Thursday, January 31, 2013

Yes, well. It does look like that doesn't it?

The storm has gone. The bits around the island are being put back in place and the day dawned lovely. The Barking dog came out for a stroll on Traigh Mhor as the waves taunted us. I pointed the Voigtlander Perkeo at this and that. This is what it saw - apparently.

I didn't see this but hey, what do I know?

I looks nice all the same.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

No, I didn't go in

I never go in, not there anyway. Being the better class of snob that I am, one can't been seen going in such places. Can one?

I like these sort of snaps. And I'm not alone. I've seen other such images - harsh black and white that shows how it really is. Or something.

There's plenty of such images out there but you'll have to find them yourself today. The wind has gone out of my sails..

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Now and then

Now and then I use colour. Not very much because usually, as was the case with this roll of film, there isn't much on them I like. The colour is horrible and distracting. I like the snap though but I resisted the impulse to change it back to B&W.

Back in the day - the days when the Berlin wall was still intact, my little sister and I took off for a weekend in the snow of that city. The flight stopped at 5 destinations before Berlin - but it was cheap and we did have a fun time. I was reminded of it by finding this B&W print of Jill there - looks like on the Berlin underground.

Monday, January 28, 2013

There seems to be a little dog in my scanner!

I decided last night that I would post a one snap per day. I lay awake unable to sleep wondering why the radio on my phone had stopped working. I thought it might have been the end of the world and was actually so disappointed there was no 'phutt' as it ended. So dis-happied was I about that I woke Eve to tell her. She was not amused either - though  it seems not for the same reason! The signal came back on later on you'll be pleased to hear.

I happen to have a few cameras. A few too many me thinks and, since the house is so small [but cosy and happy] I must rid of some. Trouble is I can never seem to decide which must go. I mean, I love the Kowa6 - it's pristine, works like a dream has a lens so sharp one could cut yourself with the images it makes but, do I use it enough?? I'm not sure anyone would want to buy it anyway.

I have other cameras. I use the Zork6 a lot, The Olympus OM1n that belongs to my sister too. The Baby Pacemaker gets a look in when I feel strong and there's Mr Toots' 4x5 Graflex in the other room waiting for some more plates to expose.

To be honest, I often just use a camera because I have it - or can find it. Like the Minolta P&S I was shooting the other day, or even the Vivitar UW&S. I paid £1 for this little plastic wonder with its 22mm lens. £1 eh?- and they sell for £20 or so now secondhand. I would not sell mine for £30! There are no controls on it at all - which allows you to snap away with abandon. And I love the mess it makes of the images. Love it! You can see loads of images here,

Oh, and these three [three in 1 that is :-) ] portraits of a walk on the beach yesterday with Eve were taken with the UW&S and Rollei400s.

I must have a look inside the scanner because every-time I use it, it sounds like there's a puppy tying to get out!

Sunday, January 27, 2013



It's Sunday. Still.

Was lovely; the sun shone, we got rained on a bit, Mr Crofter poked his head out the door briefly and then we strolled on our beach. Only someone else was there too. I took a snap all the same - and no, it is not completely in focus. I call it art :-)

 Some stones and the sea - down there - lots of both at the moment. The sand is mostly still there too but lurking under the gravel that has appeared. Again.

I heard from Barbara of the Coelynes today - and that pleases me greatly. Barbara is healing well in Glasgow - although it seems healing so quickly she may be back on the island before we get to Glasgow to see her!

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Woolie back sheeps

Yes, it's a snap straight from Island Crofters series. But I post it here as for some reason I seem to out of new snaps today. I could recycle something from the past but I prefer the future in the main.Though this morning as we sat in bed with the warm sunshine glistening off the Minch, we trolled through some old prints I found in a box. Lovely stuff there straight from the last century when I was working at the Manchester Velodrome for my sins - and even before that. Amazing - and rather worrying how time flies so quickly. Looks like someone else's life not ours.

Tis a nice snap all the same. I've even been into the darkroom with this neg as someone wanted a print. And I might have another spare if there is any interest!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Oh, the light was so lovely, I almost thought about considering to think about the possibility of taking a snap in it.

So I took one. Although the magnificence of the day wasn't captured by it. Really, it was nice. You weren't expecting me to use colour film or something were you?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Here I am again. Possibly.

Fried egg on a face [without the egg].

See, look at that. That's me for goodness sakes.  I was sure I didn't look like that when I snook the snap with the borrowed MPP and an old Ilford 4x5 glass plate this morning. But the camera never lies so I must look like that.

Argh! I do look like that! Just been to the mirror and when I took a sneaky look at myself when I wasn't looking, I saw something like that above!  I can hardly believe it. Took me by surprise I can tell you.

Mr Toots loaned me the camera, and gave me back the plate back some kind fellow had sent me  while back. The Ilford R25 plates have been lurking around the place for years. I thought sensitised glass plates were the way to go so I acquired a few - only most of the plates I have are odd sizes - these are 4x5- and very slow and degraded emulsions. See here for some earlier efforts. But they still tell the truth don't they?

Now look here please.

Monday, January 21, 2013

No, I have nothing to say. Bar this and some other stuff I'm keeping for a rainy day. Apart from that.

 Mission House study

I had this old Soviet camera rattling around the place for a while - with a roll of HP5 rated at 3200 ish in it. Thought it was about time time it saw the inside of a developing tank - the film not the camera! I shot the remaining frames, rolled it up all proper like on a reel in the dark then sloshed it at a guessed dilution of something chemical for a estimated [read  'guessed'] amount of time and some images arrived. I mean, they were there all the time but I 'realised' them as they say in the trade. What trade I don't know.

But I like the study/snap of the Mission House Studio - when we were visiting for a minor celebration. A masterpiece it is not. Interesting? I think it is. As I think is the snap below. Lots of grain, a dog, lovely lead in line and everything. Eh?

Track to nowhere

But this is what HP5 @ 3200 is really for - inside in the dark whilst waiting for the charity concert 'Here come the girls' to start.

Woodlands Cafe

Now, don't waste any more time here, go and look at the wonderful documentary work of  JA Mottram

...and I was going to tell you ....

You'll be pleased to hear that Lord Wiesmier, former pirate, commando etc etc, survived the serious surgery on his neck yesterday and is now resting in bed as he fully recovers. Just for a change. During surgery he also had a new shirt and cummerbund fitted.He looks so very smart I must say.

The snap I'm exhibiting here is a portrait of tyres on a little track not far from here that I had not passed along till recently. I had the Olympus XA2 with me at the time and pointed it here.
Don't ask impertinent questions!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

I'm shocked and a little bit dazed

This morning, it was noticed that Lord Wiesmier, former Pirate and commando etc of this parish had been partially beheaded in the night and requires immediate and extensive surgery this morning. At the moment we have no idea how it happened but I suspect the new interloper GertRude the gingham dressed bear. Lord Wiesmier is currently under sedation and I will report on his condition as time progresses.

On a better note, Eve and I visited some local businesses yesterday. Being part of the consuming massive, that's the sort of thing we do. Start with the nearest shoppe and if they don't have what you need, progress to the next one and so on. By the time we got to Bac - the next village up we had what we needed. And I had snapped up some top business people in the process.

First up is Mrs Bac Pharmacy - otherwise known as owner of Ginty the big horsey thing. And who knows no professional cyclists at all - especially AmeriCan ones.

Mrs Bac Pharmacy in her lair

I love going in here. Always a friendly smile and someone willing to listen to the drivel I talk about. And stand still while I snap way. And they have some lovely 'things' in there. Nice eh?

Mrs White House Gift Shoppe

And then just along the road is Mrs White House gift shoppe where one can be amazed at all the lovely gifty things both made by Mrs White House herself or brought in with love. Always worth a visit both for the 'goods' and for the warm welcome that comes your way in there.Having said that, GertRude came from there - I wonder if they have been infiltrated?????????

Friday, January 18, 2013


Well, I really hope Sir Donald doesn't mind me posting this here but I really like this portrait - despite the flaw in the neg. Donald lives just down the road here - an ex-fisherman, merchant seaman and fine raconteur. I go down there for a chat and enjoy the pleasure of Donald and herself's company.

The snap came out of the resurrected Kiev60 which, since me kicking it down the un-carpeted stairs by mistake, it now works fine [ish]. Now for the darkroom!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Now is not the time to call in for a cup of green tea; the stair carpet is nearly up, dust is everywhere, I have no-where to sit and I am tired.

I need to hoover - get the vacuum cleaner out of it's little nook in the back passage  For that I need to move a bike hoping not to topple the stuff behind it. There's dust all over the stairs- from the ex-carpet that's been on there for countless years. I'm rather pleased to nearly see the back of it to be honest, it's swirly greenness assaults my eyes daily. I used to walk up the stairs with my head in the air to pretend it wasn't there but the day I did look, I noticed there was a worn hole in it. It had to go. I'm tempted to make the place like John Coffer's lovely housey. Now that would be lovely. Yes, yes, have a look.


Nice eh? Green with envy that Mrs Toots would be!

Anyway, sometime back, before the day before yesterday last week, Eve and I tootled out for a strollette - over the west side of the island - probably prior to a small visitation to The Coelynes - but I can't be sure. Time passes so quickly. Still, whenever it was, we did go here - Dal Beag or Dal Mhor. Don't know which  - we went to both. That's the sort of extravagance I'm known for. Twas nice though. Took the old Zorki6 along - with a Jupiter8 lens attached and Fomapan 400 film inside. I find it fogs all too quickly if you expose it outside the camera. Just a quick tip there.

 West side beach. Don't ask which one !


Nice Highland Coow

Meanwhile, over at The Crofters, the another wee coow just arrived.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

So, there we are, grinning on the beach

Ok, so it's not pretty - but it's us.

I'd like to think I'm looking as happy as this all the time - but no, sometimes I look quite nice. And sad. For no apparent reason. That's the sort of person I am. Although sadness does come if I have nothing to share, nothing to show the world or nothing to make someone, just someone anywhere be amazed.

A box

Luckily, my love and civil partner Eve is beside me, helping me through the mire that is life sometimes. And I appreciate that. Eve often less me a take a snap of her - and sometimes her and I together - though I am less keen on that. 

The box didn't mind me snapping it up. so I did. With the Olympus XA2

Now look here please.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The stair carpet is being lifted; and the day the snow came [and went]

Oh I say, the day started so well. Fair warmed the cockles of my heart as they say somewhere down south. You know, where I come from and where all the posh people come from - well, snobby ones anyway. You know, I have a friend of this parish who it has to said, was born in Scotland but sounds rather more like a Yorkshireman on account of his residence there for some years. I'm not from Yorkshire - perish the thought and have never lived there. So I shall not write like one! There, that should keep he who shall not be mentioned happy!

I'd found this camera nestling in the dark recesses of my bag and it seemed to loaded with film too. No idea what film mind you but it was set to 800asa so I took along with me on the shoppe van run. The road was covered in a light coating of snow, the air just below zero but the trip went well. I took the van to the next kind volunteer and strolled back home in the amazing light, shooting hither and thither to finish the film. I exited the film on arrival back at home to find it was the outdated and badly kept HP5. Oh, I thought here's candidate for a strong LC29 developer. So sloshed in 1:10 here are the snaps that lurked therein.



 The road

 A Croft

Me, taking a snap

See, you could hardly wait for these could you?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The day I snapped-up Mr Coelyne - and then started to take up the stair carpet. With the emphasis on 'started'.

I was accused of wasting film. But it was far from that. The hopefully resurrected Kiev60 'camera' was under test and I needed to shoot it. Sometime before the camera had decided to shoot only one frame and leave the others blank. That annoyed me so I played with it. Looked at it hard and everything - which included firing the shutter loads of times. That's how annoyed I was. Then I ran a test film through it and these 'erbs were in the way - at Lewis Photographica [continuing] coffee morning. That'll learn-em. Especially that Mr Coelyne of the The Coelynes. Didn't want his mush produced therein so flapped his patterned serviette in a threatening way in front of the Soviet lens. It made no difference, the light got into the camera all the same and here we have it!

Coelyne of The Coelynes

I think Mr Coelyne looks rather intriguing - or something. But Barbara of The  Coelynes looks serene here. As she always does but, I never yet been able to capture. Barbara knew this was 'the one' too. I was hoping it was. Eve says it is. And so do I.

Barbara - in thought

It is the one isn't it? Eh? Please tell me. Tell me it is - or isn't. I need to know. I think it is - it's the Soviet camera that does it - obviously.

We were at Toots' place - his wifey having left us to fend for ourselves whilst she enjoyed the wonderful light that came over the horizon this morning on a walk down towards Huisnish way. Still, we ate fruit and cake, drank coffee and ate more cake. And gossiped. That's what one does you know.

Toots was happy though. His dear wife Anne was coming back home this afters we would all soon be gone away home. I snapped him up too - in my best Cartier-Bresson portrait stylee - without the panache [or focus]. See.

Toots Wilson

There were other masterpieces on the roll of film - but I have not figured out which ones they are yet. I think the Soviets got this one right. When it works.

Please look at Mr Windy's blog NOW.

And I do still post over at Island Crofter don't you know!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Did I tell I went to town with Mr Toots Wilson?

Mr Toots crosses the road in time to the red lights.

That's the sort of man he is; crossing the road when and where one is meant to. Quite threw the locals off their stride - and cars off their axles it seems.

Eh? How did that happen?

No doubt Mr Toots is a bit of a celeb round these parts. A retired celeb that is. We tootled into The Stag Tearooms as one does, took the air over past Cuddy Point and snapped some stuff. Twas lovely.

See; how lovely is that?

I also took the opportunity to see the car Dr who keeps my little motor in good fettle. It's going in for a face-lift today!
Mr Car-Dr

Now visit Nanian and see what a real photo artist does!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Perhaps I need some colour while the winter is here and dullness abounds - although yesterday wasn't too bad really. But apart from that...

Winter. As it is sometimes. A lot of the times.

I don't 'do' colour - just like I don't 'do' landscapes. In that I do do it but not much, under protest and with less panache than one would expect. Only, when the weather is dull - like it wasn't yesterday when Mr Toots and I strolled a bit cameras in hand - sometimes one is tempted to insert some colour into the situation. There is some lovely Lucky200 colour film lurking in the fridge somewhere but, as often as not, I load the colour film and then lose enthusiasm for it. I think perhaps there is some film of that type in the UWS but, that has not controls so is not ideal when the sun never seems to rise. Now, I just don't know what to do.

Maybe it's time for a blue cyanotype - the one I have been planning to do for ages but never got round to. I shall rest on it - when I can ever manage to sleep that is!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

For Harry

For Harry - this. Rest in peace me lad.

What a day it's been. Lovely diffused sunlight, a stroll with the good Mr Toots round the castle grounds, some snaps made with the pinhole camera, a bit of developing and tea with Eve. What more could one ask? - well, I now have several images in 'private collections' as well as a small exhibition is the internationally renowned Stag Tearoom in Stornoway. Onwards and upwards :-)

 Your carriage awaits

Mr Toots Wilson wonders what lies before him

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Back in the day

Back in the day when Eve was World Masters champion 2006 for the track pursuit, we ran a team called Yasumitsu-Schlapp. Now don't go asking why  as it's a long story and I'm not sure it's true anyway. Still Eshima Yasumitsu was a fine Keirin rider from Japan who came over to race the Worlds - along with a few of his compatriots. Keirin riders - especially in Japan are bonkers hard-men. Full of bits of titanium from crashing but with lots of money! I found this snap of a few of them plus David, Eve [or the right with her worlds medal] and Yumi on the left - a club member based in Manchester. For some delightful reason the Japanese fellows wanted to ride for our team whilst in the UK - so they did. And we are still in touch from time to time now.

River on beach[ not himself and herself].

Life is a little less hectic these days although I did rush down to Donald's today to take some pics of himself and 'herself' while it was a little lighter. Lots of fun though and by the look of the negs, I may have something.

Now check out this little vid.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Coffee table without legs. But with pages.

I like photographic books. There I've said it. No doubt I should go to PBA or something to take the 12-step  recovery from acquiring them. There's a load of them at the top of our stairs lurking over to the top of he less than efficient Kiev camera I mentioned before. And more piled by the bed so I can peruse them before sleeping and, on occasions on waking too. Why not? eh?

The current read is a fine tale written by one Charles Duncan- Photographic Pilgrams Progress. I like it. Written some time at the start of the last century and daft enough for me to understand it. Usually, my fare is imagry - Ragnar Axelsson's Last days of the Arctic - in German. The photos are in Greenlandic but I can understand them - and marvel at them. Go. Go now and have a click on the link - there's a vid there too. I think I can safely say this man's fine work stands up there with the work of James Ravilious for me. Yes, go on then, have a look there too. but come back please. I have more to say.

But the piece de resistance is the Magnum contact sheet book. It's huge. And heavy. So heavy that it really requires its own legs. Great book though - if you can hold it for long. I wouldn't usually purchase such a tome but I apparently got an award for being top 'wrestler of miscreants to the ground' operative of the quarter or some such nonsense. Still, work gave me a voucher and I bought this book/table. I still don't make contact sheets though! Where would I sit with them on the settee too?

Snap; Eve at the end of Traigh Mhor - Tolsta. I sit in our little house writing this - on the lump of land at the back!

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Boogieing along with Lou Reed; after an audience with The Globe’s.

Colour; yes, just a few shades. - as it can be in Harris

Now the record-player is working, the extensive collection of [old] discs are getting  spin - Lou Reed at the moment due in part because I'm in a good mood. and due in another part because it came to hand first. [excuse me while I de-fluff the needle]. Bother, now the speaker plugs are playing up. Ah well, I like quiet anyway.

We were down in Harris today South Harris that is - not that you could see it much as the clouds were low and wet. But the roads are a give-away with 25mph being about the max you can drive down there on account of the bends. That's the Golden Road for you. A one point I actually attempted a snap - from the car with the Voigtlander Bessa 6x9 with my new card mask inside to bring it back down to 6x4.5 ish. [I wasn't driving at the time in case the plod are reading this] I tried but was beaten  back by the lashing rain drenching me before I could but snatch a quick-one through the open car window. My best laid plans to finish the Ilford FP4  film in the Baby Graflex came to nothing too as the day got darker rather than lighter - and wetter rather than drier. You get the idea. I think I must have felt a little grumpiness coming over me if I was honest. I know it's not like me but I was getting a tad up-fed. 

Then we arrived at The Mission House Studio in lovely Finsbay. The place is always a wonderful place to be  at any time whether it's to browse the wabi-sabi loveleeness of Nickolai's cooked clay, the imagery emanating from Beka's photographic artistry or wallow in the vibe-rary of the musical interludes held in the Studio from time to time. Where else can you listen to Beethoven Quartets in such a venue? Eh!

Mrs Globe - for that who is Beka - was about to celebrate the anniversary of her birth and we had been invited to attend the occasion. Only Nickolai had told me in Harris time [ie; within several hours of the time stated] not mainland time [within 15 min of stated time] and although I have been here all of six years I assumed the latter not the former. As a result we were 2 hours early! 

Of course we were heartily welcomed with hugs and everything. That's how nice they are! Tea was drunk, choccies consumed and chats exchanged and I sat in wonder of these two lovelees and their sweet childlings. Had a really wonderful time and although we left before the hoards arrived later - since I had to 'work', we, Eve and I, came home all happy, all creatived -up and I, suitably un-grumpied. It was a great day.

Happy Birthday Beka. May it be a great day.

Ps, the snap may be old but is was made on film!

Friday, January 04, 2013

....and what bag do I require to carry my cameras? apart from me that is!

It seems to be the recurring question if one frequents the right/wrong forums. Take rangefinder forum for example; they have an interesting line in bag talk. Domke this, Billingham that. Vintage leather gas-mask bags and all. I was rather taken with the notion of a gas-mask bag but could not for the life of me find one Aladdin's Cave - our local emporium of consumer cheapness - apparently.

A wall is a wall [and I love walls] whatever bag the camera comes out of. 

Needless to say, I use whatever bag that comes to hand that being the big yellow thing at the moment. I can throw lots of things in there and not find them for weeks at a time. The Vivitar UW&S camera disappeared in there for months before it fell out one day while I was looking for my purse. I have a little purple bag too - and if I'm not mistaken that as actually made for a camera - but it fits the purse rather better. There there's the old Fuji bikes bag an old cycle-team sponsor gave me - and the back-pack - both lurking somewhere around the place loaded with a camera or two, a few rolls of film and a broken filter. Probably.

The bug I have been fighting o'er the holiday period seems reluctant to leave me at the moment and sadly I had to postpone a little portrait session down the road today. I shall be back again next week - honest!  With yellow bag too.

In the meantime visit Barefoot Crofter. I will.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

How many cameras is enough?

There are a few cameras lurking around the place. I tripped over an old and less than efficiently working Kiev6c this morning. I must get rid of the thing before it kills me. It almost has already when it fell on me when I fell in the local river- as you do. As I do anyway.

 Eve enjoying the land/seascape

 Me enjoying a proper wall 

 O'er the top of Carloway


I was going to write something interesting about 'how many cameras is enough' but I can't make my mind up. I can't even make my mind up what cameras to take with me when I go out for the day - or on holiday. Like the time we went to Cuba [where a younger Lord Wiesmier - he was a mere Sir at the time - got rabbitnapped in Havana ] and I took far too many cameras, never knew what to shoot and in the end shot nothing much! Lesson learnt, or so one would have thought.

When I have answered the question myself I'll try and write something about it. In the meantime these snaps were from a little trip to Carloway, Dal Mhor and Dal Beag tother day. Taken with the Pentax p30t and Polypan-f [although the Zorki6 and the Baby Graflex were in the car - no doubt sulking.]

I suggest you visit the following blogettes to while away the time;

Proper photographiser and wizzo darkroom wizard Andrew Sanderson  whom I note has been visiting this site - and no doubt wondering what in goodness sakes it's all about.


John Banting. Look at the site :-) 

toodle do

just as well my dear Eve doesn't mind my indecision !

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Sally forth to Seaforth

We did sally forth too. With an old camera or two.
Wasn't right bright or anything but one has to get out and breathe the fresh air. Tally ho and all that old chappies.

Eve at Frank's corner. [1]

Seaforth Loch by the road to Eishken Estate is lovely. I mean - really lovely. No-one there usually, wonderful hills lochs and sometimes deer, seals sheeps, 'orses and eagles. Only this was a Scottish Bank Holiday and only the sheeps were out to play. Although an eagle did do a fly-past while out for a evening snack as we set off home.

We'd been down this way before on similarly warm and damp days but then we had nice 'orses to gaze at. Not one was around. Hopefully they are tucked up in a nice warm barn somewhere and not melted for glue ! We strolled along the road towards the estate house - a lonely road ina wonderful place. Only interrupted by one vehicle too. I snapped hither and thither till all the film was gone.

We strolled along this way.

Leaving this view behind us

And we crossed over here - albeit on a bridge

.. and just in case you are wondering, I shot these snaps today with Coelyne of the Coelyne's No. 2 Folding Pocket Brownie and some Foma400 [taking account of reciprocity. Eh? ]. Only a 100 plus years old camera! Eat your heart out pixel-poppers!

The aperture on this gem says '1-2-3' - which means nothing to me. But the hole in the front with the pointer thing for the aperture pointed beyond '3' looks small. Could be f-45. Guessed, but that's what I used.

[1] It's a bit of a long story but in short, when we had to take old Frank [black labrador] and Rockie [Patterdale Terrorist] back to their human on the mainland, we stopped here very early in the morning in the dark on the way to the ferry as Frank required a 'comfort-stop'. Only I didn't recognise the signs early enough and ended up cleaning the car! Meanwhile, dear old blind Frank had legged it along the road into the dark - with me chasing after him! I got him of course since his run wasn't very fast. At all. We pay homage to this corner every time we pass with a silent 'woof' - just as Frank usually did.