Monday, November 30, 2009

Two legs bad.

My dance teacher is exasperated with me. Told me I lacked imagination. And practice. And poise I shouldn't wonder but luckily I'm not sure that's a word my dance teaches uses. As yet.
I only took up dancing after being inspired by dance teachers' twinkle toes, lightness of foot and all-round happiness. Apart from when she is not happy that is. But that's not too often I find.
The lessons are on a a rather ad-hoc basis. Thirty seconds or so every couple of weeks is about the cut of it. My dance teacher's time is precious you see. This morning I was only part way through a twirl and highland hop - or whatever its called when Ms Teacher's boyfriend appeared and that was the end of my lesson!!!! Such is life.

Anyway, such is the bounty of Ms Karmina Smit's artistic nature enthused with hapiness, that when the Democratic Republic of North Tolsta is declared - and mark my words it will be - Ms K Smit will get my vote for the post of Artistic Director with the Movement Portfolio. Or something.

Since Ms Smit's agent/Mum has not managed to place me in line for a smiggin of time to get a snap of my dance teacher, and school beckons agin in the morning, the one above will have to suffice for the time being.

Two gold stars for those who know where this is.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Never knowingly under-done

The tile of this post is Mater's motto for the Christmas sprouts - which I am reliably informed have begun the pre-Christmas preparation so that cooking can begin in early December. Needless to say Mater prefers her sprouts on the soft -side!

Talking of which, here's another HCB-esque portrait of Toots Wilson in his dressing down jumper.

Apologies for the less-than brilliant scans of late but the old scanner is going on the blink. I hope to have the situation rectified in the fullest of time :-)

Oh, and before I forget, a big Congrats to Mr Batty and his new fiancé Anna - both of this parish. Such lovely news. I wonder how Anna does her sprouts tho?

Friday, November 27, 2009

This dog is barking

Totally and utterly barking that is. Harry, for that is his given name, is staying with us for a few days while Mr & Mrs Windy are off the island pretending they can remember what it was like to be 21. Harry is very good. He is sitting looking over my shoulder at the moment which is a tad unnerving. But on the beach he is his own dog. Off digging, swimming and moving pebbles around the beach - a sort of canine Andy Goldsworthy.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The beach

Quite often on my strolls I have a camera with me. Most of the time actually although I don't always use it. Its not often I'm tempted with colour. I did this time with the Voigtlander 6x9 folder, got the exposure wrong and was delighted with the results - faults an-all.

Roof now

Its not just the interior that's getting an upgrade, it the roof of the darkroom-to-be.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I'm a Lewis Photographica celebrity, get me,,,,,,,

Tea anyone? Barbara of the Coelynes asks.
This is NOT the finished wall. The job had only just began - 1st cup of tea and all that.

Have you ever decorated a room? I have. In fact I should be doing that right now in the Warming Room since you mention it. Still, this is important.

I helped Toots redecorate his technical room recently - with a little help from fellow LP[c]rs. The technical room with Thomas the Tank Engine wallpaper that Toots had been keeping very quiet about. Its brilliant and luckily the paper came off in complete sheets so it will reappear in a frame all nicely mounted and what have you - once the decoration here has been sorted. And that's any time now.

I was lucky in that in-between telling Toots and the un-named person I can't mention because I have not cleared it with him, how do do the job, making tea and reading this months B&W mag that I no longer suscribe to, I took a few snaps. Naturally, I rated an un-pushable 400asa film to 1600 and developed it later in Rodinal. Just because I can.

Meanwhile, I am risking life and limb to capture the essence of Paul The Crofter's life over on Island Crofters. For goodness sake. Go and have a look. Just a taster below.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cabin fever

Sometime, just sometimes, the weather gets the better of me, the wind howling, the rain lashing down and what-have-you so I have to stay in rather more than I prefer. Luckily it doesn't happen too often on this paradise island - at least not more than once a week anyway at this time of year.

Sometimes too, I just don't have the energy to leap out of our nice warm and comfortable bed with our venerable Lord Wiesmier- stuffed rabbit of this parish - and so look around the place for something to photograph. I have never been too good setting up still lifes and would rather snap-up something that already 'is'. This snap is no exception since I took it from the armchair in the Warming Room.
Here you can see my auxiliary shutter [the hat] and a snap of our civil partnership printed on POP.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Moishe’s Bagel

Gratuitous snap of an island car mechanic wondering where the wonderful music is coming from!

Whoa! Went to what was the best jig of the year at An Lanntair last night. It was
Moishe’s Bagel- a weird mix of klezmer, ska, south american and balkan music. Gotan Project and the Modern jazz quintet meets Rabbi Blue eh! Brilliant musicians and it could have gone on for another hour as far as I was concerned. If you have not seen them, do so asap - Drumnadrochit tonight - assuming they got across the Minch on the ferry OK since there is a storm raging outside as I write. Check out the vid here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A fine fellow

Some of you who read this blog may know this fine fellow from our lovely village. It's such a good snap I thought I'd post it here for you to see.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tootless in An Lanntair

It should have been Coelyn-less in An Lanntair but that title doesn't really work. Anyway, this is Toots Wilson, town planner, photographer and musician. He'll be playing in the 1940s night in December run by .... not sure actually. But there will be 1940s music, food and no doubt 1940s jokes. Sounds like fun and it runs for one or two nights only. Not to be missed - apparently.

Toots and I plus the Coelyns usually meet here weekly in this bijou place for a spot of photographic related chatettes and drink coffee or green tea. The service is great, the ambiance superb, the staff lovely. Do we get discount now?
Toots in more relaxed mode. I rather think this composition has a touch of the Cartier-Bresson about it. See here perhaps.

For the technical minded, these snaps were taken with the Kiev rangefinder with Jupiter 12, foma400 rated at 1600 and developed in Rodinal 1;100 fo 1.5 hours. Can't be done - right?

Sunday, November 15, 2009


The whole Lomography thing that seem to have taken off annoys me. Its a marketing ploy pure and simple. I suppose at least they are getting people to use film rather than digital through making the whole thing 'cool'.
This snap was taken on a Lubitel 166 loaned to me by Toots Wilson.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A final place

There is a fine churchyard in Inverness full of old headstones and trees. Eve and I spent a while mooching about in the sunshine - until I noticed I seemed to have been followed by a man in a top-hat - except there was no-one there. We moved on soon after that.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


While Eve & I were on the mainland we took a bus ride out to Cromarty - where it poured with rain. Still, I visited this place that I had seen in an image by Rob Archer over on FADU forum. Its about the only place in this wonderful village where you cannot see the oil rigs out in the bay. Apart from the pub that is - where we waited for an hour and half for soup! Still, we were entertained by the students on a field trip in there getting their din dins.

Another pinhole shot on the ferry. I took it, you see it!

Monday, November 09, 2009


I'm still posting here but also here . Do take a look from time to time. Its all about Paul the crofter.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Land boats

I have become ever more aware that there seems to be a plethora of boats that sit in gardens and yards awaiting a fate that may or may not involve water! Here's a couple from a trip to Cromarty recently. Some of these boats may be out of the water for winter but some I fear are out of the water for ever.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


No, I have no Inverness images yet. They nestle mysteriously in-camera waiting for some time to be delicately caressed by essence of rodinal and possibly, just perhaps see the light of day. But, I did make a snap on the way over as one does. As I do anyway. Traditional innit?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Been away

Been living it up on the mainland for a few days - the rain followed us but, today when we were coming home the sun shone all day.

The lovely thing was that on the way over we saw a school of dolphins scooting across the bow of the ferry mid-Minch. What a superb sight that fair lifted my heart.

Be back with some snaps soon.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Working with paper negatives

If you click on here it will take you back to a paper negative made print I made earlier his year. I thought I might write a few wordettes about about a way to do them. Its not THE way to do them, it my way.

Select you camera and find some un-exposed B&W printing paper to use. [There is a chap here who uses colour paper but that's for the future :-) ]. You can use graded or multi-contrast - it really doesn't seem to matter - I usually use RC as its cheaper, usually thinner and doesn't show too much texture when contact printed. Neither does it matter if the paper is old and little fogged. It fact it may well help since you next step would be to pre-flash the paper. I do this under an enlarger with a 00 filter in place, the lens stopped down and the head cranked right up. I usually flash for about 1-2 secs - but you may need to experiment. the idea is to lower the contrast of the neg a little.

To aid keeping a lower contrast, I find it is much better to shoot in soft light - but then, up here we get a lot of that anyway. Most of my paper negs are shot indoors with either a 5x7 held together with gaffer tape and elastic bands or a fine Agfa 8x10 I currently have on loan and covet terribly. I also shoot using lens' without shutters just using the dark-cloth to cover and then expose the lens to the subject and since the light is lowish, the asa of the paper low too, this works just fine. Mostly.

Now comes development. Mix a very dilute developer and put in developing tray. Have another tray with water and yet another with fix. As long as the liquid is not frozen solid the temp of the stuff will not matter a jot! Although, having said that, if its too hot the development will be a bit fast.

1. Put neg into dilute developer and slowly develop the image till you get a soft image. I don't let much if any of the proper blacks develop as I don't really like white in my prints.

2. If the print has areas that need more developing, pop the print firstly into the water to stop overall development or at least slow it, then dip the portion of the neg you need more development into the dev and wait til something comes up. You'll need to move the thing about a bit as otherwise you might get a line appearing. You could also rub the developer onto the neg with some rag or whatever.

3. Re-wash in water then fix.

Now, you can either stick the dried print on the scanner and invert the image or, do the job properly and contact print the neg.

To contact print the paper neg, I dry the neg properly. Some people say contact print wet neg to wet print but its messy and seems to have no benefit whatsoever.
Put the paper neg face to face with your paper for the final print making sure the neg is on the top! Place some plate glass over it and do some test exposures as you would do for a normal print. This can be done under a light bulb but an enlarger or similar is easier to use filters.

I often split-contrast print the paper negs but you can do them with a single filter if you prefer. Develop as per a normal print and tone as required.

It is possible to pencil on the back of the paper neg to change to change the tones and shading but I have not got the skill. If you want to see a Master of this technique see Andrew Sanderson's work here and here . Brilliant work! Great workshops too.

Anyway, have fun. The Paper neg, contact printed snap here was not a total success but I like it!

Lets go to the moor

The moors here are just sublime and you are unlikely to see a soul. Wonderful old peat roads leading to peat banks, and if you are lucky a lovely light across the hills. It always lifts my spirits up here.

Slide show

Mmm, went to a slide show last night at An Lanntair. Still mulling it over. The slides were lovely from all around the globe - especially the polar regions. The audio-visuals I did not like. This was all by Mr J Beaty and it was quite an enjoyable evening - an evening which finished off with some snaps he took with the Guga hunters of Ness.
Click this link for some other interesting pictures of the Guga hunt by Donald Morrison.