Saturday, January 30, 2016

The beach is still there

Out there with attendant sheeps and everything. Guarding the parking place. Looking at the sea. What else can you do? Eat, breathe and poo I should imagine.

The beach should be there. We have had a wee breeze these last days so it may be different. Tell you what, I shall have a look today!

Friday, January 29, 2016


I am missing dear Eve who is away in nonsuchland near Wakefield visiting her lovely mother. Oh woe is me. I hate being here without her. And so does HHHCB.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


I go up to 5x7 although with paper neg and a borrowed camera I did 8x10 for a few weeks. Not my thing really.
The 5x7 [actually 13x18] I have is an old shutterless FKD with paper bellows brought back by a pal from the East. It's a beast to be honest and I rarely take it for out to play. However, I do have some Shanghai 5x7 negs so I got out my craft knife and gaffer tape and built my own 5x7 pinhole camera with fibreboard. Obviously, the pinhole is rather special, fashioned by me in some tin-foil with a pin but, it seems ok.

It was raining - just for a change - so I shot through the kitchen window, developed the neg in PQ, and contact printed it onto FOMA MG - with lith chems. Because I can.

Monday, January 25, 2016

I have a confession to make

The sun  has shone this year. At least I think it was this year. I found the film in the Zorki so sloshed it about a bit and here we have it - Traigh Mhor [big beach]. I wish Saul Leiter could have been there - I would have loved to meet him.

Woke up early Sunday morning - as you do when you don't have leap out of bed. Listened to Something understood on BBC Radio4 - a programme I really like despite me being a heathen agnostic [continuing]. The thing was, it was Mark Tully doing it last Sunday - and I like his voice. Fair set me up for the day. When I came out of the darkroom - after the morning walk down past Timbukthree and to the top of Traigh Mhor  I listened to The Choir on Radio3too. My ears are sated.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Saul and Carol

Now, just so you know, just so you don't berate me, I like colour photos sometimes - just not mine. When some master of colour like Saul Leiter took up the camera with colour film he was a superstar. The images he made are just superb. Subtle, amusing, interesting and what have you. So, I was amazed to find many of his influences in a film I watched last night at the cinema - Carol. I hadn't read any of the previews that flagged up the Leiter influence but it wasn't hard to work out!

Go and see the film - it was excellent and the cinematography brilliant.

In the meantime you can look at this old colour [VivUW&S] image from the machiar in Gress with Mr Toots about to do an unplanned pirouette - 2011.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Friday, January 22, 2016

I found my 6x6 pinhole

Light over Broadbay

No, no, no. The pinhole camera is 6x6 not the hole. That's round anyway. Seems to have been some old film in it too so once doused in PQ print developer, it resolved this. I toned it on the pooter although if i might print it in the darkroom I shall be doing something similar.

I like it

Thursday, January 21, 2016

I was down that way, looking for the end of time

Does this cut the biscuit? I mean, does it?

I was down this way the toeher day, the sun was shining which threw me somewhat. The light caught my eye and my mind - such as it is - wandered to this spot where it was lit up. I liked it. Took out a camera and before you knew it, the light had sniggled it's way onto the film - right through that little hole they laughingly call the 'aperture'.

That's what happened your Honour!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Going Large

 In the unexpected but lovely sunshine the other day I ventured forth with Lord Toots and his largest imaging device. This is the venerable Burke & James 8x10 camera. I'm not altogether sure why his Lordship took this particular beast out - maybe it was the stretch my arms as I helped carry the thing along with it's heavy tripod and dark-slides dodging the curious sheeps on the machair next to his wee housey . Of course the wind got up. Of course it was freezing cold so there was only time for two sheets of film to be exposed before I was all cryoed up.

Oh yes, Lord Toots enjoyed him self - doing the process, hiding under his black hanky and letting me, yes little old me, press the shutter to take the snap. Eh?

I had time to shoot these two snaps off on HP5 which for some unremembered reason, rated at 800asa.

I await with baited patience for Lord Toots' images.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

We are dabbling with the dark-side

I say we, I mean Eve and I. And when I say the dark-side, we are not looking into the occult or the d*g*tal imaging world but rather the Linux operating system for the pooter. Trouble is I have no resident geek to do the stuff so we are on our own. So far I have managed to start a Linux operating system from a cd - and it works! Hey and fast too. Very fast. I think we may get an old laptop and try out the linux properly for a while. Any thoughts from any geekers out there?

This all came about as our local microwave broadish band system is going off line in the village [storm damage to a building that houses a mast for the locality] and BT have finally decided to knit the fibre stuff properly up this way so we are soon to have superfast bits with a steam pooter - hence the possible changes.

Meanwhile, I give you another snap to peruse; Winter escapism.

Saturday, January 16, 2016


Now don't be fooled by the snap above - taken with my long-gone Rollei35 and Agfa Ultra film - It's not all sun and warmth oop here you know.  It hasn't stopped raining since about 2009 and there's snow on the way.

Later: I've had to reassess things. We had some sunshine but, as you might appreciate, it was cold and there was white stuff around. Better than rain though. I took the opportunity to snap up the hail/snowesque stuff using Foma Retropan 320 film developed in Rodinal. Not sure I like the stuff to be honest!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Yesterday and everything

Some sort of white cold stuff and lay about all crisp and uneven that morning. Might have been hail or snail or snow but since my Eskimo-like terms from the white stuff is rather limited you can take your choice from those three terms.

The light drew me out round the village for a stroll brandishing the little Perkeo to finish off the roll of Tmax400 that lurked within. A perfect camera for a lovely day. The sun shone a bit too - glowing on the white stuff and dazzling the geese flying over.

You may have seen the place in the first snap. The bus stop was still there - and will be despite whatever storms or nuclear devastations are bestowed upon it. The second snap scene caught my eye as the sun lit up the coast betweens the houses. Nice eh?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Sitting in a smoky hut

It wasn't smoky all the time - just when the host put some dead animal on the fire in the middle. Otherwise it was a fine evening of music and food. Plus drink for those who wanted it.

See, musos and what have you. Mr Ken on cheesegrater, Mrs Moni on toy marakas and two fellas whose names escape me on their banjo things.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


The unusual dry warmish weather took us all by surprise the other morn and the choocks were soon out sunning themselves down at The Crofters.

I notice there are rumbles about our local air service - which considering it's heavily subsided is actually not bad. Some local chappie wants the island to start its own airline - presumably so they can tow a sheeps trailer behind and not run on Sundays. We await with baited breath!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Out with the old

With the mild weather we have been having of late, it is the time of year to make use of the beaches. Maybe a stroll on the machair or even a picnic.

There's three beaches round the village but mostly we and others prefer Garry beach. We went down as one does, suitably dressed for the occasion.

AS for the snaps, I might add it was a tad breezy hence the less then sharp images as I struggled to keep the camera still. I shot off a  roll of Fomapan200, shot it at 800asa and developed in DDX. It works!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Saturday, January 09, 2016

From the past - as they all are !

The Olympics; The moment Mr Wiggins [as he was then] won the TT.
Great atmosphere. Terrible snap!

Sorry for the late posting; I have a cold - a stinker!

Friday, January 08, 2016

Darkish room

I have been printing, along with Mr Toots in his finely appointed darkish room. The other day you understand. When I wrote this just after I got back home. Not today - whenever today is! Got me?

We printed a couple of 4x5 negs Mr Toots had recently exposed AND developed within a year. I chose a fine neg and split grade printed it onto new Kentmere VC. Lovely job too. Just need to lightly sepia tone the darker print and Murdo is me uncle. I could get used to that!

Never printed a 4x5 negs before and it's mighty difficult to focus the thing using the grain focuser - at the size we were printing. The results were almost grainless.

Mr Toots chose another neg and we tried to print that but my infallible technique let me down a bit and we had to resort to dodging a bit. Good fun but I had to rush - potatoes were required in oven at home.

No, this snap wasn't one of the prints. This is one of my captures from a recent dash around the island with The Visitors. Ness and all that.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

I need a focus

Go out. Look at something. See what camera I happen to have with me. Snap it up.

That's been my modus operandi of late and it's boring me. I need to get stuck in with a project. Take proper snaps and print in the darkroom. I just need some inspiration.

Any going spare?

Wednesday, January 06, 2016


It's the time of year for dips. Not into something lovely to eat with a stick of crunchy celery but into the sea by humans for charity.

This year it was the Dementia Dip on the next beach.

Since 40 souls were to take part, I got down there with a camera and hp5 @ 800 to capture the scene.

It was very cold.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Move right along there, there's nothing to see

Did I tell you?
No, well here it is, the little tripette we took to Harris with The Visitors. I say we but I meant I as Eve was earning a crust.
Nothing to see there obviously but The Visitors wanted to go. We went in a minor hoolie, we saw and we punctured the newest tyre on the car! [I shan't tell you where we hit the debris in the road since if you knew where Maclennan's yard was you might jump to conclusions]  Botheration! Victor gallantly changed the tyre while a helpful Hearach appeared to offer his help too.

It's only a hop skip and a jump to Harris - past the new Harris Distillery in Tarbet and off down the Golden Road. Nothing to see there -other than a most wonderful landscape, a road like no other and wind. And rain. Yea, It rained.

Monday, January 04, 2016

No perch falling

No one fell off their perch. We are all here. Eve and I anyway. Our visitors managed to bob across the raging seas on the ferry this morning and now are enjoying a coach ride back home to a damp Ayrshire. We all had a fine old time.

I know I didn't post yesterday but there was low air pressure and everything. It's a new year too. I'll be back to some sort of normality soon.

Our visitors, Victor and Gwyneth counting pixels in the cafe.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

New Year

New Year and everything. This wasn't it.

Twas Christmas day and a walk on the windy side with Eve and Victor. Gwynneth wasn't at her best and wisely stayed by the fire.

New Year; I was on call. sat and meditated. Polished me work kit all night. Of course I did. The Hendricks stared at me all evening. I was good. Honest

Friday, January 01, 2016

Back in the day

I have bikes. We have bikes. In the darkroom and in the loft and the tandem at a pals' place. We sold/gave away a lot of bikes when we came up here to live some nine years ago.

Eve still does ride regularly, wind permitting but I, dear old things do not on account of me on-going M.E./CFS that I do and have done for 15 years or more. It is debilitating. I still work but save my daytime energy for it. I can sail if I don't overdo it but cycling.......

I miss cycling a  lot. I was my fav pastime and for ten years my profession as a Velodrome cycle coach. sadly, the last time I had a proper bike ride was after I'd got myself back on track doing The Lightning Process . You see, I'd pretty much had worked it out that ME?CFS starts with the mind and then manifests itself physically gradually wrecking what physical stability you had before, making me tired - very tired, fogging the brain etc etc. And The Lightning Process sorted that out. Overnight. Over three nights really. I could walk, cycle, laugh, sleep, stay awake and my tummy settled down for once. Wonderful.

In celebration - this was 2011 I have omitted to say - Eve and I cycled round Harris. For Eve this is nothing much, for me after years not cycling it was a tad more of a challenge but one which I enjoyed immensely. It is a lovely route to ride after all.

Look, cycling and snapping. Smiling too - or was that a grimace? 

Only this state lasted 6-9 months only. I don't know why. I used the tools I'd been so well taught. I got support on the phone and I went to have a top up which gave me another few months on no CFS. Now I fret. I know I managed to sort myself out with some support and advice but these days knowing that just makes me annoyed with myself for not being able to do it now.

Now you know why I get grumpy from time to time.

I'd like to say my New Years resolution is to get better biut I am losing faith with my ability in this area. But I will try.

Have a wonderful, safe, healthy 2016 who ever, wherever you are.