Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Deckchair (for Bagpuss?)

An iconic symbol of traditional British seaside resorts, the chair in this photo was nowhere near a beach – it was for sale on a stall with a wide array of memorabilia and brik-a-brak.

I like to look at stalls and shops selling this sort of stuff. Occasionally they’ll have something I’m interested in purchasing (camera gear probably), but they are also a treasure trove of nostalgia and unknown stories. Wher did this deckchair come from for instance? Was it taken from a seaside beach at some point, or was it purposely bought for someone’s garden, or perhaps to take on days out so the cost and hassle of hiring a chair might be avoided? Similarly the Bahamas calendar hung up beside it? Who bought it? When did they travel there? How did it end up on this stall? (although I fear I know the answer in most cases…).

Often you will find children’s toys, whether abandoned as they grow out of them, or perhaps lost, like something from a Toy Story movie. Sometimes things that you might expect no-one would buy, such as the plastic radiotherapy mask that was also on this stall – whoever that belonged to, I hope they discarded it as part of a full recovery.

When I was a child I would watch Bagpuss on TV. For those unfamiliar with the show, it was a children’s programme about an antique shop owned by a girl named Emily. Within the shop were a number of children’s toys including stuffed animals, dolls, carved wooden bookends, a “marvellous, mechanical, mouse organ” and the eponymous Bagpuss himself, a pink and white saggy old cloth cat. In each episode, Emily would bring a lost item to the shop and the inhabitants would awaken (“When Bagpuss wakes up, all his friends wake up”!) and they would examine the item, someone would tell the charming tale of it’s history, and it would be mended (by the mice) and placed back in the shop window so that it’s owner might find it again. It was made by a British animation studion called Smallfilms who made a number of similarly nostalgic and charming shows. The creators of the shows were Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate, both of whom are sadly no longer with us, but whom countless grown-up children carry a small fond part of in their memories.

Stalls such of this always remind me of Bagpuss a little.

A saggy cloth cat
Brings back memories of youth
Now I’m saggy too

Take a seat

Yashicamat 124G & Shaghai GP3. Lab developed in Xtol.

Taken on 4 September 2021

35mm · Film photography · Photography

Mirror man

This is one of those photos that I have high hopes for when I first see the negative but which, on closer examination, is let down by some technical problem. In this case the man in the mirror is slightly out of focus. Now there’s a good reason for this – the photo wasn’t a posed portrait, it was a candid shot which involved me crouching down to get the correct angle on the mirror and then capturing someone’s refelction as they walked past. People would be in the mirror for a fraction of a second, so no time to nail the focus and I just went with what looked right in the brief moments that someone passed through the frame.

I still like the picture a lot, but wish I’d have nailed the focus better. The pose is bang on though and I don’t think I could have gotten anything better.

Man in a mirror
Seeing a reflection of
A photographer

Here comes the mirror man

Yashicamat 124G & Shaghai GP3. Lab developed in Xtol.

Taken on 4 September 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Posing in stovepipe hats

The three people in today’s photos caught my eye as I wandered around the collection of classic vehicles at the Smallwood Steam Rally last week. It was the tall stovepipe hats that attracted my attention initially as they could be seen from a couple of rows of cars away.

When I reached them they had all sat down for a breather beside a large trailer / RV. Rather than attempt a candid shot, I asked if they would allow me to make a portrait, to which they kindly agreed. I think the Yashicamat helped in this – TLRs are quite the attention grabbers in a way that a regular SLR or rangefinder probably wouldn’t be.

The photo is on Shanghai GP3, but shot at 200asa and push-processed. One of the other people at the rally with us that day had said it was his favourite film shot this way, and the results are pretty nice. Almost with a Fuji Acros look to them.

It was difficult to find developing times to push the film (at least with the developers I had to hand). While I found some suggested times, there was some variance depending upon where I looked. The other option would have been to use the standard 1.5x normal developing time for pushing a single stop. In the end I decided to take them to my local lab rather than risk messing things up – I thought I might have some nice pictures on the roll, plus it had been a 3-hour round trip to get to the rally, and I didn’t want to lose the photos.

The negs were a little on the thin side, but scanned really nicely.

Once upon a time
Engineers would wear these hats
When building marvels

At the rally in stovepipe hats

Yashicamat 124G & Shaghai GP3. Lab developed in Xtol.

Taken on 4 September 2021

35mm · Film photography · Photography

A trip to the vets

I woke up this morning to an unpleasant shock.

Usually, when I go downstairs, I’m greeted by our cat. He’s either on the back garden when I open the blinds, or is waiting inside the utility room. He’s almost always awake and ready for his breakfast. This morning he wasn’t there when I opened the blinds, but as it had been raining I wasn’t surprised, and when I opened the door into the utility room he was laid in his bed, waking at the sound of my entry. At first I wondered about this slightly unusual occurence, but then my eyes alighted on a stain on the edge of his bed and, swiftly after, some blood on his forepaw and a lot of blood around his nose and mouth.

Bending down to get a closer look I could see he’s suffered some sort of injury. My first though was that he’d been in a fight with another cat, or perhaps a bigger animal. Whatever the case, I was alarmed and quickly grabbed my phone to ring the vet’s out-of-hours service. I was able to get an appointment for him to be seen at 10am. While his face, particularly his lower lip, looked to be a mess, he was walking around and not limping. He was very subdued though and showed no interest in being fed.

He was quite vocal in his cat-carrier during the car ride to the vets, which in a way was a relief. He never likes trips in the car like this and the fact he was making is displeasure known was much better than silence. After arriving at the vets – due to Covid restrictions – we had to wait outside and explain to a member of staff what the problem was. Someone then came and collected him from us and told us to wait and that they would call on my wife’s mobile phone when the vet had assessed his condition. After a 15-minute wait, we got the call. The vet was under the belief that he had been struck by a car as he had some damage to his claws and pads which is a common injury in such events. He looked to have taken a knock to his head which raised concern about injuries to his bones -perhaps a fractured jaw – but the vet was confident that this wasn’t the case. He’d not shown too much distress or signs of extreme discomfort when being examined and his reactions, alertness, and vitals were all good. He had a nasty graze on his cheek and lower lip and a bruised tongue however.

The vet advised a dose of pain relief and anti-inflamatory, along with further liquid pain medication for us to administer from the next day – although we were to watch and make sure he was eating and drinking. Because of the discomfort with his tongue and mouth, there is a chance he may need to go back to the vets to be tube-fed is he can’t manage to eat and drink himself. While I’ve not seen him eat anything yet (he’s been asleep most of the day) he did have a decent drink of water from his bowl earlier, which was good to see.

We’ve decided to restrict him to the house this evening (and dug his old litter tray from the garage!) so that we know he’s safe overnight. Fingers crossed he will be on the mend soon. It’s at times like these when you realise just how much these little friends weedle their way into your life and heart.

Not much of a photography post today I suppose, but it is what it is.

Cats can be worries
Attempting to use nine lives
In their adventures

Love cats

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

Taken on 10 January 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

The descent into Tideswell

The final three photos I made during my walk around Tideswell Dale, Miller’s Dale, Monk’s Dale and then across the meadows back to Tideswell itself. The final three photos from the Yashica Mat at least – I also shot a few more frames with the OM-2n which had spent most of the day tucked in my backpack.

The skies were beginning to get more threatening by this stage and veils of rain could be seen falling to the south and west. Luckily though, I managed to avoid all the showers. Unluckily, the chip shop where I thought I might treat myself to a well-deserved lunch, was closed. 😦

I wanted some chips
But instead had to go for
A tuna sandwich

Meadow gate
Down the lane to Tideswell
The Flat

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

Taken on 24 May 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Look both ways

Another couple of photos made near the village of Tideswell. I found this location on Google Maps while planning my walking route and decided it would be a good location for a photograph or two.

The puddles on the track add interest but also meant slick mud and, if you look closely, you can see evidence of my passing in the middle of the lane.

The pictures depict the lane in both directions, although not from the same precise point.

Muddy puddle track
On a day with atmosphere
A draw for my eye

The house at the bottom
The other way

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

Taken on 24 May 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Howdy cow

Walking across the fields towards Tideswell was something of a test. The footpath passed throught a whole bunch of fields with a stone stile forming part of the dry-stone walls to be climbed between each. While I’m not getting any younger, stiles dont generally pose me much of a problem, but on this day I discovered that my hiking boots don’t grip very well on limestone, particularly that which has been worn smooth by countless other feet! This meant I had to be super careful climbing over each and every one.

The route took me past a field of cows though, and one of them walked over to look at me with a curious gaze, so I made a portrait.

A curious cow
Walked away from its herd mates
To see what was up

Can I help you?

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

Taken on 24 May 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Too much food and not enough photographs

I’ve had a bit of an indulgent weekend, having dined out for lunch with my wife two days running. The food has been good on both days, although we ate too much yesterday and felt stuffed for the rest of the afternoon and evening. It means that I’ve not been out making any photographs this weekend thoug. In fact, against my general rule of alway carrying a camera, all I had with me was my phone – and all that got used for was some pictures of out food to share with family members, plus some selfies. Not the sort of subject matter I generally go for.

But, while I haven’t made many new pictures this week, this is offset to a degree by the fact that I have a decent-sized backlog of unpublished images made over the preceding weeks. In fact, ignoring the Yashica Mat images I’m currently uploading, I have five full rolls of 36-exposure negatives to publish (although not every shot, of course!). Four of the rolls are scanned (or nearly scanned) already, and the fifth roll was developed and sleeved ready for scanning today. I’ll probably get started on those later in the week.

Because I don’t tend to bulk-upload images, instead uplaoding just two or three to my Flickr account each day, it’ll likely be some time before many of these photos are featured here on the blog. Whether I’ll let this continue, or if I’ll choose to try and catch up somehow, I don’t currently know. Given I’m not using the photos as some sort of cutting-edge, up-to-the-minute viewpoint on what I’m doing though, it probably doesn’t matter.

So, for today, here’re a couple of photos from Miller’s Dale taken almost four weeks ago.

My photography
Can sometimes feel a bit like
A compulsive need

St. Anne's, Miller's Dale
In Miller's Dale

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

Taken on 24 May 2021

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

In Monk’s Dale

A few weeks ago I wrote about my exhausting hike through Monk’s Dale. Today I’ll share a couple of photos from the hike – or at least the most difficult part through the steep-sided and heavily wooded limestone gorge.

This first image was a point of great relief. It looks back into the gorge that I had just exited through the gap in the wall. Ahead of me lay only a short section of grassy fields before I reached the road (although I then had to hike up the steep incline to the top). The photo is nicely atmospheric but doesn’t really convey the sweat-dripping tiredness I felt at this point.

The beckoning of exploration

This next image was taken part of the way through the thickly wooded area and shows the thick, dripping moss that covered the stones and trees at the foot of the valley. What it doesn’t convey is the autumnal orange colour that this moss displayed.

The valley is a very interesting place photographically, but I’m not sure if I’ll venture back just yet.

My path wandered through
A place of rocks and woodland
Humid and mossy

At the bottom of the valley

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

Taken on 24 May 2021