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Friday, June 5

A Trip to Tayport

Leica M2, 50mm Summicron, Tmax 400 developed in Firstcall Superfine

I'd just dropped Cath off at her dentist in the Fife fishing town of Tayport and had half an hour to kill so we (the M2 and I - or three if you count the Summicron) hit the waterfront. Tayport is quite an interesting wee place with a few quaint lanes and some nice views of the estuary, standing as it does at the mouth of the River Tay (which, incidentally, is the largest river in the UK by water flow).

It was a rainy day and quite dull really - just my kind of weather! I've been using nothing but Tmax 400 for a few months now which was just as well as the needle on my light meter wasn't moving very far.

My first "port" of call was the harbour where I found the lamppost above draped in some old bunting. The actual lamp holder looked as if it was giving the slightest of nods to the well-placed seats, lending it a little more character than a steal pole with a bit of glass at the top has any right to possess.

I haven't looked at this neg under the enlarger yet but, just from the scan, it doesn't look to be the sharpest photograph I've ever taken but no matter as it's all about the atmosphere with this one and loads of detail isn't really necessary.

About half a mile away is a park that runs down to the sea wall. It's normally quite a busy place but on this day it seems everyone else had wisely decided to stay indoors. I wouldn't have objected had a figure clad in black and holding an umbrella walked into the shot from the right hand side pausing just a little about a quarter of the way into the frame. By this time, the rain was getting heavier so that was never going to happen. In fact, I shot this one from the car window rather than risk getting my German friend wet.

It's another atmospheric photograph with a moody feel and a melancholic air courtesy of the empty bench and the general gloominess. Another thing these two photographs seem to share is a stillness. Maybe it's just me but I get a tranquil feeling from them.

They're more like the photographs I was taking during my dull weather phase rather than the graphic-type shots I've been concentrating on lately but photography is determined to a large extent by weather. Moody shots require moody weather whilst the starker images often benefit from some heavy shadows.

I think either of these would make a nice print and it's galling that I could be several months away from having a working darkroom since our decision to move house over the summer.

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Herman Sheephouse said...

They're nice Bruce - tranquil is the word I'd use too.
Ever thought about moving to Tayport? You could sort out Joe McKenzie's archive for him!

Bruce Robbins said...

Yes, Tayport's a possibility. I'd quite like it as I'd be able to explore Fife.

DougH said...

Very nice. Looks like you could easily do a moody atmosphere portfolio of the place.

Herman Sheephouse said...

There's a lot to explore!

DavidM said...

I don't want to be horrid, so first let me say that to my eye, they are very well seen images.
But. And but.
It might be my screen or it might be your scans, but they seem to hover uncomfortably between deliberate silhouettes and merely empty shadows. Dunno. Maybe actual prints would be better. Sorry. I do actually like them.

Bruce Robbins said...


You're banned. Haha. If you think these pics look dodgy then you should see the negs! Seriously, though, I'm in a phase I think of as "shapes and tones". I've got a post coming up that will attempt to explain this. I'll not add to that at the moment otherwise the suspense would be gone. :)

P.S. For everyone else reading this, don't be afraid to say you don't like something I've posted. I'm all for free speech. All I ask is that the exchange is polite. On the other hand, if you want to tell me I'm the new Ralph Gibson, that's all right, too.

shooter said...

They are lovely shots and the lack of sharpness docent detract from the subject matter, as you say methinks it enhances that narrative. I'm with you on the figure you could have wished for but printed small they would be fine for a framed print.

I have read your leica posts with interest, primarily as I have thought of buying something similar to your choice, the thing that holds me back is the fact I already have two OM2n and lenses, plus the 501CM and lenses. That and the issue of maybe not gelling with that camera, which would hurt having laid out for the thing in the first place. It's an itch I might not scratch but then again...

Herman Sheephouse said...

David - that's a mix of rain, low cloud and haar. It lowers contrast to nothing and everything becomes flat and grey - you have to experience it to believe it.
The weather we get here on the East coast of Scotland (and specifically the Tay estuary) is different to most other places - I mean you can have a hot summer day, and there's a 'mohican' of chill, soggy mist that creeps it's way up the centre of the Tay - has to be seen to be believed.

Anonymous said...

David, the second one is superb! Antonio