There are two lines of pylons not too far from where I live. Both originate at a sub-station at Canklow and follow the same path for a few miles before branching apart at Swallownest. The eastern lines head past Rother Valley Country Park and then pace the Trans Pennine Trail south towards Chesterfield. The western lines head up towards Drakehouse and Owlthorpe, then across the golf course at Birley before heading out over the Moss Valley to terminate at Norton near the water tower.
Today’s photos show this second set of lines as they cross the Rother valley through the mist.
From out of the mist Cables of steel cross the land Headed for Norton
A quick count shows that I have 32 posts in my blog that have been tagged with “power lines”. I would have expected it to be much higher than that as I feel that I post a lot of images of, or featuring, power lines, pylons, and similar things. It could be that some are untagged, or tagged with “pylon” and not “Power lines”, which might bump up the count a bit though.
Anyway, that counter will tick up another notch today as – you guessed it – it’s a photo of some power lines!
I like this one – theres a leading line from the foreground pole, across the field of grass and rushes, and over to the pylon. There’s a stray street-light in there too, photo-bombing his electricity-carrying buddies.
Powerlines again A draw to my camera Many times before
This track runs parallel to the Trans Pennine Way for a while and the section depicted is open for public access. The remainder of the track leads up to the farm itself and has no further right of way. I know this because I once walked all the way to the end without realising. And then had to walk all the way back again.
I really like how this picture turned out. It looked nice in the viewfinder with all the leading lines, and the end result doesn’t disappoint me. Probably my favourite shot of the year so far.
Country road power Leading the eye down the way To places unseen
A few days ago I posted another photo of this same scene. That shot was made on a heavily overcast day shortly after we’d had some snowfall. Today’s image is of the same scene made a few days later when all the snow had departed (although there was still a healthy crust of ice on most of the puddles) and the skies were clear allowing the sunlight to make some appealing contrasty shadows.
Time can seperate Many versions of a scene To marked effect
Edgelands are defined as “the transitional, liminal areas of space to be found on the boundaries of country and town“. I’m not sure that the location in today’s photo is quite true to that description as, while it’s on the edge of an urban area, more recent development means that if merges quite quickly into further, newer, suburban developments long before it can merge into the countryside proper. It seems to be a feature of many industrial cities though that there is no defined boundary between countryside and town. Instead, as you reach closer to the boundaries, so patches of land where perhaps lost industry once stood, or where no development is possible due to natural features such as rivers and their flood-plains, become more commonplace, penned in by industrial estates or suburban housing.
I enjoy getting out into the countryside very much, but I do have an affinity for these semi-industrial / semi-urban areas too. I like the way that I can find relics of the coal-mining that used to be prevalent around here. Disused railway lines, bridges, and brickwork bereft of purpose can be located amongst bugeoning new-growth woodland like the remnants of some past civilisation.
Hidden in the soil Fragments of brick and metal Industry as was
A few days ago I said that there would be another version of the shot posted there to come. And here it is today. This one was made with the GW690 and on a snowy day to boot. I wasn’t sure if the minor parallax difference that would be present from using the rangefinder viewfinder would mess up my alignment of the pylons but it seems to have worked out fine.
Through the winter sky Cables of steel move power Over frozen ground
I’ve posted a similar image to this one before as part of my experiences with a Zeiss 6×9 folder last year. And I shall be posting another before too long – again with a 6×9 camera from almost the same spot and composition (but not conditions, and without the faultily aligned lens issue). There’s certainly no shortage of power line / pylon photos in the blog, and I guess they’ll continue to turn up with a degree of frequency as long as it runs, but I like the particular point of view in this image because the structures are aligned as far as the eye can see.
Play Safe they told us Children of the recent past Danger in power
This pollarded willow tree sits at the southern end of Woodhouse Washlands close to the A57 flyover (in fact, you can see the shadow of the flyover at the base of this image – I thought about cropping it out, but it would take the foot of the tree closer to the edge of the frame than I’d like). The field was pretty muddy and had a considerable number of cow pats deposited about on the day so I decided to use the zoom lens to get me closer. While it may not be to everyone’s taste, I like the contrast of the fields and trees on the left with the industry of the pylons and factory units to the right. The track fills the gap at bottom right nicely too.
Pollarding cuts trees off at height, not at the base as coppicing does
Long time subscribers of this blog will know that I enjoy making photographs of power lines. It’s a fascination that goes back to my childhood, probably borne out of watching the old Play Safe public information films that were screened on the television here in the UK warning of the dangers of overhead power cables and electrical substations.
I’m not obsessed by them, and don’t go out with the purposes of “pylon spotting” or anything like that, but I find the way they traverse the landscape quite evocative and find they make for interesting photographic subjects.
The three images presented here today feature not only pylons, but the source of their power as well in the form of power stations. After I visited North Leverton windmill, I drove towards the nearby village of Sturton-le-Steeple which is adjacent to the large West Burton power station. One of the public footpaths near the village provided a great vantage point to see the (still quite distant) facility. Another station, Cottam, is visible in the distance to the south in the final of these three photos. These, and other power stations, sit beside the River Trent from which I believe they draw water for cooling.
They are impressive structures, dominating the landscape from miles around.
I posted briefly about the Zeiss Mess-Ikonta 524/2 camera I bought recently, and my concerns that the lens might not be correctly aligned. Well it looks like my fears were correct.
I processed the roll of HP5+ yesterday that I’d shot with the camera the previous day and all the photographs show noticeable soft focus on the left side of the frames. It’s perhaps not noticeable here, but it’s quite apparent if you look at them at a larger size. This isn’t nit-picky pixel-peeping type concerns either, unfortunately. While the slightly askew angle of the lens is very minimal (although enough for me to notice straight away) it’s enough to mean that the results are unsatisfactory. Being the owner of another Zeiss Mess-Ikonta (albeit a 6×6 model), I know thet these cameras are capable of very sharp results across the frame, so having one that fails in this regard isn’t any good to me.
Having looked online though, I’ve seen a number of pages detailing the fact that it’s best to wind the film on after opening the camera. Apparently this action can cause a vacuum that lifts the film away from the plane of focus, so it’s better to open the camera and then wind on the film as you can guarantee it will be taut that way. Whether this is a factor in my results or not (I wound on before opening the camera), I’m not sure, but I’ll probably try another roll using this method to see if it makes any difference. Otherwise, I’ll have to return it for a refund.
The shots below are from the initial roll I shot. The photo of the pylons gives the best indication of the problem as the grass at the bottom of the frame, and the legs of the pylon are equally distant from the camera, so should be of a uniform sharpness across the frame. The grass at the left side is clearly softly focused, as are the leftmost legs of the pylon.
Likewise, the mesh sides of the footbridge in the following shot. The right side mesh is sharply defined, the left side much less so.