Monday, February 28, 2011

No Landscapes here!

Horn. For fog.

Lighthouse cottage.

I looked around sheepishly while laying face down in the wet then pulled myself from the boggy bit, thanked my good fortune in having some leggings that are [currently] waterproof, smiled sweetly at Eve then walked on trying to look like nothing had happened. We were strolling out to Scalpay Lighthouse. The sun was shining and all was well with the world. Lovely walls careered across the island with traces of glacial activity everywhere in the ever changing landscape. We got there, had a sandwich or two washed down with a black coffee, ignored the fisherman in his boat who seemed to be watching our every move [although I think he was just line fishing from his boat] and then came back. Came back via the Hebrides Hotel where we had a fine cup of tea while admiring the Silver Gelatin print by Calum Angus Mackay with the painting and drawings by Willie Fulton in the bar. Bliss.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Landscapes. Never, ever again!

Call it Wabi-Sabi or Pictorialism if you like [but DON'T call it a Landscape!]

I was out with Ghriet, a noisy contemptible dog with a small mind of its own. The wind was howling round my earlobes and my tinnitus was kicking off big-time. We tramped up the road past the abandoned charabanc, through the squeaky iron gate and onto the moor. It was sunny but cold with the wind tearing through me. I was heading towards the peats. I'm not sure why since it wasn't landscapes I had in mind that's for sure. The way the dog was barking it was going to be a still-life, and soon.

To be completly honest, it wasn't the best choice of location I could have made for a non-landscape shot. Sure, the frogs have been very busy leaving little jellied piles of spawn all along the track, yes the grass looked lovely and the sheep cuddly but I didn't really have the camera for that. Or the film. The camera works excellently but not in that wind. The lens has the resolving power of a milk-bottle bottom and the film was Chinese and now looks like the emulsion was spread with second-hand chop-sticks. Either that or the local water board have just chucked another dead sheep in the system such was the prevalence of hairs on the neg!

So I took a landscape. I know, I know, I don't take landscapes but I made an exception. I won't do it again I can tell you.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


My pal Toots is not a ballet dancer. Not sure he even likes ballet but earlier this year he did a mean pirouette on a frozen Gress machair following that with a slightly less than graceful face-first plant. He was ok I might add. This snap was just after Toots managed to regain his feet - and is from a just processed film!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

More moor

The Moor towards our peats.

I don't do landscapes. You probably know that by now. I mention it often enough. However, later in the year, my dear Eve and I plus Mr Windy, Deanne and the Smits are all off to Tuscany for a bike ride. As you do. It's an event you have to ride on pre-1985 bikes so all my bikes are ok. :-) I thought I'd take an old folder to the event as well as a rangefinder and this was a trial. Why else would I take landscapes?

Still, we do have some nice scapes in the land round this way so it's not too much of a trial. This is the walk out to our peat-bank. If anyone wants to come and learn peat-cutting then plan your trip for May. Lessons are free!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The weekend

Look, look, sunshine eh? Colour! There must be some mistake.
No, it's my snap al-right but I eventually got round to sending the film in to be developed some 6 months after exposing it. Mr Windy swapped some B&W for a couple of rolls of Ektar - which as it happens, I don't like. But the snap is Ok - on day when the sun actually shone, the cold wind was not cutting through your coat like a knife through butter and all seems wellish in the world.

In a place like this - Isle of Bernera since you ask - one can forget the world is in turmoil, there's revolutions all over the place, the consumer capitalist economies are unsustainable and the biosphere is moving to a state where it will not be able to support human habitation in years to come. But best not to dwell on that all the time. Best to meditate and 'be'.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


I have long been mesmerised by the Pictorialist movement. Mainly, I shouldn't wonder because it's out of fashion. Leonard Misonne is one of my favs as is the Scottish fella James Annan. I mean, the images are soft, moody and not usually that sharp. I like that. Oh, and i like the colour - arrived at by the process used - Photograveure, Gum-print, Bromoil and the like. I don't really do any of those although I have dabbled in the first two, so I printed this using conventional techniques. Silver gelatin [Fomatone], sepia and copious use of diffusing filters in the low contract. Eh? It's ok, I don't know what I'm doing either.

Friday, February 18, 2011


Sonja, Cailean and Deanne in Ullapool last year.

My dance teacher was on a sleep-over so I'm told. Twas just as well since my practising the moves had not been going well. I was in Ullapool with Eve, Sonja, Stephan, Cailean and The Windy's [although Mrs Windy tells me she is 'Deanne' and definitely not Mrs Windy] for a cyclosportive. And since I have now got round to having this slide film developed, you can now see these snaps in all their splendour. Well worth waiting for.

Rhip, Rhip, Rhip...
Yes, yes, Ghriet is here tonight. Ghriet's pets have gone to t'mainland for a car-check or something so she is staying here overnight eyeing my every move and giving a 'Rhip' every now and again. As you do when you are a dog.

We took a walk earlier on - no, not here but above the next beach along the 'road to nowhere' with Mr Roy Bentham and Ziggy. Twas lovely

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Did I tell you we went for a stroll last weekend? I did, ah well, I'm a tellin you agin.

The thing was since I have been doing illness for the last ten years or so, walking on the hills has hardly been a regular occurrence. Now I've got me 'ed around life and me, I'm feeling great and able to walk and ride the bike. Eh? Ride the bike? Yes, that's me, I ride a bicycle - and will be just as soon as I write this since the sun is shining and everything.

The walk; well, twas out Seaforth Estate way - a wonderful area with hills, horses and a couple of houses. Sunshine too since you ask but that's not always there despite the promo pictures you usually see of this place. Took a snap or two of them 'orses, got in t'darkroom and printed one. Ere it is flaw and all;
From a 35mm neg - HP5/Rodinal/Paterson RC paper.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Another snap for my 'I don't do landscapes' series
We took a stroll out over the Isle of Lewis hills and came across these creatures. So lovely, as was the walk.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I'm shooting again. Having scanned 40 negs for a chum who wants to be able to 'see' her old family pictures, my walk in the castle grounds in the sunshine seemed the right thing to do. I snapped a snap or two and this wasn't one of them. But it is from the grounds and it was one I took sometime earlier. What more do you want? Eh?

Taken on Polypanf

Friday, February 11, 2011


Last year,Eve and I went on a little visitation to the Isle of Jura. Seems like a lifetime away now. We went with Lewis Photographica and the week was blessed with terrific weather. Since I don't 'do' landscapes and prefer wet and windy weather anyway, I found my self scraping round for something to shoot. I shot the curtains.

Now, months later I stole myself a little time and went into the darkroom to get back into the swing of printing. This was one of the prints on Ilford RC stuff. Soaked in Sepia and the like. Nice eh?

Monday, February 07, 2011


The warming room needs a little brightening with flowers from time to time and just occasionally I turn my camera on them. When I'm not 'not doing landscapes' or trudging through the quagmire that is The Croft.

I often visit the Filmwasters forum and Mr Leon Taylor has in the past used a similar technique to this to produce some lovely images. Me? I used the Kowa6 and some close up filters I found in a box. This image might make it too the darkroom too.