Went for a walk again last week to Dams Spinney armed with my Olympus OM2sp loaded with Kodak TriX rated at 800asa. It was for a change a bright cold day. I’m really enjoying visiting this old spinney but worry how much longer it’s going to be there, seems to be little if any tree management or maintenance on the site, you have to clamber over fallen trees that straddle the path around the spinney, but it’s good for the wildlife and that’s so important in this day and age.
I woke up at 4 am this morning to the soft sound of a Tawny owl calling, so lovely. It’s normally the screech of a Barn owl that I hear on a few occasions, they seem to like my very tall “Tree of Heaven” (Ailanthus altissima) to perch in.
It’s a sure sign of the start of spring when the Tom cats come prowling around the garden. My two Female cats are both spayed and watch on with indifference. Being an unashamed cat lover I feel sorry for these guys not having a home so always leave some food outside for them, the dishes are licked clean when I collect them in next morning.
Into The Sun
It was a really warm day for February yesterday so I went back to the Spinney to see what if anything had changed, there were signs of new growth and some blossoms coming through. I took my faithful old Olympus OM2n that I bought secondhand in 1992, slipped in some new batteries and it was ready to go. For over 2 years now I’ve had a roll of Cinestill 800T film resting in the fridge so I loaded it up and am hoping for the best, will send it off for processing next week.
Zits, hickey’s (UK English definition !) spots, my negatives had lots of them even though I used demineralised water for mixing the stock developer solution. I think I now know what’s giving my negatives a bad case of acne. Kodak D76 developer is a sachet of powder that needs mixing with water at 50 – 55 deg C, simply the developer isn’t fully dissolving, so I will be using Ilford ID11 from now on, this is virtually the same as D76 but the developer powder comes in two separate sachets (mixed separately) and from a dim and distant memory is easier to mix, and why I used to use it. The only upside to all these Zits and spots is that I need to spend a long long time in Lightroom cloning them out, this becomes an invitation for my cats to take it in turns sitting on my lap and Purring.
After attaching my new (£15.00) 37mm Mir lens to the Canon 500n/Rebel G and half pressing the shutter button the batteries immediately expired, and I didn’t have any spares. So I dug out my M42 to PK adaptor and decided to give the Pentax Super A an outing. The Pentax is in really good condition apart from the viewfinder which at some time in its life has had water ingress which has left staining on the focusing screen. Loaded it up with Kodak TriX and set off reasonably early to the Arboretum, the Sun was out and coming in at a low winter angle. After a couple of shots I realised the back of the lens caught the mirror if it was focused at anything approaching Infinity, fortunately I had packed an Helios 44-M – 58mm lens, which I used for the rest of the frames.
Low Light Tangles
After the above 2 shots I switched to the Helios lens.
While out on a PhotoWalk with the guys a few weeks ago we ended up near the railway station. It brought back memories of summer 1960 when I was allowed to go trainspotting with my older cousin.
I can remember climbing up the sloping part of the bridge supports and standing on the top (clutching my notebook and pencil) to get a view of the trains entering and leaving the station.
This was the path that led to what was known as the “Birdcage” it gave a wonderful view over the tracks and the engine shed, and in 1960 there were still many steam trains running. The engine shed has long since gone and graffiti has replaced the occasional chalked message pledging allegiance to the local football club.
The images were taken with my Minolta X700 on Kodak Tri-X, developed in Kodak D76.
Well not on this visit, just popped in for a coffee with the PhotoBuddies. I haven’t actually been to a production yet at the “Curve” theatre in my home city, mainly because they have been putting on musicals, and that’s a sure way for me to fall asleep, which is embarrassing for me and whomever I’m with. Give me a good play, Shakespearean, modern or classic and I’m wide awake !
I had the Minolta X700 with me loaded with Kodak Tri-X, and took a few quick shots in the theatre foyer.
I’d forgotten how good Tri-X could be, it has been a few years since I last used it. The lens on the Minolta (the only one I have) is a 28 – 70mm zoom and not really rated, but I was pleasantly surprised at the results.
On the last but one PhotoWalk with my photo buddies I wanted to have a look at the factory where I started my very first job on the 4th of August 1969. I was taken on as an apprentice Lithographic Printer at Hodgkins-Millar & Co, with a weekly wage of £5-0-3d. Looking at the building seems it to have taken on new and varied uses !
The car at the bottom of the driveway in the picture is where I would park my Francis Barnett motorbike. After the first week of work I wanted to go back to school, loading an A1 size press with heavy art paper was hard work, not to mention the many paper cuts on my hands, they gave me a pair of linen gloves so that I didn’t mark the paper with blood from the paper cuts. Needless to say I stuck it out but within 3 months I was working for a different company as an apprentice Litho Platemaker (a step up).
The view looking across the road. It was always an industrial part of the city, with plenty of old shops, characterful pubs, and Victorian factories, not so much today, the pubs and shops have been demolished and the area is a bit rundown. I took the photographs on my Minolta X700 using Kodak Tri-X, a film I haven’t used for many years.
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