Lead Mining – a Black & White Issue?

12 05 2016

A while ago, I bought a black & white film as I wanted to try one again, having not used one for ages. I always think black and white is a bit subject-specific though…

The other day I was offered a lift for my day’s walk to an area of old lead mines on the moors above Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales. What a perfect subject I thought and grabbed the film out of my drawer and loaded it into my spare 35mm camera, the Olympus Trip 35.

Yarnbury Mines (Distant-cropped-B&W)

Click on photos for full size resolution

I was dropped off in the carpark in Grassington and set off eagerly up the hill. My challenge, I thought, was that I needed to choose subjects which would suit black and white. I wasn’t helped by very bright conditions on the day and pretty flat light but went ahead anyway.

Just short of the mines, I was accosted by a gentleman in a sporty open-top car (doesn’t happen to me much). I eventually recognised him as a guy from my climbing club and he was looking for a climbing partner. Normally I would have said yes immediately but I was on a mission so I’m afraid I turned him down.

The road ends and turns into a vehicle-sized track onto the moors…

Track to Yarnburn Moors (B&W)

The track turns towards the mines and the chimney…

Yarnbury Chimney from main track (B&W)

Yarnbury Slagheaps (B&W)

Yarnbury Tarnlet (B&W)

Yarnbury Chimney & Pool (B&W)

Yarnbury Reservoir Walkway (B&W)

After visiting the chimney, I walked along the top of the flue to the nearest opening. I looked down both ends as I’d heard you can crawl along this flue – you could indeed. I’ll bring some scruffy clothes first though as it’s pretty wet and muddy!

Yarnbury Flue & Chimney (B&W)

I then headed down to the main buildings – surely ideal subjects for black and white! I certainly think it works well for the different textures of grass in the foreground of this one…

Yarnbury Mine Buildings (B&W)

The old crusher plant…

Yarnbury Hopper & Ruins (B&W)

Yarnbury Framed Chimney (B&W)

Interesting bridges and tunnels down by the old smelting mill…

Yarnbury Smelting Beck (B&W)

Yarnbury Smelting Beck Tunnel (B&W)

The smelting mill…

Yarnbury Smelting Mill (B&W)

I then looked at my watch and realised I’d better get a wiggle on as I had most of my walk to do to reach my pick-up point!

I was surprised to cross the top of Hebden Gill – I had no idea I was so near to it!

Hebden Gill from Bridge (B&W)

Hebden Gill (B&W)

Down Hebden Gill (B&W)

I quickly headed back to the roadend for my track to the next village, Conistone… The old farmhouse (now not a farm) by the track start had some interesting earthworks behind it…

Old Yarnbury Farmhouse (B&W)

A great track crosses the fields to join the Bycliffe Road which heads from Conistone in Wharfedale to Nidderdale. I’d love to do the whole road sometime but it will be logistically difficult I think!

Towards the Bycliffe Road the track becomes a bit indistinct and I had to consult my map quite a lot for wall corners and suchlike to navigate by as I hadn’t been this way for a long time…

Broken Wall to Meugher (B&W)

Soon I reached Bycliffe Road and turned left to head down towards Conistone. The horses of the Conistone Trekking Centre must have been on a day off as they formed this nice ‘horse gateway’ for me (the guy with the blaze was very friendly 🙂 )

Horse Gateway, Bycliffe Lane (B&W)
these horses really are black and white!

Just above Conistone Dib the limestone scenery became more interesting…

Limestone Outcropping Bycliffe Lane (B&W)

Limestone Pavement Tree (B&W)

Two trees are the guardians to the top of The Dib…

Tree Gateway Top of Conistone Dib (B&W)

Looking back up at the top entrance to The Dib (at this point I ran out of film)

Conistone Dib Exit (B&W)

My Conistone Dib post is here

I was slightly worried when I took my film in for processing as I wondered whether it was still possible to get black & white films processed. I needn’t have worried, it was actually a colour film after all! I’d sent off for a 100 ASA film a while back and put it aside for a special occasion. I then forgot the reason it was set aside was because it was 100 ASA and thought it was the black and white one! So, I’ve scanned the photos in greyscale for you 🙂

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20 responses

25 05 2016
Mark

Highly interesting post. It’s been a long time since I visited this area. I’m not adverse to a nosey about bits of industrial archaeology. My favourite being the slate mines of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Colour just doesn’t cut somehow.

ps Conistone Dib, hidden gem.

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30 05 2016
mountaincoward

I love the Blaenau/Manod area too and think the old slate quarries and mines look great in black and white – and in the rain too!

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19 05 2016
Simon Howlett

Great subject matter and the conversion to b&w has worked really well. Love the horses and the open landscape.

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19 05 2016
mountaincoward

Thanks Simon. I was quite gutted when I realised it was actually a colour film but I’m glad I decided to put them out converted as that was what the subject was intended for.

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18 05 2016
fedup

The derelict mine buildings look good in black and white 🙂 I’ve sold a few Olumpus Trip 35’s on ebay!

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19 05 2016
mountaincoward

a few?! How many did you have? they’re a great camera to be honest.

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15 05 2016
tessapark1969

The black and white kind of fits with the landscape.

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15 05 2016
mountaincoward

Yeah, I thought it was the ideal subject for it

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15 05 2016
Blue Sky Scotland

I’ve never been a fan of black and white photography but some landscapes suit it, like post industrial wastelands or bleak housing estates. Close ups of
people and faces can also capture something that colour images cannot.grasp properly.

“London’s Science Museum’s making life worth living photo exhibition captures the squalor of Britain’s slums.”. (Daily mail online) is an absolute standout of black and white imagery of a bygone era only 40 years ago. That’s worth a look if you are interested and might give you some extra inspiration and ideas for future projects. See what you think.

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15 05 2016
mountaincoward

I might have a look at that – we all read the Daily Mail Online at work 😉

Richard’s street looks great in the wet in black and white – it’s those grim old Victorian terraces on the outskirts of Bradford!

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13 05 2016
Jim Ruebush

The tree in the limestone pavement reminds me of the Burren in Ireland. Both are interesting and stark places.

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13 05 2016
mountaincoward

We have a lot of limestone pavement in the Yorkshire Dales not far from us in ‘the Limestone Dales’ (by far the best bits of the Dales to my mind)

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13 05 2016
smackedpentax

These are really good Carol, the landscape somehow fits b/w – more gritty and earthy. It is a superb place too….I read recently that English Heritage have been looking at these mines http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/york/hi/people_and_places/history/newsid_8884000/8884492.stm
lets hope thy don’t spoil them by setting up a visitors centre and gift shop

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13 05 2016
mountaincoward

Yeah a visitor centre and shop would be a bit incongruous up on the wild moor wouldn’t it?

Liked by 1 person

13 05 2016
Gaslight Crime

Love mono pictures. Brings some real atmosphere out, John B.

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13 05 2016
mountaincoward

Shame it wasn’t really a black & white film after all though! 😉

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13 05 2016
underswansea

Wonderful photos! Thanks for stringing me along. I thought you were shooting in black and white. I’m glad you scanned them to b/w because that’s the way you saw them. Really like the shots of the bare trees and horses. I would love to poke around some of those ancient sites. The oldest building here is, a church. It’s made of logs and dates back to 1887. You have pubs that have been in the same family older than that. Enjoyed your post! Take care.

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13 05 2016
mountaincoward

Thanks Bob – I thought I was too! Now I’ve thought of using my spare camera so I don’t have to wait until I’ve finished a film in my normal Zenith SLR, I’ll probably try some real black and white film sometime soon…

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14 05 2016
underswansea

I miss shooting b/w film. I still have my enlarger and darkroom equipment tucked away under the stairs. Lisa is always threatening to sell it and I’m always threatening to set it up again.

Liked by 1 person

14 05 2016
mountaincoward

I never did my own processing and wouldn’t have a clue. I think the problem would be the chemicals going off if you didn’t use them quickly enough?

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