Enjoying the day.

Came across this gentlemen having a rest enjoying the day after lockdown restrictions had been eased. Nothing to special, but it made for a pleasing image and shot at Barton Point Coastal park, England.

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Taken on my Leica M3, Summicron 50mm f/2 and shot on Fomapan 100 @ 400 ISO using sunny sixteen.

Lockdown Street

Sheerness, England, parking around what use to known as Marine Town is hard to find many spare spaces during lock down. This only means one thing, no one is at work and it’s like a Sunday but everyday.

NHS

During lockdown I notice there seems to be an awful lot of discarded belongs around where I live. Most of what I see being left out are children’s toys and part of this I think is due to the shutdown the recycling, refuse sites and charity shops are all closed at the moment, yet from what we have seen don’t look like they are going to open anytime soon. Just walking a mile or so from home with the dog brings some surprising finds nearly every morning.

Roadworks

Unsightly to some, great street photography for me. I find it amazing sometimes what some residents will discard onto the street and this not a big city but a sleepy seaside town. 

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Looks like war zone but this is just one back alley in the town, many alleyways are now like this or even worse still.

Bad Parking

Walking back along the seawall brings another discarded find, a child’s scooter. If I post every picture of all the finds I make this blog would go on for ever and a day.

The Sweeper

Further along the wall yet more cars parked everywhere, still on the brightside does keep some people employed I suppose and photographers something to shoot during the lockdown period.

Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH and Leica M3, Summicron 50mm f/2 all images taken on Fomapan 100 Classic film at an ISO of 800

Big & bold

These beauties are Newfoundland dogs and are often having a meet with their owners over at Mote Park, Maidstone England. This the second shot from the same roll of Fomapan 100 Classic film but pushed the ISO three stops. This image I haven’t done much other than removing a hair, the usual spots, slight sharpen and framed the picture. OK the Fox Hound in the background is a little burnt out but I think this is to be expected as I did meter for the black coats of the Newfoundlands. This may well be my go to film stock from now on.

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Taken on my Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH and shot on Fomapan 100 @ 800 ISO, developed in stock Kodak D76 at 20ºc for 15 minutes.

Street Portrait

Walking though Lisieux, Normandie taking street photos, this couple saw me with my camera a posed, I think they were students. Don’t think you get many people do this, most walk by in a world of their own. Couldn’t help but not take this informal street portrait, if for nothing else but for the dog.

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Leica M4-2, Summicron 50mm on Kodak Tri-X film rated at 800 ISO.

Pathway

Mote Park, Maidstone, England. A very dull, wet winters morning.  The sunlight was silhouetting people, children and their dogs against the wet pathway. This shot I am amazed with as normally with a Summicron lenses you will get lens flare looking into the sun but this shot some how I avoided it.

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Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH, with a yellow B&W filter and shot Ilford HP5 plus film at an ISO 800.

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

The Street

Loose, England. I took this shot because the sunlight back lighting the gardens but now the more I look at this image it somehow reminds me of the vintage pictures you see taken of these villages

The Street

Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH, with a yellow B&W filter and shot on Kodak Tri-X film rated at ISO 800.

Our spot

Plage de Deauville, France. This was the only couple to pick a spot on the sand here by the promenade. Everyone else was down by the waters edge, perhaps they just wanted somewhere quiet and who can blame them.

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

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.