A Flash of Inspiration | Exploring in Monochrome - Cromford Mill


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Exploring in Monochrome - Cromford Mill

November 07, 2014  •  4 Comments

This time last year Drizzle Almost Stopped Play at Cromford Mill . I'm back again but this time with the intention of shooting solely in black and white and minus the drizzle.  I knew the location was worthy of further exploration in monochrome.

Accompanied by my mini photo walk buddy and armed simply with my iPhone, I set out to capture the essence of this World Heritage Site - Cromford Mill in Derbyshire - with the Hipstamatic app using the Lowy lens and BlacKeys Extra Fine film combo. Tourist flock here from around the world to absorb the atmosphere of the first water-powered cotton spinning mill developed by  by Richard Arkwright in 1771. I'm not one for participating in guided tours although I do sometimes eavesdrop for interesting snippets of information.  I prefer to wander off on my own to explore nooks and crannies.

Many people pass by without a further glance but my curious nature makes me peek through gaps to admire the ongoing restoration of sites like this. Or perhaps I'm just outright nosy?! 

Twelve months ago the water gushed through the sluice at great speed and I captured one of my favourite photos of the year here. 

As always I'm drawn to water reflections. A clear blue sky usually adds clarity but today it was not to be. At least the drizzle which makes my hair extra-curly stayed away!
You can sense this being a noisy hive of activity in days gone by. There would've been no time to daydream through these beautiful windows!

This is the original robust bell used to call the workers to the mill. Those who were late weren't allowed through the gates.

A few local businesses have set up here.  Of course I was drawn to the antique shop - it was jammed solid with all sorts of treasures at reasonable prices.

I collect quirky old bottles. I delved around and discovered a little vintage gem with an interesting history - it'll star in a mini photo shoot for a mid-week blog post soon! 

Across from the mill stands the canal wharf. I love old signs layered with decades of peeling paint..

The Arkwright Society is carrying out an impressive restoration project. If you're ever in the area you must call by!

And so back to my iPhone. I enjoyed the freedom of not having to think about camera settings. But... I found composition a little difficult because of the small view when using Hipstamatic- so I wasn't always sure what I was shooting and especially because my eyesight is not as good as it could be! 

My mono photo walk was inspired by The Monochrome Explorers. This is a new friendly group on Facebook run by myself and two friends Viv and Sarah.  If you have an interest in exploring monochrome/ black and white photography - whatever your level of expertise - we'd love for you to join us!

If you've been out on a photo walk or plan to do so over the coming week, I'd love to see your photos. Why not try some black and white? Please feel free to link up your blog post, Flickr  or Instagram photos below - alternatively please leave a link in the comments box.

Hoping for blue skies and cold fresh air this weekend. I'm desperate to get out with my new dinky Canon 40mm pancake lens! More on this next week! 

Enjoy your week! 





Susan W(non-registered)
Thanks for taking us on this great photo walk. I'll bet it was an amazing place to spend hours. Being free once in a while from the big camera can be kind of liberating.
It seems to be appropriate that the mill should be in black and white, I love your shots especially the bell.
Helen you have inspired me to look for a place to explore! The character of this old building is so beautiful...the windows, shadows, the water along side, and I love one of the door (a perfect wall print). Thank you for sharing your walk photography. I always enjoy reading and seeing your photos.
Love all of these in Black and White. Hipstamatic is a learning curve for sure. I want to experiment more soon. Can't wait to see what your new lens offers you.
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