35mm · Film photography · Photography

The end of an era

Today marked the end of the road (or should that be rails?) for the Beighton Station signal box. It’s demolition has been planned for some months now and, despite campaigns to save it, it was demolished this morning.

My wife and I walked down yesterday afternoon so I could make a few photos while it was still intact, although surrounded by wire fencing. A conversation with one of the contractors on site revealed that the demolition was planned for today at 8am. So, my alarm set for seven, I rose this morning, fed the cat, and drove down to see the event take place.

I needn’t have gotten out of bed so early as not much was happening. There were a lot of contractors on site – a dozen or more at least, and the method of the box’s destruction – a large CAT excavator with a claw attachment – could be seen parked a little way down the railway tracks. The tracks have been closed to rail traffic for the duration of the activity, and the level crossing is only open to foot traffic. As well as the workmen, there were a few locals there to witness the demolition, at least two of whom I discovered had worked in the signal box in the past. There was a bit of excitement when a large metal skip was delivered to take the remains away, but still nothing much was taking place. The box still had the Beighton Station sign affixed which needed to be removed as it has apparently been promised to the local lifestyle centre as a souvenir.

It was quite cold at the location, especially while standing still, so I decided to take advantage of the slow progress and pop back home to grab a quck breakfast before returning. This is where things went off-plan…

Getting back to the car, I turned the key in the ingnition and… nothing. Despite the car having started perfectly an hour or so before, the battery was now almost completely dead. The radio would come on, but the engine wouldn’t turn over at all. My choices were not to either go back to the demolition and sort the car out afterwards, or call the breakdown service to get it back on the road again. As today was Mother’s Day here in the UK and we were planning to go out for something to eat at luchtime – don’t get excited, the lockdown restrictions meant that the day would be celebrated by my wife, our sons, and I treating ourselves to a drive-thru burger while sat in the car. These plans meant that I needed to get the car sorted out as soon as possible. The breakdown company stated that it would be 2-3 hours and that I would get a call twenty minutes before the recovery vehicle arrived. My plans of seeing the demolition of the signal box slipping away, I decided to walk home, get some breakfast and wait for the call.

The walk home took about 10-15 mins and then, liteally a minute after getting there, I received a text saying the breakdown recovery vehicle would be with me in 10 minutes! Not having time to get any breakfast, and thankful that we have two cars, I asked my wife to drive me back down to where the other car was parked. The recovery vehicle arrived at exactly the same time we did, and I crossed the road to speak to the driver. After popping the bonnet, he ran some tests on the car battery which revealed itself to have a faulty cell, necessitating a replacement. The options were to get one fitted there and then, or to be towed to a garage or branch of Halfords to get the work done. Given the paucity of time available to me I decided to let the recovery service replace and fit a new battery as this would get me back on the road straight away.

Soon I was back home and munching a hasty breakfast of granola before heading back to the signal box to see if work had begun (or, knowing my luck, that I had missed the whole thing). When I got there I was pretty much right on time though. While I’d missed the removal of the Beighton Station sign – which I’d hoped to record with a photo – the excavator was only just about to start its work.

I spent the next half-hour making photos of the gradual demolition. There were more people around by this time, many of them making photos or recording video, and I made a couple of dozen images of the scene until the building was down to its lower brick section. My time running short, and the roll of film at an end, I decided to head back home.

I have a busy week ahead, so doubt I’ll get to develop the film until next weekend, but I’ll be sure to post a series of pictures depicting the day’s events once I have the negatives scanned. In the meantime, here’s a picture of the box I made back in November 2016.

Beighton Station box
A witness to many years
I bid you farewell

Signal Box G2P-2

Olympus 35RC & Dixons branded 200asa film (expired June 2004). Grain2Pixel conversion.

Taken in November 2016

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Portrait of a camera

Lockdown limitations mean I can’t go out to all the places I’d like and, while I intend to make the most of my closer surroundings, it also means I’m going to fall back on making pictures around the house as well sometimes. Old cameras, such as my Zeiss folder, make good subjects though.

A lens through a lens
Vintage rangefinder of old
Still working just fine

Zeiss Mess-Ikonta 524 16

Yashica Mat 124G, close-up #1 lens & Ilford HP5+. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9mins @ 20°.

Taken on 10 January 2021

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Mablethorpe Rock

A couple of shots of Mablethorpe Rock, a shop that has been there as long as I can remember (or perhaps mis-remember).

Rock is one of those great British seaside traditions that is still going strong today –  although, personally, I don’t really like the stuff – it’s overly sweet, sticky, and feels like it will rot the teeth right out of my head as soon as I touch it.

For those not in the know, rock is basically sticks of boiled sugar. It traditionally has the name of the resort you buy it from cleverly running through the length of the stick – something that is done by adding pieces of different coloured sugar to form the individual letters during the manufacturing process while the substance is still soft and malleable – as can be seen in this film from 1957. As well as sticks, you will also find it shaped into all manner of other things – a cooked English breakfast formed out of pure sugar and served on a paper plate is another firm favourite.

Rock comes in a variety of flavours, but plain sugary-sweet, and peppermint are probably the best sellers. The fruit flavoured ones are best in my opinion (if forced to choose), but you can now find all manner of exotic varieties, including such culinary horrors as Tikka Masala flavour!

My favourite part about receiving a stick of rock – it was a traditional gift brought back when someone had been on holiday – was the little black and white photo of the resort that would be inside the clear plastic wrapper. Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, these photos are now in colour.

As you can see from the bottom picture, the shop also sells ice cream, so I had one of those instead.

FILM - Mablethorpe Rock

FILM - In a seaside town

Olympus 35 RC & Kodak Portra 400.

Taken on 13 September 2019

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Oddly appealing

Sometimes I make photographs that I like for obvious reasons. Maybe it’s the composition, the light, the subject, place or whatever. Sometimes though, I make a photograph that I like for reasons that I can’t quite put my finger on. Obviously there must have been something about the scene that caused me to take the image in the first place – these aren’t just random, shot from the hip accidents.

Todays photo is one such picture. I like it a lot but can’t put my finger on the precise reason(s) why. I guess it could be the way the scene is lit – there are plenty of shadows in the scene, but they’ve been lent a subtlety by the white painted gable-end of the house acting as a giant reflector and this has created some nice lighting. Maybe it’s the colours – it’s got a bit of that blue and orange thing going on, which is nice. The composition is ok – the tree in the background is nicely placed and the green pops in the scene. Or maybe it’s just little details – the satellite dish, the plants in the window, the garden shed with the barely-visible bins in front of it, or the flag.

Or maybe it’s just a combination of all these things that appeal specifically to me and my brain just said “Yep! That’s a nice photo!” and so I clicked the shutter.

It’s one of those images that I suspect many others won’t really take to, but it fires some circuits in me, and I’m even wondering what it would look like as a print.

FILM - White gable

Olympus 35 RC & Kodak Portra 400.

Taken on 13 September 2019

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Painting (a part of) the town red

It was mid-morning when I took this photograph and the fish and chip shop had not yet opened for business (although there was a man off shot to the right who appeared to be making preparations to do so). Prior to opening some maintenance was taking place, giving rise to the gloriously saturated red doors in the image. These reds, along with the morning light (and subsequent shadows) and the lone painter busy at work, are what attacted me to make the photograph.

FILM - Painting the town red

Olympus 35 RC & Kodak Portra 400.

Taken on 13 September 2019

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Chalets

These chalets sit along the promenade, just south of Mablethorpe town centre and behind Queen’s Park – which is where I stood to take this photo. It’s almost the same spot where I made the photo of the crazy golf course that I posted about a few days back, which is behind where I was stood when I took this shot.

I’ve got an older, digital photo of these chalets on my Flickr stream too – that one shot on my Nikon D3200 and 18-55mm kit lens back in September 2015.

I shot this whole roll of Portra 400 at 200asa and really like the way it’s handled the tones, with lovely cornflower blue skies while still keeping a good deal of pop in the primary colours.

FILM - One side water. One side park

Olympus 35 RC & Kodak Portra 400.

Taken on 13 September 2019

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Looking out to sea

Looking out to sea seems to be an enduring calling to many people when visiting the coast, certainly in the UK, but also, I suspect, around the globe. Every seaside resort I’ve ever visited has benches and shelters along the promenade, along harbour walls, and atop cliffs and promontories, for the purpose of providing somewhere to rest while looking at the ocean beyond. Coin-operated telescopes provide the means of a close-up inspection, should something interesting be present on the water. There are car-parks designed in a such a way as to provide access to the view without leaving the comfort of the vehicle (and in the UK, given our tendency to inclement weather, this is perhaps wise).

I remember as a child visiting the beach with my grandparents in the rain. We would just sit in the car, eat sandwiches, drink pop or hot drinks from a thermos-flask, and watch the tide come in or retreat. If the weather was favourable, we’d get to venture onto the sand with our granddad, while grandma remained in the car, often with the aim of building a sandcastle that we could then subsequently watch be destroyed by the incoming waves while we sat back in the car. The castle fallen, and night beginning to fall, we’d return to the caravan for cocoa and bed.

There’s definitely a draw to looking at the sea, even on a calm day. Something about being at the edge of the world and imagining what might lie beyond some distant horizon (usually Denmark in our case, given the east coast of England was generally our destination of choice). Often times it’s older people who seem to do this the most. Perhaps the sea offers a glimpse of something else, something poignant, something nostalgic. Or maybe they just need a sit down more than the young.

FILM - Together

Olympus 35RC & Eastman Double-X.

Taken on 13 September 2019

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Ice cream

The ice cream stand on Mablethorpe promenade. It has a satisfyingly wide range of choices, including those oyster-shell wafers filled with soft-serve that always look really nice, but which I’ve never once had in my entire time on this Earth. I did buy an ice cream, a 99, but it was from another shop.

Also in shot is a ubiquitous seaside sight – the giant ice cream cone! 🙂

Anyway, the lady in the photo’s stripey top has come out nicely on the Double-X. Although the blacks look pretty deep, there’s still detail in there when you look closely.

Sadly, this was the last of my Secret Santa supply of this film, so I’ll need to buy some more.

FILM - Ice Cream Stand

Olympus 35RC & Eastman Double-X.

Taken on 13 September 2019