Late night view – York No2.

Night time view of a York street, mid 1980’s From my negative files, T-Max 400
(old style TMY not TMY2).

Like the previous image, this was handheld using a newly acquired Nikon F401, I uprated the T-Max from 400 to 800 asa and used T-Max developer. If I was making this image now, I would have used a 2 bath developer for more control of the high lights (street lamps).

I mentioned in a previous post, that after my move back to UK I had misplaced my darkroom log book – found !! which was a relief. It has lots of useful and useless information about film and paper development. The useless comment relates to the fact that it has notes about paper and films that are sadly no longer available.

 

 

Part of Rievaulx Abbey ?

Another old negative: this one from 1987 or 88. I am reasonably sure it’s Rievaulx Abbey
North Yorkshire.

The file sheet said: Abbey – Nikon F4 with Tokina 35-70 f2.8 AIs AT-X / T-max 400. There are 22 negatives in the file sheet and all of the same place.
I remember visiting Rievaulx Abbey in the mid 1980’s and as T-max came on the market in 1986, these were probably made late 87 or 88. That’s the problem going through old negatives, I was not so careful making notes as I assumed I would remember.

Up date: found the receipt for my Nikon F4, so this dates these to no earlier than 1988. 

Rievaulx Abbey was a Cistercian monastery, founded in 1131 by Walter Espec in a secluded valley on the edge of the North York Moors.

The first structures at Rievaulx were temporary timber buildings, intended to serve only until proper permanent buildings could be erected in stone. The first stone structures were begun under the first abbot, William (1132-1145), sometime after 1135.
From these modest beginnings grew one of the wealthiest monasteries of medieval England and the first northern Cistercian monastery. Rievaulx enjoyed the protection of nearby Helmsley Castle, the owners of which provided much of the abbey’s land.

The plan for Rievaulx was to follow the same layout as that of the mother abbey of the order at Citeaux, in France. This consisted of a large church with a cloister range to the south. Abbot William’s church was taken down and rebuilt on a grand scale by the third abbot, Aelred (1147-1167).

The east end of the church was later torn down and enlarged by Abbot Roger II (1223-1239). One unusual feature at Rievaulx is the orientation of the church. Most churches in Britain, certainly established in the medieval period, are oriented loosely on an east/west line. At Rievaulx the layout of the site necessitated a different approach, and the abbey church is laid out on a north/south line.

The abbey was expanded in the period 1145-1165 and again in the late 12th century. Interestingly, though Rievaulx was reckoned the most important Cistercian house in England in the late 12th century, it reached the peak of its power around 1200, and from that point on life at Rievaulx became a struggle. Part of the struggle was the monk’s own fault; an ambitious programme of rebuilding and extending the abbey buildings in the 13th century led to heavy debts.

In the 13th century, a series of epidemics ravaged the abbey’s flocks of sheep, leaving them with far lower income than expected. They did engage in minor rebuilding during the 14th century, but by then the abbey had truly fallen upon hard times.

Parts of the abbey buildings were torn down in the 15th century and by the time of it’s suppression and confiscation by Henry VIII in 1538, it supported 22 monks and 100 lay people. Compare that to the 1160s when, under Abbot Aelred, it had a population of 140 monks and more than 500 lay brothers.
Above taken from: British History on line/ Catholic Encyclopædia & Encyclopædia Britannica.

 

Tin bowl – Jebel Harim: Musandam.

Nikon F4 with Non-Ai 135mm f/2.8 Nikkor on Kodak T-max 400.
From my negative files.

Made at an abandoned (?) village on Jebel Harim Musandam: I question the abandoned because the owners would leave their Jebel accommodation and move to the coast for a couple of months each year, for fishing and general trade, so I was never sure.
The people of this area of Oman are very interesting in many ways, according to recent research the ‘Shihuh’ who occupy most of the mountainous area are a mystery.
Paolo Costa, former head of Oman’s Department of Antiquities say  “Ethnically, we don’t know who they are, there is speculation that they are the original inhabitants of Arabia, pushed back into the mountains by successive Muslim and Portuguese invasionsThe Shihuh are semi-nomadic – farming their hillside terraces in the winter and living by the coast in summer to fish and harvest dates – their summer homes palm frond huts, their winter ones low stone houses that blend almost invisibly into the mountainsides. Another of the Shihuh’s peculiarities is that the men carry a long-handled axe (called a jerz) rather than the traditional curved Arab dagger, or khanjar. “The remains of some prehistoric weapon?”  (From Aramco World. Vol:34)
I have one of these axes from my time in the Musandam.

Other than arriving by sea, getting into the Musandam was very difficult and in some ways dangerous for outsiders; not only because of the lack of access (mountainous with precipitous cliffs) but also because the locals had a fearsome reputation. Whether justified or not, it did dissuade outsiders which achieved the result they wanted.
They speak a dialect of Arabic (A mixture of Arabic, Farsi and Urdu) which has probably evolved through several hundred years of isolation. Another area on the coast called Kumzar has a language very similar; a mix of Farsi, Arabic, Baluchi, Portuguese and English.
Since the mid – 1970’s there has been a development programme that is modernising the Musandam but still maintaining its culture and traditions. It welcomes tourists with modern hotels, 4×4 adventure camping, Dhow cruises and I have enjoyed some of the best diving in the Gulf. (Large Sharks, whale sharks & tropical reef fish)

Bukha Fort.

Bukha Fort – Nikon F4 / Nikkor 50mm f1.8D and Ilford Hp5 Plus film.
There has been substantial renovation since this image was made.

This fort may have been built in the 16th century by the Portuguese although doing a search for its history seems to show conflicting information. It was certainly used in the 17th century by Saif bin Sultan Al Ya’rubi. The distinctively shaped tower was constructed to deflect cannonballs; the fort was a lot closer to the sea than it is today and it had a ditch on at least three sides, that would fill with sea water.

Some interesting history from the book: The Ya’rubi dynasty of Oman. Raymond Denis Bathurst.

Sultan bin Saif Al Ya’rubi defeated Portuguese troops, who had been occupying certain coastal dominions. This liberated Omani trade and ushered in nearly a century of relative wealth and progress, until the death of Sultan ibn Sayf II and resultant break out of civil war in 1718.
The Al-Ya’ariba trace their descent from Ya’arab bin Kahtan, whom some date to about 800 BC. The family originated in Yemen and belonged to the Ghafiri faction. Nasir bin Murshid bin Sultan al Ya’Aruba (r. 1624-1649) was the first Imam of the Yaruba dynasty, elected in 1624. He moved the capital to Nizwa, the former capital of the Ibadhi Imamate. Nasir bin Murshid was able to unify the tribes with a common goal of expelling the Portuguese. He built up the Omani army and took the main towns as well as the forts of Rustaq and Nakhal. His forces threw the Portuguese out of Julfar (now Ras al-Khaimah) in 1633. In 1643 they took the fort at Sohar.
Nasir bin Murshid was succeeded by Sultan bin Saif (r. 1649-1688), his cousin. Sultan bin Saif completed the task of expelling the Portuguese. He captured Sur, Qurayyat and Muscat, expanded the fleet and attacked the Portuguese on the Gujarat coast. Under Sultan bin Seif and his successors Oman developed into a strong maritime power.The Omanis took many of the Portuguese possessions in East Africa. The first attack on Zanzibar, then held by the Portuguese, was in 1652. In 1660 Omani forces attacked Mombasa, forcing the Portuguese to take refuge in Fort Jesus. There was continued fighting between the forces of Portugal and Oman in the East African coast in the years that followed.
Bil’arab bin Sultan (r. 1679-1692) succeeded as Imam in 1679 after the death of his father, Sultan bin Saif. This confirmed that the succession was now hereditary, since his father had also succeeded dynastically, while in the Ibadi tradition the Imam was elected. Most of his reign was occupied in a struggle with his brother, Saif bin Sultan, who succeeded Bil’arab bin Sultan when he died at Jabrin in 1692.