A walk on the Long Mynd

Yesterday I went for a walk up the Longmynd with a friend (and a dog).  We started in Cardingmill Valley in Church Stretton and walked a long loop up which took us to the end of the valley, up on the moor on the top of the hill, to the highest point at Pole Bank – 516 m (1,693 ft) – and then down again via a parallel valley. Then we had jacket potatoes in the Cardingmill Valley café, which I felt we had earned (It was a very late lunch – nearly 4pm!).  We had missed the nice weather, and it was cold and grey, but warm enough once you got moving.

I didn’t measure the route beforehand, guessing about 5 miles, but it turned out to be nearly 9 miles. It would have been 7 miles, but for an unplanned detour – ie, took the wrong turning.  We took a planned detour on the return leg of the walk, through the old rectory wood. The walk took us almost exactly 4 hours.

This was, of course, a fine opportunity for photography. After long deliberation – a couple of hours, at least – I decided which of my 20-odd cameras to bring.  I took my Fuji XF1 and my new camera, a Voigtlander Bessa (1946 version, loaded with Fuji Neopan Acros 100 B&W). I won’t get the Bessa negatives back for a week, which is one reason I took the Fuji.

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1st Roll taken with Gakkenflex Recesky

I was worried about how these shots were going to come out. For a start, the Recesky (or Gakkenflex) is a plastic camera I assembled myself, plus there is almost nothing you can adjust on it. The focus can be moved a little, but it is quite difficult to tell what effect you are having.

As it was, it wasn’t so bad. There are a couple that were taken in too-dark light conditions and have hardly come out at all. The rest of them are ok, considering. I can’t wait until we get some actual sunshine, I’m sure I’ll get better photos then.

It can be a bit of a pain getting what you want in the viewfinder, the image is left-right inverted. It can get very confusing. I can’t wait until there is some regular sunlight, I’m sure the quality will improve…

I am really enjoying this film camera lark.

My Studio Engineer Hat

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The Saving Grace: Paul, Mark & Rob (drummer not pictured)

Later today, I will be wearing my studio engineer hat. Not literally; i don’t do hats.

My friends in The Saving Grace need some more acoustic demo’s recording, and I’m the man. Well, there’s free wine in it for me, and it gets me out of the house. All I have to do is throw all my studio microphones, leads and pre-amps into a big box. Paul’s laptop is running Ableton Live, and I could fly that blindfold. Or blind drunk, which is probably more likely.

They’ve been together a couple of months now, but it has taken them this long to get a drummer, and now they need demos’s of all their songs so the drummer knows what he’s got himself into. I helped them record a couple of songs about a month ago which you can hear on their Myspace Page . This band should be something quite special when they get it on the road.

They’re lucky to find themselves a drummer, I was in a band a few years ago – Hunch Retro – where we could not find a bass player at all. For three years. It probably didn’t help that this was the 90s and we were neither Grunge nor Brit-Pop. And living in rural Shropshire? Well that’s probably what finished us off. I put all the demo songs onto CD a couple of years back, and they filled 3 CDs. One day, I might even put that all on the web, or the best bits, anyway, and then the World can marvel at our genius.