Calke Abbey

Rocking Horse, dark and contrasty.
Rocking horse at Calke Abbey.

A couple of weeks ago I visited Calke Abbey in Derbyshire. Despite having lived just 30 miles away all of my life this was my first ever visit. I was inspired to visit by having seen photos taken there by a friend some years ago and the knowledge that the place had been “preserved” in the rather run down and shabby state that it was in rather than being renovated.

I took my entire bag of Fuji lenses and a couple of bodies, my X-H1 and my X-Pro2. As it turned out I used my 90mm f2 on my X-H1 and my 35mm f1.4 on the X-Pro2 for the entire duration. As they don’t like large bags in the place then I’ll know better what kit to take next time and leave the Think Tank Retrospective 20 camera bag at home.

I loved the lighting conditions inside the house and on this visit that’s all I did, explore the house. There are hundreds of acres of grounds and a church and heaven knows what else to explore and I’m sure I’ll be back regularly to seek out new photographic inspiration.¬†

The rocking horse shown above was in a room that was used as a schoolroom. I was loving the way the sunlight was pouring through the window to the right and creating the kind of localised contrasty lighting I enjoy so much. I did a quick B&W conversion using a somewhat modified “Film Noir” filter in Silver Efex. A couple of others shots from the visit are shown below.

Rocking Horse, dark and contrasty.
Rocking horse at Calke Abbey in black and white.

 

Lamp and books on a side table, dark and moody.
Lamp and books on a side table, Calke Abbey.
Light streaming in through an old window.
I’m always attracted to dilapidation and this old window certainly fitted that bill.

Rick With A Silent P

Rick and Warren.
Rick and Warren. Fujifilm X-Pro2, 90mm f2. 1/125 at f2, ISO 6400.

I’m very aware that it has been a couple of months since I posted anything here. Yes, it has been a busy couple of months and thankfully some of that has been photography busy.

This photo of Rick and Warren was taken during the interval at a charity gig I recently attended at The Donkey on Welford Road, Leicester. I was there to support the good cause of the night and also to support my friends on stage : Bellatones.

I still have loads of photos to work my way through from that night which was over a week ago now but this one stood out from the pack for me when I was browsing through to see what I had captured that night.

The vast majority of my photos were of the musicians on stage, that was what I had intended to shoot after all. But at the interval I got chatting outside with Warren (the landlord at The Donkey) and Rick and his good lady, Caroline. It was Caroline who told me that it was “Rick with a silent P” so I do hope he doesn’t mind me using that as the title of this post.

We had a bit of friendly banter during which time Rick, Warren and Caroline got talking about my photography and I snapped one of Rick and Warren together at their request.

It can often be tricky to judge the technical qualities of a photo from the tiny screen on the back of a camera but this one looked pretty good and after showing it to the subjects I ended up being persuaded to take quite a few more of Rick, Warren, Caroline and various of their friends.

It was dark out there.

I had been shooting the acts on stage at ISO 3200 but for these shots I was nabbing outside the venue I had to crank it up a notch to ISO 6400. I’ve always been wary of shooting at high ISO with any camera I’ve owned but I tend to think that it’s better to get something that may have some noise but is free of camera shake so these days I tend to just go with the flow and pump up that ISO as necessary.

And I was not disappointed.

Shot at 1/125, f2 on the X-Pro2 with the excellent Fujinon 90mm lens at ISO 6400. I was even able to focus using auto-focus without any trouble. The only lighting was provided by a string of light bulbs set along the top of the wall about 10 to 15 feet to my left as I shot.

Would this photo have been any better if I’d used my so called “full frame” EOS-6D? I doubt it. I don’t like the term “full frame”. If you mean 35mm sensor then say 35mm sensor. “Full frame” is meaningless – what is full? 2.25 inch square is bigger than a 35mm frame size so how can 35mm be “full”? How about 4×5 inch sheet film? How about 8×10 inch? That makes 135 film (35mm) look tiny. Where do you stop? (I tend to agree with Zak Arias’ point of view on this as expressed wonderfully¬†here).

The best camera is the one you have with you – whether it has a 35mm sensor, an APS-C sensor, Micro Four Thirds or a phone’s camera. You just have to get out there and shoot with it.

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