Walking Around Wollaton Park With the Lomo LC-A [Lomography Color Negative 400]

wollaton hall

Images shot on Lomography Color Negative 400 in the Lomo LC-A

In a previous blog post on this site, I talked about the first roll of film I put through my original Soviet Lomo LC-A. It was some Ilford HP5 Plus that I shot around the streets of Nottingham.

When I finished that roll though, I didn’t go straight home. Instead I headed to Wollaton Park, which sits just outside the city, to try some landscape and architecture shots with some Lomography Color Negative 400.

I wanted to see if I could get any half-decent results of this style of shooting out of this little old zone focus camera, but also it had been years since I’d been to Wollaton Park and I fancied a walk around there anyway so why not scratch two itches at the same time?

The results of that day are what we have here, along with an introduction to the place. They’re not the greatest images you’ll ever see because I’m not that great at landscape photography – yet – but at least the camera and film both did their jobs well enough.

What and where is Wollaton Park?

When I was a kid, I used to spend most Saturdays at my grandparents’ house in Nottingham. They lived not far from Wollaton Park and we’d occasionally go there for a stroll around and to go inside the grand Wollaton Hall.

It was always a good time. Especially after it’d snowed and the place was full of people sledging.

A historic and expansive place at around 500 acres, Wollaton Park, which sits about 3 miles outside of Nottingham’s city centre, is both naturally beautiful and culturally significant.

Its most famous fauna are the herds of red and fallow deer that roam the grounds, and there’s a whole host of different bird species to observe too if that’s your thing.

You’ve also got landscaped, formal and botanical gardens and a lake to take in, a Parkrun you can join every Saturday morning, and a weekend music festival in the summer too.

Of course the centrepiece of the park is Wollaton Hall, which sits at the highest point overlooking in all directions, but I wouldn’t only focus your visit on that. I didn’t even go inside on this occasion.

Quiet time spent wandering the paths and trails and shooting the little Lomo LC-A was time well spent for me.

Tell me more about that Wollaton Hall

Way back in the 16th century, a rich local industrialist by the name of Sir Francis Willoughby wanted a new mansion. As you do. So he asked the renowned architect Robert Smythson to design him one. And what he got, after it had taken from 1580 to 1588 to build, was Wollaton Hall.

If Wollaton Hall was intended to be a symbol of wealth and social status, which you have to presume it was because why build it otherwise, I’d definitely say they achieved that.

I’m not really a classical architecture buff, but if I was, I think the ornate stone façade, mullioned windows, three-storey structure, and towers and turrets are something I could look at for hours.

For me though, trying to get some okay compositions of some of those details, which I’ll show you in the next section of this post, and also of the symmetrical form of the building was enough.

wollaton hall

If you buy a ticket to go inside the hall, you’ll find the Nottingham Natural History Museum. I remember going here multiple times as a kid to walk around looking at the stuffed animals.

George the gorilla was always a favourite, as was the giraffe at the bottom of the staircase and a large eagle I remember in a glass cabinet too.

Of course I never realised it at the time and am only finding out now I research this post, but it appears the gorilla and giraffe – and probably lots more of the beasts in Wollaton Hall – are not really pure examples of taxidermy. Some talented papier-mâché practitioners were involved to some degree too.

If you prefer your days out to feature more recent attractions than centuries-old fake dead animals, you might be interested to know that Wollaton Hall served as Wayne Manor in the film The Dark Knight Rises. The outside of it, anyway.

This lad Thomas Duke did a fine job of revisiting some of the locations, including the funeral scene below the tree in the next image.

Aside from the grand hall, other buildings in the vicinity include the courtyard and stable block, where you’ll find the Industrial Museum, and Camellia House, which is one of the oldest cast iron glasshouses in the country and dates back to 1823.

I’ll be honest with you here… I only really mention these because I got pictures of them.

I do like the Camellia House one though.

Wollaton Hall architecture, details, and masonry

As mentioned, I’m not really a classical architecture aficionado, but I know it does serve a purpose. And the purpose it served me on this day was something to shoot while I played about with the zone focus on the Lomo LC-A.

Ever since I got it, I’ve found it fantastic for shooting street scenes with everything in focus, like you can see here or here. It’s easy to do and a lot of fun also.

A little trickier though is judging that zone focus for things closer to you and getting them sharp with a shallower depth of field. That’s why I was so pleased with how the next image here came out.

It’s a nicely carved lion, no doubt. I hope whoever crafted it was as happy with their work as I was when I saw I was lucky enough to get this shot right.

You can’t win them all though, and the stone ball on the next one is sadly out of focus.

Aside from that though, these few images do show some of the ornate work and details of Wollaton Hall reasonably well. I quite like the faces popping out of the circular recesses, and I’m sure plenty of people would be interested to know who they are representations of.

That’s not something I can tell you, though. Because I simply do not know.

What I can tell you though is that I’m impressed with the overall sharpness and image quality of these shots.

Most of what I’d read about the Lomo LC-A before I got mine was about lo-fi results. It is the origin of the whole Lomography thing, after all.

I think these show that it’s possible to get some genuinely decent-looking photographs from an LC-A too, though.

Regardless of my composition, be that okay or bad, the camera – especially its lens – did well here.

Geese on the lake and deer in the field

Moving on from Wollaton Hall and going down the hill, deeper into Wollaton Park, we now come to a couple of things I mentioned earlier.

The lake and the deer.

I’m not a wildlife photographer, and I certainly wouldn’t be using a Lomo LC-A if I was. You’re just not going to get many good results with a 32mm lens. Not unless you’re really good at sneaking up on animals.

So it goes that I got lucky, again, with this first shot here. Being stood close enough to the Canada goose to be able to capture it puffing its chest out was fortunate in the extreme, and it’s not an image I think I’ll ever be able to replicate.

Most of the other shots from around the lake aren’t so good, although I was lucky again to have three birds come between the silhouettes of the trees for that one. Rule of odds, isn’t it?

Now this that I’m about to show you… this is what I mean about not doing wildlife photography with a 32mm lens.

I like stags. They’re my favourite football team. And I would have loved some good pictures of these guys chilling out in their little corner of Wollaton Park.

I’m not going to get any closer than I did that day, though. You’d have to be an idiot to go disturbing them.

One, because you might get trampled or struck with a mighty antler, and two, even more importantly, because you’re just going to distress these magnificent beasts more than you probably realise.

I’ll take bad photographs over either of those eventualities, and perhaps add a 300mm lens to my ever-growing shopping list while I’m at it.

Wollaton Park’s semi-wild deer, though. A great sight to see with your own eyes should you get the chance. Certainly better than through my Lomo lens.

A Wollaton walk down memory lane

I mentioned at the top of this post that my grandparents used to live near Wollaton Park and that we’d occasionally go for a walk around.

One memory I have from being very young is being there with my grandmother one time and, when we were leaving, walking out to some side entrance rather than the main gates.

Checking on Google Maps, I deduced this must have been Digby Avenue, that goes east and brings you out on Harrow Road. So that’s the way I exited on this day too, taking a few final shots along the way.

The light was definitely fading by this point, but the carved wooden snake was a cool bit of craftsmanship. And it was nice to retrace the steps I’d taken with my late grandmother all those years ago and have some quiet reflection while I did.

Wrapping up from Wollaton Park

I enjoyed that day at Wollaton Park and I’ve enjoyed writing it up here too. The photographs were a change of pace for me from what I normally do, and it was good to play around with something different with the Lomo LC-A.

I’ve not really mentioned the film – the Lomography CN 400 – throughout this post but that did well too. I liked it when I shot it in the Sprocket Rocket also.

There will be a full review of this film in due course, once I’ve shot my remaining roll of it. And a review of the Lomo LC-A too.

Until then, keep shooting, keep getting out amongst the grass and the trees, and keep enjoying the tranquillity of places like Wollaton Park.

It’s good for the soul, and you probably deserve more of those kind of things. 🙂

If you liked that walk around Wollaton Park with the Lomo LC-A and want more essays illustrated with film photography, why not have a look at some of these:

And if you think others will find this post 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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