Rain

Seawall at Marine Parade, Sheerness England on a very wet and windy winters morning in February. I had been looking for reflections that morning but wanted something a little different and found the symmetry of the wall. Incidentally, this is the same part of wall as in my image ‘Parking space’

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Taken on my Leica M4-2, Summicron 50mm f/2 and shot on Fomapan 100 classic film and pushed three stops to ISO 800.

Leas winter

Minster Leas beach huts, Minster, Kent England. Shot on a very gloomy, windy and wet Sunday morning in February.  The sun was trying to break though but didn’t quite manage it. I just love the effect this film gives when it’s pushed three stops.

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Taken on my Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH and shot on Fomapan 100 Classic film @ 800 ISO with a yellow B&W filter.

Parking Space

I took this scene of the seawall in Marine Parade, Sheerness England last year, a little symmetry broken nicely with one line down the shadow of the car.

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Leica M3, Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH, taken on Kodak Tri-X film plus a B&W yellow filter.

Got you covered

Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France. Taken in May last year at the castle at the top of Mont Saint-Michel. Could not resist taking this dogs picture.

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Taken using a Leica M4-2, Summicron 50mm f/2 on Kodak Tri-X film.

The Chair

This shot is a little pushing film experiment. I came across portrait shots done by Matthew Osborne (MrLeica.com) using Fomapan 100 Classic film but he had pushed to an ISO of 800 and the results are very good. I’m certainly very please at what I have had so far and knew what the film stock was able to being pushed two stops, so I’m testing the idea over this few months as a possible every day bulk film.

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Taken on my Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH and shot on Fomapan 100 Classic film @ 800 ISO. Exposure was 1/125 @ f/2.8. Developed in stock Kodak D76 at 20ºc for 15 minutes, although looking at the negatives which are a little dark I might try 14 minutes next time.

This picture is on my Flickr account if you want to see a larger version.

Me, me!

Taken either this year at Mote Park Cafe, Maidstone and after a long dog walk, bacon rolls all round! I was amused by the Cockapoo on the right trying to sit taller than his larger companion.

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Leica M4-2, Summicron 50mm f/2 lens with Kodak T-Max P3200 film at a ISO of 800.

Against the wall

I took this image sometime last month but had not got around to using it. I had looked at this tree many times and thought there is a shot there but just couldn’t get the composition right until sun was at a low angle between the buildings opposite.

Against the wall

Leica M4-2, Summicron 50mm f/2 with a B&W yellow filter and taken on Kodak Tri-X film pushed on stop.

Life’s End

In many ways I think this little project which purely came out of a whim has help to partly come to terms with my fathers very sudden deterioration in his health. I know I am not the only person on the planet to have to face seeing a parent going this way, but its made all the harder knowing when he has gone I will have a very empty void in my life.

Though the light

You maybe wondering why the glass cup. Well, while I was waiting in my fathers kitchen, I notice the sunlight shining though the backdoor window across the granite worktop with the resulting in a narrow reflection and shadow over the glass. Always having my Leica with me I took a couple of shots, then it dawned on me. My father is no longer able pick this cup up anymore because his medical condition means he has very little feeling or strength in his hands anymore.

Breathe

So with his permission I started to document some of his everyday life for a day and in some ways it has helped me to cope with his situation, knowing the inevitable will eventually come.

My father is the only living parent my wife and I have now. In March of 2019 the hospital diagnosed him with a condition called Cardiac Amyloidosis. This is where the heart wall thickens with age because of excess Amyloid proteins in the body and there’s not much the medical profession can do to help other than fitting him with a pacemaker. In his eighties he gone from being a fairly fit pensioner with a healthy lifestyle to a very frail old man.

Daily tasks have became a slow, exhausting and with very laboured breathing. Just going to the bathroom to wash his hands is like a full blown marathon run for him. Everywhere he go’s now is with the aid a walker. For myself this seems very alien to see this man who never even used a walking stick to get around when he was in better health.

Unable to physically travel very far, hospital visits have to be done using a ambulance. Fathers life revolves around home visits from the district nurse, the doctor to the carers who come in three times a day now, he finds very hard to except being so independent before. His younger brother has Parkinson’s disease, lives two and half hours away and is also unable to make the long journeys, which is very hard on them both as I think they know its very unlikely they will ever see each other again. Thankfully, the youngest brother is still able to travel with my aunt to visit father although sadly he has now been diagnosed with Dementia.

Struggle

Twelve months ago, he was able to get up and down the stairs, not long before that he was still able to drive his car and was part of a local walking group hiking across the countryside walking five or six miles at a time, sometimes more. My father thirty three years older than me and I couldn’t keep up with him then!

Frail Hand

Everything, no matter how ordinary that you and I take for granted is just so exhausting, it’s hard to breathe, the heart is struggling to keep up so he has to stop to rest often. The stairs are now negotiated by a stairlift, but even this has become a arduous task. Just to manoeuvre from standing position holding his walker to getting into the chair is very tiring, plus the constant fear of falling which unfortunately he has done many times since the diagnosis. Finally getting to the ground floor is then requiring yet more strenuous effort to get back out of the chair to a standing position. His feet and legs are swollen from Oedema, excess fluid in the body which is part of the condition, making mobility slow and painful. The doctors prescribe drugs to help, but some have side effects like Gout or cause stomach complaints which made life even harder to bare.

In respect one of the worst things about all this is his state of mind. Life has come to a stand still but there is nothing wrong his brain and the mind works overtime, it has not much else to think about so he keeps asking me… Why?

 

All images taken with my Leica M4-2, Summicron 50mm f/2 on Kodak Tri-X film rated at a ISO 800 using sunny sixteen.

 

Dad

Robin Arthur Smith

26th July 1935 ~ 13th March 2020

Yakky Yak

Continuing on the theme of dogs on the street. Deauville in Normandie. Spotted this little fellow on the Rue Désiré le Hoc, looking thoroughly bored to tears as he or she owner was gassing away to someone else on the street.

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Taken on my Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH on Kodak Tri-X film and rated at ISO 800.

Reluctant puppy

We came across this young woman carrying a eight week old puppy by the Place Claude Lelouch in Deauville, France. The pup was very young and it was somewhat nervous about his surroundings. Personally, both my wife and I felt the dog was far too young to be out and about especially as the weather was forecasted to be very warm later that day.

Leica M4-2, Summicron 50mm f/2, taken on Kodak T-Max P3200 film rated at 800 ASA.