Whitby In Spring Time.

I discovered a fantastic old northeast term the other day in a book I’m currently reading called Landmarks written by Robert Macfarlane, and that is “Lambin’ Storm” the name given to the gales which batter our coastline in Mid March, and not to be proven wrong that’s just what mother nature gave Helen and me on our visit to Whitby the other week. A blustery cold north easterly wind had whipped the high spring tides into a furious white foam and waves rolled in and crashed against the stone walls of the harbour. Now some people may think we were mad to venture to the seaside in such conditions, but for me I don’t think you could ask for a better day to walk along the pier as the sea crashes against it while the wind pulls at your hair and your clothes, plus it makes sneaking into a cosy pub afterwards even more rewarding.

Whitby Pier Lith

Lambin’ Storm, Whitby. Carl Zeiss Super Ikonta 6×9.

The day out also gave me chance to put a film through a vintage Carl Zeiss Super Ikonta folding camera which because of  some corrosion on the film gate and a little fungus in the lens had been put to one side. A little bit of black model paint sorted out the rust problem but all I could do for the lens was give it a good polish. Thankfully the fungus seems only to be in the front element and I couldn’t see any evidence that effecting the quality of the lens.

Whitby Pots

Pots, Whitby Harbour. Carl Zeiss Super Ikonta 6×9.

For these photographs I wanted to do something different. I’ve been saving some of my favourite black and white paper, Forte Museum Weight, which was made by a once great Hungarian photographic company called Forte, sadly they closed down a few years ago so the paper is no longer in production, so these last few boxes are probably the last I’ll ever have. One of the great attributes of this paper is it’s perfect for developing with Lith which are specialist developers used in a highly diluted solution and create a warm grainy print with a unique tonal range. The paper is usually over-exposed by 2 or 3 stops, then when the required density of image is achieved it is ‘snatched’ from the developer and placed into a stop bath. Lith printing can produce a very wide range of different colour and tone effects, and the contrast can be adjusted by varying the exposure time and development time. The image colour varies a great deal from warm – brown, olive, yellow, pink through to ivory, giving each print it’s individuality. The Lith developer I used for these photographs was Fotospeed LD20 which is  readily available and easy to use, but there are a number of others on the market. I really like this method and definitely feel it captured the atmosphere of the gritty, windswept day we spent in beautiful, unique Whitby.




Return to Hoy

Well my car is at the garage having it’s breaks serviced, and I’m stuck at home twiddling my thumbs till it’s ready. I got a couple of jobs on my list done, including ordering some more film for a trip to Ilkley Moor on Monday, so after having completed all these taxing tasks I decided to reward myself with a cup of tea and a biscuit and to make a new post on the blog.

One of my Christmas presents my parents bought me was a fantastic book written by Hugh Marwick. It was published in 1951 for County Books about Orkney, it’s a kind of travel guide come history book illustrated with maps and old photographs. It got me reminiscing about our fantastic holiday we had there this summer, and it brought back memories of the wet and windy day me, Helen and Alice decided to get the ferry to the Isle of Hoy and visit the lonely grave of Betty Corrigall and an ancient stone cut tomb called the Dwarfie Stane. The ferry boat we boarded at Houton was small and open to elements, and while Helen and Alice sheltered from the weather in the car I decided to film our progress across Scapa Flow with my 35mm Lomokino.

I always feel that music can really make a difference to the feel of a film, and I was really lucky that my friend Patrick who lives a few doors down the road from me (who also has a soft spot for wild places and many fond memories of Orkney) happens to be very good at composing some really creative music. Thankfully it didn’t take much arm twisting for him to create this incredible sound track for my little film.