With daylight hours growing shorter as winter approaches, I’ve been making an extra effort to photograph at every suitable opportunity. The portable form factor of the Ricoh GR-1 is doing its job, travelling everywhere with me and providing a useful prompt to stop and make some pictures. My second roll of images with the Ricoh was once more shot on Velvia 50 (note to self: buy some faster film for the gloomy months ahead).
I had the film processed and scanned at the Darkroom in Cheltenham whose service, including free postage, was swift. For 35mm film, I prefer to order medium-resolution scans (1545 pixels longest side from the Darkroom) from the lab to give me an instant overview of the photographs and enable me to send files to Lightroom. I’ve been impressed by the Darkroom’s scans which (according to the metadata) are produced on a Noritsu Koki QSS 32_33 scanner. As I have struggled on occasion to satisfactorily colour correct my own slide film scans so I really appreciate the instant gratification of someone else (or some nifty software) doing this work for me.
Here are some samples from the second Ricoh roll, followed by a link to the whole roll at bottom.
Near my home is Oxleas Wood, one of the few remaining areas of ancient deciduous forest in London, dating back over 8000 years. If at all known today, Oxleas is usually associated with Severndroog Castle, an 18th century folly built to commemorate Sir William James’s conquest of Suvarnadurg fortress in western India. The Wood is much valued by the local community which has, from time to time, been obliged to defend the place from thrusting road builders and politicians.
Away from Severndroog, it’s quite possible to walk for half an hour in Oxleas without encountering another human being. The forest is enveloping and tranquil and it is this mood that I am trying to capture photographically. Dead trees, shadow patterns and leaf cover often fill the frame. There is little colour of note. I had visualised these images in monotone and created a custom preset in Lightroom with a warm cast (rather than straight greyscale) for the conversions from E6 (Provia and Velvia). I will be returning with Ilford FP4+ soon as an experiment in this project’s early stages, but here are some initial results.
Last Saturday’s weather was fantastic – sunshine all day – so I picked up Gordon early and headed east to the Thames Estuary.
En route via the A13, we formed a rough plan of action: start at Tilbury then work west along the north side of the Thames to Grays and Rainham. Access to the shore itself is hindered in several places by private industrial sites with no public right of way. Nonetheless, when you can reach the riverside, there’s an interesting blend of footpaths, detritus and nature at the water’s edge.
Walking the Thames on an east-west axis, I often shoot things frontally. I like the stacking effect this creates with walls, buildings and the sky: factories loom up and wall graffiti are mounted on a facing plane. There’s often a pleasing simplicity and symmetry to these compositions.
The Tilbury river wall graffiti are a mixture of mod culture references and melancholy (and often enigmatic) statements, plus the usual less imaginative tagging. Such is the current paranoia of fossil fuel companies, our wanderings attracted the attention of security staff from Tilbury Power Station who thought it necessary to check that we were not a) environmentalists, or b) terrorists. They went away disappointed but probably relieved to briefly escape the CCTV monitors for some fresh air.
Technical notes: these pictures were shot on Fuji Velvia 100 and Provia 400, scanned on an Epson V700. Most were taken hand held using a Mamiya 6.