still the actual path.
Continuing along the trail, the way began to become a little easier, albeit still with treacherous footing and the occasional fallen tree to clamber over or duck under, and I eventually managed to reach the open field close the the road. While the worst was behind me, the road itself had a punishing camber that really made my thighs put in the work. The remainder of the route took me through a patchwork of pasture fields back over to Tideswell. I eventually reached the village and found a cafe where I bought myself a sandwich and a slice of “farmhouse slice” – a very tasty shortcacke concoction filled with a selection of juicy dried fruits to eat when I got back to the car – my treat for all the effort!.
The remainder of the route was all downhill back to the carpark and it was with a real sigh of relief that I sat back in the car.
I shot a couple of rolls of film through the Yashica Mat 124G, plus several frames of 35mm with my OM-2. As ever with my blog, these will turn up somewhere down the way after I go through my existing rolls (I have a pretty strict, OCD-style, queuing system for publishing photos if you hadn’t noticed! 🙂
Anyway, to keep things on a bit of a related track, here’s another Peak District photo, this one of Over Owler Tor and a different part of the park. These are gritstone rocks and my boots don’t slip on those!
How long would I lay Undiscovered in the woods If I took a fall?
This wooden telephone pole (I still have an urge to call them telegraph poles, despite that mode of communication having fallen into history) sprouts from a bushy hedge. The base of the pole is becoming hidden by encroaching branches, and tendrils of ivy are starting to reach higher up the structure.
The pole serves a double purpose, also acting as the host for a streetlamp – a charmingly vintage-looking one with its little flourished curl where it holds the lamp.
Weathered wooden pole So many seasons pass by Cracking its structure
The film photography competition I partake in each month has “Accurate” as its theme this month and my entry is the following shot of my Silva compass sat atop an Ordnance Survey map. It was a pretty rushed shot if I’m honest. I shot two frames and the whole exercise took less than five minutes including digging the map out of a cupboard. Of the two photos, I like this one the best.
Although I favour Ilford HP5+ over Tri-X – especially now that the latter costs almost twice as much! – I had a roll of Tri-X Pan in my OM-2n so that had to serve the purpose. The film is almost 20-years expired and I shoot it at 200asa (I have a few rolls of it still) and it produces decent results. In this case I think the greater contrast from the Kodak film has resulted in a better photo than I might have had from HP5+.
The biggest downside with the film is how much it curls when developed and dried. It coils up like a spring AND has a longitudinal curl as well. This makes it pretty difficult to get into the negative holder for my scanner – it’s easier to get my cat into his box for visits to the vets!
A map of contours Like my roll of Tri-X Pan Twisting and curving
This follows on directly from my post a couple of days ago about my walk over the fields near Aston. Another four photos from the middle(ish) section of the walk.
It was dry on the day of the walk and the ground was firm, but there were reminders of how the conditions can change when wet weather has occured, both in the shape of these tractor tracks, and also the signs of footprints in the dried surface of the footpath.
Across another field the path splits – turning right and heading south along the western edge of the mortorway, or left where I walked up an incline to the bridge across the M1. Just before crossing the bridge I made a photo of a farm track where it ran through a stand of trees.
Crossing the motorway in the crisp spring light, I made another picture, this time of the road heading north. A little further up is the junction where the M18 splits to take drivers north-east to Doncaster, Robin Hood Airport, and on to Goole. The M1 itself bends westwards to split the gap between Sheffield and Rotherham, crossing the River Don over Tinsley Viaduct close to the Meadowhall shopping mall, before turning back north to Barnsley, Wakefield and Leeds.
After crossing the motorway, the footpath cut to the right and south towards a nearby farm. The farm had a large open-sided barn which made opportunity for another couple of pictures.
I did make one final photo on this roll of Delta 100 a little further on where a line of poplars framed a nice wooden door and cottage. Sadly the film snapped while loading it onto the spiral and so that frame was lost.
I’ve more photos still to come from this walk, but they’re colour pictures so I’ll post them another day.
A big wooden barn It’s sides open to the wind Contents blown away?
A couple of weeks ago I went for a walk along a previously unexplored path. The route took me from Aston, a village / district on the easternmost edge of Sheffield, north over the fields towards Penny Hill Wind Farm, then cuting to the east to cross the M1 motorway on a farm bridge. From there, back towards the south, across the M1 at the busy Junction 31 roundabout, and through Aston again to where I began.
There will be a number of photos to come from this walk in the next few days and I shot both black-and-white and colour images. Today’s post features a quartet of photos from the first half of the walk.
This first image is the lane from Aston down to a farm at the bottom of the dip. In the distance, at middle-left, one of the large wind turbines at Penny Hill can be seen peeking above the trees.
Climbing the hill past the farm up to the top of the ridge brings the turbines into more prominence, as well as a mobile transmitter and another antenna of some sort over on the left of the frame – at night this one can be seen lit with red aircraft warning lights.
Approaching the mobile tower, the turbines now take prominence along the top of the ridge, although they are still quite some distance away.
Heading east across the fields towards the nearby motorway, I turn and make a photo of the path along which I have walked.
Out across the fields Feeling the bite of the air Crisp and cold and bright
I used to live not too far from Orgreave when I was younger and still lived at home with my parents. Orgreave was the site of a coal mine and coking plant and was a location made infamous when, during the 1984-84 UK miner’s strike, it was the site of clashes betweek striking miners and police – an event that bacame known as the Battle of Orgreave.
Some of my friends witnessed the events that took place, watching from the vantage point of the railway bridge above where the clashes took place. I missed it all by dint of me being on a week-long school trip.
During the whole period of the miner’s strike, a variety of industial action took place across the coalfields of the UK, and graffiti appeared in support of the striking miners. So it was with some amazement to find a few weeks ago, while out for a walk with my dad, that some of the graffiti I remembered seeing back when I was a teenager is still present and highly legible.
If anyone could be said to be at the head of the conflicting sides during the dispute, then it would have to be Margaret Thatcher, then UK Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party – also known a The Tories – for the government, and Arthur Scargill, leader of the powerful National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). It is these opposing forces celebrated and denounced in graffiti form here.
I’m not sure what paint was used, but it has certainly stood the test of time!
Back when we were young Youthful adventures happened In places like this
In 1975 an exhibition named New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape was held in the International Museum of Photography in New York City. It featured works by a number of photographers – the Americans Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Joe Deal, Frank Gohlke, Nicholas Nixon, John Schott, Stephen Shore, and Henry Wessel, Jr., and the German couple Bernd and Hilla Becher. Each photographer exhibited 10 photographs.
New Topographics presented a different way of photographing landscapes, eschewing the traditional natural environments and instead presenting images of scenes with a clear human footprint, such as industry, suburbia, gas stations, parking lots and the like.
While I only came across the term in recent years, and at no point set out to be a “new topographer”, it’s clear that many of my photographs fall into the style. I’ve no doubt found influence in the works of photographers who were in turn influenced by the works of the artists presented in the original exhibition, although of the ten, I only have photobooks by Stephen Shore (though there are undoubtedly works by the others collected in other books in my collection).
It’s a style that doesn’t appeal to all. For many, the subjects of such photographs are ruinous blots on the landscape, detracting and imposing on the traditional bucolic scenes more often considered as landscape photography. But I have a place in my heart for both.
Grass fields and blue lakes Overlooked by new homes It was once a mine