Images from the weekend – or travails without a Gitzo

A weekend in Derbyshire in autumn is always something to look forward to for me. Work means that autumn in particular is a difficult time of year to have any kind of extended break, so I particularly cherished this small opportunity. This time, in particular, I had the chance to shoot some film for the first time in about 20 years: I’ve taken ownership of my father’s Canon A-1, which I remember him buying new when I was small. I bought 3 rolls of film for the purpose (1x Fuji Velvia 50, 1x Kodak Ektar 100, 1x Ilford Delta 100).

Much to my horror, however, I realised on arrival that I had packed neither my Gitzo tripod nor my Novoflex macro rail. I had, however, packed my Induro BHL3 ballhead. So I had my Nikon gear, a Canon film camera, a tripod head, but no Gitzo. Much rummaging around my parents’ house produced two antiquated and pretty average aluminium tripods. The heads on these were particularly poor, but my tools pouch had a spare ¼” to 3/8” adapter thread, so I was able to mount my ballhead onto the better of the two sets of legs. I say better: the legs were pretty sloppy, and the centre column was very wobbly when extended. Anyway, serious macro shots were out; the D800 was pretty precarious, though the much smaller Canon was less bad. Saddened and annoyed but not deterred, I set out on a Saturday morning hunt for autumn colour at Padley Gorge, and wasn’t disappointed. The colours of the beech and oak trees were very nice indeed, and the lifting foggy conditions meant that lighting was nice and soft and there was plenty of moisture, allowing for beautiful natural saturation and minimal glare.

I took about 25 shots with the Velvia on the Canon (with the two lenses I have – 35-70FD zoom and 70-210FD zoom). Once I use up the rest I’ll get it processed and see what comes out. This was essentially an experiment in the deep end with my new lightmeter, an unfamiliar camera, and some difficult film. Velvia has a pretty small exposure window, and I may well have screwed up a few, or in fact many, times.  This will be a first step in a new direction if I decide in a year or so to head into large format film territory.

I also managed to take repeat shots of the scenes with the Nikon – not hoping for too much given the tripod issue. I was, however, pretty surprised. While the lack of wind helped, the absolute fine detail sharpness may not be quite up to scratch. But these aren’t too bad at all. Here are four shots I’m happy to show, all taken with Nikon D800E and 85PCE in Padley Gorge and Bolehill Quarry.

Padley Leaves


Padley Colour


Padley Water (coloured by the moorland peat)


Bolehill Colour



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