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Sunshine and snow showers

Winter has had a tight and icy grip over the Peak District this year. Even a day that promised wall to wall sunshine in the forecast couldn’t resist an impromptu heavy snow shower that sent us scuttling for cover under the pine trees. After the snow the leaden grey hung about the sky for a while before the cool, spidery sun reappeared and treated us to some gorgeously soft light.

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Captured on Contax 645/Fuji 400H/Frontier scan at UK Film Lab. Thank you to my husband Christian for being my gorgeous model.

A Dusky Wonderland

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I don’t often arrange my photographs in a Blog post in the order they were taken, but these tell a story of a journey to me. We have been to this place a number of times but this day we set off on a different path. We ended up back where we always start, but the route and the experience were completely different. It was also a walk that nearly didn’t happen. This weekend was one of our first off work in I’m not sure how long. The weather forecast looked dire, it was dark and dank, and since our home is currently very spick, span and cosy, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to completely hole up at home, and do very little else. But come mid-afternoon on Saturday, I felt a tiny urge to be outside with my camera. It was raining slightly at this point but the forecast told us that there might be sunny intervals for an hour or two. We’ve been photographing weddings for several years now, so we’ve learnt not to take the weather forecast too seriously, but nevertheless we decided to have a little faith! Setting off we were heading for a different location but then a little voice told me I wanted to come here instead.

And I just can’t believe the light we had. And the utter stillness. And the way the November bracken looked like fire. It had been raining for days on end and had only just stopped. The ground was sodden but the grass was emerald with shining raindrops. As we continued our walk I began to feel like I was in Narnia as the hundred year winter thaws. Each new place had a barrier to cross, and then it felt like stepping into a different world. We climbed over a rushing, swollen stream headed by a small, dark, tumbling waterfall. On the other side the trees were almost black but the sun was burning red and gold through the undergrowth and around the trunks and branches. Amongst the clustered firs, the sun was slowly sinking away and the softening rays kissed the edges of bark and leaves. Walking on, the trees opened up and I stopped to look back at the elegant arc of a stand of tall, thin pines, before heading on towards the last patch of dark woodland. Here, smooth beeches lead finally to a wall, whose rough green-grey stones marked the edge of a farm dipping down into a valley. We watched as the final throes of sunlight subtly illuminated the soft, dark, comforting trees, before taking a turn back towards the way home, where a gentle sunset helped light the way and a silvery mist whispered up from the ground.

All of these were taken on my Rolleiflex 2.8F on Fuji 400H, developed & scanned by me at UK Film Lab. The first two thirds were all pushed 1 stop, and the final five images were taken with the very last drops of available light, pushed 3 stops. I’m so amazed and happy at how they all turned out, and captured this journey so very beautifully.

For a little more technical information on the shoot you can check out the version on the UK Film Lab blog.


Light and Dark

Sometimes it gets dark too.
Sometimes it plummets, changes suddenly,
Seems to twist cruelly.
We hold onto each other tightly.

Cracks and holes appear in the ice.
I feel afraid,
And all I can see is down, dark.
You take my hand and together
We walk around them carefully,
On towards the light.

For you are the magical and the everyday in my life,
The vital second piece of my soul.
Sometimes we may look down together, into the dark,
But mostly we look up, up,
Up into dizzy clouds of joy.
Joy not from achievements, or things, or anything I can name except love.

You make the night a little shorter,
The day a hundred times brighter.
Your magic and my magic fit together,
And together is how we work through life:
How we walk, dance, stumble, sing;
How we look around us at beauty, are still, are alive.

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Gold, Red & Green: A Magical Autumn Day on Film

I spent a wonderful few hours taking these photographs, I developed and scanned the film back at the lab, and I selected my favourites. I loved how the images all looked together, and I was sitting down to prepare my blog post, when I suddenly realised that I didn’t know what to write. Over the years my writing and I have had our ups and downs, but by and large, writing is the mode of communication with which I’m probably most comfortable. I don’t know whether it was plain old tiredness that prevented my thoughts and words from flowing, or maybe I felt that the images themselves were enough to tell the story of this blustery, bright then cloudy, free-spirited Autumn day.

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Photographs taken on the Contax 645 at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. Some images are shot on Fuji 400H, some on Kodak Ektar pushed two stops in development, and some (in a little experiment as our first time pulling colour film) on Kodak Portra 800 pulled one stop in development. All developing/scanning by UK Film Lab.

Holky - October 26, 2014 - 9:19 am

These are amazing!

Erica - October 26, 2014 - 2:46 pm

Thank you sig, it was such a lovely walk, with the wind blowing and the sun popping in and out, and I was so happy at how well the amazing colours translated into film.

Sonia Jansson - October 28, 2014 - 10:32 pm

England is still pretty alive, compared to Sweden. All the golden magic is gone.

These are very living photographs, Erica. One can almost reach for the leaves and smell the autumn air. No words needed.

Erica - October 31, 2014 - 7:23 pm

Thank you Sonia, I am pleased you think so!

A Little Balance

I recently had my first day off work in weeks. It’s something of a myth that self-employed people can take holidays or chill out whenever they feel like it…certainly in the longer term my husband (and in this context business partner!) and I will be aiming for an improved work/life balance, but for now, it’s work that holds sway the majority of the time.  At the moment I’ve been working so long and so hard that I’m feeling a little unlike myself.  A little of my natural spark, my deep-seated love of life, is feeling subdued.  I needed to do something to remind me of its existence; to breath some life and tranquility back into myself; to enjoy the beautiful world outside.  So we went for a day out to walk around the gardens at Chatsworth, cameras in hand.  I strolled, I looked, I spotted beautiful things to carefully frame and commit to film.

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All photographs taken on the Rolleiflex 2.8F, Reala film, developed and scanned by me back at UK Film Lab

Siegrid - July 26, 2014 - 5:10 am

dearest Erica, first of all I love these pictures. Secondly I really really hope you find that balance quickly so you can enjoy the simple things in life and leave work be once in a while at least xoxoxo