Photo Essay: a Sunday trip to Lytham

I’ve been singing the praises of Soviet camera lenses in my last few photo essay pieces and I hold to this. However, the overall camera mechanics have proved not to be so good and after two failed Zorki 4 bodies with faulty shutters, that camera has been swapped for a Yashica Electro 35. So on Sunday 25th June 2023, it was time to load up this new toy and look for a subject on which to expend the first 36 frames.

Lytham was definitely it, having not been there for a while and I had subjects in mind. I caught the Service 3 bus fom Penrose Avenue and then the 11 from Market Street, using an all network adult day pass (£6) bought with the app.

The gatehouse for Lytham Hall, with a little choo choo road train that I haven’t seen before.

We soon seemed to be there and I disembarked opposite Dicconson Square, opting to stroll up to the Lytham Hall gates to start the sequence of shots. This Yashica rangefinder camera has the luxury of not only an exposure meter, but one that is automatic making things markedly easier, whereas the Zorki 4 has no such thing. The problem is, if the Yashica’s battery dies you’re a bit stuffed.

Here’s a rather charming detail from the Clifton memorial outside the railway station.

The photo captions tell the story really. I arrived at the railway station a little too early for the 13:55 train to Blackpool South and managed to fit in some other shots before returning to catch it bursting out of the tunnel. There was much litter on this station, which is a shame as otherwise it’s a good gateway to the town.

There’s one train per hour through the station in each direction.
I like this sign at the railway station, a shame the bin bag has overflowed. There did seem to be an unaccountable amount of rubbish about with beer bottles left in the strangest places.

It’s good to feel no pressure and just stroll along picking off opportunistic shots as you see them. I suppose people must wonder why I’m taking a picture of whatever banal scene or object it happens to be, but that is their problem. Things look different in black and white, and through my trusty yellow filter.

A detail from the Methodist church, a very impressive building.
The post office is helping with biodiversity by cultivating a sycamore tree.

Reaching the high street, I tried for a bit of street photography, but I’m a litle shy for that. The road was full of traffic, particularly for a Sunday, so it was fun to see people keep stopping the continuous stream of cars as they used the pedestrian crossing. If I was in charge the streets would be silent, but for the gentle hiss from the steam driven public transport.

People scurry across the over-busy road (on a Sunday) while Playmobil man stands impassively by.
I think this used to give access to an upstairs Chinese restaurant, which now appears to be closed. Now it’s a useful place to stick posters.

I crossed the road and went down an interesting looking little alley, where there is a bicycle cafe and some interesting back-alley type shots. One would think that this bit of space would be virtually traffic free, but there was a constant stream of vehicles cutting through. Emerging onto the promenade, again congestion actually made crossing easy as those cars were going nowhere for a bit.

Following on from a recent back street photography exercise, here is a Lytham back alley, also featuing a chap on his fag break.

And there, framed against that big Fylde Coast sky, was an ice cream van. The light was beginning to fail and big spots of rain were beginning to fall. Undeterred I pressed on down the promenade with a few shots at the lifeboat station in mind.

Ice cream van standing in stark contrast and isolation against the Ribble mud flats.

Apparently people were not supposed to do this as the area behind the festival stage qualified as a building site and I ended up being escorted out of the complex. How exciting! I’d used my last frame by that time, so in that respect this incident did not matter. A couple had come through walking their dog, so I was not alone.

Landside a busy little town, seaside there’s a virtual piece of wilderness.

By this time the rain was coming down quite strongly and I tucked the camera in my bag. The service 11 pulled out in front of me as I rounded the corner from Dicconson Square. What for it but to repair to a certain coffee chain shop and indulge in sandwich, cake and coffee? Eventually I caught the service 17 home. With that service it’s best to disembark at Daggers Hall Lane and walk the rest of the way, rather than go into the town centre and bus it back out, so that’s what I did. Also good exercise, when you’re running to fat like me.

It’s that rather bizarre sea shore windmill. Something of a touristy photo, I wonder how many times it’s been taken before.

Aside from returning home somewhat damp from the occasional rain that was a very pleasant trip out and a good test for the camera.

Those anchors stand stoically in the face of anything. In the background the Lytham Festival stage.

And what of the camera? In comparison with the Zorki, 36 trouble free frames. Personally I think the new lens is rather ‘soft’, but it didn’t have the best of light in comparison to when I was using the Zorki. The auto exposure speeds things up and seems to have handled some tricky situations well. The focusing is bright and easy to use. Various little warning lights came on while I was working, but the pics still seem ok. I like this camera, at least until I have to find a battery for it, the originals are not made anymore.

Now what to photograph next? I have a few ideas.


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    I have worked in the housing and transport professions for several local authorities, specialising in policy, strategy preparation and bid writing. Having always had an interest in film, the visual arts in general, theatre, music and lterature, I thought it would be good to combine the writing experience with these interests to contribute to altBlackpool. In addition to writing, my hobbies include watercolour and pastel painting, photography, woodwork, cycling and vegetable gardening.

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