35mm · Film photography · Photography

A broken bird-box and a creaky tree

While out in the Peak District the other week I took a brief wander into the birch trees close to Surprise View to look for potential photos. There are countless pictures to be had, but it’s not always easy to eke them out. I didn’t stay in the arera long and made just three or four photos including the two here today.

The first is of a bird-box affixed to one of the trees. There are a number of these boxes throughout the place, but this one has been damaged somehow – whether by human, animal, or natural forces I do not know. It’s a bit of a fixer-upper now though.

Broken bird-box

While I was making the photo of the bird-box I could hear the trees creaking in the wind around me, but it was only when I looked up that I noticed the soun was coming from a tree I was stood beneath. It’s trunk was broken partway up and a significant section of the upper part of the tree was swinging in the breeze. I don’t think it was at imminent risk of breaking free and landing on my head but I moved out of the way nontheless.

A broken tree trunk
Swinging and creaking above
I’m glad it stayed put

Creaky tree

Olympus OM-2N, Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f/1.8 + orange filter & Ilford HP5+ (@800asa). Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 10mins @ 20°.

Taken on 29 March 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Signs of a little pig?

A few weeks ago (although I would swear it wasn’t that long ago!) I posted a picture of a structure built of sticks. Today I have another couple of photographs of the same twiggy building plus a photo of another, neighbouring edifice.

The home of the second little pig

I’ve still not come across anyone actually building these things – not that I spend that much of my time wandering through the trees – and I’m still curious as to whether their construction is some sort of organised activity, or just groups of kids making dens? Few of the trees around this area are suitable for treehouses, so perhaps these make an alternative?

Compact and bijou

The other option is that the second of the three little pigs has decided this would be a good place to build a fortress against the Big Bad Wolf. I didn’t see any wolves, just a few dogs being walked. Nor did I make any attempt to see if I could huff and puff and blow the house in.

Mister Wolf is here
So little pig, little pig
Please let me come in!

Stick house roof

Bronica ETRSi, Zenzanon 75mm f/2.8 PE & Fomapan 400. Ilfotec DD-X 1+9 12mins @ 20°.

Taken on 26 February 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Stick structures

Over the past few years, when walking in wooded areas, I’ve noticed a number of structures appear. They appear to be rudimentary shelters made from branches, although they probably do little to keep the elements out. I’ve seen them in a number of different places, but have never seen anyone building them which lends them a slightly spooky Blair Witch Project air.

The branches used to build them, in my local area at least, seem to be from woodland management – lots of trees have been trimmed in the last year or so. In a lot of cases these cuttings are left piled up like lumber, perhaps to be collected at a later date, or maybe to form an environment suited to small mammals and invertebrates. Some of the cuttings go on to create these structures though.

I’m sure there’s a perfectly mundane reason for them, but I also kinda like the idea of a miniature Stonehenge / Easter Island type mystery about them.

Who might sleep inside
A home made of drafty sticks
Little pig maybe?

Stick den

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

Taken on 1 February 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Silver birch

While the lockdown continues and my movements are still restricted then I’m tending to fall back on some well used subject matter – trees.

Luckily, while I don’t have much in the way of forrests withing walking distance, there are planty of trees around Rother Valley. The variety feels somewhat limited, mostly being birches and other quick growing deciduous types, but there are more than enough shapes amongst them to make plenty of photos. And, as they say, beggars can’t be choosers.

Took a walk today
Along the Trans Pennine Trail
I made some photos

Silver birch

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

Taken on 21 January 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

A distant figure in the snow

I think that this is my favourite shot from the roll I put through the Holga on the recent snowy day (although not the most recent lot though. We had another fall this morning that caused chaos for early morning drivers on their way to work – my wife included).

I like the way the birches lean across the path here and the snow adds a special touch. The lone figure further down the path is the icing on the cake.

Footprints and bike tracks
Evidence of exercise
On a winter’s day

Distant figure on a snowy trail

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

Taken on 14 January 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Hello 2021

My first blog post of the new year.

Looking further down the line I’m hoping for at least a partial return to normaility later in the year. As more of the population are vaccinated against Covid-19, so I hope that restrictions will be lifted and more freedom restored. Just the though of being able to hop in the car and drive somewhere without first having to check which tier it is in will be nice. Hell, just going to a restaurant even!

But at this immediate point in time that all still feels like some ways off. The restrictions remain, vaccinations have not really touched the majority of the population yet, and there’s likely to be an increase in cases and fatalities as we move into January. Brexit has happened, but the less said about that sorry state of affairs the better, I think . I’m also back at work next week and have a busy month ahead of me. This is a good thing, but despite a fortnight’s leave over Christmas, the strange circumstances in which we still reside mean that I don’t feel particularly rested.

Apart from some confectionery, the gifts I received for Christmas sit as yet untouched in a small pile on my office desk and, if previous years are anything to go by, it may be months before I actually find the time to enjoy them – mostly because ,when I do have some free time, I feel overwhelmed by all the things I’d like to do and then end up procrastinating about which to choose until I end up doing not much of anything! I feel I need another week of post-holiday leave or something to just do stuff.

As for photography, I still have pictures made in 2020 to develop and scan, but I’m not sure what will be the first thing I do photographically in 2021 as yet. I’m feeling a little uninspired if I’m honest. I’m sure the inspiration will return, and it’s not a winter thing – I know may photographers despair of the dull and, some might say, miserable conditions brought by a British winter, but I really don’t mind them. The conditions suit different types of photos is all. I will be making a second zine in the coming months though, so I need to put on my thinking cap to decide on the contents.

I don’t tend to make New Year’s resolutions as such, as they tend to fail more often than not, but this year I am going to attempt to not only lose some weight (something I know I can do), but also get fitter by doing C25K with one of my sons. Both should be positive activities I think (if not the easiest for me!).

Well, that’s a slightly gloomy post isn’t it? Please don’t let me bring anyone down. In order to lift things a little, I’ve decided that I will try to add a haiku to each day’s post this year. So here’s the first Please don’t judge my verse too harshly. 🙂

A new year is here
I hope it’s better than last
I’ll cross my fingers

And here’s another (slightly underexposed, but still quite nice) photo of the trees on the edge of Lady Canning’s Plantation. It is a photo blog after all.

Plantation's edge

Fujica GW690 & Fomapan 400. Ilfotec DD-X 1+9 12mins @ 20°.

Taken on 23 December 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

In Lady Canning’s Plantation

This is one of the underexposed frames of Shanghai GP3 that I mentioned a few days ago – the least underexposed of the three and it’s been recovered for the most part in post-processing. The other two shots were also made within the trees of the plantation, so I suspect it was caused by poor metering on my part. The next wrst exposed shot has also recovered enough that I might post it too, but it’s noticably more contrasty than this one. The worst of the bunch is mostly “soot and whitewash” unfortunately.

Somewhere in the plantation

Fujica GW690 & Shanghai GP3. Ilfotec DD-X 1+9 10mins @ 24°.

Taken on 23 December 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Across from the misty path

One of the photos I posted yesterday showed a footpath between trees. This path is at the edge of the River Rother. Glancing to the right from that location presents the scene shown in today’s image. The dead trees on the far bank make striking shapes, but I’m not sure if there’s a way to get closer to them or not.

Those dead trees beyond

Fuji DL-270 Zoom Super & Kodak Colorplus. Grain2Pixel conversion.

Taken on 7 November 2020

35mm · Film photography · Photography

More woodland mist

These shots were take on the same day as the ones made with the Bronica which I posted about here. These were a bit of an afterthought really – I had the Fuji in my coat pocket and decided to make a few photos. I wasn’t really expecting much for a number of reasons: I had no idea of the provenance of the film; the camera had not been tested by myself; and because the lens is somewhat slow (starting at f/5.6 at the wide end I think), so I doubted I’d have much joy on a dimly lit morning with 200asa film. As it happened, they turned out very well. They maybe don’t stand up to close , pixel-peepy, scrutiny, but otherwise they are nice pictures. The colours from this roll, as I think I mentioned yesterday, are really nice.

Broken trunk
Beside the river

Fuji DL-270 Zoom Super & Kodak Colorplus. Grain2Pixel conversion.

Taken on 7 November 2020