Wednesday, 10 October 2012

PPPP (or, In a Preston Park Photographing with Paul)

  As many regular readers of this blog will know i live very close to one of Preston’s largest parks.  This park is brilliant as i can walk straight through it to work, cutting my daily commute by half.  Last Wednesday was a truly beautiful morning, the sun was low in the sky, the dew was still hanging on the cobwebs and the mist was rising from the river.  I promised myself that the next day we had weather like this i would be in the park with my camera

  Well Thursday was a horrible day, the clouds had rolled in and the rain was coming down at every conceivable angle.  Friday followed suit and all the rain was causing the river to rise a bit too high for my liking.  As i was coming to out of my slumber on Saturday morning though i noticed a strange warmth to the room accompanied by an orange glow from behind my curtains.  Sun? Surely not! YES!!  After seeking permission from my loving wife (sometimes she reads this blog – i must dish out the flattery) i leapt from bed, grabbed my bag, stocked up on film and hit the pavement running. 

  Just like the previous Wednesday the morning was clear and warm with rising mist and hanging dew.  I couldn’t wait to get into the park and start shooting, especially as i had a few new bits of gear to try out.  I had won a 150mm S lens for my Bronica SQ-A a few weeks earlier on EBay for an absolute steal and today would be a great time to try it out.  Also i had managed to grab hold of a Pentax Spotmeter V which i was dying to try out.  For those of you that don’t know a spotmeter basically lets you take a meter reading of a tiny part of your frame.  Do a few of these across your shot and you can see how best to judge your exposure.  Armed with my new and old kit i power-walked into the park and got shooting.  I called a friend who lives nearby (even though he is an evil digital shooter) and got him to meet me inside as sometimes it’s just nice to have a bit of company.

  We had a great time, there were plenty of nice shots to be taken, especially with the dew evaporating in the sun.  I tried to focus very carefully on my use of filters and on my metering.  I have always struggled with metering.  It should be very simple but for the longest time i have never been able to get exposures i am happy with using my incident/reflected meter.  My new spotmeter was a joy to use though.  Having done a fair bit of reading up on the zone system i was prepared on how to use my new meter to its full potential.  It was so easy to use and get accurate readings from.  For those of you unfamiliar with the zone system ill probably be writing a post on it at some point soon in the future.

  Anyway, on with the narrative.  We walked up the river taking some photos of the spiders webs hanging between the undergrowth and then headed over the footbridge to take some photos of the mist rising over a farmers field.  One handy thing about the spotmeter here was that i could see how much more exposed the sky would be compared to the foreground and then apply the appropriate grad filter.  A simple thing but a joy to do.  We then carried on up the river towards Waitrose where we stopped for supplies before heading back into the park to shoot the trees and leaves as the sun had risen higher in the sky.

  All in all we spent about 3 hours wandering the park, up and down the slopes and through the muddy puddles.  Then we headed home for food and a sit down.  We ended up spending the rest of the day playing risk, watching dvds, developing film and doing some printing.  Im pretty happy with how my prints came out.  The one of the triangle shaped web was a pain to make and i wasted so much paper but i got it how i wanted it in the end.

   Its really nice to look back over the roll you have shot, developed and printed and know that at every single step you were making something for yourself .  I really love the feeling that you have made something with your own hands that is unique to you, even if no one else gets to see the finished product.  Im thinking i may print some of these photos on bigger paper and maybe even try some subtle toning but thats another post for another time...