Nov 252014
 

For over a hundred years Leicester was the centre of the hosiery trade in Britain. Rapid expansion took place in the 1960s and 1970s, helped by the influx of labour from Commonwealth countries. This was followed by changes in the market in the 1980s – competition on the high street inevitably caused major UK brands, previously supplied by Leicester manufacturers, to seek cheaper overseas merchandise. This lead to the demise (or corporate restructuring) of a number of major Leicester manufacturers.

Wolsey Chimney, Abbey Mills, Leicester

The Wolsey factory was built in the 1920s with the business taking its name from the nearby burial place of Cardinal Wolsey, the close aide of King Henry VIII, who was buried in 1530 at Leicester Abbey.

Demolition work began in 2009, only two chimneys (one bearing the Wolsey name) and the tower now remain.

Wolsey Tower, Abbey Mills, LeicesterHosiery Factory, Leicester

Above right, and images below taken at factory locations around Frog Island.

Hosiery Factory, Leicester

 Cash and Carry, Leicester

Nov 032014
 

Allotment, Shed

We moved house when our kids were small, to a nicer area, but sadly to a garden that wasn’t particularly good for growing produce because of its size and position. I’ve never been much of a gardener but her indoors suggested that we get an allotment, not just for food but also as it would be a nice family activity. It sounded like madness to me, but it turned out that she was right. We would disappear to the allotment, carrying tools and wearing wellies and return some hours later, muddy and tired and occasionally carrying huge squash or obscene looking tromboncino.

There was also a great community with a wide mix of ages, the typical retiree allotment holder, middle-aged couples, young families with small kids. Sundays could be spent digging and planting whilst the kids ran off to chat and play with other families. The allotment became popular, there was suddenly a waiting list and sadly with that new rules, regulations and regular inspections in order to weed out (sorry) those not using their plot. Many of the friends we had made left and plots fell empty and into disrepair.

It was not long after our first run in with those pleasant people from Birstall Parish Council that I decided to start recording the things that, for me, symbolise what an allotment should be – turned earth, weeds, sheds of all shapes and sizes, scrap that perhaps should have gone to the tip but might come in handy at some point.

I’ve photographed this shed far too many times but it encapsulates everything I love about this British institution.

Both images:
Graflex Pacemaker Speed Graphic 5×4 camera
Expired Agfa Paper

Allotment, Shed

Sep 172014
 

Ridgewalk Moor, Derwent Woodland

I have a love/hate relationship with my Zeiss Nettar. It doesn’t seem to hold the film tightly enough, which means that you get lose reels when unloading the film, ofter resulting in light leaks, and one corner of the image is slightly softer as the film isn’t held flat. On the plus side, it’s small enough to just about fit into the back pocket of my jeans and only cost £20.

Lower Small Clough Shooting HutLow Cloud on Ridgewalk Moor

Sep 022014
 

When Lomography announced their LomoChrome Purple film in early 2013 I was pretty excited – so excited in fact that I preordered 10 rolls (5×120, 5x35mm) even though it wasn’t due to ship for 6 months or so. Why? Well this film was an attempt to mimic the look of the now no longer produced Kodak Aerochome Colour Infrared film that I’d always wanted to try but had been scared off by the prices on ebay.

Does it look like Aerochome? Well, no. It seems to be styled on a particular Aerochome look, similar to Richard Mosse’s images from the battlefields of the Democratic Republic of Congo – in fact those images seemed to be the ones most used in early articles about what LomoChrome Purple might look like (and with good reason as they are fantastic).

Is it good value for money? No. At the time of writing this film is almost £10 a roll. I know the people at Lomo need a good thick layer of gold plating on their Rolls Royce’s but even for them that is quite a price.

Have I learnt anything from using this film? Green is infinitely more pleasing than purple.

I do quite like the film – I’d like it more if it were cheaper – but for me the purples are too dark and indistinct (certainly when shooting at the ISO400 rating). If anything, foliage looks less interesting with this film than normal colour film, which for me is something of an epic fail for a film pretending to be an infrared film.

Will I be buying more? Perhaps. I sold 5 of the 10 rolls that I originally purchased to people who wanted to try it but didn’t want to buy the 5 packs that were on offer at the time. I’ve not heard any of these people singing the films praises yet, but it is fun and it might be entertaining every now and again.

BelowA couple of images taken with LomoChrome Purple at Warwick Castle using an Olympus XA2.

LomoChrome Purple, Warwick Castle

LomoChrome Purple, Warwick Castle

 Posted by at 6:07 pm  Tagged with:
Aug 252014
 

I was surprised to see that it was already four years since I did the Crinkle Crags/Bowfell walk in the Lake District (The old blog post can be found here). I didn’t do a great deal of walking for about a year after that as I damaged my right knee – Crinkle Crags and Bowfell both feature quite difficult, rocky, terrain and the constant jarring was obviously too much for my unaccustomed knees, probably not helped by the heavy backpack.

I should just have packed the infrared converted camera this time and left the other at home, but there is always a nagging feeling that I’ll need both.

Mottled sunlight on Black Wars, Lake District, 590nm Infrared

Rocks at Brown Howe, Lake District, 590nm Infrared

I’ve returned to this valley so many times – camping at the Great Langdale National Trust campsite a couple of times as a teenager, taking the kids on the walk up to Stickle Ghyll every time we are in The Lake District. Driving down the ever narrowing roads from Ambleside, or dropping in via Hardknott and Wrynose, always feels so familiar and welcoming.

If you do stay at the Great Langdale campsite, remember not to stop in The Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel Hikers’ Bar until 11pm, flush with the success of your walking endeavours and fortified with many of their various wonderous ales. If you do stay out late, remember to tip-toe back and conduct all post 11pm discussion via the medium of mime.

Aug 142014
 

Montparnasse Cemetery hadn’t really been on our list of places to visit in Paris, but when we got to the Catacombs far too late on a Sunday (which I suspect is the busiest day) and overheard someone say that the queueing time was about 3hrs we decided to walk the short distance to Montparnasse Cemetery and leave the Catacombs visit for another year.

We had planned to (and did) visit Père Lachaise Cemetery on the Sunday afternoon and whilst Père Lachaise is perhaps more iconic and visually interesting, Montparnasse seemed to have more in the way of infrared photo material. That, however, could just have been because it was occasionally sunny when these pictures were taken but stormy by the time we made it to Père Lachaise, after an extended child grumblefest about what would be acceptable for lunch.

Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris, 590nm Infrared

Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris, 590nm InfraredMontparnasse Cemetery, Paris, 590nm Infrared

Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris, 590nm InfraredMontparnasse Cemetery, Paris, 590nm Infrared

Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris, 590nm Infrared

Aug 132014
 

B-29 Superfortress, Bleaklow, 590nm Infrared

B-29 Superfortress, Bleaklow, 590nm InfraredB-29 Superfortress, Bleaklow, 590nm Infrared

B-29 Superfortress, Bleaklow, 590nm InfraredB-29 Superfortress, Bleaklow, 590nm Infrared

B-29 Superfortress, Bleaklow, 590nm Infrared

My previous visit to this crash site had been part of a longer walk – up Ashton Clough, past the Hern Stones and on to Bleaklow Head, then back to the wreckage for dusk. We walked back in the dark and because of this (and my general ignorance) I hadn’t realised just how easy to reach this site was.

This time we parked on Snake Pass, where the Pennine Way crosses it, and walked north on the Pennine Way until we saw a rock on the ground that someone had kindly drawn a crude representation of an aircraft on, along with an arrow pointing west. With Bleaklow not being the sort of place to wander blindly I’d got a map, compass, GPS and a bloody good idea of where we were headed but this marker took the guess work out of when to leave the path. We headed down into the valley, across the many scars in the landscape cut into the soft peat by rainwater, then back up the other side towards Higher Shelf Stones, where we found the wreckage not far from the summit.