Friday, February 28, 2014

Bellows and all that

Toots went out in the cold wind that blew across the island yesterday. He's like that, pushing the boundaries of what's possible just to get the snap. Rain was threatening all the time, the ground was soggy and slippery. My role was as assistant, carrying the heavy studio tripod, pointing lightmeter and what have you. Mr Toots Wilson lined up the 4x5, focused whilst fighting the wind and then, wait for it, pressed the shutter.

Since my role was as donkey I just took along a little film point and shoot camera loaded with Polypan-f copy film over-rated @ 200asa. Just so you see the Great Man at work. Here he is - out over this way.

I think it was the MPP Mr Toots was using. Tri-x possibly in the dark slide, nice cotton twill dark cloth to flap around in the wind, hair nicely Trumped up.

I might have some more snaps of this - when I get round to looking at them.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Oh my dear, that's lovely. Even if I do say so myself.

There we are. Nearly a masterpiece - apart from the flaws and the scanning of the print and everything. Apart from that. Wish I knew how to scan a small print properly.

Anyway, in real life - whatever that is - this print doesn't have those grey bits on. It's a lith print on old old Agfa Record FB paper. I like this. I might even do another bigger better one, put it in a frame and nail it onto the wall.

I might.

Soup toastie

When we arrived in the city of Edinburgh, I loved it. We have been before - when we were younger, less creased and everything. The remembered city wasn't like this though. All soup in a basket, bright lights, noise and a mile of tat. Might have been more than a mile of that tat but we didn't stay there long to find out. I didn't want a Tam o Shanter with false ginger hair or a Edinburgh tea-towel or whatever pile of tat 'stuff' they seemed to be trying to sell in that road.

We tried to be tourists. I even asked at the Tourist Information how one becomes a proper tourist. We had a map after all but it really didn't cut the mustard - or whatever one says these days.

The cityscape was not always as expected too - as we sat on the top level of the bus going from here to there. And people; too many people everywhere.

We were amazed by the book sculptures though. Lovely things to behold and well worth the trawl down to see them - past Holyrood where a man was threatening to jump off a balcony at the time. Can't really blame him as the place doesn't do it for me. Throwing oneself to ones demise over it is a bit drastic though.

But I did rather like these lights in this square somewhere in the city. Lovely as they swayed in the breeze changing colours as they did so. I liked that.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I forgot we have been there with this camera and this film and that I'd pointed it here and everything

It comes back to me now. We'd escaped the chaos on a boat across the lagoon to here. We smelt fish and chips as we walked by the little stall on the quayside. It was warm. And sunny. I took this picture. I must have. I found it this morning after developing this film from the Holga. Nice innit?

And this snap / Print - a lith print to be precise is from last week in sunny Edinburgh and sloshed about in the darkroom yesterday. Nice I think - lacks sharpness but oozes mood. Printed on old Kodak Polymax paper with Rollei-Creative lith. Snap taken with the Olympus XA2.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Greenhouses. I think possibly.

Down there. See them? Below the big housey and the bridge - greenhouses but with trains in. They snook into this snap taken with the new2me Kodak Cresta camera. I like it. The snap that is. From somewhere near there looking out from there to over there. It was sunny.

We'd been in the lovely Edinburgh city there for a few days of culture - and having our ears assaulted with the noise of the traffic. And no trams yet either! What's going on. Will Edinburgh ever have working trams?

Monday, February 24, 2014

I'm sure I saw an Orgasmatron; Then I bought a camera for £1

It was there in a basement on York Place, Edinburgh. I saw it tell you. Mr Mad Scientist doing something on a laptop nearby but over there, on the left of the room was The Orgasmatron. I didn't stare or anything. I might have been noticed or something. And Eve was pulling on my jacket anyway. But it was an Orgasmatron, trust me.

I now have a new camera. New to me you understand. Paid the handsome price of £1 [GBP not Scottish Pound :-) ]. It's a fine affair made of plastic stuff. Lovely shape too. You can see it here - or one like it anyway. How cool is that? eh? I had a roll film in my bag, loaded it up then shot this place. It was nearby that day. Not now, I'm at home.

And look, it takes proper nice snaps too.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A little meeting on a path

It was here we met. Royston in his wet weather coat and hat with Ziggy. That's Ziggy at the front of the snap, sniffing the grass to see what other doggie had been that way recently.

That's Mr & Mrs Toots walking on back to the car in the rain. Near the beach down that end of the village. No, THAT end.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Pole dancer

There she is. HHHCB walking the pole of the wee boatee. Waiting far a chance to leap onto anything that passes by. Eve was off out on her lovelee bicycle in the sunshine that arrived. I took the snap. That's my job.

Friday, February 21, 2014

That little brown doggie

We saw this little doggie waiting patiently outside,,,, outside this place here. Just opposite the Arts Centre. Sat with its nice coat over its own brown coat. I was just about to snap it up when along comes this lady to over-tickle the beastette for ages and ages. I gave up waiting for her to finish and shot the shot anyway. You can just see the little brown doggie being over-tickled.

I think I prefer being here than there. That's the sea, and moor and everything. And a track. Not the main road.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


That's Walter there, waving his arms about, bending his knees just a bit and being meditative and extremely supportive to all the qi gong peeps. And that's Gemma - or at least half of Gemma you can see. Waving her arms delicately in return, bending her knees just a little and smiling.

You can go yourself if you like on Fridays at 10am at the Bridge Centre with the lovely cafe next door to tempt you afterwards.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

March; that's when 'quality' kicks in. This is still February!

Some years ago, back before the end of the world as we know it was less far away than it is now, before I was 'saved' and everything. That is, back when life - such as it was - meant driving into Manchester to work and we locked the house door all the time and the car got trashed on a regular basis just because it was there. Back then.

Back then Eve and I took a trip out to the Bradford Film and Photography museum [as it was then] and saw a fine exhibition of images by Hans van Der Meer called European Fields. Images of football pitches around Europe as it happens in wonderful and/or strange locations. This above is not one of them. Our Hans shot in colour on a large format camera.

I shot this. Can you tell?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Don't tell me I should not do this please. I'm not going to listen la la la la la la LA LA LA LA LA

Of course I don't know how I did it! Apart from taking the Hassie down to a beach with some cheap Chinese film on board, point it at 'things' variously then slop the film in Toots home-Brew 2 bath 'almost-a-proper-developer' [ I suspect Toots might have got the recipe out of his baking book]. Anyway, it didn't quite come out as expected. I think it may have been a a tad short on the liquid front during the development [as well short on skill], the exposure might have been wrong, the filter was dirty and it was raining. And Cold.

The island was in the wrong place too I think but try and might to move it over by the power of thinking, it stayed stubbornly put. Otherwise this might have been a masterpiece.

I got it this way by pressing random buttons on the pooter. The cat could do better if she was inclined - which she is not. Pity that.

Monday, February 17, 2014

This is here too

It could have been better.

If Kenna had taken it, used a different lens and film and chosen a better day and time of day - without the rain - although that is getting more difficult by the day here in the UK. And possibly a better angle in a different location. Apart from that, young Kenna would have made a better fist of this than I did.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


It was on cheap Chinese film I'll have you know. And I rated it at 400 instead of 100. I don't know what I was doing to be honest. Perhaps I was worried about The World and all who sail in her. Earlier my lovely dentist and I were having a conversation regarding the state of the anthropogenically enhanced climate we are enjoying the fruits of at present all round the world and I accused her [and I as it happens] of being too complacent about it all.Like you do when you have just been told you have to have another crown. She was shocked, bless her fashionable cashmere socks and so was I. Although it's a truth I felt a tad guilty about having ruined her day. So much so, I shot out with a camera - a borrowed Blad - and shot this snap.

That's the sun up there - that bright bit that was making the filter flare a bit. We are not used to it you see. And it, the place, is just over there - over the bay on Point.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Is this oblique enough?

Take a  pack of Oblique Stragety cards, place them on the mantelpiece and allow the lovely box to collect a little dust - preferably from the Rayburn which is keeping the room warmish. Next take a Bronica SQ camera and stick a condenser lens from a slide projector on the front of the'proper' lens and take some snaps. When the film is developed, print using old photopaper and lith chemicals. It should look something like this.

Why? Because you can.

This is for my true love Eve. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I knew there musthave been a reason why I dismantled the old slide projector.

I know it's not the best scan - the print doesn't fit of the scanner platten properly.But I don't mind  really. I have the print in front of me so I can peruse its faults in person.

One of the condenser lens from the non-working slide projector stuck to the front of the Bronnie lens with blue-tack did the job. Shot this little boat on the mantle piece onto GP3 film, developed it in Rodinal and printed it onto old old Kodak Polyprint matt paper by the afternoon. Rubbish work but quick eh? Eat your heart out Mr Toots.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Does this remind you of Misonne?

I'd like to think it had a little of the feeling of Misonne.. I'd like to think I could reproduce this in the darkroom too. I'm going to have a go anyway. I like it. Took it on the fly with a little point and shoot camera with Polypan-f film while out shooting off a roll or two to try a new developer out.  Must shoot into the sun more often and not try to mess about to get the exposure right - the camera did a good job me thinks.

Yes, we had sunshine and everything. Took us all by surprise then it rained again. Stornoway eh?

later; And yes, I have been in the darkroom

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I got carried away

You may find it hard to believe but I do get carried away. I used to be enthralled with tubular racing tyres for track racing. The smell, the feel and the quality of hand-made tyres led me in the end to import Dugast tubulars and supply them to the British cycling team, Chris Boardman for his last hour record, Jason Queally for his gold in Sydney and Michael Hutchinson on his world hour record attempt.

Now I'm just as likely to be tempted by a new B&W film to try these days and indeed, presented with the possibility to buy some Rollei rpx25 film a while back, I did. I can't seem to get a good development on this film though. I should learn that I need to stick with what I know.

I tried again this week shooting the stuff in my Perkeo in bright sunshine. Obviously, I'm not used to that and lo and behold, when I'd sloshed the film in Rodinal the negs are too dark. Doable but too dark for comfort!

I shall try this again - possibly

Monday, February 10, 2014

Old camera blog

There is, it has to be said, a blog about everything. Everything. Probably. Go and look for yourself.

But it has come to my notice for all you camera geeks out there a new blog has appeared. All shiny working old cameras and snaps,  no sorry, images taken with them. Proper good it is too.

Here's an image taken straight from that bog - without permission or anything. I do hope he doesn't mind as it is a bit naughty. Just so you know, I didn't take this one, Mr K Thompson did. But you knew that already didn't you?

Saturday, February 08, 2014

You didn't think I'd leave you with nothing to gawk at over the weekend did you?

I've had my hair cut. Quite a few of them actually but nicely. I mean very nicely and properly too by a very nice and expert hair-cutter by the name of Harvey. The wee shoppe is called Hairbridean don't you know - down in Tarbert on Harris and yes, it was well worth the trip. I mean peoples come from over the water especially to have their hair cut by this lovely man. I can see why. Makes a lovely cup of tea and, has a fine way with words too. What more can one ask? Nothing since you ask.

I came back all buoyed up with nice hairness, Eve shivering since was caught in a downpour while out on her little bicycle out Scalpay way. Then out for a fine vegi lasagne with some lovely friends in the village. Lovely friends with two very naughty cats. I mean, one tried to pinch the others  food. How naughty is that? Eh? You'd never catch HHHCB doing that would you? No. She is far too clever to get caught.

Proof positive - as if proof was required - of the islands pleasure at the YES vote for same sex marriages in Scotland.No doubt there will be special wedding packages available to the island in the near future.

Friday, February 07, 2014

More whine Sir? :-)

There he is; The Crofter surveying our lovely White Stuff catalogue for some reason sat in our Summer Parlour, glass in hand, tummy full of curry the we made earlier. Twas lovely - even though I say it myself :-)

HHHCB was here too but now has gone to bed. Early again. Too much energy expended eating and sleeping I shouldn't wonder.

And the snaps are on film - Instant Instax film eh?.

I knew I shouldn't have.

I'm not an expert. My pal Royston doesn't like experts so that's OK then. But I tried to be and now I realised I shouldn't have. I'm referring to my attempt at sorting out a new developer for film. When I say sorting out, perhaps more accurately I should say using. Mr Toots made the stuff from a recipe he had, I sloshed it on the film. Only, I'm not that impressed. First off I used 400 asa film [although it was traffic surveillance film] rated at 400asa. As I do. Then I tried slow 50asa film @ 25asa [although it was movie copy film]. Proper-like that, rating the film slower and everything. Mr Toots does it. Swears by it. Only he doesn't swear.

 "Contra" to common sense.

And I did it again!

This slower film - Polypan-f - I used in the Olympus XA, a natty little camera with which one cannot make a mistake - unless one shoots into the sun which fools the exposure. So I did that. Eh? I know, I know. I told you I am not an expert didn't I? I do slouch around with several cameras and a lightmeter whether I need one or not looking the part. I use odd sorts of films and everything too. Actually, I wonder if that's the problems as it were. If there are any experts out there..........

Talking of experts Mr Trellis mixes up his own concoctions for films. Eye of newt, toe of frog with a touch of metol behind the ears I think. Have a look at Mr Trellis' stuff here if you really want to know. You know, for the experts. Who wants to know that stuff anyway?

And before you ask, Yes I varied the times on each bath - up 5mins. And the temp was around 20c!

Ok, perhaps I should stick to Rodinal for slower films with a LC29 chaser for fast films. [except obviously for foma400/hp5 pushed to 1600 when Rodinal 1:100 stand development is the answer. It is, trust me] I can almost hear Coelyne of the Coelynes shouting at the computer screen from here.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Stoecklers; YES

To be totally honest, my first foray into the 2-bath development as is Stoecklers has not been a great success - modified or not. Mr Toots who made the stuff up told me 4 mins each bath. And it wasn't temp related. Well, I realise now that the freezing temps of the darkish room up here do not constitute room temp. I took the baths temp after the development was made and found it to be - cold. I think it was too cold as the images were/are very faint - which is a pity as they were masterpieces all of them. I am currently warming the developers to house temps in the hope my second attempt might be more successful!

OK, now we have won the right to have same sex marriages in Scotland we can take down all the YES signs on the island imploring for this to happen. The good thing is that the island can now become a special destination for same-sex marriages with lovely beaches for the wedding photographers. USP and all that!

Did I tell you I met Ruth and Robert?

That's Ruth above. "That look" caused a minor issue at the bottom of the print - but that makes it totally unique. I'd overdone the imbibing of the green-tea, eaten too many cakes and all. anything seemed possible then. I took out the Perkeo, pointed it pointedly and pressed the shutter - for a while. 

I did the same for Ruth's husband who sat sitting and everything - in between molesting the chocolate cake and fondling the fancies.

To top this little project-ette off, I doused the GP3 film in PQ universal developer [for too long] then printed it on very old Kodak Polymax RC paper then threw it in the spia.

I like them

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

I'm there at The Tea Party [although no jelly or ice-cream] and I meet this chaps' neighbours. That's just what happened!

This is Him. Him in that it's Alexander Murdo the Grate [ :-) ] neighbour of Robert and Ruth of whom more later [if the prints turn out ok and I remember - which I may not. It is the beginning of the week after all].

Monday, February 03, 2014


"What this image all about then?"

Well, I'd been re-reading Bourdieu Distinction yet again, prising minutia of meaning from the texts. I had in mind the notion of aligning these ideas with the feeling of the wind here on the islands - in an emotional sense. I have after-all been greatly influenced by post pre-futurist thinking of Bragaglia and his ephemeral constructions. And this is the first in a series.

"Fascinating. When did you start that?"

Oh, I just made it up now.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

We have traffic

Stornoway Cruise waiting for the off the other day in the uptown area. There's only an uptown area to be honest and this is it. All happening here I can tell you. I've seen three of these wheely machines hanging round here, smoking the tyres and what have you.

meanwhile in North Tolsta, two vehicles were moving at the same time. The bus was doing its rounds dropping off and picking up at peoples' houses while the digger thing was trying to finish the re-laying the sewerage pipes. Nice work Eh? Taken from The Crofters place.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

I might have been wrong

Profound apologies. I may have mis recognised my nephew. Easily done since he is en Belgique these days - or Cardiff. And I have a sniffle.

In the colour image in this post, Jacob is not [probably] swigging from the bottle but head down at the front underneath. Feel better now Eh? I do. My big sister told me and she should know.

Now, watch this, Jacob is the one, ..... the one ... in the dance. Got that!

And his Brother - Joby runs this. Are we all satisfied now? :-)

A few years

Waiting for Gus Wylie

Some years back, 2008 to be exact, I came across these kids down near nowhere on the island. I was playing at being Red Cross First Aider for the sailors that had sailed - with me - down from Stornoway. All of a few miles. I called the snap 'Waiting for Gus Wylie' since I fancied it was made in the style of the great man imself - Gus Wylie. There's great little blog post about him and his mode de operandi or something here.

Now, in search of the young erbs to get them to agree to have this image on show, I met or at realised - or better still was realised into knowing who the young girls sister was. So I snapped her up at work in An Lanntair too. Thanks everso Amy, Cameron and Sheena.

See the resemblance?