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Gallery: Stanley Park Photo Walk

The morning dawned bright as David Simper loaded a film camera with his favourite Kentmere 400, before strolling down for a refreshing photo walk round Stanley Park with the Blackpool Community Darkroom posse. There are definitely worse ways to spend a Sunday morning.

The team at Blackpool Community Darkroom had set 24th March 2024 as the day for the next photo walk and Stanley Park as the location. As the park is walking distance from my house, this was ideal. I selected the Leica CL for the job, a camera designed in Germany and manufactured in Japan; I fitted a 50mm Jupiter lens from the USSR.

The team was waiting and chatting outside the Art Deco cafe when I arrived. It was good to see old and new faces. This group and darkroom base at Aunty Social on Topping Street in the town centre, is so very welcome. Epecially to old geezers like me who value the old technology.

We set off as a group and stayed as such around the course. I have expended much film, paint and pencil in this park, but there is always something new to see that will make a good image. The bandstand is just that and yet appears ancient Greek seen across the lake, with its amphitheatre backdrop. The swans and other birds were out in force and looked glorious cruising on the water. The sun obliged, bringing out the early spring shades. Photographically this was good light that offered good contrast without everything burning out and shadows were manageable.

We meandered past the crazy golf and along the lakeside before swinging left towards the fenced off lake nature area. Amanda hoped that Colin the compost robin would make an appearance, but although we could hear him singing, we couldn’t see him. There were many other birds around, including a parakeet. At the lakeside we could see terrapins basking in the newly warm sun, I suspect the descendants of reptiles bought during the first Mutant Ninja Turtle craze, which turned out not to do martial arts or eat pizza and were duly dumped in the lake where they have proved surprisingly successful.

Two artists were sketching the lake and we stopped to chat. I’ve sketched in that location, but my painting is nowhere near that standard.

Moving down the path against the A587 road, we could see the nesting herons and fancied we could see the first chicks peeking over the edges of the nests so high in the trees on heron island. I love to see herons fly, they are so majestic, but none were moving today.

Crossing the two bridges we wended our way back to the cafe where we ordered coffees sat outside, chatting in the sun. Aside from us, the sun had brought out a good number of people and it was good to see a happy, post-winter throng.

With that I strolled home with 36 frames in the bag, with the usual trepidations about what there might be. I love an all manual camera, but keeping up with the exposure in fluctuating light conditions is tricky. My Soviet lens is an excellent piece of glass, but it can be easy to de-focus when adjusting its aperture.

You can take your own view.

The next event is a Mindful Urban Photo Walk, on 28th April 2024, 10:00 from Aunty Social 28 Topping Street. After the walk there will be a cyanotype printing taster session in the darkroom.

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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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