Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Crown Jewels

A very good friend of ours who happens to be a big cheese in the film/tv world as an art-director sent me her late husband's 2x3 Crown Graphic and such pretty camera you have never seen and I am so grateful. Fleur is also a member of sea shanty band - Mad Sea Dog - go and check them out!

It's a proper press camera like you see in those old gangster movies. Eh? No sooner than I had taken it out of the box, I'd loaded it with film and gone outside to shoot Hector and Murdo modelling the latest in Crofter fashion over the road. You'll have to wait for that image since I'm waiting till they are not looking before posting it as Murdo said he didn't have his best wellies on or something. Meanwhile you'll have to make do with this shot of a village fence. It's not that typical in that it's not falling over :-)

Sunday, March 27, 2011


A fine study of brutalist architecture

It's Sunday and here that means Church. At least it means church for a good proportion of the village. Those of us that have other ways of living don't go. But I do snap up the buildings from time to time. Snapped up with the Ilford Sporti in the morning, film developed by lunchtime and printed in the afternoon!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


The main road on Harris.

Near Northton.

Did I tell you I'm back riding the bike again? So lovely to feel the old legs turning and all that. The sun was shing this morning, I'd already taken the road bike out of the loft so we were out on the road down to Toots' place for a cup of coffee - while the rain came down! I must say Toots does make fine coffee and there's always biscuits on hand. Eventually we prised ourselves out of the conservatory chairs, left the nice photo books on the table and set off home again before the rain came back again. Not as nice a ride as the Tour de Harris the other week, but pleasurable all the same.
I took the Viv UW&S with me as i do on the bike, finished the roll and when I'd [under]developed the thing I found these snaps from the Harris ride. When the weather is fine, there's not many better places to ride a bike. And its always lovely for snapping.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Royston, tilted

Eh? Yes, I've been playing with glass plates and a borrowed MPP plate camera, And annoying Roy into the bargain or whatever that saying is. Toots had kindly lent me his prized 4x5 and I have been shooting the occasional plate with it. Roy loves the camera as it brings back the old times and makes him feel like the star he really is. I just could not resist making the camera tilt, or is it swing?? Should be swing since Royston was a fine karaoke singer in his time and loves the swing sound. Whatever I made the camera do it resulted in me missing the focus on his dark eyes. A pity.

Of course it's grainy!!!

It's sand for goodness sakes. What do you expect?? The stuff is grain and what with the black bits washed up on the white sand it looks even grainier. I can honestly say this is the best, least grainy film called polypan-f around. Look at the snaps with a squint and they look even better. But not as nice as when I saw them on Traigh Mhor the other day when the sea had retreated so low.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Not such a great day

Courtesy of the big moon, the sea retreated a long way and Eve couldn't resist putting it on her pixels.
Ok, so it wasn't really the best day I've had in a while although the sun was shining. In fact the weather was lovely and it tempted me out with the Kowa6 MF down to Seaforth Estate to snap some horses I'd seen on a previous visit. When I arrived the horses were waiting for me. I set up the new tripod I'd been given and the leg went wrong. While I was trying to sort that out, the camera fell off and broke. I was so mad, I came home.

The good part of the day came in the evening when The Coelyns came round unexpectedly and took the crook camera off to see if a repair was possible. I do hope so since that camera is my favourite. The tripod went in the bin!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Across the land

The Pentland Road, on the bed of a never built railway.

Going across the island there's a fine old road that takes you from Stornoway to Carloway. Single track all the way, a changing landscape from east to west and chances are, as it was for us, changing weather all the way over. If you are lucky and you catch the evening light you may see a purple haze that caught me unaware the first time I saw it. Thought it was the glass in the car window but when I opened the window it was still there. For a moment of two anyway. Then in no time it was gone again.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Techi stuff

I think you press this bit.....Oh no, maybe not!

We're flying close to edge to technology these days my pals A& B and I. Not just a telephone without a wire to the wall either but some other thing that does something interesting. Or will do once we get the hang of it. Still, while Alexander was tuning into the vibes of thing and Bill was writing stuff down for crib sheets for us all, I was snapping. Here is that snap !

Testing - again

Obviously it's a test isn't it? Seems like I'm getting somewhere too - even if it is just around the village with me Perkeo. Getting fed up with this testing, I might just have to take a snap in anger soon.
Big up today for my dear Eve who has her birthday today - as it was last year ! And to Mr Windy who is back with a shed-load of nice images from his big birthday dirty weekend away on the mainland [in and out of cafes, tea-dances and monuments I'm told]

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tests only

Test shot 1. A wire. They are everywhere and if you don't see them in shots you can be sure they have been cloned out. I love 'em. And posts. Down Crossbost way.

Test shot 2. That's a proper hill and everything at the back. The quad bike riders race up to it and make a right mess of the land.
Test shot 3. The village from a peat track. And the sea. Well, The Minch anyway. Which is probably sea since it stops the SS Muirneag going most nights it seems.

Before I post anything I have to tell you these were test shots. Just out and about by the village and snapping - as I do. The problem, such as it is, started a while back when the camera was partially taken apart to remove the sand in it after it fell face first onto the dune. I replaced the lens element, tried to set the focus point correctly - and I think I've not been too successful. I'll have another go.
Still, they are snaps, they are on film - albeit Chinese film coated with used chop-sticks or something. Hence the 'bits'.
And of course, these don't count as landscapes because they are tests, are out of focus in a wabi-sabi sort of way. And the Coelynes may be reading this!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

doubling up

William and Stephen in two different worlds.

The other week I shot a roll of polypanf and then promptly lost track of the roll. I developed parts of two rolls but they were blank and in the end I lost interest - as I do.

The other day I was at a training day taken by Stephen with my colleagues William and Alec. I took a snap or two but then on developing I found where the roll of undeveloped film went - back into my Petri7s. The resulting images are strangely apt as you can see in the top image. It generally a fine little camera with a lovely lens as you can see from the one non-double image on the roll!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


If I remember correctly, and that may be in some doubt, this was a snap from Rodel church on Harris. I think. It's not perfect [not in focus, crooked and all that - Wabi-Sabi actually] but I found the neg lurking in my extensive filing system [somewhere under the settee], washed off the dust and printed in the darkroom on some old Paterson RC that fell out of a box of paper lurking around the place. Just for fun. Toned and everything. Eh? Not a landscape tho is it?

Monday, March 07, 2011

More Golden days

Some place out there on t'Golden Road
The Golden Road

It seems Mr Wilman liked the last two snaps from my little plastic camera, so here's two more from our little ride on Saturday. I'm still feeling great although my rear end is still a tad tender!
But, now I've entered L'Eroica [assuming I get in], I've sorted a bike to ride - Eve's riding my Argos donated to me by Mr Wilman and Stephan will be riding my re-badged Argos masquerading as an Neil Orrell. Meanwhile the Coelyn's have leant me a lugless Claud Butler [original] with Sturmey Archer 3-speed for the event. How good is that? Just need to change the saddle to remove the armchair that's on it now and the handlebars too back to something rather more original and I'll have a fine bike to ride.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Biking - again

Isle of Harris.

I think it's hard for most of you to appreciate the joy I had riding my bicycle round the Isle of Harris yesterday with Eve on our old mountain bikes.

When I was a kid I used to race bikes - a lot. It was my life really. Raced the track beginning at Cardiff Maindy Stadium and had a great time and a little success. Skipping forward a bit, and later in life I ended up as head coach at the Manchester Velodrome and worked with some of the best track cyclists in the world as well as some of the worst! I'm proud to have some fine friends who are top cyclists and coaches. My lovely and wonderful Eve won her World Title on the track during that time. Aileen McGlynn OBE and Ellen Hunter OBE who ride tandem together got gold medals at Athens and Bejing. Graeme Obree, the wonderful hour-record breaker whose uncle was a policeman in Tarbert, Harris at some time [and I worked with Johnny Lee Miller in preparation to the making of the excellent film about Graeme - The Flying Scotsman]. Michael Hutchinson who attempted the hour record and who wrote a fine and funny book based on the experience where I feature somewhat ! And not forgetting Sir Chis Hoy of Hoy and Princess Victoria Pendleton MBE the latter who did a fine job hoovering my stairs one day. Goodness knows why but she did! For 10 years during that period I ate, slept and drank cycling coaching, running race meets and a very successful sponsored track cycling club, the latter with the great Graham Wilman. All the time getting unwell as CFS or ME got to me. For the last 5 years or so of that period I could not ride a bike at all. I ended up having to work part-time then resigning and coming to the wonderful Isle of Lewis to get well.

And now, after some ups and downs, a lot of meditation I learnt at the Manchester Buddhist Centre, and using NLP learnt [again] from a fine chap in Newport I find myself back on the bike.

And what a day we had cycling down the Golden Road in the cool sunshine. It was without doubt the best days cycling I have had in years. And years.

And now I remember what a sore backside feels like :-)

Just must also mention again my dear Eve who has supported me so much during this difficult time. I can't thank her enough.

Saturday, March 05, 2011


Had a fantastic cycle ride with Eve round the Golden Road - and will tell you about that when I have an image to hand. But, called in at The Mission House gallery in Finsbay where Nickolai told us about the up-coming chamber music concerts. Book now or lose out on this brilliant opportunity - but not before I get my tickets booked please.

Thursday, March 03, 2011


Coow, posing.
Chicken, posing
Poser, crofting.
See, I don't do landscapes!
What with the unseasonal good weather and no wind, I took off for a bicycle ride this morning. Along the coast to Tong where a cup of tea awaiting at the Coelyns. Then back again to see The Crofters who were being all leisurely outside with their overly large mugs of builders tea and dead animal filled sandwiches. Of course they'd not been sat there all day - or so they told me, but such visits give me an opportunity to snap-up some mighty fine non-landscapes. Animals are always around Turk is bound to show up, coow [Mdm Tinga] is there too, giving me the evil eye and bellowing for her son who has now been banished to the bottom of the croft. Then Mr Crofter strikes a pose in the most unlikely of places where its dark and his fine features are not visible so well. Still, I snap up all the same and here are three of them.

I'm still using 35mm cameras for this type of work but from time to time one falls apart, or begins to let the light in. If anyone wants rid of an old SLR do please throw it this way :-)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


There are some wonderful walls up here. I mean, lovely walls that meander across the various islands with abandon. Often, it's hard to imagine what they are meant to bound. and often it's hard to imagine how much labour it took to build them.
Scalpay has at least one wonderful wall that creeps across the corner of the island and sections off the Lighthouse from the rest of the land.