Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Moar Velvia! - Part I

The Orford Ness photos from the previous post were all shot on Fuji Velvia 100F but I didn't finish the roll. It came with me to Southwold and produced these:

Valerian Shadows
Valerian shadows in Granny's yard
Some purply hollyhocks in Primrose Alley. I love the pebbled wall, the colour of the bricks, and the shadows.
Pink Hollyhock
And a pink hollyhock

Afternoon Sunlight
Afternoon sunlight in a bedroom
A convex mirror self-portrait á la Adam

On The Prom
Down on the prom
From The Beach Hut
The view from a beach hut
Busy day at the beach

The film then returned to Bristol with me, but that's another post...

All these photos were taken on Fuji Velvia 100F with my Pentax ME Super.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Orford Ness - on film!

Finally I get round to it!
So about a month ago now the lovely Niall drove us both all the way across the country to Orford in Suffolk to see Orford Ness, via his parents who kindly put us up for the night & provided us with excellent picnic materials.
I expect I should probably explain what Orford Ness is (Click here for Wikipedia explanation instead.). It's a shingle spit just off the coast of Suffolk. And by just I mean just, the boat journey takes about a minute! You can see in the google map:

View Larger Map
So why did we drive all the way across the country to see an island? Well, it has an interesting history: As well as being an exciting geographical phenomenon (it's made of shingle which has many rare plants growing on it) it's got some interesting history and it shows. The whole island was acquired by the MOD years ago and used for secret military testing during WW-s I & II, lots of which involved dropping bombs on it! Later on, during the cold war, there was an Atomic Weapons Research Establishment base where detonators and bomb casings were tested. Apart from that there's the "Cobra Mist" site where experiments leading to RADAR happened. Now the BBC World Service and a Dutch station are broadcast from there.
Anyway, up until 1992 or so(?) the entire place was under the Official Secrets Act and the public didn't know what went on there. Since then it's been looked after by the National Trust, who open it to the public under the title of nature reserve! There are still restrictions on where you can go, mainly to stop you a) disturbing rare plants & destroying their habitat b) having a derelict building fall on you c) being blown up by some of the tonnes of unexploded ordnance that is probably in the midst of all that shingle! The paths are well marked...

After a 6am start & the final leg of the journey, we reached Orford, parked the car and bought our tickets in time for the 10am boat. Unfortunately they'd miscounted
and we got bumped off and onto the 10.20 boat (and called us Mr & Mrs Wold!). Oh well. The jolly boatman took us across at 10.20 and a nice lady on the other side sold us a guidebook with a map in, showed us what was open and told us about boats back; you have to get off the island by a certain time or you're stuck! The lady who sold us the tickets takes the names & phone numbers of all the visitors so they know exactly who's there.
So we set out and walked all over the place, down every possible path & around every building. The weather turned lovely and many photos were taken, by the end we were well-exercised and even slightly sunburnt!

Of course, when the sun came out so did the slide film! It's the Velvia 100F which I'd cross-processed before. Sadly it seems that my ME Super is metering oddly as all of these came out rather dark and under-exposed. Also the purple tinge is probably due to my own cack-handed scanning; I'd been taught how to scan black and white negatives and didn't think to alter the colours as I scanned my slides. Yes, I'm a n00b.

The view from the bridge across the creek
Mud by the creek with mysterious metal poking out...
The lovely lovely lighthouse
Niall photographing it
Plants growing in the shingle

The sparkly sparkly sea & shingly beach
Police Tower
The police tower, for spotting intruders!
Some of the amazing coloured rusty metal lying around
The view from one of the small buildings that now houses information

Inside one of the AWRE buildings, water has collected in a bomb bay & the ceiling's fallen in
Looking back out of the door
The same building from the outside
A plant struggling through the concrete

In the marshes, out towards the Cobra Mist site
Derelict Toilet
A derelict toilet in the plate store, this building was falling apart in the most amazing way
Rusty crusty switches, also in the plate store

And that's all I've got. No doubt if my small camera still worked there'd be lots of awfully white balanced photos that show the general vast emptiness of the place, but there aren't!

For more information on visiting the place see the National Trust's website.
For a better (and more prolific with film) photographer's take on Orford Ness there's Niall's Orford Ness blog post.
All these photos were taken on Fuji Velvia 100F with my Pentax ME Super. For the full set at Orford Ness, see my set on Flickr.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Double Win

After Jith and I had a double fail, which was probably due to camera issues on her end, I decided to collaborate with myself instead. I found myself pretty easy to work with and didn't have to worry about letting myself down by filling the roll with rubbish.
I even managed to make some pictures, fancy that!

Bokeh in your honeycomb wall
Harbourside Bokeh x Honeycomb Wall at the Chemistry Department
Coffee On Park Street
Coffee at the village flower show x Park Street in the morning
Wallpaper at Papajis x Water in the fountain outside the Victoria Rooms

Leaves & a lantern on Birdcage Walk x Sculpture on the fountain outside the Victoria Rooms
Clifton Suspension Bridge from down by the swingbridge x Chipboard
Nightglow at the balloon fiesta x Advertising on a car

These were all taken on my Pentax ME Super with Kodak Colorplus 200 film from Poundland & developed by the nice people at Clifton Colour.
The rest of the roll can be found in my Doubles! set on Flickr.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Down The Lane

One of the nice things about living in the countryside (that almost makes up for isolation, lack of public transport, poor internet connection, lack of phone signal etc)is that there's so much pretty about. Just walking down the lane I see loads of lovely trees and flowers and rolling countryside that really puts Bristol to shame. Urban trees can be a nice relief from general concretey greyness and leafy garden-y areas can be pleasant, but nothing beats being surrounded by green with only the sounds of songbirds (plus the odd tractor) in the air.

Bit fanciful? Maybe. But look:

Brambly Hedge

Thistly Hedgetop

Charlynch Churchyard
Shadowy Figure

Sheep in the Orchard
Sunny Hedgetop

All these photos were taken on my Pentax ME Super on Fuji Superia X-Tra 400.
For more ramblings see my Gone For A Walk! set on Flickr.

Cornwall & Southwold

After the excitement of the balloon fiesta I drove the 200 miles from Bristol down to Cornwall to join (most of) my family in a somewhat isolated farmhouse near St Just in Penwith. My parents are slowly working their way round the South West Coast Path and were taking the opportunity to do a bit more.
Still being hampered by the rubbishness of the borrowed camera I didn't take that many photos, but I managed a few!

On the nicest day we went to the beach at Porthgworra. It's in a little cove and the beach is split in two by a sort of outcrop which has tunnels through it. One side is made of lumpy rocks and the other is a steep slope down which boats would be launched (if there were any). It's a decently pretty place and wasn't horrendously busy, although there was a fair queue to get pasties when they arrived at the tiny shop.
My sister and I tried swimming but we got in up to our middles and decided that it was far too cold; it also smelled disgusting, probably because of a sewage outlet pipe, and it got worse as the tide went out. Oh well.
Mum, Dad and I scrambled over rocks along the beach a bit and got to the end of the cove before being forced to stop by an impassable sort of gulley in the rocks. We did spot some cormorants though!

Not the beach but never mind.

On Grandma's birthday we went to Falmouth as it was raining lots where we were. We had lunch in a sort of church tea room and had a look at some art and some charity shops (one of which had a massive collection of 35mm compact film cameras).
Before heading home we went out near the castle and had a look at the view. I spotted St Anthony Head, which Niall and I visited when we were in Cornwall (blog post here)
St Anthony Head
It was strange seeing it from the other side, and with my family.
There were *loads* of boats.
That evening we took Grandma to The Gurnard's Head which is a pub in the middle of nowhere. It's only really a pub in that it looks like one from the outside and has a bar. Otherwise it's a really really good restaurant. I didn't take any photos of the food as that would've felt a bit rude but it was *so* good. There was wonderful warm homemade soda bread and butter to start with, then I had:
- pea & goats cheese risotto with crispy pancetta, toasted almond flakes and pea shoots
- Plaice with homemade gnocci, cherry tomatoes and samphire
- Some kind of chocolate pudding I can't remember the name of

One day I shall try and recreate that risotto. I'm not a huge fan of almonds but it really worked; there was just the right amount of cheese in the risotto, enough to be tasty but not so much that it was overpowering; the pea shoots were lovely and delicate but had a surprising amount of flavour. Mmmmmmmmmmmm.

Anyway! The rest of the week was largely rainy and Mum & Dad went walking a bit while I revised for my retake, K researched tigers for her fancy project qualification thing, and Grandma snoozed in an armchair.

On the Friday we set out for home, theoretically around a three hour journey by car. Mum & K were going via Rosemoor to see the William Morris exhibition we'd missed previously, and I was going with Dad & Grandma. I was intending to go straight on up to Bristol for sometime after 4pm so I was happy when we left without mishap at 10.45. Then it all went wrong.
The traffic was absolutely horrendous. After maybe an hour Mum & K broke down and we had to go back to help them (the car was overheating from sitting in traffic jams). Luckily they'd broken down at a former Little Chef which was now a Starbucks so there were at least toilets and coffee. There wasn't much wrong with the car so we gave it a drink adn a chance to cool down and went on our way. However the roads were still completely jammed up and we didn't reach Bodmin until around 2pm.
After getting badly lost in Bodmin and an unsatisfactory lunch of pie crust and chips we pushed on to Exeter, where I decided to take a train, arriving at St Davids Station around half past three. I must have just missed a train to Bristol as there wasn't another going for around an hour. I had a fairly open ticket so I jumped on the first one to Taunton for the sake of keeping moving, and after changing at Taunton, I arrived at Bristol around half past five. So that wasn't a fun day of travelling.

Anyway, well done if you've read all of that. The point of me going to Bristol was so that Niall could take the two of us to Orford Ness the next day. We had dinner at his house before driving to his parents in Bedfordshire to stay overnight. We got up at 6am and completed the journey, arriving at Orford just in time to be miscounted out of the first ferry of the day.
Once we got across we spent a lovely day exploring the island, much of which is still off-limits due to unexploded ordnance. It's a really fascinating place and well worth a visit. I've got plenty of film photos coming and Niall wrote about it rather nicely on his Tumblr, but until then this is the sum of my digital photographic efforts there:
Cracked Glass
Impressive, eh? Think of it as a teaser.

Having walked many kilometres and caught the sun, we went up the coast to Southwold where we had supper at The Red Lion. Then Niall went off homewards and I stayed the week with my Granny, being joined by (3/5 of) my family the next day. Again, not many photos were taken, and those that were were mostly family.

After Southwold I returned to Bristol to go into revision exile for the week and a bit before my exam. I left the house infrequently, and mostly to go to Sainsbury's.
Special Parking
Spotting some inventive parking on the way.
I also made it to a Photosoc pub meet, which was a very pleasant relief from the Mathses.

Enough! Next up: Double Exposures, finally!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Bristol Balloon Fiesta '10

On the Thursday the fiesta started I drove up to Bristol and realised, as I drew up outside my house, that I'd forgotten my keys. Facepalm moment. Luckily my flatmate L was scheduled to arrive about half an hour after me, so I arranged to pick her and her twin up from the coach station so I could get in.
While I was waiting I could hear meowing, so I went to investigate and met this little chap:
He was sitting on the pavement meowing at anyone who went past and seemed very pleased when I went to say hello. He wove in and out of my legs and rolled about on the ground, and when I moved my foot suddenly he tried to grab and bite it! I put it down to playfulness...

That afternoon L, R and I took an exciting trip to big Sainsbury's, and I unpacked all the junk I'd brought up with me. My room looks much more homely now!
Later on we met some other people for tea (as organised by the lovely Jith) before heading down to see the nightglow at Ashton Court. (via the blackberries of Clifton)

It was very crowded and there was a huge chavvy funfair, which isn't exactly my thing, but it was fun for photos and the balloons were rather nice.

On Friday evening I went to the Square Sessions in Queen Square with Niall and Alex among others.
The music was decent too, but it was just a nice atmosphere lying around with nice people and nice cider. Niall (1 2) took some nice photos which sum it up pretty well. I could've sworn Matt did too but I can't find them!

On Saturday I had arranged to have a tea party at my house at 4pm. I got home later than I intended and baked rather panickedly. Luckily L & R are amazing bakers and made sparkly brownies and pink cupcakes, the angels! While I was hurriedly makeing whoopie pies in a saucepan on the coffee table in my bedroom and ordering Alex about, my friend C from home arrived with her boyfriend (J). She'd come up to see the balloons and I cruelly had her make cucumber sandwiches.
After lots of faff and flouryness various other people arrived, I made a big pot of tea, and we ate cake. Jith, Josh and Tom made something rather interesting. It was a small iced sponge cake with Hello Kitty's face on top, perched atop a lemon cheesecake. It was magnificent.
Posh Cat with the Hello Kitty Cheesecake
(Couldn't find a version without the cat... I have strange friends.)

After the tea party C (and J) and Niall and I decided it was too wet and miserable for the night glow (the 6pm ascent had got rained off) so we got an Indian takeaway and went to The Jersey Lily (a pub on Whiteladies Road) for a quiet drink instead.
The next morning we had brunch at Deco Lounge (shocking extravagance with the curry as well) before C & J went off for a day in Bristol and I ran away to Cornwall.