Sunday, April 29, 2012

A good marriage

Pinhole for WWPD

I am extremely lucky. I have a wonderful 'marriage' - civil partnership that is - to my dear Eve and we have been together for ten years so far. How pleased I was to see a sign in the local shop extolling people to stand up for marriage. I'm all for that - marriage for everyone who wants it, that is.

The village where I live has some wonderful, kind, generous and intelligent people living here and I think I may join them at this meeting to speak against this proposal to stop all enjoying the pleasures of marriage. I cannot imagine the villagers thinking anything else!

Image is taken with my pinhole camera for Worldwide Pinhole Day!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A pinhole for all that

In the morning it will be World Pinhole Day. Did you know that? Imagine, a whole day devoted to a little hole. Nice isn't it?

See? That's me.

I shall be out with the Fruit Pastille shuttered FrankaPin as it seems the weather looks like it might be rather good. Good for here anyway. Been out practising shooting the thing ready for the morning. Might use it at next Friday's wedding too :-)

Talking of which, here's Herself, The Mrs Toots to be in a recent portrait session - the only one I managed to get in despite constant pleading !! Notice the Tunnocks. Not many are there-  at this point of proceedings. Eh?


Pirate Vic and Eve racing the tandem

Yes, I had a modicum of doubt last night after returning from work. My esteemed colleague Jonathan set me wondering if I had given young  Connor some wrong information. You see, when young Connor grows up, he tells me he want's to be a Pirate. Fair enough you might say. Fair enough although certain personages who reside in war-torn Somalia have rather given the profession a bad name. I suggested young Conor check out the exploits of of Capt'n Pugwash who, I seemed to remember was a good Pirate.

Now, I have the utmost faith in Jonathan's judgement. He's a fine workmate who keeps me on track as we trail around the island late at night. So, when he suggested that Capt'n Pugwash wasn't a Pirate it set me a wondering. This morning, I set about a little research and if you follow the link above and below you can see he was a Pirate - just not a very good one. Or perhaps a 'good' one in that he did little Pirating. Unlike Cut Throat Jake who was a real bad-un. I mean, check this out!

Pirate's on tandems

I shall return to life and snaps in the near future. In the meantime go and have a look at the first post from the Oiseval Gallery in Brue in the island here where you can see some fine snaps - including my own [blush ].

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A bit of the 'other'


No, I have no idea what that above is. Obviously I meant it to be like that - all texture and surprising tones that lift your heart after a night of sleeping badly. I think perhaps it was influenced by the snap below, taken with the Kodak Retinette 1a sometime past and just re-discovered. I have not idea why I like these, but I do. Maybe it's the lack of sleep!

Castle walk

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Still bothering

The Crofter

Despite the fact that I was going to follow the Crofter for a year, three years on I am still wandering down the road and seeing what he's up to armed with a camera [or two]. Sometimes it's in his old croft house and sometimes it's out on the moor. Who knows? Go here and have a look from time to time.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Yes, Mr Windy won!

Ok, I know, Mr Windy won. I didn't actually realise we were competing actually. But there you are, he won square and unfair. Perhaps Mr Windy didn't know he was competing either - and I didn't ask. It seemed churlish at the time. But he won all the same - and I'm not at all sore about it. Even though he used a d*g*tal camera sometimes - as well as the two 35mm film cameras - shooting hither and thither. I had to put my foot down in the end. "That's mine, I saw it first" I shouted, nearly loosing it and getting not at all upset despite the gross provocation coming my way, knocking the fellow off his feet and almost sending him to his doom in The Minch. Still, he would have deserved it!

 The Lighthouse with no ice-cream

We were on Scalpay island with Eve and the lovely Deanne, walking from there [gesturing vaguely] to the lighthouse at the end.  The sun was shining, lunches nestling in rucksacks and Mr Windy shooting everything in sight. I was more restrained you know. A few selected snaps with the Ricoh 500G that winged its way from Mr Urban. And a few even more select shots with the Agfa 6x9. Restrained eh?

A wall

How did Mr Windy win??
He shot more snaps than me. 
Meanwhile, Pushkin waited patiently at home.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

We have friends in high places you know

Not sure why I said - 'friends in high places" and all that. I was just trying to impress you all I suppose. Did I?
No? Ok, I shall move on.

The soon to be wed Anne

I snook over to see her who will be soon wed this week. While Toots was away on the mainland seeing old pals and the like, Anne and I took ourselves off to Oiseval Gallery in Brue to peruse the lovely images on show there - and drink their tea in the conservatory as the sun poured in. Twas lovely. Even He who shall not be photographed [pictured below] joined in the fun modelling his wedding outfit [see blow] for the great day to come. Not everyone was impressed with it as it happens.

He who shall not be photographed shows off his wedding outfit.

We had a lovely time anyway - even though the continued trip to Morven Gallery up the road ended up apple-pie less. Am I never to eat it again?

Friday, April 20, 2012

All lith-ed up

I have some old Agfa Portriga paper kindly gifted to me a while back. Did I say it was old? As a result some people don't like the prints from it. Granted, the highlights are a bit muddy and what have you - but I like prints like that so all is well. It also works great in Lith developer though and since work have actually paid me my overtime, I lashed out and bought some Rollei Creative Lith.

The sun was shining yesterday - could not have been a better day really and my walk took me to a favourite snapping spot out by 'our' peat bank. Yes, yes, I showed some snaps from that yesterday too.

Anyway, the Hasselblad came with me loaded with HP5. I shot this in the morning, developed it at midday and printed in the afternoon. It's dry now.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The camera always lies

It was really very warm but the camera didn't see it like that. I like the way it saw it though. Now I'm sat by the fire I do anyway!

Yes, it's warm outside!

More moor

Feels like I'm slumming it in in paradise at the moment. Sunshine pouring through the windows - or would do if I get round to cleaning them. Hardly a breath of wind in the air, not long back from a short bicycle ride and previous to that a most wonderful stroll out to the peat bank this morning. I didn't cut any don't you know - we seem to have plenty at home already. But I did take a snap with this little camera I received from some nice bod over at Filmwasters as part of  'share the love'. Eh? How good is that? Very as it happens.

Go on, go and have a look at filmwasters, I know you want to.

The camera I used was a Ricoh 500g with Polypan-f rated at 200asa and developed, or should I say 'over-developed' in LC29. I like it!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

With a pin-sized hole

With a pin-sized hole

Did you see me? Down on Garry beach carrying a box with a hole in it. The hole was meant to be there but most of the time I covered it up then, when the moment revealed itself, I showed the hole to world and let the light in. This is what it saw.

Same hole, different view

There was an extra bonus for me in that I didn't fall in the river!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Over-rated? I should say so!

There you are. You see, I was right all along.

Imagine this; the cat is sitting on the mat - as traditionally it should. Sated by a sardine morsel it's eyelids are closing from time to time as he fights to stay awake [or not I'm thinking]. I'm surrounded by exposed and developed film. Polypan-f here, Orwo N74 there. I had a look at some of the frames and I can't get excited by any of it. All too sharp, too obvious, too landscapey, or over-portraited. Then all of a sudden this image smacks me in the eye, sets off a few brain cells working, incites a little excitement in an otherwise ordinary day.

One for my "whatever it is.... it's over-rated" series.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Orwo N74 @ 400

See, I can do proper photography if I want!
Shot this out on Traigh Mhor this morning with my 99p camera and some Orwo n74 film. Developed it in Ilford's LC29 1:19 for 5mins 30sec. Looks ok to me.
Do we like it?

This one is LC29 1:40 for 10 mins 30 secs.
Nicer I think eh? I mean the tones, the grain. all that sort of thing.

Here's another of that ilk. 1:40

And one for the Coelynes of Oiseval Gallery who will notice this post no doubt. Developed with LC29 at Homoeopathic dilution of 1:100.

What are we thinking then? I'm thinking 1:40 but would welcome your input.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Mrs Toots-to-be lounging in the sunshine

You'll just have to take my word for it there's a stookie at the end of Anne's leg. Actually, now I come to think of it there's not a stookie there but some support thingy - but it might as well be a stookie. I have the blisters to prove it - racing round in the wheelchair terrorising the locals and all.

Hopefully Mr Toots will be back on the island soon as things will be hotting up for THE BIG DAY - that we could not tell anyone about till recently. Well, it's May 4th so there. And The Cake is taking shape in the kitchen as I write [I'm not doing see - Eve is :-)  ].

Printed this today - slogging over a cold developer and new paper - Fotospeed-RC. Nice. Tones well too.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

So sorry!

'Orses, ere abouts

Yes, yes, I missed day - or is it two? Who knows? Who cares?

Anyway, we have been busy. I am not long back in from work - racing round the island doing things technical and all that. Called in on the Oiseval Gallery on the way back in Brue to pick up a Willie Fulton print they had framed for me- wonderfully as it happens. Actually Oiseval Gallery have some fine photography in their gallery including the former owner James Smith's work, some lovely Colin Westgate images and at the moment, a wonderful [!] lith print by yours truly [I am blushing now - a bit] - as well as work by Colin and Barbara themselves. Well worth a visit if I may be bold enough to say so .

This morning we were out with the soon to be Mrs Toots - wobbling around on her crutches and creating havoc in her wheelchair as the leg is still on the mend. Lovely visit to the Woodlands Cafe where we waited while Mrs Toots-to-be chatted with everyone she knew - which was just about everyone in the place. We got our own back later by racing her around in the wheelchair. Oh, so much fun.

But best of the weekend has been Friday's concert down at the fantastic Mission House Gallery to hear the totally terrific Red Note Ensemble with Khuljit Bhamra, the just brilliant tabla player and composer who works with Andy Shepherd a lot. What a incredible evening - It could have lasted all night as far as I was concerned - apart from the fact that I was so tired when it finished I could hardly stay awake as dear Eve drove us home. Such an excellent venue too - cats wandering round the musicians legs, kids on the floor- teddy bears too, a lovely light filtering through the windows as the music wafted around the walls. Echoes of  Africa, India, China, Poland the Mahuvishna Orchestra, George Crumb and a whole host of wonderfulness. COME AGAIN -SOON PLEASE! [and let me know first so I can get some tickets :-) ]

Thursday, April 12, 2012

It's not normal [whatever that is! ]

Hector poses by his dodgy quad

I'm used to quads now. Never been on one, don't want to go on one but it seems you are not a signed up crofter unless you have one. Did I tell you The Crofter has one? I did eh! Well, did I tell you Hector has one? I think I did and it wasn't working . I now have it on good authority that a 'man who does quads' came out, took it apart a bit, found nothing wrong with it, put it back together and it now works. Mechanics Eh? 

Mechanics playground

Going into The Smoke the other day to take our visitor Harry back home when we espied a plethora of traffic cones on Vatisker beach. Now, call me strange but I had never noticed much of a traffic jam on that beach and couldn't figure out any reason why such implements should be scattered around the sand. The tide was going out and I wondered if Andy Goldsworthy had taken a new direction heralded by these traffic cones. We went down to nosey around to be confronted by cars - lots of them and noisey ones too. There was a mini with it's engine in the back seat - which wasn't at all surprising when you saw it accelerate - it was surprising it didn't fall out the back altogether. Apparently, it was the Lewis Car club having a gymkana. Boys eh? And it was all boys I think. We had a stroll in the rain, watched three cars race around the course, watched another silent one with three men under the bonnet- took some snaps with my 99p camera  and then went on. 

Such is life on the Isle of Lewis.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

This is what you get when you wander round Tolsta with a 99p camera and movie copy film. Eh?

 Down t'road

It's the sort of thing I do when the sun is shining - which it wasn't this day - but I went anyway. It's nice and I like to stretch my leggies and blow some cobwebs away. Saves having a bath and all that :-)
Being the cheapskate that I am, I took a camera I'd purchased for 99p [that's about a groat if you don't live in the UK] loaded with some odd film made for copying B&W movie film. It was cheap. And it is nice luckily enough.
 Oop o'er back

I mean, look. That's the view and you can nearly see all of it. Check out the resolution of that 'lens' - bottom of a milk bottle I shouldn't wonder. Yes, young-uns, milk came in bottles once! Not just Whisky.

 Oop o'er back end tother way lookin

When I'm out doing portraits of the place - with cheap film and camera - I turn around from time to time, snap up the scene then take a look at it wif me own eyes. No, not in the back of the camera but wif me naked eyes. Clever eh?

There's house in there somewhere

I came back in the end. I'd had a stroll, got rained on and snapped up a roll of film. Bliss! But I did have a shot left for this beautiful snap of a local house. Just was well I did too.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I was beginning to think ........

Boat for rowing; castellated 

I was beginning to think; then normality kicked in and I shot this. 

It's a boat awaiting oars and people. And a bit of the harbour wall. I snapped it up with the Recesky TLR with Polypan-f inside. But I opened the back of the camera before I re-wound all of the film. Those I snapped up with it over the last few days can rest easy. You are fogged!

If I disappear from the blogesphere for a few days it might because they will be playing at silly bu**ers in the Minch soon [aka War 'Games ' ]. 

Monday, April 09, 2012

Did I tell you we visited William in Cromor?

 William, just William takes something nice for the sheeps - with lambs - to nibble.

William was tired as it happened. Been up over the re-seedings feeding his sheeps, the ones that weren't next door to the house on the croft. That means a stiff walk there and back to see his little darlings. But he does enjoy it. And he wasn't too exhausted to accompany us along to the isle nearby over the causeway exposed at low tide. It rained. Wet rain too.

 Eve and William waiting for me to pass out through the gate - in the rain.

Eve on Eilean Chaluim Chille  [in the rain]

It was a fine stroll. Of course, it's pretty well always sunny back in Tolsta.

Tolsta. Another aspect.

I have not really got much to say today but, I will say you must visit Bosse B's blog and see his wonderful salt-prints. I mean, look at this! Just superb. Bosse is from Sweden and we met him when he was over in the Uk and I was living near Manchester. Such a nice chap too.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

The Artist is not here

The Artist [formerly known as Jon]

He's bigging it up with the Alaand massive or maybe the Helsinki crew or somewhere like that. Cold and windy anyway - like here really. We wish him well. Hopefully he'll be more focussed than this snap!

Towards Cromor [with light-leak]

We found it that way over in Cromor today. Visiting William and Gemma is always lovely especially at the moment with all the new little lambs leaping around the place. We walked over the Columba's Isle while we were there and got extremely wet. The causeway was out of the water but guarded by a seal who wasn' t real keen on us coming that way. We did thoug and the seal popped back into the sea from whence it no doubt came. 
We drank coffee and wine with Mr and Mrs Holden, ate their food too and then came home. At home I found I have a light-leak in the Graflex roll back. Oh dear.

Friday, April 06, 2012

A Wall; A bird. What more do you want?

 Bird [of some sort] mocking 

Have you ever tried snapping up a bird in flight? I mean a proper flying bird that swoops and whirls on the wind inches from the cliff face - or your face, seemingly mocking your lack of ability to catch an image of the thing in the air. I have. I don't like it. Give me a sheeps or coow any-time - they move slower so I can use a normal lens that doesn't look like I'm some over-financed photographer-tourist prowling. We get lots of those here. You know the sort, more pixels than sense, lens' longer than their 4x4 and a fancy jacket as well. Unless it's the large format mob. They take half and hour to get the camera out and set it up by which time the light has gone and the wind is gusting too much to use it anyway. I know, I've done that too.

A wall [or two]

To be honest, even though you may be aware that I don't actually take landscape snaps, walls are rather more compliant than animules. I caught this one waiting for me today while on a trip over to see The Coelyns at Oiseval Gallery [fine art photography ] in Brue. I like it. Go and visit The Coelyns as they have some fine work by themselves,  James Smith and others. I might add, we did pop up to the Morven Gallery too - their cake and tea is to die for!

Try clicking on the 'next blog' tab at the top of this page. I did, rashly. You make some very interesting discoveries I can  tell you - even if they are in Portuguese or something.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

It's not all beaches and Moor; there's a tree too.

 Castle grounds - which is almost as run down as the Castle itself!


Yes, there is a tree on Lewis. Quite a few of them as it happens. There's a wood round the Castle in Stornoway, a few stands of conifers around the island including here in North-Tolsta. I know, I have seen them.

That's the thing on the island, one does have to seek out the trees. And since I was brought up in Somerset and Wiltshire where trees abound - growing tall and strong, rustle in the gentle breezes and filter the autumn sun through the branches, I rather miss them. When I am in town to see William, Alec, the Coelyns, Toots or whoever, I make a point of walking among trees. I'm like that you know.

Why is that on the radio at the moment - Radio 4 don't you know not Isles FM or something - that lots of people being interviewed seem to start their answers to questions with 'So'? As in "So, we have...." . Please tell me if I have missed something!

He's still here

 Don't come too close!

Mmm. Any more please?

I do believe Pushkin is putting on weight. Just as well since the poor man had become a tad too thin. Since he took up residence - and refuses to leave - he does little but eat and sleep. And sneeze, still. Must take a visit to Hector again.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The evening of The Dance

 Mr Windy and Deanne lounge gorgeously in the dance-hall.

 Sonja enjoys a pre-dance meal.

 In the bar.

On the dance-floor.

Yes, yes we went. And enjoyed ourselves but would have preferred to dance more ourselves. Still, one can't have everything and we did have the pleasure of good company. Mr Windy and Deanne were there, Sonja and Stephan too. Not forgetting Toots and the soon to be be Mrs Toots whirling round in her [temporary] wheelchair. All snapped on Fuji1600 in the Kiev rangefinder with Jupiter12 lens. Souped in Rodinal.

The aptly named Toots

Had a visit from The Artist formerly known as Jon today - the day before he departs to the Aland islands for an artist residency. Would love to visit :-) Look forward to seeing his work when he gets back.

Monday, April 02, 2012


Some days a snap of a road is enough.

But then you scan a solargraph that's been up for a few weeks, invert it and see this;

At the darkroom door