Here be Rats

Earlier this month I had a hospital consultation and unusually for these strange times it was in-person rather than by telephone so I headed into Halifax, mask in pocket, for my early morning appointment. Also in my pocket was my mobile phone with it’s handy light meter app and in my shoulder bag was the Horizon S3 Pro loaded with a roll of Adox Silvermax. Little did I realise when I left the hospital but I was just about to go and make four images that would provide me with a totally unprecedented (for me) and unexpected response on social media.

My view of Halifax town centre 10/5/2021

Have you ever peered behind the facade of your town centre?

I do regularly, in the name of urban photography of course. The service yard behind various premises including offices and fast food premises in Halifax town centre that I ventured into was a sight and smell to behold. As I slowly edged my way inwards I was stopped in my tracks by a movement that I only just caught with my peripheral vision. What was it? A piece of paper flapping perhaps?

Fuji X100T – I pretty-much ALWAYS have this in my bag

Well, no actually. A second movement in my line of sight confirmed what my subconscious had suppressed. I’d aroused the interest of a family of rats.

When I got home I developed the film in home-made FX55, an eco-developer I have been trying out, and hung the roll of images to dry. There were various panoramic views of the “public” face of the town centre but my attention was focused on the three images I’d taken before rats-stopped-play. I’d also taken a few on my ever-present Fuji X100T and knew that with the silver-rich Silvermax I was using in the Horizon there was the chance of some fabulous tones alongside my signature panoramic viewpoint – just so long as I’d got my exposures right.

I was not disappointed and having waited impatiently for the film to dry I was quick, unusually so for me, to scan the negatives and get them on to my computer. I love darkroom printing but even I have to admit that this hybrid approach has its appeal at times! Uploading the first image to my Twitter account I was nevertheless very surprised when my notifications went crazy. The four images from that six or seven minutes in the back yard have given me my best ever response on social media and I was very humbled at the response they generated – even the one that suggested I be permanently posted to the service yards of Halifax!

… to finish, one with a sepia tone

It was a strange sensation making the images, stood in a less then salubrious situation with the local wildlife increasingly in evidence, but I knew as soon as I released the shutter that, so long as I’d worked out the exposure correctly, I would have a couple of very nice images for my portfolio. I didn’t stay long however as the rats were getting increasingly curious! Seriously!!

All images: Horizon S3 Pro camera | Adox Silvermax film | developed in FX55 unless stated otherwise

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