Postboxes are another of those subjects to which I seem to be drawn quite often. Usually it’s when I’m shooting colour film as I think that the bright red paintwork lends itself best to that format, but I have more than a few pictures in black and white too, as with today’s photo.
Colour would have worked well too, although the box was in shad so might not have “popped” in the same way as when illuminated, but this particular example has the added interest of a bunch of stickers pasted to its side – a mixture of random art and political messaging of varying persuasions. I made the picture with the lens wide open af f/2.8 as I wanted to remove the background clutter, but perhaps a little narrower might have better benefited the ability to read the stickers.
When I visited Kelham Island the other week I decided to follow the river downstream to where it skirts the edge of the town centre and shot a number of black and white photos on that leg of the walk. The photo in today’s post shows the scene just upstream from Lady’s Bridge (which you can see peeking into the shot at the lower right).
I received a new film camera in the mail today. An actual, bona-fide brand-new film camera to boot and, no, it’s not a Leica. Quite the opposite infact – it’s a RETO Ultrawide and Slim, which is a copy of the Vivitar Ultrawide & Slim. It’s a toy camera made almost completely out of plastic, including the lens, with the distinctive feature that the lens is a 22mm focal length, hence the “ultrawide” in the name. There have been a number of copies of the original Vivitar version, of which this is the latest.
I’ve not had chance to try it out yet, but the lens is supposedly quite sharp (although what that means in real terms, I’m unsure), but with a dropoff in quality to the edges of the frame, and with a vignette too. I’m a fan of my Holga and the images it produces, so thought this might be fun to try out. It cost me £30, which is probably more than it is worth (especially considering some other cameras I could buy for the same or less) but, well, I’ve spent money on worse things.
When I get around to shooting with it I’ll post some results and maybe a review.
Today’s photo is of The Fat Cat pub in Kelham Island. It’s a place I’ve photographed on a number of occasions as it always seems to catch my eye, especially if the conditions are nice, as they were on this day.
I think that, because I tend to choose Kelham Island for photography outings quite often – it’s close and easy to get to and I can usually find free parking. Plus it’s undergoing gentrification so change is taking place all the time – that an element of over-familiarity might have set in and that I’m drawn to the same compositions that attracted me on previous visits – the more obvious ones at least.
There will be countless other pictures to be made, but I need to look more carefully and draw them out I think.
A couple of earlier posts featuring The Fat Cat can be seen here and here.
The City Life church sits on a back street in the Kelham Island / Shalesmoor area of Sheffield. It’s a multi-cultural church although, not being a religious person, I know little about the place other than what I’ve read online before typing this post. What I do know is that it is housed in an attractive building, more akin to a mock castle than a church in some ways. On the morning I made this picture, the low sun was casting some lovely shadows across the masonry and features of the building, setting it into sharp relief.
After yesterday’s post about how I really don’t enjoy the process of developing film, and how I’d put off developing a roll for a somewhat weak reason, today I pulled my finger out and got the job done. It wasn’t urgent, so I could have left it another week – after a period where I was running out of new photos to use in the blog, I now have three full rolls of stuff, two of which were waiting to be scanned even without developing this new roll – but if I’d left it, then the job would have been hanging over me like a cloud, and I might even have ended up with a backlog if I shoot more stuff in the interim.
Anyway, it’s done now. All developed. All cut and sleeved. All the equipment washed and tidied away for next time.
I got rid on my stop-bath and fixer today too. They’ve had 15 or 16 films through them and the stop-bath was starting to change colour slightly. I might have eked a few more rolls out of both batches but I’d rather not risk a ruined roll, so I’ll need to make some fresh solutions next time.
I also managed to drop the freshly washed roll onto the shower cubicle floor while squeegeeing the moisture off it, necessitating my re-dousing it with the remaining wetting agent. Thankfully the shower floor was pretty dry and not covered with soap bubbles or anything like that, and the negatives look ok on first glance now they’re dried. I said some profane words when it happened though. 🙂
I have a roll of film to develop and had half a mind to get that done today. But then I spent the time watching TV and playing videogames instead. I normally develop my film in the utility room at the back of the house which is the same room where the washing machine and tumble-dryer live and, as there were several loads of clothes to be washed and dried, it would have been quite cluttered and noisy in there today, so I decided to put the job off for another day.
It wasn’t a hard decision to make though. I really don’t enjoy the process of developing film. I find it a chore. I’ll keep doing it because a) I invested in all the equipment to do so, b) It saves me a noticeable amount of money and, c) amazingly my home developed negatives hung to dry in the shower cubicle have notably less dust on them than the ones I get back from the lab, which is a bonus.
Despite these benefits, I don’t enjoy the process, and the thought of having to get all the stuff out, get everything measured and at the right temperatures, carry out the process of developing the film and then, the most tedious part, washing everything out. It’s basically housework.
Maybe I’ll do it tomorrow…
With zero connection to the rest of the post, here’s a photo of a door, window, road-sign, and a decorated telephony cabinet which I photographed because I liked the way they were lit.
In the Neepsend area of Sheffield there is a skate park – The House Skate Park. I’ve never been inside the place – I couldn’t balance on a skateboard when I was a kid, much less now, although I did used to go to the local ice-rink as a teenager where I managed to get around on a pair of blades at high speed, so maybe I’m not completely useless at such activities (that was a long time ago though. I’d probably just bust my hip or something now…).
Despite never having ventured inside the place, I’ve walked past on more than one occasion. It has some nice street art adorning the outside of the building, and there used to be a tree outside upon which were hung numerous pairs of sneakers, presumably those that had reached the end of their natural life. It was certainly odd-looking fruit.
The tree is no longer there, but at least some of the sneakers have found a new home in the shape of the railings that run in front of the car-park. And theye they dangle, gradually forming their own miniature ecosystems as the weeks, months, and years roll past.