Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Walking in the snow

I made this picture about a minute after some idiot decided to put their foot down to overtake a slow moving tractor, thereby driving through a pile of wet, slushy snow on the side of the road closest to me and spraying it all up my legs in wet clumps. Lookily I’d worn some water resistant trousers and so the impact was reduced. Most people have grey matter inside their heads. Some people have brains resembling something of a different colour unfortunately.

Wet snow on wet roads
Plumes of heavy slush made by
Selfish car drivers

Walking on snowy days

Holga & Ilford HP5+ (@800). Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 10mins @ 20°.

Taken on 14 January 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Signs of flooding

This is the corner of The Fat Cat, a pub in Sheffield’s Kelham Island area – somewhere I seem to make a lot of photographs, despite living nowhere near the the place.

The Fat Cat dates back to the Victorian era, being built in 1850. As a result of it’s age, and it’s position close to the course of the River Don, it was affected by the flood in 1864 when Dale Dyke resevoir collapsed catastrophically, killing over 240 people as the water descended it’s course to the centre of the city.

One-hundred-and-forty-three years later the pub was once again engulfed by flood water, this time caused by torrential rain. Three people lost their lives in this event.

The pub has two markers painted on it’s wall denoting the water level of both floods.

High-water mark at The Fat Cat

Yashica Mat 124G & Ilford Delta 400. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 8mins @ 20°.

Taken on 1 November 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

The bridge on the River Wye

My apologies. Today’s choice of photograph was almost 100% selected so I could use such a cheesy pun as a title. 🙂

No sign of Alec Guinness here though, just people enjoying the riverbank footpath alongside the River Wye as it flows through Bakewell.

It’s one of those photos where it looks like the people in the shot are looking at you as you take the picture but which, upon closer inspection, they’re looking elsewhere. The guy appears to be testing the capacity of his pocket to breaking point!

The bank of the Wye

Olympus OM-2n, Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f/1.8 & Ilford HP5+. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 9mins @ 20°.

Taken on 18 September 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Crucible & Covid-19

One of two theatres adjacent to one another in Sheffield city centre, the Crucible is the younger of the pair, dating from 1971 (the other, The Lyceum, dates back to the late 19th century). It’s probably most famous for being the host venue for the World Snooker Championship since 1977.

Passing the Crucible

As I write this today, Sheffield (and the rest of South Yorkshire) has been put on notice that we will be moving to the Tier 3 “Very High” level for Covid-19 restrictions at the weekend. While, for the most part, these won’t make much of a difference to what I do (it’s nothing like as restrictive as the full lockdown we had earlier in the year), it does place a restriction on mixing with people outside your immediate family or support-bubble, so it’ll mean I can’t see my dad for the next few weeks (assuming it’s lifted by then).

It also means that I’m not supposed to travel from the Tier 3 area to areas at a lower level of alert. This is disappointing as I have a week’s leave coming up and had planned to make a visit or two to the Peak District National Park. While I can still access part of the park (some of it falls within Sheffield, and South Yorkshire’s borders), it’s a relatively limited area and doesn’t include the places I’d hoped to go to. As I would be travelling in a private vehicle and not interacting with anyone, I’m not sure that there’s a problem or that I would be risking any sort of trouble, but I guess I’ll see what happens before making a decision one way or the other. If not, there are plenty of other places within South Yorkshire that I can visit, and not just the bits within the Peak District. I have a project that I came up with the idea for over a year ago, so maybe I can make a start on making the pictures for that.

Crucible theatre

Olympus OM-2n, Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f/1.8 & Kodak Ektachrome 100 EPP (expired at some unknown date).

Taken on 17 September 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

The seeming pointlessness of weather apps (and gaining a new camera as a result).

This morning I decided to get up early and go make some photographs. A lot of trees are starting to turn and there are some gorgeous colours to be seen in their foliage – colours that would look extra nice in the light of an early morning sun. The weather forecasts over the past few days – right up to when I went to bed last night in fact – had stated that it would be cloudless first thing today, with duller weather coming later, and the dew point indicated a chance of mist. When I woke up, I took a look out the window to see how it looked and, sure enough, the skies were free of cloud to a degree, although there was still quite a lot about. So I got dressed, grabbed my camera and tripod, and had a quick breakfast. When I stepped out of the front door twenty minutes later the sky was covered with cloud from horizon to horizon.

I briefly considered just going back inside, getting undressed again, and getting back into the warm bed. But I didn’t. In for a penny, in for a pound as the saying goes and, even without the clear skies, I still thought there might be a chance of mist in the river valley where I planned to go.

There was no mist.

I have several weather apps on my phone. None of them seems to be any better at correctly forecasting the weather than a pine-cone or bit of dry seaweed hung outside the door. One of them once told me that the location where I was experiencing pouring rain at that very moment was actually in full sunshine. If they can’t tell you what the weather is doing in the present, what hope do they have at predicting the future? Anyway, rant over.

Deciding against making any photos in the dull, unflattering light – no point wasting film – I decided instead to drive to a nearby car-boot sale. It would be the first time I’ve visited a boot sale this year. Partly due to lockdown, but also because I’ve just had other things to do at weekends. I always have a slight frisson of expectation when I visit these places. The dream of picking up a Leica or a Hassleblad for next to nothing, that sort of thing. The dream didn’t come true today, sadly, but I did find another film camera, the only one I saw on all the stalls. It looked in nice condition – boxed with the manual – and the seller only wanted £1 for it, so I decided to rescue it.

It’s not a camera I wanted or needed at all – it’s a fairly nondescript 35mm compact – a Fujifilm DL-270 Zoom Super (catchy name, eh?), with a 35-70mm zoom that starts at a slow-ish f/5.6 and goes downhill from there as you zoom in, granting f/11.2 at the long end. It look s like the sort of camera that someone who wanted to take pictures but lacked any interest in photography would have bought in the 90s. But, for the low price, I’ll give it a go and see how it performs (maybe on a bright day though!). The last camera of this ilk that I used, a Samsung Fino, made surprisingly sharp pictures. Hopefully Fujifilm stuck a decent (if slow) lens inside.

As a bonus, there was a boxed roll of Fuji C200 in a box on the same stall, and the seller kindly threw it in with the camera. I expected it to be expired by fifteen years or something, but it only expired in July this year. Even if the camera is a bust, I still got a bargain roll of pretty fresh film! On top of that, there’s also a roll already in the camera. When I stuck a battery in when I got home (the included battery being dead), it powered up and showed frame 1 on the LCD. This probably means one of three things:

  1. The roll of film is completely unused. Bonus!
  2. The roll is partly used, but the counter has reset due to an elapsed battery. I’m not sure if this would happen though.
  3. At some point someone has opened the back of the camera while it had the film inside, resetting the counter and probably ruining the film. This is the option I think is most likely (although the other, fresh, roll of film I got with it might indicate otherwise). I believe the camera is one of thosa that unloads the entire film when inserted and then rewinds each exposed shot back into the cannister though, so any shots already on the roll might be safe (whatever they might be), but the unexposed remainder might be toast.

Whatever the case, I’ll shoot the roll that’s inside and then, depending how I feel, maybe another. After that, unless it stuns me with the results, I’ll likely pass it on to someone else. But at least it will live on.

And finally, nothing to do with the rest of the post, here’s a nice colourful photo I made with the Yashica Mat the other week…

Now Then Then Now

Yashica Mat 124G & Kodak Portra 160.

Taken on 14 September 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Man’s best friend(s)

As mentioned yesterday, I spotted this chap sitting outside his chalet with three friends, so I asked if I could make a couple of pictures. The dogs didn’t seem too keen, snarling at me when I pointed the camera in their direction, but I got the shots.

Beach hut relaxation
Man's best friends

Olympus OM-2n, Zuiko AUTO-T 50mm f/1.8 & Ilford Delta 400. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 8mins @ 20°.

Taken on 11 September 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Man in an (overdeveloped) trilby

The first shot on this roll of HP5+. A roll that I’m pretty sure I’ve overdeveloped. From the point of hanging the negatives to dry I had a feeling something was amiss as they looked noticably denser than I might have expected. Once scanned it became apparent that the highlights were much brighter than they should have been and there was more grain than expected along with the loss of some fine detail.

The reson for this, I believe, was my developing the roll on a hot day where controlling the temperature of the developer was difficult. By the time I was ready to start the process, it had risen from 20 degrees to 22.5, so I had to consult the Ilford compensation charts to see how that would affect the time. While the charts are very helpful, they only show compensations for whole degrees, so I made a best guess to put my time somewhere between those quoted for 22 and 23 degrees. I think I should probably have shaved another 15-20 seconds from the time.

I’ve managed to save pretty much every frame with some post-processing tweaks in Lightroom, but they’re not what I’d planned. Still, everything’s a learning experience, eh?

Man in a trilby

Canon Sure Shot Supreme & Ilford HP5+. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 7 mins 45 secs @ 22.5°.

Taken on 23 July 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

A window on work

I sometimes wonder at the purpose of these windows placed in the barriers that surround construction projects. Is there a specific purpose for them? Or are they there, as might seem obvious, to allow passers by to have a nosey at what’s taking place on the other side of the fence?

It seems that the obvious reason in this case is the actual reason. The windows are there for public engagement to allow them to see what’s happening on the construction site from behind the safety of a barrier.

I’m not sure that I would want someone to have a little window to peep in on me doing my work whenever they felt like it. Then again, my work is likely far less interesting to the average passer by. Perhaps I should buy an excavator…

A window on work

Canon Sure Shot Supreme & Agfa APX100. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 10.5 mins @ 20°.

Taken on 23 July 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Big chicken (it’s too hot!)

It’s still ludicrously hot here today. Well, compared with the normal temperature at least. It’s undoubtedly positively cool in comparison to many places, but we’re not prepared for it. Whereas it would be the norm for people to have air-con units, or buildings designed specifically to keep cool in locations that regularly get heat, we don’t generally have the need for that in the uk – It’s usually cold and rainy. 🙂

Anyway, it’s too hot to type for long and I’m almost finished scanning a strip of negatives and very much looking forward to a cool shower, so another quick post today I’m afraid.

So, somewhat randomly, here’s a big chicken…

Cluck-cluck

Canon Sure Shot Supreme & Agfa APX100. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 10.5 mins @ 20°.

Taken on 23 July 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Dot Cotton caged

While wandering around Sheffield’s Kelham Island area recently I came across this piece of street art that I thought was deserving of a photograph. For those readers outside the UK, the person depicted is Dot Cotton, a long serving character of the British soap opera Eastenders. June Brown, the actor who plays the role, joined the soap back in 1985. She had a hiatus in the 90s from 1993, but returned again in 1997 where she played Dot up until January this year.

I don’t actually like Eastenders, and I don’t think I’ve ever watched a full episode (although my wife used to watch it and I picked up many of the storylines of the time via osmosis). Dot Cotton is, however, an archetypal British screen character and I really liked this small homage to her on this namesake street.

Dot Cotton caged

Canon Sure Shot Telemax & Kodak Colorplus.

Taken on 28 June 2020