Some Soft Swan Shots From Clumber Park [Lomography Orca 100]

Images shot on Lomography Orca 100 in Lomography Diana Baby 110

After shooting a roll of Lomography Color Tiger 200 in an old hand-me-down Kodak Ektra camera at a temple in Shanghai, I must have got a bit of a taste for the much-maligned 110 format.

I say this because, some time later when I got back to England, I bought myself a Lomography Diana Baby and a few more packs of 110 film.

One of these films was Lomography’s own Orca 100; a monochrome stock that seems to pair with Color Tiger as their two normal 110 offerings amongst the more peculiar ones like Purple, Lobster Redscale, and Peacock X-Pro.

It was this Orca and Diana Baby combo that I took to Clumber Park – which isn’t too far from my village – one sunny Saturday morning.

The results are what follows, but be warned. 110 is a smaller format than 35mm, which typically means less resolution in your shots, and the Diana Baby is a toy camera with a plastic lens.

So don’t expect terrific sharpness here. In fact, expect the opposite. Expect extreme softness.

clumber park gate

What and where is Clumber Park?

Despite only living around half an hour’s drive away and me being the age I am, this was the first time I’d ever been to Clumber Park, which sits near Worksop in the north of Nottinghamshire.

I’d seen that imposing archway whilst passing on the A614 on the way to countless other places before and often thought it looked like a grand entrance to whatever lay behind it.

And once I’d driven through it on the day I went there and shot these softest of images, I found out exactly what that was.

The first major thing I saw after walking out of the car park was the very pretty little Chapel Of St. Mary The Virgin, which dates back to 1889 and honestly deserves to be shot with a better camera than the Diana Baby.

Beyond that is the large Clumber Lake, which provides probably the most popular Clumber Park activity of walking around the lake.

One of the highlights of this walk is the ornamental Clumber Bridge, which has thankfully been restored back to its former glory after it was smashed up by some absolute moron in 2018.

About those soft swan shots I mentioned

The title of this piece promised some soft swan shots, and that’s what you’re now about to get – as well as some thoughts on why I think these birds make pretty good and easy photography subjects.

I’m not really one for wildlife photography in general. Taking pictures of creatures with a 400mm lens from a hundred yards away – or however those numbers would look in reality – doesn’t interest me.

The results that such a set-up typically produces are of course very good if you’re into that sort of thing, but I’m just not. I prefer to be closer to what I’m shooting, and to get more of the overall scene in there too.

And that’s one reason why, in my experience at least, swans are good. Because, like the honey badger, they don’t care. They just do not give a shit.

By that I mean, if you go up to the edge of the water where they’re floating around, they’ll just keep on floating around. They don’t try to get away from you like some other animals will. And they don’t come after you like those Canada geese might either.

So if you see some, you can often quietly wander over to them – whilst obviously always keeping at a distance that’s safe for you and not distressing for them – and be confident they’ll stay pretty much where they are while you take your photos.

If those photographs are in monochrome, you can take advantage of another of their inherent assets too. That being their colour. Or lack of it. They just bring the white to a black and white shot and stand out so well against the land or water behind and below them.

Non-swan photographs from Clumber Park

You do get 24 exposures on a roll of 110 film though, and I didn’t think we needed anywhere near that many images of swans, no matter how photogenic and majestic they may be.

So I used quite a few of them on other non-swan stuff from around Clumber Lake too.

Again, these came out very soft, thanks to the film format and camera combo. So soft that maybe I wish I’d have just gone there with something likely to yield better results, like some 35mm film and the Yashica Electro, perhaps.

But then again, the vast majority of what I’ve shot before has been on 35mm film, and it’s good to sometimes play around and produce stuff that looks different to what you usually do – even if the results are arguably worse.

Everything has its merits, and I suppose there is a feel to these shots that I wouldn’t have got if they hadn’t been shot with the particular film and camera that they were. Something ghostly in that softness.

The square aspect ratio is not my usual thing, either. At the time of writing, I believe it’s only this camera and the Holga 120N that I played with back in Shanghai that have given me results of equal length and width.

So, what is in these non-swan, slightly-ghostly square photographs?

A couple of plinths, a slightly underexposed path through the woods, a few shots across the lake, some solitary trees, or solitrees if you like, Clumber Park’s Greek temple, a weir, and a shot of the church that I wish I hadn’t chopped the top of the tree off in.

One last soft Clumber Park swan shot

A fun fact about swans. It’s illegal to kill and/or eat them here in the UK. But not for the reason you may have heard, that the Queen owns them all.

It’s really because they’re a wild bird and as such are protected under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act, as explained in this article here.

And that seems to only apply to mute swans so if you ever find any that are making a lot of noise, you might be in the clear should you be sick and twisted and hungry enough to feel the need to munch one down.

Just because we can’t eat swans though doesn’t mean they can’t eat what we eat ourselves, which I think is what the one in our final image below was hoping for.

I had no idea what was going on, to be honest. It was just a little surreal to see a swan seemingly begging like a dog for food at the foot of a table – while the actual dog was standing well clear.

With that, I think it’s time to wrap this up with a few words on the Lomography Orca 100 film I used here and the Diana Baby camera I shot it in.

First up, I’ll say that these results are nowhere near technically good enough to have any opinion on how good Orca 100 is. Fortunately though, I have since shot some in a much better camera and can tell you that it isn’t bad at all, really.

The camera is… what it is. Again, I’ve shot a few other rolls in it – mainly Lomography Color Tiger 200 – and I’ve had similarly soft results. They’ll get published on here soon, as well as a full review of the Diana baby once I get around to it.

Until then though, know this – if you’re looking to squeeze as much as you can from 110 film, this camera ain’t it chief.

For soft and ghostly shots though? Yeah, why not. Get one from Lomography or from Analogue Wonderland, and pick up some Orca 100 110 film from there or B&H Photo and give it a go.

And if you manage to get any swans in your results, then happy days also. It’s better then the other type of shooting swans, which would be horrific anyway even it wasn’t illegal. 🙂

If you enjoyed that post, why not take a look at these others to stay inspired or learn more about some other films I’ve shot and reviewed:

  1. Shooting some more 110 film at a temple in Shanghai
  2. Shooting another Lomography film out in Shanghai
  3. My comprehensive review of an iconic Fuji film

And if you think others will find this post on shooting the swans at Clumber Park worth a read, help them find it by giving it a share 😀

written by
Hi, I'm Lee - creator of My Favourite Lens and the one whose work you're seeing whenever you read a post on here.
I shoot as much film as I can in as many different cameras as I can, and I enjoy playing with vintage lenses on digital cameras also.

Everything I do and what I learn along the way gets shared on here, to inform and inspire you to get out and shoot as much - and as well - as you can too.

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