A series on Anglesey Abbey

For this series I used my 35mm Olympus OM2n and 50mm lens. The film was Ilford FP4 developed in Ilford ID11 developer for 11 minutes @20 deg C.

The negatives were scanned to digital copies on my Epson F3200 film scanner and finally finished with some post processing using Affinity Photo.

Anglesey Abbey located in the village of Lode in Cambridgeshire is a favourite location of mine for some photography. The present property which is now owned by the National Trust was built on the remains of a priory which was demolished during the days of the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536.

I’ve been there a few times as i like the fact that not only is there the house itself to photograph but many statues around the grounds.

The house is a Jacobean style mansion built around 1600. Owners throughout the centuries include Thomas Hobson and his parker descendants and the last private owner was Lord Fairhaven who lived in the house from 1926 to 1966. Fairhaven made extensive additions to the house to accommodate his collection of furniture and objets d’art. He also had the grounds landscaped. When Fairhaven died he left the house and it’s contents to the National Trust.

Pre-visualisation in photography

Pre-visualisation is a big word but it basically means seeing the image before you’ve even seen the image.

In Street photography you can often be bombarded with visual stimulus. So, to prevent being overwhelmed when presented with potential subjects, especially in places such as markets, it is a good idea to have in your mind the type of subject you are looking for.

On a recent trip into London I had planned on photographing around The Barbican. I particularly like the Brutalist style of architecture and it’s gritty concrete facades and dynamic shapes. So the obvious choice for me was to take a film camera loaded with black and white film to capture the tones and textures of the buildings.

I was however aware that the walk from Liverpool Street station to the Barbican was to take me through areas of contemporary steel and glass architecture. So, I also had it mind to capture some images using shop fronts and reflections in colour. So, with this in mind I also packed my little Sony RX100 camera.

Red is the colour.

The first thing that drew my eye was the advertising board inside this shopfront window. I wanted to capture someone in red in front and as luck would have it, this lady was some distance away. I just had to wait for her to position herself in front of the window. As often is the case, she was meandering around whilst talking on the phone. So it was just a case of waiting for her to arrive where I wanted her with the girl on the hoarding looking down on her.

Blue is the colour.

Whilst in the Barbican I saw this blue coloured vent tube and the fact that the distant windows were also of a blue tint. I could have just taken the shot without anyone but I had a visual idea that the image would look so much better with someone wearing blue also in the shot. It was a lucky day for me as I stood there for a while and then the lady in blue just came along to look at the sign and the image was made. I could have made the image without the person but that is an image that I could repeat on another day as the vent tube and windows are always there. It’s the human element in a matching colour that makes it unique.

So, instead of just wandering the streets snapping away at uninteresting street scenes without anything much happening try pre-visualising. Use the mind’s eye and form an idea of what it is you’re trying to achieve then look out for how those elements and wait for it all to come together.

Geometric shapes caught on film

Geometric shapes can be defined as figure or area closed by a boundary which is created by combining the specific amount of curves, points, and lines.

Assignment

A group of friends who are members of the local photography club and also keen on old cameras decided last week that it was time to go out on a photo shoot. Keeping to the current Government guidelines we were limited to a total of 6 and we decided to have a visit to a local town called Harlow in Essex.

The town plans were drawn up in 1947 by Sir Frederick Gibberd and was designated a New Town built to provide housing to replace the loss of housing in London during the war.

We wanted to catch the setting sun going down and throwing some light shafts through the contemporary architecture in the town. A New Town is an ideal location for this style of photography due to the proliferation of contemporary architecture with it’s associated square blocks and straight lines.

Equipment used

I used my Olympus OM2n 35mm SLR with a 50mm f1.4 lens. I had a red filter fitted to the lens for all these shots to darken the blue of the sky and give contrast between the sky and the buildings. Film used was Ilford HP5+ rated at 400 asa. The film was processed in Ilford ID11 @20 deg c for 20 minutes.

I saw this zebra crossing and thought it would be an ideal location for some Street Photography, especially with the vertical lines of the building behind. All I need now, I thought, was for someone to walk into the picture. Imagine my surprise when at that moment over my shoulder I heard someone appologise for walking into my picture. It couldn’t have been better. Not only had I got my subject but they were wearing a black and white striped top too. Perfect!
A selfie in a black and white barbers shop!

Decaying France

One thing I love about France is that they seem to be quite happy about just allowing buildings to weather and decay. All these photos taken in aix en Provence in January 2020.

Rather than spending money on repairing facades and making everything look new they allow the fabric of their buildings to atain a certain aged quality which I find very interesting.

I often say to people I’m with to look up about the shop fronts and study the faces above. That is where the history of the building is.

St Peters Church, Little Hanningfield.

From evidence in the north wall, the parish church of St Peter’s originated in the late 12th or early 13th century. The windows and glass reflect the history of the church and its time.

HISTORY: The nave is late C11 or very early C12 in origin. The chancel is of uncertain medieval date, but may be late C12 or early C13. The nave was lengthened to the west and possibly widened to the south in the C15, when the bell turret was also built. The south porch is also of this date, and the nave roof may be contemporary. The chancel was party rebuilt in 1850, and the church was further restored in 1883-4 by Frederic Chancellor (1825-1918), a well known church architect who worked widely in Essex and was mayor of Chelmsford seven times from 1888.

A day in Elsecar and another film camera purchase.

Elsecar Heritage Centre is a collection of buildings in Barnsley which are now of listed building status of historical architectural heritage. Now a collection of shops and craft workshops, they were originally built to support the adjacent mine workings, ironworks and railway. Built in 1850, they were reopened in 1987 in their present guise.

The clock shop in the centre.
The clock repairer.
The crossing for the steam railway.
The Newcomen Beam engine.

The mine workings in this area were some of the deepest in the area. To access the deep workings required the installation of this beam engine to extract the water. It ran from 1795 to 1923 and is now the oldest example of a beam engine in the country that is still situated in it’s original position. It can now only be operated with the assistance of a hydraulic pump due to the dilapidated state of its steam powered engine.

The busy antiques centre.
I did consider getting a new phone but thought I probably wouldn’t be able to get social media on this one 😅
I saw this box pushed up the corner of one of the areas of the antique shop and with some excitement opened it up and found a very nice little film camera in almost perfect condition, complete with its manual.
Voigtlander Vito C. Hardly any marks on it and the case looked like it hadn’t been used. Not a bad buy for £15. Can’t wait to try it out!

London City, Rooftop Garden and City Hall photography walk.

MAY. 10, 2019

Starting off at Liverpool Street Station in bright sunlight.

This was a walk planned to visit the recently opened rooftop garden at No 120 Fenchurch Street, London with members of Bishops Stortford Camera Club.

I had been notified of this new venue by a blog called ‘Look up London’ back in February but thought I’d wait until the weather improved. The day before the planned outing almost proved me wrong with storms and torrential rain However, I’m not put off easily by a bit of good old British inclement weather so went ahead with the trip anyway.

I love the way that in London you often get the contrasts of architectural styles.You have the stonework of St Andrew Undershaft Church here contrasting with the steel and glass of the Willis Towers building, then Lloyds

Just as we arrived at No 120 it started to rain but we did manage to get some lunch at Pret in Fen Court. Under cover and with everyone walking through with umbrellas up it proved to be a good opportunity for some street photography. I’d set a couple of assignments for the group, one of them being ‘Gestures in Street Photography’ so this proved to be an ideal time to get some shots.

Diane trying to blend i with the surroundings!
The colour is red!

After a while we did manage to get to the 15th floor and take some photographs before another black cloud came over and it rained again.

The gang minus two. Martin and Hazel and disappeared.

After around 20 minutes we decided to get some refreshment in the pub across the road and wait for the rain to stop.

One drink later we continued on down to London Bridge. Along the way we went into St Olave’s Church, founded in the 11th century it is one of the few medieval churches that survived the Great Fire of London.

The interior of St Olave's

Walking down Old Billingsgate Walk we went along the footpath on the north shore of the Thames and just before London Bridge there is a very good spot to photograph the Shard across the river with a triangular piece of art work in the foreground.

Looking up toward London Bridge.
Looking down toward Tower Bridge.

Crossing London Bridge we went for coffee before proceeding along the southbank to the area surrounding City Hall. There are great views across the river and back to the Shard as well as City Hall itself.

City Hall on the Southbank.
Back across the Thames from City Hall.
I often think this looks like a modern version of a Roman amphitheatre.

On past Tower Bridge is an area known as Shad Thames, one of the Victorian era’s largest warehouse complexes. Here were tea, coffee, dried fruit and spice warehouses which are now apartments. It was known as the ‘larder of London’ and you can still see the overhead gantries which connected the warehouses today.

Shad Thames.
Shad Thames.

Turning back on ourselves we then went over Tower Bridge to end our walk at The Minories pub which is built in one of the old railway tunnels. You can sit having a drink whilst listening to the rumble of the trains going overhead.

London – The Architecture – Part 1.

The Barbican Centre, London.

A modern Utopian city?

The Barbican scheme was a project of staggering scale and complexity. It took nearly three decades to design and build; involved the design of over 2,000 flats, two schools and an arts centre.

It is built in the style of what is now known as the Brutalist style of architecture.

The distinctive and labour intensive tooling to the bare concrete.

Brutalist architecture, is a style that emerged in the 1950s and grew out of the early-20th century modernist movement. Brutalist buildings are characterised by their massive, monolithic and ‘blocky’ appearance with a rigid geometric style and large-scale use of poured concrete

The raised walkways were part of what, at the time, was considered to be a way of city dwellers moving around the city without going down to street level. Most pedestrians however preferred to walk through the cafes and shops at ground level.

The Barbican scheme was designed by the practice of Chamnerlin, Powell & Bon, who are now considered one of the most important modernist architectural firms in post-war England.

The architects initially suggested a ‘small exhibition hall’ in their first proposal but by 1959 this had grown into a major arts centre including a theatre, a concert hall, an art gallery, a library and a restaurant.

The Barbican’s distinctive tooled-concrete finish is the result of an extremely labour-intensive technique. After the concrete had dried, workers used pick-hammers or wider bush-hammers to tool the surface and expose the coarse granite aggregate. Pick-hammering involved pitting the surface to an average depth of 1.25 cm and bush-hammering to no more than 0.6 cm deep.

At the time of their completion, the Barbican towers were the tallest residential towers in Europe.