Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I may have been here

I suppose I must have been here. I took the snap after all. That's colour. That's what it looks like and everything. That's why I don't usually 'do' it.

I'm not about to go back and 'do' it in proper B&W either - even if it's still there. Can you imagine a place where you have to make a big wheel to make it interesting Eh?

I think it must have been when I had to go in here very day. This entrance is not there I know that for sure. The building is surviving but this way in is enclosed in another bigger building. Confusing isn't it?

Sunday, July 28, 2013


It's not like this now.

Yesterday the heavens opened, thunder roared and HHHCB hid under the table. I would have joined her but there was little room. Instead I meditated on what it had been like - hot and humid. That's when I took this snap - just before cleg latched onto my leg and took a bite or two.

It's the beach bench - well one of two on this beach anyway. Not sure how much use it gets - other than Eve sitting on it for my snaps.

I must go out for a short stroll soon -now the rain has stopped. I've not taken a snap yet - no wonder I feel a little off!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Agfa Traffic Surveillance film

I am a cheap film junkie. There, I have said it. Hence my use of Polypan-f and now Agfa ASP 400s. I really like Polypan-f to use and now, I rather like this Agfa. See, yo can get it here.

I loaded it in a handy Olympus XA2, shot a short roll in 10 mins then sloshed it in Rodinal. What else? I rather like it.

This snap could have been on the Island Crofter site, but it isn't. Even though it's the good crofters giving a haircut to Fluffy - or whatever the sheeps name is!

And this snap below won't be on the Island Crofter's site either. It's home - or a good part of the little place anyway.

Friday, July 26, 2013


Tis Friday and I'm going to remind you of a fine photographist whose work really tickled my - something. I like it anyway.

Alexey Titarenko was born,,, no, you don't want to read that. If you do, look here. Doh! BOOOOring.

His snaps are wonderful though. Snaps that really say something to me. Have vibrancy, a bit lively you know. Doesn't just show me what is but what was or could be. I think this could be fav snap of his. Go on, check it out. I'll wait.
Nice isn't it?

And at the very least have a look at the Havana series. Please.

Do you see an influence on my work?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sling it in the Lith

I like lith. I's the sort of process that pleases my being. it's all a bit fly-by-your-pants stuff and you are never quite sure what sort of result you will get [the way I do it anyway]. And more importantly, old papers work in the stuff too. I like that.

Only I wasn't too keen on some of prints on old paper the other day - it must be the weather, or the state of the tides when the printing took place - or maybe the moon. But anyway, I resorted to my fav lith paper of all - Slavich Unibrom. Eh? Russian by all accounts.

So this is the snap taken the other day in town, lith printed then snapped for the pooter with the phone.

Good News for some

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Playing around

There's a course somewhere on the island to learn how to do this sort of snap on the pooter. Eh? That's not proper is it? Of course not.

So I took out this beast and shot. Full tilt and all that. I like the effect though.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ok, that's enough now

The heat has got to me. It was over 23C yesterday and it's too much. Can we turn it off now please?

Hector and Ishbell's extended 2013 peat stack is finished and shown here in full graininess for your delectation. I mean, if it cooled off a bit I'd go into the darkroom and make a print and what have you. I tried to use the sun yesterday to make some cyanotypes but my emulsion is dodgy and it all washed off. As a result, I shall be making new emulsion this morning. I did manage a Vandyke or two though but that emulsion batch is coming to an end unfortunately and it takes at least a month to mature by which time it will snowing or something.

So, you will have to make do with these two neg scans - the second of Hector's tractor with double wheels for the peats.

If I get round to it, I may just post a scan of a Vandyke I made - on Khadi paper. Eh, what about that then? Impressed?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Is it always this nice here? Eh? Are you jokin me?


And No.

Mostly no.

or, mostly yes, depending how you read the title.

I am not meant to make sense all time !


My dearest Eve sat contemplating my bokeh in An Lanntair. Norman came along, popped Eve's hat on his head and immediately was transformed into a Gondolabrist. Sans boat, stripy jumper and pole thing but a Gondolabrist all the same How did that happen?

And yes, that's Eve swimming in the cool sea on a wonderful beach hereabout yesterday. Do you know, I even saw someone smiling! Eh? Whilst nursing their sunburnt shoulders no doubt.

We'd been into the town earlier to soak up the festival atmosphere, meet a few bods - in An Lanntair etc. Twas really lovely I can tell you. We bumped into The Artist formerly known as Jon [above] still stylish in his leather jacket despite the heat, soon off to St kilda as artist in residence for a few weeks. Lets hope the weather keeps up. And, Mr Windy came in for a orange juice, below seen on his town-bike. Yes it's a Raleigh and fixed-wheel [not Fixie!] 

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Glowing Man and the disembodied feet

That's what happens sometimes in Stornoway. And there was a Minister of some denomination in both snaps. Not really sure what that means but it probably is significant - for some odd reason.

Of course The HebCelt Festival is on at the mo - and Mr Miserable imself was singing away last night - missed it though. Was working and everything.. There's a veritable atmosphere about the place - helped in part by the unusual sunshine that shines currently. Dancers in the street, music everywhere and, I'm sure I saw someone smile today too.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

If you think I'm........

.....going to post stuff here today, well I am. Despite getting overexcited at Mr Froome in the TDF, the sun shining and the wee boatee painting itself.

I was in the town this morning, taking HHHCB to the feline physicians for a check-up and removal of the stitches - which didn't take too long at all on account that she'd already chewed some out. Still, I took the opportunity to check out my Perkeo for the up-coming trip to the mainland. It's working just fine thanks for asking.

Yes, yes, it's a car. Despite us being here on an island where nothing much - especially in the town is never far from everywhere, we all travel by car. Some even may take the car for a mere 800m trip. It's expected don't you know.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sunk with a trace [again]

The Monaco has sunk again. Luckily she's moored on a shallow bit of the harbour so sits on mud waiting for someone to pump her out again! I think perhaps she sunk to celebrate the start of the HebCelt Festival - like you do. The Martime Festival has started too - with lots of little sailing boats bobbing around the inner harbour. And The Ammonite with Gerald aboard sailed back from Ullapool this morning. I rather wish our tub was ready for the water. I mean it is nearly ready, but we need a wee  wee boatee to get to the bigger one  :-(

Bound to a fair old stramash about the place during the week. I may even venture down for a look-see again. Having said that we are just back from D'anglers where the Ness Melodianists were doing their thing.

Enjoying the Dark Arts

Look, all those nice peoples enjoying watching Mr Gillanders cook his tintype over a flame. Drying the varnish as it happens.

The camera of Mr Gillanders - apart from his Mamiya 7 that is.

Mr Gillanders in his van/darkroom being threatened by a dead cat on his head.

Murdo Mcleod introducing.

John Maher getting ideas for his souped up VW's

The dead cat people from TV. Apparently.

The Model T bus on its way.

We wus here

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The rain in Stornoway falls mainly on the ground. Except when it doesn't

Only it has been raining a lot of late. Today for example while the English [and the rest of Europe ] are basking in glorious sunshine.

Coming back from the wet-plate thingy, work was a little slow so after I had polished my miscreant-wrestling-to-the-ground-gear, I ventured to the darkish room to develop a film - as one does. Only, whilst

in there I found this neg lurking. Not sure when I took it, probably with the Perkeo but I was so impressed by it I had to print the thing - then tone it. To be honest I thought the neg was of Venice at first - you know with a sunken Gondalabraist in the middle with his little hat sticking out the water [you can see that can't you. If you squint a bit and all] but then it emerged in print form on Kentmere Select VC as Stornoway. Such is life!

It is,  as you might imagine, a masterpiece.

Monday, July 15, 2013

and a fine old time was had by all

Just back from smelling the ether. Bit high and all that. Mr Gillanders was the man wielding the stuff as he explained and demonstrated the intransigences of Wet-plate-collodion photographising. It's really quite simple when you know how. Slosh some stuff on some tin, dip that in some silver stuff, stick it in the fancy camera and shoot. Then slosh in developer and fix and there you have an image - all lovely and everything. Then to finish one has to dry, coat with a special varnish and harden over  flame. Fantastic fun.

Lovely peoples there too as well as family Gillanders; John Maher, Murdo Macleod, Colin Myers, Toots Wilson and loads more. We even had a fine Model T ford van to look at - shoot. How good was that?

Meanwhile the summer continues. Here's two snaps I shot yesterday - you can tell it's summer because Eve only has three layers on.

Of course it's traffic surveillance film

Quick one before I pop over to Shawbost for the wet-plate thing this morning.

Men with sheeps in the village are all over the place. This is on Agfa APS 400s .

Saturday, July 13, 2013

There's a hole in my camera

Now we have a wee boat, the harbours about the place become rather more interesting than they were before. This one, just up the road in the next village has an 'interesting' entrance with a tidal race across it and a handy rock to founder onto. A fishing boat got stuck on rocks near here last week. But there are some interesting looking boats on the hard-standing including a lovely-looking Sea Wytch [£1000 with bags of potential ] - which I didn't snap up with the pinhole as it happens.

Look, there's that dodgy entrance ! And some big string and what-have-you tied onto a handy lump.

Nice rocks though.

And then one can make a van dyke print from a 5x7 pinhole of Stornoway harbour 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Jack Spencer

Some years ago when I used to buy B&W photo mag, there was an article about this chappie - Jack Spencer. More importantly, there were some wonderful images he'd made. Loved them immediately . Apparently his work was darkroom based at the time - the prints finished with coating of Oleopasto or perhaps wax. Either way they sang I'm told. Now his work is digital but it's still lovely work. Go and have a look, you know you want to. And there are books. Native Soil being a fav or mine but if money is no object try this.

Now, you'll have to excuse me, the sun has arrived and I have a cyanotype to print!

Thursday, July 11, 2013


See this. This odd image of me a few years ago taken, on this very island by the great Carl Radford, it's a tintype - made by the old Wet Plate Collodion Process. The process is very hands on, produces a fantastic one-off image that has a quality of its own. I love it. Only, it's not that easy, uses smelly and difficult to get chemicals and a great deal of patience. I have neither.Mr Radford has both. As has David Gillanders.

There's an opportunity  to witness the process in action on the island with Mr Gillanders next week. only £5 for the session. You are not going to learn the process in this time but at least you will see how it's done and get the chance to meet Mr Gillanders during the Tormod sessions.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sailing by

Yeay! We have a wee boatee. The sort with a big pole sticking up, lots of wire string, an engine and that sort of thing. Look, it's got a thing that wobbles around when you move the boat too. Supposed to tell you which way to go or something. Might have to learn that bit up!

The wooden bit is the front door into the housey bit. Very small housey bit without any room for a darkroom more's the pity. Yes, that's the pole bit laying on top of the boat. It's not meant to be like that. It has to stick up in the air so you can hang a blanket or something from it to make the boatee move.

Look, that's me 'sailing'. Granted the boatee was on the trailer in the yard and the pole thing was still down but my visualisation is very good you know. I had a lie down soon after since I was getting sea-visualisation sick.

She's called Freyja [The Fishwife].

Now go and listen to this - eat your heart out Mrs Up Yours

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

That nice man at the garden place

Would you buy a used [or new] lawn mower from this man? Eh Would you? I would. I know this man. He is very nice, a great mechanic and everything plus, he sold me a boat. Not sure that's part of the usual business but he sold it to me none the less.

Then this nice man let me use his power washer to get off the years of grim that had collected on said boat. How nice is that? Very.

And he made me a coffee, gave me a chocolate biscuit and all. He's got a nice shiny moped too. See [below], it has more oomph than my car - and my last car put together. Eh? What sort is it? Big and shiny that's what sort.

Go to Hebrides Garden Machinery and see it - probably - and you could buy some compost or something.

Monday, July 08, 2013

I did one too

I am writing this quietly and some what on edge as Her Highness Henrietta Cartier-Bresson is back home from a radical birth control op. Looks a tad sore poor little thing - not a happy bunny at all. In fact, she is a cat.

The intern came over today so we retired to the darkroom where he made his first print - fittingly a snap of the man at the photo shop in Stornoway. Not bad for a 13 year old. Once he had to go - small agreement with his dad on the grass-cutting front, I found this neg lurking in one of my neg-holders and decided to print it up. Mmm, I rather it. Gives a proper sense of an Italian cafe. At least the cafe we were in at Venice recently. Does it feel like that to you?

For the technically minded, the paper was Kentmere VC Select, the chemicals were whatever I had and the camera- I can't remember, but there definitely was one.


Sunday, July 07, 2013

I like this

I have a feeling that every week I shall blog someone's work I like. At least until I forget to.
For years I've loved this particular piece of work. I love the feel of it, the way it talks to me, the subject matter and, the way it was made. Paper negs by all account.

Not sure about all their more recent work but hey, one can't have everything.

Oh yes, it's ParkeHarrison I'm talking about. You can read more here


We were invited along for the grand opening of Toots' Territory - the new darkroom in the garage. Mrs Toots cut the ribbon and poured the Irn-Bru as we all admired the well-appointed room. Not that you can see it in these snaps but, it was dark as it happens. I mean I had to crank up the Foma400 to 1600 which always does interesting things. It also meant I couldn't focus so easily in the low light. But, focus is not in vogue at the moment so that's fine then.

Now, that's what a darkroom should look like eh?

And there's the Great Man imself, playing with his - what? Digital imaging device. Oh well, it was dark in there - as I suppose it is meant to be after all.

Talking of openings, the Tolsta Bunkhouse is open now. Lovely place with a lovely owner and well worth a visit  when you are up this way. My snap does not do it justice - but I was finishing up the roll of Foma400@1600. See here for more info and photos.

Oh, and we took in the opening of another exhibition at the weekend too. Down at Garyvard gallery there was a fantastic selection of work by artists - local and less so. Some so lovely we had to buy a little piece. :-) Go down and have a look. It's a wonderful spot, the place is lovely as are the owners and the work on show fantastic. What more can one want. Sun?

Oh, and the Tour de France is plodding on with GB's [via Kenya] Chris Froome trashing the rest in yesterday's stage - hopefully to continue to do so for the entire race. One can hope. Certainly, this devout lot enjoyed the occasion. It is the Sabbath after all.

Friday, July 05, 2013

I've been busy

I know that makes a change but, it's true [ish].

For a start, Eve and I have bought a wee boat - the sort with sails, string stuff everywhere, a sort of engine and a little housey on the top. How good is that? Of course I haven't got any snaps of it? What do you take me for, eh?

Then I saw this fab documentary - here. Do check it out, it is well worth the time

Then I've making some pinhole cameras. You know - all glue and foamcore. One actually works which pleases me no end. These neg scans are the first tests . Rubbish I know but one has to start somewhere.

 Of course I needed rest. Merely to time the exposure you understand [1 hourish]

I mean if you want proper photographising go and look at Mr A Sanderson's excellent site :-)

Thursday, July 04, 2013

On paper

Here it is, the first print of James. On Ilford FB. The next one will be BY James :-)

I may have something else to report soon. But I need to conclude arrangements and what have you. Listen in Mick & Bee. :-)

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Yoof; what are they for then?

Yoof; what's that all about then?

Look, that's The Apprentice. I like him. He has a great line in poses when the camera is pointed at him. I think he might have been trying to be an exhibit in an Lanntair at the time.

We'd been going around the metropolis that is Stornoway snapping this and that. We had even managed to catch up with Mick & Bee in Hannah where James 'The Man' imparted his experience and knowledge of ocean sailing to Bee.

I could tell she was enthralled. It was the way she indicated for Mick to slip the string that was holding the boatee to the side of the floatee bit of the harbour that did it.

Looked very nonchalant about it too. Before they glid off into the watery bit, hoisting their red sail and disappearing from our lives for another good while as they head south and the west to 'Trini' for the cold bit of the year. [not sure why they were here really - it's cold and wet all the time at the moment!]

James took an image or two with his camera while I snapped away mercilessly with the Jupiter12 lens that came recently all the way from CaNada [for which many many thanks Keith]. I was using Polypan-f film @ 200 asa too. Dipped in Rodinal 1:50ish for 35 mins the negs look mighty fine to me !

BTW; it's 10 years to the day yesterday [10 years! how time flies] when Dr Hutchinson attempted the hour track cycling record at the Manchester Velodrome in 'our' Yasumitsu-Schlapp track meet - so he tells me. And then he wrote a great a funny book about it all. Here.