Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Monochrome wildflowers

Back to work today after four days off. No photography stuff today other than a bit of scanning.

The coronavirus situation in the country continues to apall with the shameless incompetence and double-standards at play in our so-called government. Apologies for mistakes are not a sign of weakness, they are a sign of strength. Respect is earned by those who accept and learn from their errors, not by those who obfuscate and pass the blame, no matter whether I support their broader views or not.

I wonder how long deceit, failure to accept responsibility and lack of accountability can last until something has to give? Sadly, I suspect a long time. There’s a tribalism in politics that has grown in recent years where groups of people hitch their allegiance to one wagon or another and refuse to get off, no matter the road it takes. It’s a terrible “us and them” situation that fosters the worst in people. I despair of it.

Anyway, this is a photography blog, not some political rant, so here’re some flowers.


Bronica ETRSi, Zenzanon 75mm f/2.8 & Fomapan 100. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 8 mins @ 20°.

Taken on 7 May 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Multiple exposure

A few weeks back I wrote a post about how I’d messed up with my Bronica and made an accidental multiple-exposure (it really doesn’t feel that long ago – I could have sworn I wrote the post a week back at most!). Anyway, the gist of it was that I’d accidentally switched the multiple-exposure lever on instead of the mirror lock-up when taking a long exposure. This resulted in me unknowingly making several exposures on the same frame of HP5+.

I had low hopes for the result and expected it to be a complete write-off. However, it isn’t… Surprisingly, the photograph has turned out interesting (in an obviously imperfect way).

The main subject is the signal box in the village that I’ve photographed on a number of occasions before. However, the other shots have resulted it being overlaid with foliage and cobwebs. It now looks oddly reminiscent (to me, at least) of something you’d find in Stephen King’s story, The Mist, where a secret government experiment opens up a rift to another dimension. From it flows a mysterious mist and within it are…things.

Anyhoo, here’s the photo in question.


Bronica ETRSi, Zenzanon 75mm f/2.8 & Fomapan 100. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 8 mins @ 20°.

Taken on 6 May 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

A quarter pint of cola

Do you ever have those times where the creative urge just strikes? Times where you need to make a photograph even though you can’t go out and there’s nothing much to photograph indoors but your eye catches something and you just think “Yeah, that’s a picture.“? Well, today’s photograph is from one of those times.

I’m not sure whether I was just in a trigger happy creative flush, but something made me get the shot. The subject is a half-full glass of (flat) cola sat on the cabinet where my printer sits (and which has some books and other gubbins perched atop it too). The glass has been through the dishwasher on multiple occasions, and it shows. What was once clear is now permanently etched by the washing process, leaving a finery of scratches across its surface. I think it was these bright marks highlighted against the darkness of the beverage that made me think there was a photograph waiting to come out.

The Bronica and the 75mm Zenzanon have made for a sharp image and the Fomapan 100 (this is the first roll of this emulsion I’ve home developed in the DD-X I use) has produced lovely tones. It’s probably not a photo that anyone would ever want on their wall, but I’m quite struck by it for some reason. Mundane for the win once again.

Quarter-pint of flat cola in a scratched glass

Bronica ETRSi, Zenzanon 75mm f/2.8 & Fomapan 100. Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 8 mins @ 20°.

Taken on 27 April 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Single file traffic

The road-sign depicted in today’s photo feels pretty apt at present. As the news of the coronavirus pandemic hit and became widespread last month there was an upsurge in panic buying in the shops. Some of these things seemed logical – hand-sanitiser, for instance, is a useful substance to help keep you safe from inadvertently contracted viruses on your hands. Soap and water is similarly effective, but I guess not as convenient for carrying in your pocket or in your car. Paracetamol was another item that soon found itself in short supply and, again has a logical basis for being so – namely it’s use in reducing temperature during a fever. And while I can undestand the benefits of having dried pasta given it’s long shelf-life, the quantities that some people were buying was over-the-top – unless your family eats pasta every meal of every day, you don’t need that much.

Other items seemed less logical (or at least to a degree). The number one thing here was toilet-paper. I’m not quite sure where this particular panic originated, but I first saw it mentioned by my nephew. He lives in Australia and he posted an image of empty shelves where the toilet-paper once sat in the supermarket. Before long the phenomena had reached the UK and spread around the world – panic buying of toilet-paper seemingly has a faster and more effective transmission rate than the COVID-19 virus! While I can understand how no-one wants to be left short of toilet-paper, again the volumes that some individuals were buying were ridiculous, some people buying dozens of rolls at a time. It’s not even as though a primary symptom of the virus is diarrhea or anything, in which case I might have understood.

The result of this panic buying was that stocks that should have met the needs of all instead became scarce, with some unable to source any at all. It even began to generate black-market activities (reports of stores being broken into and their stocks of toilet-paper stolen), and price-gouging as unscrupulous traders hiked the cost of in-demand items.

The result here in the UK has been a complete change in the way that people have been allowed to shop, firstly by stores limiting the quantitiy of items shoppers have been allowed to purchase, but also, because of the lock-down, implementing strict people-control measures to limit the number of shoppers in stores at any one time. This has led to large queues in the car-parks outside supermarkets as people wait for their turn to enter. In some parts of the country these have been boisterous (and, significantly, meant lots of people lining up in close proximity). Thankfully, in the stores close to us, the queuing has been orderly and well spaced and these measures have resulted in better access to produce as well as a losening of the restrictions on quantities (though some items are still excepted).

We’re  into spring, and will be coming up to summer soon, so queuing outside is probably not that much of a hardship. That said, here in the UK the weather can be somewhat “changeable” to say the least, so it will be interesting to see how people fare in queues if the weather takes a turn for the worst.

FILM - Village roadworks

Bronica ETRSi, Zenzanon 75mm f/2.8 & Kodak Tmax 400.

Taken on 29 January 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Cascades at Hell Bank Plantation

One of the ways I like to find potential locations for photography is by browsing Ordnance Survey maps. Usually I look for public footpaths and rights of way and plan a walk in the hope that there might be something interesting to photograph along the route – usually there is. I’ve loved to look at Ordnance Survey maps ever since I first came across them as a child – specifically the 1:25,000 scale Landranger maps. They’re a treasure trove of detail with their beautiful design and iconography, and just skimming across them will turn up evocative little identifiers for things like trig points, towers, tumuli, wells and all manner of other intriguing things. And so it was on this occasion, where my browsing alighted upon the intriguingly named Hell Bank Plantation which also had a little marking stating “Waterfalls“.

So last Saturday, after my walk along the River Derwent at Calver, I decided to head home via a route that would take me to Hell Bank Plantation so I could see what it was like as a location.

After a wrong turn that would have gotten me where I needed to go – if I was on foot(!) – I finally took the right route and managed to get a parking space at the top of the plantation (where a decent number of other vehicles were already parked). The entrance into the plantation was via a stile a few yards from where I’d parked and the trail led down into the pine woodland. After a short distance the main footpath had a fork with the narrower branch heading down towards where I assumed the stream and waterfalls would be.

FILM - Gnarly

The path led me across the stream and then took a left turn so that it descended into the valley with the stream on my left, now at the bottom of a steep-sided gorge. I could see a number of cascades of water down there – nothing spectacular (although I guess it will be much more exciting after some heavy rain) but attractive nontheless. After walking down the valley a couple of hundred yards, it became apparent that there was no easy way to get to the stream from this path down here so I back-tracked. Back near the top I found a place where, with care, I might get down to the water. So, using my tripod as a walking pole, I eased myself down the steep bank to the bottom.

FILM - Hell Bank cascade

Near the bottom was the remains of a stone bridge about ten feet wide, broken in the middle and covered in moss. Thankfully, it also looked like there might be an easier way back up the opposite bank when I finished with my photography. I made my way upstream a little to get in position for some photos – while the stream wasn’t a torrent, there were still some pools that were plenty deep enough to submerge my walking boots fully, so careful progress was required. When I found a good spot I took an incident meter reading and also a couple of spot readings of shadows and highlights to see what they would show (the average wasn’t too far off the incident reading, so I went with that). As I wanted to try and get everything in focus, I metered for f/22 which gave an exposure of around 2 seconds.

FILM - In a narrow gorge

After taking a number of shots I retreated to the broken bridge and, as I’d hoped, was able to climb the eastern bank with relative ease and from there walked back uphill to the car and the journey home.

FILM - Cascade

The processed negatives were a little on the thin side, although not unduly so, and I’ve ended up with contrasty images that I like – at least where the stream and cascades of water are concerned. Some of the other shots (including the bridge) are somewhat busy and I think, if I return to the location, it deserves colour to properly seperate the vegetation, rocks, water and wood textures in the pictures.

There is also another waterfall further down the valley according to Ordnance Survey. 🙂

Bronica ETRSi, Zenzanon 75mm f/2.8 & Kodak Tmax 400.

Taken on 25 January 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

River-side house

Continuing the theme from the past couple of days, here’s a shot of the scene just downstream from the previous locations. As is so often the case when I pre-arrange a day out with the camera, the weather was dull with featureless grey stratus clouds, making for somewhat less than interesting skies. Still, we make do with what we get and, while the conditions might have been better, it was still a very nice walk along the river.

FILM - Oblique

Bronica ETRSi, Zenzanon 75mm f/2.8 & Ilford Pan F Plus.

Taken on 25 January 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Through the pines

This was taken on the footpath beside the River Derwent a little further upstream from the bridge I posted a photo of yesterday. I’ve taken a picture at this location before, last year, using my Yashica Mat 124G. Unfortunately something went wrong with that version – I think the camera strap, or possibly the cable release, had gotten in the way of the taking lens without me noticing and the resulting image had a blurry streak across part of the frame. This one worked much better (although prior to this I managed to waste three frames by somehow shooting them with the dark slide in the camera – something I didn’t even think was possible with the ETRSi).

FILM - Can't see the wood for the trees

Bronica ETRSi, Zenzanon 75mm f/2.8 & Ilford Pan F Plus.

Taken on 25 January 2020

Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Crossing calm waters

This is the road bridge that crosses the River Derwent just above Calver Weir. It carries the A625 and I believe is called New Bridge, although I have no information byond that unfortunately. It makes for nice photographs whether viewed from up or downstream though – the nearby weir means that the water here is deep and slow flowing, producing lots of opportunities for reflections.

This shot is my entry for the 2020 film photography contest I’m taking part in – the theme for January is “Openings”.

FILM - Opening

Bronica ETRSi, Zenzanon 75mm f/2.8 & Ilford Pan F Plus.

Taken on 25 January 2020