Life Thru A Viewfinder

Subsequent to a walk, during a covid-lockdown, around a small 19th century woodland, The Plantation and Bluebell Field, Woodland Trust, Uphill, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, UK and having processed a roll of film I shot whilst there, I've created an album The Plantation and Bluebell Field in my '' oneeyeopen gallery. [Only two photographs have been uploaded as I write this blog entry, though I hope to add a few more.] Torn Out by the Roots The Plantation has survived in this location now for some two hundred or so years. However, being Uphill the woodland's floor is more or less sand and dust and subject to the winds and weather of the southwest. The trees then (mostly Beech) rise up and fall, relatively frequently, thriving for a while then when their size becomes too much for the soil to support the wind takes them.

The juxtaposition, to those that remain upright, of the fallen tree, in the above photograph, gives us, in acute relief, this story in one stark image. The tree looks forlorn as it lies prone and fatally felled; having been torn out by the roots and is now slowly returning to the bed that gave it life; as it too gives shelter to yet other creatures of the wood. Simply part of Nature's cycle. Those that went before lay the ground for those that soon come after.

PhotoInfo:- Date: 24th March 2021 Camera: NikonF4S Lens: Nikon (AF Nikkor 35-80mm f4-5.6D) Film: Fomapan 400 Action (rated at EI:320-ISO) Developer: Kodak HC110 (Dilution H, 12 Minutes at 20°C) ADC: Nikon (ES-2/Nikkor AF 60mm Micro/D600) Post Process: GNU-Linux/GIMP

Full disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any of the companies or organisations mentioned or named in this article. I am, perhaps, or may have been a customer.

A sign said Woodland Trust – The Plantation and Bluebell Field

I'm simply out wanting a walk, locally for an hour; somewhere though different to my normal 'Covid-Lockdown' route. So I step over a tiny log bridge, which spans a trickle of a stream and I'm into a small, ancient, wood near Uphill, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, UK. Between Two Pillars After I'd wandered around some nearly missing this little scene, which may not be all that photogenic really and not too easy to compose either. However, the two stone pillars intrigued me – what were they and their purpose? Well once one starts thinking about such things.... I came away with this photograph!

At the time I couldn't help thinking: a pruning saw would have been handy, to cut back that broken branch on the left – even more so than where it had been maliciously snapped off. Of course, I wouldn't do any such thing as pruning something back, as I stick to the country code mantra of 'Leave no Trace'.

PhotoInfo:- Date: 24th March 2021 Camera: NikonF4S Lens: Nikon (AF Nikkor 35-80mm f4-5.6D) Film: Fomapan 400 Action (rated at EI:320-ISO) Developer: Kodak HC110 (Dilution H, 12 Minutes at 20°C) ADC: Nikon (ES-2/Nikkor AF 60mm Micro/D600) Post Process: GNU-Linux/GIMP

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Full disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any of the companies or organisations mentioned or named in this article. I am, perhaps, or may have been a though customer.

You may not be interested in a debate over – 1. camera versus phone; you may not want to listen to the discussion regarding 2. film('analouge') versus sensor('digital') photography; maybe you have no feelings one way or another that 3. Nikon, seemingly, is ceasing to market the F6 SLR camera. If the above doesn't effect you then why should you!

I use a smart-phone, which I'm not above taking a picture with on occasion, I have DSLRs, SLRs and a large format field camera and I shoot whichever whenever as I see fit. So, as you see I've little truck with the first two items above – you pays your money, when you've made your choice or choices, either or all ways and always as a consumer. I am though disappointed with, although quite understand, Nikon's stance on their 35 mm film camera business – for them, at least- there no longer is one! This at a time when film is being discovered and rediscovered by photographers new and old [some even never left film] for its rich and varied qualities is an absolute shame. Moreover, Nikon is a business – like it or not.

I have several excellent 35mm Nikon and non Nikon film cameras. I enjoy working with and looking after them. They all work as they should and for the most part I still use all of them – some more than others I grant you.

Just a couple of days ago I took my Nikon F90X with AF Nikkor 35-70 f3.3-4.5 lens to Collum Lane, Kewstoke, Weston-super-Mare, UK; loaded with Rollei Retro 400S [having bought a bulk roll from The Imaging Warehouse UK

My intention was to push the film up to 1600-ISO and use a Cokin ‘A’ red filter – in the hope of getting infra red effect negatives. The weather was sunny though with white clouds skudding across a blue sky. Dependent on the direction of the shot, achieving a more or less IR effect.

A field of stubble leading into the landscape at Woodspring Priory

I processed the film in HC110, dilution B, 1+39 [a 100ml trial size bottle bought from Nik&Trick Photographic Services – Their offer meant I didn’t have to purchase 1 litre of the developer just to try out this combination]. I developed the film for 15mins 30secs @ 21ºC, stop-bath, fix, wetting agent and hang to dry for three hours.

This film stock is becoming a favourite of mine. It is very broad use film – you can do a lot with it. Also, the film dries flat and scans well – certainly on my Canoscan 9950F – due to its polyester base. If you shoot 135 or 120 it could be worth checking out. I get good results when I’ve developed using in DiaFine, HC110, ID11 and Rodinal.

Agricultural buildings nestled in a copse of Willow trees

Maybe Nikon might reconsider or possibly spin it’s film camera technology off to a viable investor/manufacturer – even a niche one?

If you want to see the set of photographs from Collum Lane mentioned in this article or more of my work please see the links below:-

Full disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any of the companies or organisations mentioned or named in this article. I am or have been in the past a customer.

PhotoInfo:- Nikon F90X/Nikkor 35-70mm f3.3-4.5 Rollei Retro 400S rated at EI:1600-ISO Developed in Kodak HC110 at 21°C for 15minutes 30seconds Canoscan 9950F Rawtherapee/GIMP

Years ago this shop sold leather suites, wooden furniture and artifacts for the home. Notionally, upmarket or boutique, least ways for Weston-super-Mare it seemed; the impression was intended as an emporium of sorts, only in this case in miniature.

Thinking back to the nature of trade at this property: as a business it would most probably be deemed undesirable, indeed unacceptable even, nowadays. Especially given that many of it products were obviously made from rare and precious hardwoods and animal skins. History can be a hard judge [and rightly so in many cases] of by gone custom and practice that are simply intolerable today.

Hyde Place  - Years ago this shop sold leather suites and wooden furniture.

The colour scheme for the façade was dark brown & cream; which reminded me of the Great Western Railway livery of many moons ago. What was the dot between Hyde and Place on the sign all about? That still remains a mystery to me. Looking closely one can see the metal tubes or pole the mock [Greco or Roman styled perhaps] stone columns were fabricated around. In the end the business never survived the 2008 financial crisis. Unfortunately a harbinger of what we might yet see, as a result of the Corona Virus/Covid-19/SARS-Cov-2 'pandemic.

PhotoInfo:- Nikon F4S/Nikkor 28-70mm f3.5-4.5D Rollei Retro 400S rated at EI:200-ISO Developed in Ilford ID11 at 20°C for 18 minutes Canoscan 9950F Rawtherapee/GIMP

During the Corona Virus/Covid-19/SARS-Cov-2 'pandemic', I have been working on a series of black&white photographs; taken in and around the Town Centre of Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, UK.

So, whilst [face]masking up and social distancing, I have wandered alone in town with SLR and/or DSLR camera and spent some time enjoying the sea air and rather clement weather. All the time keeping '0neeye0pen' for 'Life through a Viewfinder' style photographs. 'Walk on the Wild Side' The photo album then is currently a work in progress project, as I have other projects ongoing too. Not withstanding finishing the setting up and bedding in of my new 1.0M x 1.5M darkroom.

' album' Weston-super-Mare Town Centre in Black & White

Buy Me A Coffee

PhotoInfo:- Nikon F4S/AF Nikkor 28-70mm f3.5-4.5D Rollei Retro 400S rated at EI:200-ISO Developed in Ilford ID11 at 20°C for 18 minutes Canoscan 9950F Rawtherapee/GIMP

I took a walk on a Winter's day, all the trees were brown and the sky is grey. Trees on the edge of the pond near Green Pastures

The day was grey, grimy and greasy under foot along with dampness. You know when it is not quite raining but you get wet anyhow as it's just hanging in the air.

Despite everything I needed to get outside and walk. No choice really! There was however a choice over which camera to carry along with me. I could take a 35mm or 120 film camera though I wanted to travel light and without a kitbag of gear nor a tripod. I chose my Nikon D700 sans battery-grip with a Nikkor 24-85mm zoom. Not the lightest or the best lens necessarily though very flexible. The lack of any redeeming qualities to the available light kind of dictated flexibility.

I headed towards Locking and Green Pastures near to what used to be Weston Airfield, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, UK. With no real idea in mind I'd see if anything worthwhile presented itself to me.

Pond at Green Pastures, Locking, Weston-suer-Mare,UK.At the water's edge – Pond near Green Pastures

Street Art - For Sale - Birnbeck Rd, Weston-s-Mare, UK

'Street Art – For Sale' is the first monochrome photograph blogged here that is an example of my return, after a couple of decades, to 35mm and 120 film.

Having put together the necessary items in order to be able to process black and white film emulsions again and along with fellow photographers, who gave much appreciated advice and ideas to bring me up to date with current film types/stocks, processing chemicals and scanning negative film, I can now produce traditional film images in addition to my digital photography.

Currently, I do not have a darkroom and harbour no plans to set one up. I will content myself with scanning my negatives for sharing via screen-display, ink-prints and zine-booklets utilising computers and attached printers.

PhotoInfo: Nikon F4S/Nikkor 28-70mm f3.5-4.5D Kodak Double X rated at EI: 250-ISO Developed in Rodinal 1:25 at 21°C for 6 minutes Canoscan 9950F Rawtherapee/GIMP

Concrete Installation(GDR) in Berlin(East). Concrete Installation(GDR) in Berlin(East)

I was in Berlin for a short while back in 1999. Ten years after the wall that separated East from West, was demolished. The continuing presence of parts of the wall and its affects were still visible and felt.

Some twenty years ago then, as I write this, that I was standing in Panoramastraße, on the neglected slabs, at the base of the steps, outside 1A, 10178 Berlin, Germany. For the time of year the day was grey, cloudy and cool and there was not a soul around!

Back in the day there were no international chains here or much in the way of stores nor shops. Whereas nowadays one might find 'Der Alte Fritz' where one could sit outside and take-in the area as it is currently. One can walk under the covered-roofs to where I had stood taking photographs – when there were no rooves on the concrete installations.

The angle I chose to take my picture gave me a line of site past the Berliner Fernsehturm – Television Tower – to Panoramastraße 1, 10178 Berlin, Germany. However, I could not walk from the Wasser Kaskaden, up the steps and on through to the Television Tower. I was mindful that this seemed as if a metaphor in some way and I resented not being allowed access. Even though I did understand the 'risks', I felt they were acceptable and so would have ignored them and gone on my way – given the choice!

This is as if nothing then to those who had to live and die with the wall itself. The significance of this photograph, if indeed it actually has any significance, always though has a profound effect every time I engage with it.

Lamps on top of tall poles with threaded screw spiral attachments This is a monochrome photograph of sculpted outdoor street lamps.

I took this picture in Paris, near La Defense, circa May 1992. It was a dull day to say the least, though one can just about make out a modicum of sunlight above the clouds which has nearly brightened the picture in the sky area.

The idea was to get close enough to be shooting upward against the sky in order to isolate the lights from their cluttered background. Using the effect of converging vertical lines to bring the five poles, which were standing apart from one another, together and emphasise the screw thread effect. The exposure was as long as I could risk hand holding to keep some detail in what I knew would most likely be a semi-silhouette.

The film is Ilford HP5. I would have rated the film at 400ASA and developed the film in Ilford ID11, stock diluted 1+3. This photograph was taken on a very cloudy and dull day.

#photography #monochrome #film #LaDefense #Paris #lamps

Monochrome of a Citroën H Van and Citroën 2CV abandoned in a field

This is a monochrome photograph of an abandoned Citroën 'H' Van and Citroën '2CV'.

I took this picture in Brittany, circa May 1992. The Van was a drab, silver-gray colour and the 2CV was white. This somewhere near Quimper. There was, pretty much, nothing else besides more empty fields around this area.

The empty, quiet, loneliness, except for these two dumped vehicles, seemed at that time to fit my frame of mind. I had lost my Father the previous October and my maternal Grandmother on Christmas eve night; both to cancer.

Though I'm never sad looking at this picture. Moreover, I had and still have a sense of acceptance and of moving on. No, I never feel down at seeing this photograph.

The film is Kodak 5063 TX or as I knew and loved it Tri-X. I would have rated the film at 1600ASA/ISO using a red cokin 'A' filter and developed the film in Kodak HC110 solution B, 1+39. I was, just a little, into that infrared-ish look back then. #photography #monochrome #film #Quimper #Brittany #Citroën