Wednesday, August 31, 2011


The Harbour

Whilst ferreting around in the cupboard the other day, I fell over this old Franka Rolfix camera. I acquired this veritable camera when my former neighbour in Lancashire found it in a skip and gave it to me. Nice lens and everything. And it has a 6x6 mask still in it. The only down side is that it scratches the negs a bit. Still, I loaded it with film, pointed it at people and places and now I have images. Cool Eh?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Huisnish and beyond

The Huisnish road.

Same road, without the sheeps

The day dawned bright when I opened my still sleepy eyes. Lord Wiesmier, the stuffed rabbit looked at me suggesting I ought to get up and leave the bed to him. I did and so did Eve. We loaded the little car and took off to Isle of Harris and the wonderful road to Huisnish. This, I might add, is probably the most beautiful road on that island - especially when the weather is kind.

We had a wonderful walk - of which more later - then came back in wonderful light. A sheep posed so I stopped the car and shot it's portrait - only by the time I'd sorted things, it had turned away in disgust. Perhaps next time I'll have a camera that's working properly with me!

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Radford

C Radford Esq.

We had a visitation for the lovely Radford family the other weekend. Carl, for this is he, is a very fine Wet-plate collodianist and if you click here, you can see some of his lovely work. I took the opportunity of snapping him up with my little Zorki6 in the summer parlour. I like it. And the Radford family.

Monday, August 22, 2011

More Kiev madness

I was fumbling around in the gloom trying to sort the box room and the mound of old cameras and bits in there. I took the cameras out and sorted them into the pile of ones that are kaput, ones that are malfunctioning in some way and the one that works :-) Actually, I think I have a couple of cameras that are perfect condition but I'm not sure which ones they are :-)
The sky from a dark-place

In one Soviet-smelling leather case I found a Kiev 4a 35mm rangefinder I'd long forgotten I'd been given. Wasn't sure if it worked or had a light leak or something - as they are prone to do. I also found a little bit of APX400 so loaded a cassette with same, chucked it in the Kiev and set forth for coffee with Jason & Mr Leica. It works! Well, nearly anyway. Just the slower speeds are a bit suspect in that it won't fire at those speeds. And it may be that the rangefinder is off - which was just as well since Mr Leica took a pot shot of me with it - and the image is blurred. But coming home the weather was rolling in, I shut down the f-stop and shot this down the road from the darkroom door!

Before I took coffee, I went to Marybank tyre depot where the good gentlemen there took the nail out of one of my car tyres and mended the think with a smile and a warm greeting. I would never use any other place such is the pleasure of going there.!

And while you around listen to this podcast on the filmwasters site - talking to Ilford Harman.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Kiev madness

 Toots Wilson looking pleased with himself


I have the old klunker of a kamera from the Ukraine called a Kiev 6c. Or it might be a Kiev 60 - I never really worked it out. I had both acquired from a chum on trips to the former Soviet states and from goodness knows where. One packed in completely and i was left with the other one which works. Almost. I'd pretty much given up on it since its a lump and let in light when it shouldn't. Only, my beloved kowa6 is at the Dr so I took a look at the old Soviet bloc kamera again and tried to figure out what was wrong. I poked around with the shutter curtain a bit since that seemed to be where the light leak was. And in the process seemed to make it worse. I gave up again then a few weeks later gave it a last chance to prove itself. and it seems I may have the solved the issue - for the time being at least. How did I do that? So, here for your delectation are some snaps from that Kamera on Chinese gp3 film.

Oh, and I'm still playing with the matchbox pinhole.

 Another matchbox pinhole from the Wilsonian Institute

 A Wilsonian cake stand 

Pinholed Ziggy
Now I'm looking forward to seeing Mr Leica for coffee on Monday :-)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Shrinking Tolsta

Winter is already here - or at least this evening it seems like that. Spent a nice day with my pals Mr Bentham and his side-kick Zig down on Scalpay island checking it out, speaking to the Scalpay massive and all that. Been out to work too since I can hear you asking.

On the photography front, the Collective is working on a project for the future of which this is a test snap. Taken with the Baby Graphic with lots of front tilt. Sounds technical but believe me, it's not.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

All without the matches

The Cragro Photographic Collective [me] can now present a new direction in my photographic journey to goodness knows where. Not even sure where it's coming from actually.

Since I was feeling a bit flush I lashed out and bought myself a new camera. Well, I bought the bits for one anyway. A matchbox. Plus a lot of gaffer tape I had around the place, and a little bit of tin-foil. I did some less than brilliant manufacturing like so and soon I had a matchbox pinhole camera - without the matches and with film loaded. How good is that??? Eat your heart out Leica lovers, Mamiya musers etc etc..............

I must admit I have not QUITE got the exposures right and there's a lovely little light leak but hey, it's early days yet. I shall be onto my first wedding shoot in no time :-)

Anyway, her's my first shots from this delicious little camera.

 Self-portrait in the Summer Parlour.

Tolsta Boys

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I didn't get any snaps of the Stornoway carnival so I searched out a snap from the Bridgwater carnival in 2006. Here there are usually about 200 floats and it takes around 2-3 hours to pass. Now that's what I call a carnival! In Somerset since you ask. Lots of info and vids here. And look here for a float I'll never forget

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Village show meeting

Service with a smile. [buying with a vacant stare!]

Of course I went.

Actually, now I re-read my title of this post I realise it should have said "Village Shop meeting". Village show does have a better ring to it though. I can just imagine John A as Mother goose, Dorothy as Cinderella, The Crofter as the wicked witch and so on.

"He's behind you".

He wasn't of course, he was sat in front of me at the table chairing the show. The teas were laid out along with a range of home-made cakes and, and this takes me back a bit, Bourbon biscuits - no doubt bought in the village shop. [When I lived in Engerland I worked at the Manchester Velodrome and during one session training up new coaches I came across a Bourbon  snatcher. Eh?]. There was also lemon flavoured sponge cake and chocolate crunch things - made by Irene in Tolsta from Mars Bars don't you know - again no doubt bought from the Village Shoppe.

To be honest, there's an awful lot in our Village Shoppe despite it's diminutive size. My, you can even get Tolsta mugs and postcards [and if you wan't one, let me know and I'll buy one for you - if you send me the money! I'll even address the postcard and post it to you from the shoppe. All proceeds to the shoppe - which I read is a not-for-profit organisation :-) ].

I've been to better shows to be honest. There was no rousing sing-along at the end although Murdo Red did his best to get us all roused up, no curtain call either - although they did deserve one. We drank tea, ate cakes and went home - only for me to have to go out to work again in the pouring rain till 11pm !!

The picture is not of the village shoppe by my late Mater and Pater serving in one of the youth hostels they ran for some years. The old codger is typical of some of their clients at that time. Did I tell you about the Christmas we had at Ironbridge youth hostel with them? No, well .........

Thursday, August 11, 2011


 At the Taraxacum Collection

The Shed

Look, I'm sorry.

I couldn't sleep, the street festivities in Blighty have been exercising my brain cells too much - what with all the thinking and talking one feels the need to do about it. The night lasted long but in the end I got asleep in my bed. Well, a bit of a sleep anyway.

Now I awake and the PM is being all primemintiserely or something. As if....

It's not quite the same as in England here yet. Granted one of the dogs I took for a walk this morning had a poo in a conspicuous place and then ran around a bit. But it wasn't a riot. Honest.

I'm back home now listening to Late Junction on the Iplayer thing after the dog walk in the sun, a cup of welcome tea at the dogs owners place and a visit to the neighbours. Seems reasonable to me.

Now go and read please


I mean, I'm the one without the television here!

I spend half the day taking snaps, developing them and sometimes printing them in my little darkroom. The other half writing some drivel to go with them when published [if that;s not an overly pretentious term for blogging] here and all I get is "who the blitheration is Adam?"

The last half of the day I can't sleep [like I can't do fractions] - as now, and I wonder why I bother to write the thing at all.

Gratuitous village bike snap

I do have four-seven 'followers' - for which I am grateful - but I think I must have either bored them rigid with my posts, they've have got mugged in the recent  street 'festivities' in good old Blighty or else most don't know how to make a comment. I know for a fact that someone on the island looks at this since they comment to me over coffee from time to time. I've even had villagers comment to me in passing - or to others about what I have posted - so I know you are out there!

Please do say something and thanks for looking here. I might post something interesting soon :-).

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Where's Adam?

  Adam's constituency 

Horsing around

 Looking for Adam

 Adam's not here


 Listening to Adam

 Gossiping about Adam

 Gone to see Adam

 There's Adam!!!!

 Bored with Adam

 Cake for Adam??

Seems like I may have a shutter issue here. Another camera to bite the dust possibly :-(

My Kowa Six is still at the menders too and maybe it can't be sorted. Botheration

Tuesday, August 09, 2011



 William and Charlie

William holding the wall up

We went here

We went there and met Charlie.

Monday, August 08, 2011

The dump

William tempted Eve and I out for a walk over in Cromor where he lives with the delightful Gemma. "Let's go over to The Dump" says William evocatively. Eh? Are you sure William I'm thinking. Didn't sound like the most fantastic stroll in the countryside I could think of.
 Back of  The Dump

William, leading the way

It was lovely though. The dump - where old cars were dumped - having long been abandoned and returned to normality. I took the Voigtlander Perkeo and shot some film.

The day of the incident

Twas a while back now, when a real summer seemed nere a dream, the winter had not long retreated and The Crofter was up to his armpits in something smelly. A loud scraping noise emanated from down the road and as a car came to a halt, the racket stopped too. Hector's old trailer had fallen apart after a few years resting on a village croft. I shot down to the scene at a leisurely pace with The Crofter. A wheel of the trailer had parted company from the thing itself. As I reported before, rust has got into the metal and rendered it somewhat weak. Hector and The Crofter turned the trailer on its side - and the other wheel fell off. I only had the Agfa Record 6x9 with me but I shot the scene all the same then forgot I had.
Today Mr Leica Man gave me the film from the camera to scan as I had lent him the camera for a while. And this image was on it.

Hector inspects a rogue wheel

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Ugh huh

AS you may know by now, I don't 'do' landscapes. Can't abide them at all - especially the thousands of pics of Callanish Stones, the beaches and what have you. But I am rather fond of a portrait of a peat-track track.

Since my Kowa6 camera is indisposed, my Kiev 60 and Hasssie is with Mr Windy, I resorted to the Holga for a stroll on the boggy side. The peat-roads are not made of peat as it happens but cross the moor by the village here to get to the banks where the peat is cut. The peats allocated to us are out at the far part of the peat-banks up behind the village. You pass alongside one lochen on the rough stones of the peat-road, rise up over a mound to descend to another lochen through which the tractor must pass to get to our bank.

To be quite honest, our peats are very poor. The best peats are black sort of coal like stuff. Our are grassy brown and burns poorly . I'm not sure why we still cut the stuff since we have to burn coal underneath to keep the stuff alight. Maybe I'll find a peat-bank that hasn't been cut for three years that has better peat and is closer. That's how it's done round here.

There's another snap of this type over on my Flickr - see on right for link.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Not always as it seems

Some things are not what they seem

One thing and another led me to a bit of a rough few days health-wise of late. I helped bring our hard-won peats in with Eve, Mr Four-tractors and his son. I didn't take too much out of me but then I got a bit upset when someone bent my ear over something and nothing and that sent me down-hill to three days of shocking pain and badness. Now, I'm bouncing back which is just as well as I suspect work might be busy tonight. And there's the little matter of my anniversary of my birth to contend with - I notice the jelly mould full in the fridge - and that's always a good sign. Maybe 'pass-the-parcel' too Eh?

Monday, August 01, 2011

Yay, yay, yay. Nay.

The big enlarger I have sitting in the 'darkroom' [or 'damproom' ] seems to have stopped functioning for some reason or other. The electric part of it that is. Must be the pervading dampness of the village me thinks. I have already lost two electrical controllers to damp and it seems another has bitten the dust. Got half-way through a print and it just stopped. Botheration !
 "Where's Adam?"

"Where's the tea-tent?"

Took a visit over to Barvas show aka West-side agricultural show last week with two loaded cameras. Shot hither and thither and really enjoyed myself in the process. It was one of those snaps I was printing today too.
Some chappie fella me lad from a TV programme called CountryBumpkin  was there to open the show and as a result loads of people turned out in the unseasonably dry weather. The chap called Adam even judged the coows at the show giving a fine running commentary about 'straight backs' and gurning loins' or something similar. Kept many entertained for moments at a time.

I took a few moments to espy the Horses and enjoyed the throwing of the sack over the high-jump. Disappointed none of the competitors were turned out in kilts. Oh yes, one handsome chappie did have a kilt on while the others made do with a rag-taggle of 'trakies ' [as I'm told they are called] and work-a-day outfits. Anyway, I talked with the locals, looked at the produce, marvelled at the Rams as Ms Humble once did, shot a few more snaps and came home - to produce my first AV - which I dedicate to Toots Wilson and the young lad at the show who exclaimed with a wide grin on his face "I've got second in the turnips!". Bless.
Click on the little snibbit to make the video full screen and watch. Yes, it's meant to be blurred!!!!

You may have noticed I have lost my Lancashire affectations. Since I hail originally from Bath and am a rather better class of snob than most I thought it better. Don't you?