Remember how I told you yesterday was bleak and miserable here in The Black Country?

Well it really was. Greyer than a very grey thing and as cold as a witches tit……Big style bleak!

But…It’d been almost a week since I’d given my shutter finger a work out, and between you and me I was getting a little jumpy, (the digit-fidgets), so when, just before noon, the rain stopped and all I had to contend with was a bitter wind, I bit the bullet and loaded some Ilford XP2 into my 1950’s WERRA 3 Rangefinder and ventured forth into the wintery desolation of Dudley to shoot my second roll of film….(phew, long sentence).

I headed for The Racecourse Colliery, part of The Black Country Open Air Museum.

Well, if your using actual black & white film on a foul and wintery, black & white day, what’s better than a subject that gave The Black Country it’s name in the first place?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Dudley’s ‘Coal’ole’.


Scarily, I find I’m at risk of becoming a film snob.

OK so it’s pricey…Film and developing/scanning, even at a budget photolab, cost over £12.00 for a 36 roll which will soon mount up. But, I take one look at the super-sexy, gritty, grainy, crunchiness of the shot above and I’m almost ready to start spouting all of that Luddite nonsense you hear from some of the old school film boys…..

ALMOST READY I hasten to add.

The truth is of course that it’s ‘horses for courses’…..Looking at the shots I posted yesterday it’s impossible to deny how liberating the move to digital photographic technology has been, But I am glad however that I’ve re-discovered some of what real film has to offer. Film is great, I love it. For some subjects and some situations it can do things that digital shots can’t…But, I’m not about to chuck the Nikon DSLR and Photoshop in the bin quite yet.

Anyway, I already know I’ve not become a ‘Vintage Photography Fashion Slave’…. First thing I did when I got back from the lab was fire up Photoshop on the digital scans of the Ilford film to get rid of some dust and scratches. My little WERRA 3  camera is fantastic to use, but at well over fifty years old she is a little dusty in her more intimate areas.  I reckoned she wouldn’t mind if digital technology stepped in to give her shots a bit of a rub-down.

I took too many shots for single post, so there’ll be a few more to come soon.

(Find out about The Racecourse Colliery here:  )

All Images Copyright Stuart Allan Hyde

    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      That’s one thing the home town of the Shpics family seat does have in spades….I’m a bit of a museum piece myself. 🙂
      Seriously though, I do like how film gives this sort of subject an extra silvery/chemically/coating of ‘veracity’….
      Glad you like’em Scillabuddy.


  1. Robin

    Oh love, love, LOVE!! My most favorite yet…and you’re shooting film! Jealous of the grey day with those gorgeous textures… the grain, the amazing amazing tones…these are beautiful! Well done!!


    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      Thanks Robin……
      That day looks better on film than it did through watering eyes that were unable to focus properly due to the chattering of my teeth…Good job my little camera didn’t mind the temperature.


  2. George Weaver

    There is absolutely nothing like film Nothing. I love the grit of it too, but what enthralls me is the “silvery coating of veracity”… The grays and the tones are unparalleled in digital images. These are wonderful images, Stuart. Do you post on 500px or anywhere to sell your prints?


    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      I’m really glad you like them George…Thankyou.
      I don’t have a commercial type page but I’m happy to send a higher resolution copy of any shots by email if you ever want one…
      At the moment the only scans I have are from a budget lab and they aren’t huge..Most are about 6.9mb..
      Let me know your email address if you do.
      Cheers George and thanks again.


  3. Emilio Pasquale

    My father talks of some kind of, what he calls “High Con” film. High contrast. Have you heard of it? He has several photo examples. Just Black. And White. No gray tones. I love it. Love yours, too.


  4. Ann

    Wow. I have gotten so used to looking at “black and white” photos that are really desaturated digital images that these shots really pinged my eyeballs. Gritty and grainy – yes, but there is some other, indefinable, quality. Maybe it is that B&W film is more demanding – there are no brilliant colours to disguise poor composition, focus or exposure so your creative eye and skill with the camera must be excellent.


    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      Whew …Praise indeed Ann ! Thank you VERY much !
      Mustn’t forget ‘luck’ either though….It really was a great day for shooting B&W..just the right cold light and I was lucky that the film I’d loaded rated at 400 gave me the depth of field I needed with that light..So basically everything was falling into place…
      I AM glad you like them..
      Thanks so much.


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