The Dentist

Since the pandemic started our weekly routine has undergone a massive change and as a result so has my photography. We no longer pop into Halifax or Huddersfield just to wander (me with a camera), have a look at the shops, enjoy a coffee or some lunch. Such trips are now based on necessity rather than leisure and so I’ve photographed closer to home far more extensively in the last two and a half years.

Can’t resist a shadow-selfie

These last few months though I’ve had an ongoing issue which has necessitated regular trips to my dentist which although I no longer work in the town is still based in Halifax. And a trip to the dentist always includes a wander with a camera. It’s my one photographic “rule”.

So, here are a few images from my most recent dental appointment and there’s not a molar or a drill in sight!

I got rain!

Last time out I was bemoaning the lack of rain. Well, not today. I’d already had a taste of light drizzle when I took the grandkids to school but as I set out for a wander with the cameras half an hour later it had stopped.

I turned right and walked to the end of our street. I decided that it was time I photographed the small row of shops opposite the entrance to Albert Street so took my battered Weston Master V from my jacket pocket. One glance at the dial and I knew I was going to have a challenging morning.

Challenging light … but at least not raining

The KMZ FT2 was loaded with Ilford Pan F, a 50 ISO film. Even the fixed aperture of f5 wasn’t enough to give me my preferred 1/200th second shutter speed. In fact even the “secret” 1/50th option wasn’t enough as the needle hovered between 1/20th and 1/30th. I’m a pragmatist though and accept that my choice of such basic, some might say crude, tools comes with such limitations. I’d deal with the problem later when I came to develop the film and once I knew what other compromises I’d had to make on this roll.

The other camera in my bag, you knew there’d be another I’m sure, was the Horizon S3 Pro. I have plenty of options with this one although I prefer to use it at f16 and 1/125th second. Again, my film choice was against me.

A partly used roll of Kodak Double X, was forcing me down to f8 at 1/30th. I rarely use any apertures other than f16 as images get quite soft from f8 onwards in my experience. The sweet spot is undoubtedly f16 with f11 as wide as I usually go.

I spent ten minutes at this spot. Using both cameras and seeing if I could get some blurry traffic but mainly waiting for a moment with no traffic. A moment which never came!

Nearly empty of cars!

Putting the S3 back in the bag and turning left I was debating walking straight on into the town centre or heading south through the back streets. Debate was cut short by a cloudburst though and I darted left under some well established trees to escape the worst of the rain. I’d wanted rain and now I had it!

Sheltering under the trees

I amused myself with some compositions under the trees, with even less light than before and employing the same settings though. I’d decided at that point that semi-stand development was going to be the way to go. The rain was clearly settling in so I decided to move on, across the playing field towards the town centre.

Half way around the field and I was already soaked. It was the classic situation, I had the right clothes on … but not for the prevailing weather. Ever the pragmatist I decided to cut my losses. The film in the KMZ was finished and there were only a few frames left in the S3. I was wet through, I’d not had any breakfast … so I headed north towards my favourite local cafe.

“Good morning! Your usual?”

No better greeting!

Whilst I ate the usual the rain eased and by the time I left the sun was making a feeble effort to peep out. I though had a date with a developing tank and some Rodinal!

I Want Rain

“What are you doing today? [subtext: I want you out from under my feet.]
“Depends. If it rains I’m going for a walk”
“I want rain!”

At Whenham Towers … 8am Saturday

It has been very dry of late. The urban landscape is dry. Parched grass, wilting flowers and dusty grey pavements. It needs rain. The plants and grass need rain. I need rain!

So I load the camera. Unsurprisingly it’s the Horizon S3 Pro, this time with a roll of Fomapan 400. The ONDU 6×6 pinhole is already loaded and sat patiently in my shoulder bag. But with what is it loaded?
The label has fallen off somewhere and apart from a guess of ISO 100 or 400 film I’ve no idea what is inside. No worries, I will expose at ISO 200 and push or pull as required when I develop.
Or should I expose at 400 thus giving a 50% chance of a normal development?

Decisions, decisions.

Fortunately, that decision can wait a while yet- SO, I wait.

Patiently(ish).

For the rain.

An hour later and I am still waiting. Patiently(ish). I check the weather app
on my phone. When I checked earlier in the day it had indicated that rain WAS due, around lunchtime, and that it would be heavy. How it reads “Mostly Cloudy”. It then teases with: “Rainy conditions due around 5pm”.

5pm! Even then it’s only a 50% chance of rain and sunny conditions are forecasted to return within an hour or so.

What does that mean for me now though? I want rain! The wife wants rain! Oh, and some daylight please. This is the UK. It ALWAYS rains here surely.

I settle back to wait patiently(ish).

It’s not easy though. I’ve spent three weeks either childminding or DIY-ing and I’m due a walk with a camera – in the rain!

Have I mentioned rain?

I sit. And wait.

Patiently(ish) .


Postscript: I’m still waiting