Where to see Bluebells in Cornwall

bluebells cornwall

At this time of year the turning of the seasons heralds the arrival of one of our most enigmatic native flowers – the bluebell. This harsh winter has set them back a little this year but here are a few ideas of places to see them at there best in the next few weeks. Continue reading

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Box Brownie: The Hi-Tech features!

If you have read any of my other posts about my Kodak Box Brownie No 2 you will already understand that one of the many things that attracted me to this camera to begin with was how easy it is too use.

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Some may say it is basic, primitive even.  I say it has a magical simplicity.

It is easy to forget with all our modern day gadgetry that at the time the Brownie was produced it was the latest thing.  This was Hi-Tech!  So with that in mind I thought I would highlight for you some of this camera’s specifications, it’s features if you will.

So this is my brownie:

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It was available in several colours including blue and red and was produced about 1920ish.

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It comes with one basis lens which doesn’t have any zoom or focusing capabilities per se.  The Brownie will find it difficult to focus on anything within about 6′ of the camera. But it will capture in sharpest detail anything in the middle ground . . .

 

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The shutter, which is ultimately how you take your picture, is this tiny little level on the side.  You flick it one way it takes a shot, flick it the other way it takes another shot.  It basically just opens the little door covering the lens.  If you find one of these cameras for sale this is the one feature, other than the condition of the lens, that you need to check . . . oh and the winder . . .

 

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After you have flicked your shutter switch in order not to have a double exposure you need to wind the film on.  This is the winder. Mine turns anti-clockwise.  Keep turning until the next number appears in the red window. . .

 

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This is the film counter window in the back of the camera it allows you to see how many of your 8 shots you have left, it also lets you know that you have loaded the film correctly in the first place as you wind it on and watch the little black arrows past behind it . . .

 

 

 

 

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There are two view finders, one portrait and one landscape to enable you to take the picture you like however be aware of your Parallax Error! For more information see: My Box Brownie camera, Adventures with Parralax Error!

 

 

 

 

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This little lever controls the aperture.  This Brownie has 3 different aperture settings. The lever pulls up out of the body of the camera in stages. When it is in a closed position, pushed right in, it is at it’s widest aperture.  This is for use on cloudy days/winter.  One click out, the middle position, is for bright evening/morning light.  The third position, with the lever pulled right out, is for very bright sunshine/summertime . . .

 

 

 

 

 

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The last feature is this tiny lever, pull this one out of the body of the camera and it allows you to take a long exposure picture.  Professionals call it the Bulb Setting I believe.  This lever basically stops the shutter from closing until you manually flick it closed by flicking it back the other way.  This is a feature I haven’t tried as yet.  Mostly because I don’t have a tripod . . .

 

 

 

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This is where your tripod (if you have one) would attach.  You see, Kodak thought of everything! What more could you want!?

Beautiful simplicity I think you will have to agree! Take a look at some more of my brownie pictures here.

For more Brownie fun try: Lady behind the lens and Box Brownie: The Perfect Reflection

 

 

Box Brownie: The next step

Since I found my Brownie camera in a charity shop I have been on a sharp learning curve as I have got to know it and have gradually built up a picture of how this funny black box actually works.  I plan to do a couple more blogs on the anatomy of my Brownie and its few but important features.  It, like me, is not a complicated soul but may need a little coaching to get the best out of it!

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Falmouth Seafront

 

Today however I just wanted to share some pictures with you because these my friends are the first pictures that I have developed myself!!! And I have to say despite all my nerves about whether I was going to be able to do this or not I loved it.  Needless to say these will not be the last prints I make with my own hands!

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Padstow
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Padstow
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Zennor Quoit
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Flags for Obby Oss Day
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Pendennis Castle, Falmouth
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May Pole, Penryn
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Little Chapel, Falmouth

 

For more on Box Brownies try: Roadtrip with my Box Brownie, Lady behind the lens, Adventures with my Box Brownie: Part 2 How to load your film!, My Box Brownie camera, Adventures with Parralax Error!

Helston Flora Day: through my eyes

Helston Flora is one of my favourite days in the Cornish calendar.  I have happy memories of visiting as a teenager and more recently helping my oldest friend in her shop for what is just about the busiest day of the year for the town.

For the uninitiated Flora day is a celebration of the arrival of spring and takes the form of several “dances” through the course of the day.  The first is at 7am, followed by the Hal-an-tow (my favourite) the most pagan-rooted part of the day, the Children’s dance, the Furry Dance at mid-day and finally the 5 O’clock.

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During the Furry Dance and the 5 O’clock the couples dance an ancient route which involves them often going in and out of the shops and houses. Great fun to watch.

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But perhaps my favourite part of the day and most certainly the most rowdy (please remember that the pubs all open at 7am on Flora Day) is the end of the last dance which culminates outside the Guildhall.

The Helston Town Band, who are to me are absolute heroes, play their final round of the song that sticks in your head for days after and there is such a wonderful feeling of warmth and pride. I just love it and this year I recorded those last moments of the day to share with you!

Spring Sprung in Falmouth

 

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So it seems it is finally here, after what felt like a very long winter with rain of near biblical proportions it is at last the spring equinox.  Nothing says spring has arrived more than the riot of colour that is the Falmouth Spring Flower Show.  Despite being more than 100 years old this historical little show is often over-looked by locals and visitors alike. This year I decided I would not only attend but enter something in one of the classes.

As I entered the Princess Pavilion yesterday my winter-cosseted senses leapt into life.  The large hall is a positive hive of life, all bright gaudy colours and sweet scents.  There are long tables laid out with the most vibrant splashes of pinks and yellows. Daffodils, narcissus, magnolia, rhododendron, camellia and all manner of spring colour is here and after such a long dark winter it’s a joyful sight.

This year for the first time as I said I decided to become an exhibitor.  My grandmother, a proper Falmouth girl, regularly showed off her pot plants and cut flowers but sadly I didn’t inherit her green fingers, I put one of my pictures into the photographic class. Each year there are different themes to choose from,  I picked ‘Cornish mining landscapes’.  I found that there are a couple of advantages to being an exhibitor, you get to see your work on display, which was a first for me, and you don’t have to pay the entry fee (although a rather reasonable £3 is hardly going to break the bank).  No prizes for me this year however but I must say I was very happy and proud to see my name there amongst the others and I have picked up some tips for next year!

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After having my nose in all that pollen I really do hope that there is a fine summer on the way.  It feels like it might be time to dust off my sandals and dig out the sun screen, or perhaps I really am getting ahead of myself, lets just enjoy the fruits of a well earned spring first shall we?