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

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

In the misty wood

I’ve undoubtedly said this before on here somewhere, but I’ll say it again: Fog and mist are a gift to photography. The diffused light; the sense of calm; the way they hide and obscure distracting detail; and – most of all – the sheer atmosphere (quite literally) that they bring to bear is a wonderful thing to behold.

I do admit to saying this as someone for whom fog and mist are relatively uncommon – at least at the times I’m usually out of bed! I can fully understand the “grass is always greener” sentiment that this bears, and that for those who live in places with regular foggy conditions that this might all be a bit business-as-usual. But for me, well, I love these conditions.

Misty woods #1

So, when I saw the weather forecast showing this day as having fog, I was up early and out with my camera. I went somewhere I’ve been a number of times before – a walk that takes me across the River Rother, through a copse of trees (it’s probably a plantation as the tress – Poplars I think – are in somewhat orderly rows), and then either up to the Trans-Pennine Trail, or looping alongside the river, then down to Renishaw golf-course, and back around to the starting point.

Misty woods #2

I’ve photographed these trees on a number of occasions and know that the look their best in a veil of mist. It’s not a large area and on clear days it’s easy to find a distracting background element creeping into the frame. In fog, however, the trees feel like they go on forever.

Misty woods #3

Bronica ETRSi, Zenzanon 50mm f/2.8 MC & Ilford HP5+ (@1600). Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 13mins @ 20°.

Taken on 7 November 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

An end to autumn’s colour

Ok, maybe not the most autumnal shades here – more a yellow green than fiery shades of red and orange – but it’s probably the last shot from this year’s clutch of seasonal images where the trees still bear foliage. Today, as I type this, most of the leaves have fallen, littering the pavements and roadsides where they’ll release that rich scent of autumn so evokative of this time of year. There are still some late straggling leaves on the limbs of silver birches – some still green in fact – but most trees have revealed the skeletal form of their branches now.

I still have autumnal images yet to come, but they are of the misty, damp, almost monochromatic feel of late autumn as it rolls over into winter.

On an autumn street

Yashica Mat 124G & Lomography Color Negative 100. Grain2Pixel conversion.

Taken on 10 October 2020