Leicester’s Festival Weekend

Originally posted on 52Rolls.net


Recently, Leicester (Les-tah) has become known for its overachieving football team. At odds of several thousand to one, the club won the English Premier League last season, causing consternation across the footballing world. It’s also led to the city becoming known to many people who had never heard of it previously, despite being the 10th largest in Britain. For the next few months or so, telling people outside of the UK that you come from Leicester won’t be met with the blank expression that it usually is.

The chances are those that were familiar with it, knew it for its diversity and as the first city in the UK with a ‘non-White-British’ majority in its population. The large areas of the city that have Indian, Pakistani, African or Polish communities are always interesting to explore (and smell) as they really do feel like enclaves of those countries, transposed into red-brick, Victorian houses. Apart from 6 years in the late-80s, it’s always been home and that openness and tolerance of others is something that to me feels entirely natural. I was delighted that in the EU referendum, it wasn’t only Scotland that voted against a Brexit, Leicester did too.

This weekend saw Leicester do what it does best. On Saturday, the main thoroughfares of the centre were temporarily closed as the Caribbean Carnival made it slow and noisy progress through the streets. With the sun shining, it was a brilliantly colourful celebration.

On Sunday, the Krishna festival of Ratha Yatra took over with devotees pulling ropes towing huge wooden carts carrying deities, with hundreds of faithful singing, dancing and playing music to accompany them.

I used the opportunity to shoot a couple of rolls through my new camera and I’m pleased to say that the Leica is a delight to use. While I still need to get the hang of zone focussing and not spending too long over-thinking exposure setting, I can already see why it is the preferred tool of ‘street’ photographers.

I also need to learn how to scan again. While my previous ‘workflow’ was good for 120 negatives, hastily scanned 35mm, viewed on a huge monitor, look terrible (you can’t imagine my initial disappointment when I saw the first results from the Leica at low dpi on a 27″ screen), although for now they look OK on a small screen after some Lightroom contrast tweaks. The colour pictures were processed and scanned at a Polish lab and have no such problems…

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This is my first attempt to post on WordPress from an iPad. What a complete ball-ache!


Gubbins:

Leica M6, Summicron-M 35mm ASPH. The b/w is Kodak TMax400 processed and scanned at home, the colour pictures are Fujifilm C200, processed and scanned by Pawel Patlawski in Wroclaw, Poland.

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