Thursday, August 29, 2019

Pastures Unknown

A weird title today and no wonder - I have gone where few humans have trod . . .well, at least that was how it seemed to me . . .

It isn't often one goes somewhere and can put hand on heart and say that as far as you can see, few (if any) people have ever been there, and probably not in recent years/decades.

OK - that's quite a blanket statement, but after many years of country sitting, watching, walking, reading signs and so on I can pretty much be clear in my head and say that was the case. Call it experience, or my inner Injun Joe** coming out, because y'see, the thing with people is they leave stuff.
**  (I was never a cowboy)

It might not be obvious, but the markers are there all the same: from heavily gouged Vibram paths, to the remnants of stupidly placed camp fires and hacked lumber; depressed tyre tracks across wet moor; footprints in mud; broken vegetation; stones tumbled from ancient resting places. Basically all sorts of stuff equivalent to a herd of elephants blundering through a place.

Another Lost Burn
Glen Doll
April 2019

Anyway, the place, Sheepy, worraboottheplacemon?

Well, yes, it's somewhere I've meant to visit, and indeed tried to visit, for a very long time.
Back in 1959 it was the scene of a terrible disaster for a party of walkers caught in a great storm. It was so awful that to this day there's a shelter place dedicated to the safety of other walkers who might find themselves in similar situations. 

If you can find a copy, The Black Cloud, by Ian Thompson details it in full.

Where I was, was near to that, but separated by nigh on 600 feet of sheer rocky appalingness, down which a few of them fell, and indeed, for the disaster happening on New Year's Day, it wasn't until the end of May that the last body was found - that gives you an idea of just how remote and inaccessible the place is (and more so in the Winter).

What would I find when I got there - that was a thought that had always intrigued me. It wasn't morbidity or ambulance chasing or anything, but I thought I'd chance on a feeling.
In truth, there initially seemed to be nothing, just the rummel of water and rock and nature at work, yet I think I found something.
Something undocumented as being of interest on any map, but which I believe could be an ancient marker stone.
It's a large stone placed perfectly vertically in a crack in a flat body of stone looking back the ways along the Glen - for nature to have deposited it so carefully and exactly does (to my eyes) seem very coincidental.
If indeed it has any significance, I know not; but the feeling of timelessness was there and I supped at it with my soul as a hungry dog will lick marrow from a bone - but could I capture it photographically - no I could not.

I actually felt like one of those early American Pioneers when they were taking photos of Indigenous Peoples - like I was taking a part of its soul and as such this un-nerved me and I could not do it justice.
It was kind of like we were checking each other out though . . maybe next time

Anyway, here's a couple of pics and things of the place - we'll get onto the photographic meat and potatoes in a minute . . .

Hasselblad and 150mm Sonnar Ready For Action

Pig's Eye View
If You Were Feeling Really Brave,
You Could Have A Go
At the Rough Country Ahead



Well, that was, yawwwn, really, yaaawwwwwwnnnnnn, very intere . . yawwwwn . . sting wasn't it.
Oh yes, you can't fool me - you were on the edge of your seat!

Anyway, cameras for this trip were both Hasselblads - the 500 C/M and the SWC/M - it might seem a bit bonkers when you can do it all from one camera, but I find they compliment each other well, and seeing as I can't get the 38mm Biogon in standard stand-alone V-mount, then two cameras it is.

In truth, the SW weighs next to nothing for it's quality, so I don't mind.

It is certainly easier hauling two Blads than it was when I used to have to carry a LF camera, wearing my old Meindl boots - you've surely heard the adage "a pound on your feet is equivalent to ten on your back"?
If that is the case then hauling those old anchors around on my plates of meat (1275 gm each . . . thus 2.75lb, and in back terms 55lb on my back . . .) JEEZ, no wonder they nearly killed me!
I travel much lighter these days - Altberg Defenders - made in the UK and the issue boot of choice to a lot of our army lads - they're high leg, lightweight and do a superb job in all terrains - you can actually cross moderate burns in them and not get any water ingress. 
Money well spent is what I'd say.
Anyway, that's enough boot talk - you'll think I am mad.

So, in common with all FB's this year, steady . . . keep yourself in check . . . here's the contact prints:

                                       Film # 66/56

#66/56, HP5+ EI 200, 13/4/19 - 150mm Sonnar

1./ 1/30, f22, ZIII Big Rock
2./ 1/60, f22, ZIII Strath
3./ 1/8 F22 ZIII Pool - Waited (or wasted!) 10 Minutes
4./ 1/15 f22 ZIII Water
5./ 1/15 f22 ZIII Strath/Trees
6./ 1/15 f22 ZIII Falls
7./ 1/15 f22 ZIII Falls
8./ 1/8 F22 ZIV Wall? Comp For Dull
9./ 1/4, f22, ZIII Rocks
10./ 1/4, f22, ZIII Big Rock
11./ 1/4, f22, ZIII Rock Orifice
12./ 1/15 f22 ZIII Marker

All tripod.
21 mins PHD  22℃  usual 17-21.
Better metered?
Not sure, but they're fine.

Film # 66/55

#66/55, HP5+ EI 200, 13/4/19 - SWC

1./ 4 Sec - - -> 7 Sec, f16 ZIII 
2./ 1/15, f11, ZVI Stone
3./ 1/4 F22 ZIII Rocks/Sky
4./ 1/60 f22 ZIII Strath
5./ 1/15 f22 ZIII Trees
6./ 1/15 f22 ZIII Trees
7./ 1/30 f22 ZIII Falls handheld + rest
8./ 1/8 F16 ZIV Bridge  - handheld
9./ 1/8 F16 ZIV Bridge  - handheld
10./ 1/60 f22 ZIII Pool - handheld
11./ 1/60 f22 ZIII Self - handheld
12./ 1/60 f22 ZIII Pool - tripod

21 mins PHD  22℃  Stand from 17 mins.
Well, there's a lot of underexposure on this - not sure why - it is disappointing though - must pay more attention to readings.

Now I know they're pretty awful - the first one is the Sonnar, the second the SW and as you can see, there's heavy duty underexposure going on. Yeah, I know - who'd-a-thunk-it.
No idea why this is happening - but I'll put it down to meter operating error - certainly in recent weeks I have used the SW again a couple of times and the films (FP4 . . rated at, gulp, EI 50) have been fine.

Anyway, I know you've got things to do, so here's some prints, albeit not very good ones on some old and expired Ilford MGRC. All developed in Kodak Polymax.
I shall return when the Winter comes in more and I have more enforced darkroom time and print them better - there's also a few frames on the contacts that really could be doing with printing - we shall see.
Time is the most precious thing we don't own.

Another Lost Burn
Glen Doll
April 2019


The Dreaming Place

Boulderfield and Scots Pine

Forestry Commission Concrete Bridge

This gloomy latter print, all  horribly underexposed, scanned up hairier than a gorilla's trousers, so I had to tweak it slightly - it is still my favourite picture of the day.
When you start looking, these really supremely ugly (yet practical) concrete Forestry Commission bridges are all over Scotland.
Maybe someone has detailed them somewhere (there must be tens of thousands).
Hey maybe someone has started a Facebook group! 
Concrete bridge nuts unite!! 
Vote for your favourite monstrosity!!!

And that's it folks - remember you can't use that zimmer down at the gym any more - I had a lot of complaints last time about the holes in the mats.