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A January Walk at Thacker Marsh | Kodak Portra 800

I may just have mentioned before how much I love shooting my Canon AE1 in combination with Kodak Portra 800…but I’ll have to say it again! I find the richness of colour and detail so beautiful to my eyes, as well as the rendering of soft and golden winter light and the gorgeous greens. The weather has been very cold here over the past few weeks, but just recently it has nudged back up above zero. Whilst we haven’t let the bitter temperatures deter us from heading out to shoot, it was certainly much more comfortable on this particular day, and the evening sunshine looked very promising. Thacker Marsh is a beautiful and peaceful spot very close to our home and it has quickly become one of our favourite places in the area to stroll and take photographs. The sunlight was simply magical, whether directly lighting the trunks and branches with warm, colourful light or creating drifts of golden mist and making every little detail of moss on twigs stand out in backlight. There were many little moments of wonder and discovery, and I feel so lucky to be able to go back there again any time to see and feel more of the magic of this place.

All photographs shot on Canon AE1 with 50mm 1.8 lens (with a new lens hood!) on Kodak Portra 800 film and dev/scan Canadian Film Lab

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Kay Thompson - January 23, 2017 - 8:29 am

Stunningly beautiful

Beautifully Unintended | A Short Walk in Agassiz

This small collection of images was the result of an unintended departure from the norms of my film shooting. Setting off on any kind of trip at the moment involves extra thought and time associated with the weather (choosing the best combination of clothes, shoes, camera gear, and then putting them all on) and on this occasion the rush to finally leave the house resulted in me taking the ‘wrong’ lens with me. I usually shoot with a 80mm lens on my Contax, and on this day when I came to take it from my bag I found that instead I had my 45mm. I was quite disappointed and felt wrong-footed…this is a wider angle lens that I am happy to use for landscape photography, but for my usual style of ambling round, capturing details and light that catch my eye, I wasn’t sure how it would work out. But never mind, this lens was all I had and the blue sky, snow and lovely heritage buildings of Agassiz were far too enticing not to shoot. So we walked (gingerly and not for very long…the paths were liberally coated with snow and ice) and I shot with far less intention than usual, not sure what to expect from the lens and feeling slightly out of control and unhopeful. Today, a few days later, I was oddly excited to see the images and now that I do, I feel surprised and satisfied with the results.

Continuing with the mood I am also now blogging these with much less forethought than usual and totally out of order (there are many older photographs than these to compile and publish). Even the brief stop in Agassiz itself was not completely planned: we were really on our way to nearby Harrison Lake.

This all links with a vague aim I have, perhaps best worded as ‘thinking less and doing more’. It’s a vague aim because I’m apprehensive about it, but this blog post is one of my first efforts so I’ll see how well it continues.

All photographs shot on Contax 645 with Zeiss 45mm 2.8 lens on Kodak Portra 800 film and developed/scanned back at Canadian Film Lab HQ.

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Kay Thompson - January 8, 2017 - 8:50 am

I love seeing your beautiful photos as I will never be able to visit these wonderful places myself

Erica - January 8, 2017 - 10:56 pm

That’s lovely to hear, thank you Kay xx

Kath - January 9, 2017 - 9:26 am

Love the colours and light, I can really feel the place! Good luck with the doing thing! I’m trying ‘being’ rather than doing……not much success so far lol! Xx

Erica - January 9, 2017 - 3:43 pm

Thanks Kath, really pleased you like them. I find that overthinking and worrying is preventing me from doing things so that’s one of my sims at the moment. Trying to just ‘be’ sounds like a good idea too :-) xx

A new favourite place | Portra 800 in the snow

We first discovered Christ Church on a hot September day, out wandering from the central Rotary Park in town into the side streets to explore our new home. Finding out that Hope was home to the oldest church on mainland BC was a very exciting moment for me. I love history and architecture, and although the age, scale and style of this beautiful little building is very different from the stone-built Gothic creations I adore in the UK, Christ Church is just as wonderful in its own quiet way. We finally had time to spend a little more time there several months later when we ventured out into the snow with our cameras to capture some rather magical light at this very special place. All images shot on Contax 645 with Kodak Portra 800 film and developed and scanned back at Canadian Film Lab.

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Kay thompson - January 8, 2017 - 8:52 am

So beautiful

Erica - January 8, 2017 - 10:55 pm

Thank you Kay xx

My Canadian Garden in Autumn | Kodak Ektar

This morning I was just about to start work, but I popped down into the kitchen to get a glass of water first. Our kitchen – just as it did back in the UK – has patio doors that open on to the back garden, and I could see that the light was just beginning to filter through the trees and bushes on the eastern side of the garden, setting the autumn colours aglow. I couldn’t resist grabbing a roll of Ektar and taking some shots on my Contax. Film photography is one of the ways I connect with my environment, and exploring my new garden with my camera in my hand – noticing the way the light works, finding beautiful little spots to appreciate – was such a lovely experience. When the first sunlight hits damp surfaces, huge swirling plumes of steam drift out into the air and the light filtering through the orange leaves is soft and colourful all at once. Our new garden is a truly beautiful place, and I love it so much already. I can feel the haven that it will become for us, and when we stepped into it on a blazing hot August day when we were looking round it on our first viewing, it was the main feature that drew me to the house and made it feel right. The sun was beating down and there were flowers, birds and butterflies – and a lush blue-green soaring mountain behind! I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was so incredibly gorgeous, and it was hard to believe that it might be ours. Despite this, I miss our old garden. It too was a beautiful and peaceful little place, and my husband Christian and I created it. The house was new when we bought it, and the garden was bare earth. Over the years we planned, planted and cared. Christian built the deck and pergola with his dad, and his mum helped tend the trees. Our families came to visit and we had barbecues in it. My parents bought us an Acer that took pride of place in the corner and grew strong and dazzlingly beautiful. Christian and I sat together watching the breeze ruffle the leaves, talking or reading or just looking. We held our wedding reception in it. We watched the shrubs and trees grow taller and stronger. I sat out most mornings before the day began, to drink a cup of tea and feel the peace and calm. More and more birds visited over the years as we put out food for them. Bees came. Flowers grew, all chosen and planted by us. It’s that connection – borne out of so much ‘hands on’ contact, time and ever-changing experiences – that I’m looking forward to developing with our new garden. I think that our old home felt so much like home because it was infused with our spirit and that of our loved ones, and that as we settle and grow here, welcome visitors and create happy memories in it together, so too will our new home become our special place of contentment and serenity once more, as it is already starting to be.

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Blakeney High Street | Kodak Ektar |Spring Holiday

I’ve had these images assembled for quite some time, and then life got rather busy. I never tend to mind a delay between taking a photograph and then doing something with it, because it’s great to look at images with almost-fresh eyes, and enjoy reliving the memories. This time around there’s a more unusual feeling to the delay, because between taking these photographs back in spring, and the moment now where I sit writing this blog post, my husband and I have moved to another country! So I thought that in this blog post I would not only reflect on the lovely mini holiday during which these images were captured, but on my experiences since then.

To the images first…this is Blakeney, one of mine and my family’s favourite spots, and a place filled with happy holiday memories. This time around we went for a short break in mid spring, as a belated gathering for my birthday. The sun came out just before it completely dipped down behind the buildings of the pretty high street, so I headed out quickly with my Contax and a roll of Kodak Ektar film. The colours, textures and light were all calling to me, and I knew Ektar would do them justice…it never lets me down and is pretty much my all-time favourite film. Just look at the way it captures all of the beautiful nuance and detail in the shadows and the highlights…I just feel it is the closest I can get to capturing the full depth and beauty of scenes like this as I see them with my own eyes. The first shot shows Bank Cottage, which was the gorgeous little cottage where we stayed, and all of the other photographs were taken within a two minute amble up or down the high street. My favourite photograph is near the end, where I was taking a shot of the door to the cottage as I was heading back in, and my sister Holly popped up just inside the cottage and did something cute, as she so often does.

After this holiday things seemed to speed up, and life became quite a whirlwind of work and preparations for our move, though with plenty more lovely family memories mixed in. Now we are one week in to our new adventure here in beautiful British Columbia in Canada. There is so much to take in! We’ve travelled around BC extensively on our many visits here, but of course everything feels so different when a place is your home. It’s still just as beautiful, in particular during these last few days where the sunshine hasn’t stopped and the gorgeous mountains all around go on and on and on, surrounding you across vast distances as far as your eyes can see. But now we can’t just enjoy the scenery, the wide open spaces and the wilderness that awaits us outside the city limits. Instead – for now – we have to focus on a million other things…finding out where to shop for food and toiletries being small things; finding and buying a car and a home being huge things! We only have a small number of our possessions with us, with the rest not due to arrive for several weeks, and we’re not in our own home. Certain elements in the run-up to our move went unpleasantly and stressfully wrong, but rather than having time to recover and reflect, we have had to charge headlong into the next life-changing step. We’re having to make big decisions that we’d usually deliberate for weeks or months over within the space of hours or days and when we’re at our most tired, and despite the common language, everything seems to come couched in unfamiliar terminology. Those are some of the challenges that we’re facing, and even in the space of this first week things have been up and down and then back up again, all within the space of a few hours. Throughout it all, having the love and support of our families behind us is making all the difference. We’re so fortunate in this, and it’s such a comfort to be able to see and speak to them all so easily through the wonders of modern technology, sharing all of our news and hearing all of theirs. Knowing that we’ll continue to live our lives together despite the extra miles between us has made this move a possibility for us, and we’re already feeling the benefit of being able to keep in touch so readily.

For the most part, I’m feeling positive and strong, and I’m looking forward to having time to stop, breath, look around and enjoy the beauty around me (with my camera in my hand of course!)

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