Nikon D300, Sigma 18-200mm@25mm, ISO100, f4, 1.3sec.
HDR from three RAW files, blended and tone mapped in Photomatix.
Mono conversion, curves, contrast, sharpening, and layers in Photoshop CS3
Excitedly walking in the bright morning sun, Mum, Dad, Sister, younger brother and my self. My youngest brother was still but a babe in arms and was left in the care of Grandma Taff for the day.
Youngest brother duly deposited, we were off, up Middleton road past the rows of black, stone, back to back mill terraces to Morley “Top” station. This was to be my first trip on a train.
The train pulled into the station, shaking the ground, belching smoke and steam and hissing like nothing I had heard before. The smell of coal, oil and grease is still in my nostrils to this day.
We were on our way, swaying and clanking down the track, peering out of the window at the passing landscape. Terraced houses giving way to open fields then suddenly darkness as the train entered the first of the tunnels then bursting out into the bright sunshine once more. More houses now unfamiliar, through the cut over the viaduct, up on to the moors then under the moors.
In no time at all we were pulling into our destination, a huge noisy station, dozens of trains, some of them diesel, hundreds of people rushing about in all directions.
I remember walking for what seemed to be miles on smooth, foot worn stone pavements which ran alongside red brick arches for as far as I could see, I could still hear and feel the trains rumbling by somewhere above the arches and there were more people than I had ever seen in one place before, all walking in the same direction.
Crossing the road, over the tram tracks and through gates in the wall we were at our destination, Belle View Zoo.
My only memory of being at the zoo is of being in a motor boat on a large boating lake with my Dad and it was brilliant.
This is the last memory I have of my Dad, he died when I was four years old and I was probably about three and a half years old when we took a day trip to Belle View Zoo.
My memories from my early life are few and they come to me rarely. When they do, they come as old, faded, black and white photographs not technicolour movies.
I don’t remember the point when he was no longer there which saddens me. I never had the chance to know him which saddens me even more. I hope I would have been proud of him and he of me and that we would have been friends in my adulthood but I’ll never know.
This image is what prompted this recollection and that recollection is what prompted me to present this image in the form you see it, an old faded photograph found in the dusty corner of an old chest of drawers.
It’s funny what can spark a memory and the creative imagination.
If you have read this I thank you sincerely as it was difficult for me to write and at forty nine years old I still don’t really know how I feel about it.