Saturday, March 30, 2013

Meeting folk on a stroll round our end of the village - excepting Mrs Up Yours who has featured a lot on here already - and I'm unsure if that's a "good thing."



The weather was so nice again yesterday I just couldn't contain myself, setting off at a briskish pace down to see The Crofter to enquire if any sheeps-lettes had arrived. There had been none as yet. Oh well, there Herself next door out in the garden planting nice things to make the place look pretty. We pass the time of day - "Lovely day" I say in that slightly over-friendly way I have. "Ooh it is" Herself replies I seem to recall.

It's just as well I have a good memory and can recollect such interesting conversations I have as the day progresses. I mean, later in the day I found my self discussing how incomers like myself and my co-conversationalist - a former post-punk rock band drummer boy - make the decision to move to the islands based solely the ability to park. Eh? I know, but he was from Manchester originally. Just as well I almost remembered what we talking about and all isn't it?

I also recall I went in Herself's hoosey to see Himself who was basking in the window telling me, in between sucking on a roll-up about how the Muir Burning used to glow over the hooseys here before the street-lights came and ruined the sight - and that of the dark-nights.  Now it's the smoke from the out-of-control burning out at the bridge to nowhere that one can see and smell around the place. When I say 'the place', I mean the island. Could hardly breathe when I was driving out to a job in the evening on the other side of the island where the smoke had been blown!


Then I bumped into Gregor - no job too small - mending the roof on Cal's daughter's hoose.  Right smiler he is too - and a fine ballroom dancer with his Dr wife. And no his head is not on fire - it's the moor on fire!

Last of all I see Theresa who is still reeling from The Move. Her nice big hoosey over the road has been finished and they are in - moved from the other side of the road. 


The New Big Hoosey

Ok, Ok, I know you want to see Mrs Up Yours but you cannot. Not today. Today is the day Mrs U-Y has released a segment from her excellent novel. Here's a sub-clip;

"Guardian Psycho more like," Degs interjected

Right that's enough. Don't actually want to promote the thing - she is bonkers after all.

It seems my personal timescale has come unbolted and slipped round a month. It is still March is it?

Mr Windy has kindly [but unkindly at the same time ] pointed out that I was a month out in my WWPD snaps. It should have been April.


Pity, because I had this gorgeous shot of The Crofter playing with his piggie-hutch too.

Friday, March 29, 2013

No, it's not another tractor for goodness sakes

It was World Wide Pinhole Day yesterday so I went out armed to the teeth with the pinhole camera. AS you do. The sun was shining again and that helped. It wasn't long before I was at my garage man - already deep in conversation with people. I was just about the leave when I spotted this fine old red Fiat500 car lurking and soon I had it's owner, Anne draped over it's sleekish bodywork like a 1960s starlette [although most obviously she is much younger than that].

I had it snapped up in an instant - with an almost self-portrait included.!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Eh? I hate to tell you this, but the sun is shining - again!

Look, this is the venerable Toots Wilson venturing out on his beach [the one in front of his house that is] with camera and everything. The sun is shining and it's warm - ish. Warmer than it has been anyway. When I moseyed up to the moor fire over at the road to nowhere earlier on - it was really warm - even though I was nowhere near the fire. I undid my top layer of coat. After I had walked a bit - obviously. Ghriet the doggie loved it.

Despite pointing the camera and the new lens at everything properly I messed up the development. Must change the sheep-dip or something since it [polypan-f] was very thin and covered in sheeps hair. Or so it looks anyway.

I shall try again today - loaded this time with Rollei400s.

Please note; the Western Isles is a wonderful place to live and visit, it has been the warmest and driest place in the UK this year but, it can be wet and cold. Horizontal rain that gets in every nook and cranny, wind that blows for days on end and ferries get cancelled. 'Things' shut on Sundays - except the churches - and then the roads are busy with lots of 'Sunday Drivers'.

But it is brilliant. Do NOT all come here. Please.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hello Houston, we have a problem; it's only a little one though so don't panic.

Her Highness HCB is doing nicely don't you know. The warm sun shining in through the dirty windows of our hoosey has brought forth her beauty. She is blooming.  She doesn't dance too much though, or sing for that matter. And never have I found her buying a ticket for a football match - so she is practically a saint apparently - and a royal one at that. EH?

As one might expect one cannot photograph such a beauty without her permission - and we are still in negotiations  Her Highness did concede to these snaps though.

Please curtsey.

Excuse me, I may have shown this before but it bears repeating. In the cicumstances

Trust me, this is Mrs Up Yours McIver. Her of Unbound blog. No, don't go there. [I can say this today because she is currently swanning around down on Harris]. Mrs Up Yours has finally lost the plot  - I say finally but of course this just may be a stage of 'losing it'. Either way, I have no idea what on earth she is writing about - although to be honest, I feel strangely compelled to read it. No, don't be tempted!

The snap you see presented before you was taken as a paper neg stuck in the back of a box camera, long exposure with deliberate movement, the neg developed then peeled, stuck in an enlarger, enlarged onto silver gelatin paper then selectively sepia toned by accidentally dripping bleach on the print when it was washing. I love the print.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Her Highness Henrietta Cartier Bresson wishes to announce she in in foal [or something like that]

We are just back from the feline physician. HHHCB's personal one that is. HHHCB likes her. Most of the time that is - except when her temperature needs ascertaining perhaps. But other than that they get on well.

Today was no exception as all she needed was a little examination of her self. We thought perhaps we might have been feeding her too much. HHHCB's tum was a tad big and she was always asking for food. Then we noticed her nipples [excuse me mentioning this Your Highness] were pink and bigger than normal. A light suddenly went on in my head. And we were right too. HHHCB is in foal - or is at least a mother to be. How lovely is that? A lot really. Only it wasn't planned. No doubt some street-wise ragamuffin alley cat from her former home area defiled her and no doubt will deny all his future responsibilities. Men eh?

Anyway, HHHCB is loved here and her cat-lettes will be loved too till they find new homes. And that shouldn't be too hard since HHHCB is practically royalty anyway.

But if I find out who that ragamuffin alley cat is................

Monday, March 25, 2013

They came from Jupiter

The other day, a catastrophe came upon me and my camera. My bag fell orf the chair and collided abruptly with the floor. Inside that bag was my Kiev4 adorned as it happens with a Jupiter12 of my acquaintance  It was jammed. Couldn't move the lens at all - not even to take if off the camera. I recalled the incident here . The camera lies inert on a shelf awaiting an inevitable coating of dust.

Now, thanks to the very kind Keith Thompson of Toronto - yes that's Toronto CaNada - I have a ltm version to fit my Zorki. How kind is that? Very as it happens - and it's a lovely lens too. Now, you must go and have a look at this article by the very same gentleman - about cameras I might add. Go on, I'll wait here........

See, it was worth it wasn't it?
This is what I call a wall

I took the lovely little lens out this weekend on the Zorki6 in the biting cold wind that has been blowing from the east - seemingly for ever. The road to our village had to dug out twice this week, no not snow but sand blown in from the nearby dunes. Eve and I went over to Great Bernera - see yesterdays post and everything. I managed a few shots through the lens - even though I did have to compromise on the viewfinder front since my old Kodak one does not see eye 2 eye with the Soviet Zorki6.

This boat stood still long enough for me to make a hash of framing it as did the bridge below. Here, there are 'some stones' in the way. This is way to Great Bernera from our island - the Isle of Lewis. Nice eh?

Did manage a snap of a Mill though. Out over the hill we went to get here - such a lovely place to be - if your ears wern't about to be frozen off!

So, many many thanks to Kieth Thompson for this lovely lens. It will be my main lens I am sure :-)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

No sooner do I post this pic and someone wants it!

This is just ridicidoodlous. No sooner had I posted the above pic on some social network than some erb asked to buy it. Luckily they have not got a donkey or a mule otherwise I would have had to sell it. Ha! Sorted them out quick.

See, they are only snaps from the home made pinhole camera. shot, developed and so far just scanned after a rather wind-blown strollatery over Bernera way. Found this lovely little placette Circebost Pier. Got the pinhole camera out, stuck it in front of 'things' and there you have it! Despite the cold and everything.

Nicely 'done' on fp4 in Promicrol.

Excuse me while I finish my negotiations of the social network site.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Please don't tell The Coelynes

The Stones at Callanais were calling. Or to be more precise  it wasn't the aura of the stones but the aroma of the cakes in the cafe. All the same I agreed [reluctantly] to spend some time soaking up the vibes of the stones before taking the sustenance available therein nearby that is. It's not a place I usually go to on account of the bus load of tourists that rock up here just as you commune with the gods - and the ribbing I get when the Coelynes find out . Mr Windy and Deanne decided we had to go so we did and it was bitterly cold enough to keep not only tourists away but midges and the like too.

I seem to recall the cold wind was howling too that day . Eve certainly seems less than keen to embrace the air of the day. Or maybe she was just 'listening' to the stone.

Mr Windy seemed to be enjoying himself - although I can't imagine how with his electronic imaging device he was playing with. Maybe it was the head-scarf!

But Deanne managed to stay cool despite the weather and the cakes and tea were very fine afterwards.

Friday, March 22, 2013

This is what happens when you walk out with a 1930s camera under your arm.

The thing had been just sat there. Looking all sullen and what have you. She came into my acquaintance some 10 years ago when I just had to buy her at great expense. I had monies in my purse, the camera was there winking at me and I was hooked. She being a Viogtlander Bessa 6x9 rangefinder. I love her even if I don't walk out with her that often these days.

I have seen sharper pictures to be honest although it's not for the lack of a coupled rangefinder. And she is so lovely to handle - all her bits are in the right place - unlike many modern cameras.

Yes, yes, this little hoosey is for sale. I say 'little' but it's much bigger than the one I write from and is just round the corner. If it wasn't so cold and blowy outside I'd pop out and point it out to you. Now, if you'd like to come to our lovely village there is a great school here, a shoppe and Post Office, three local beaches and more sheep than you can shake a stick at. And no, I have nothing to do with the hoosey or the sale.

There are other hoosies for sale her too - and I might just go out and point a camera at them to see what it will look like. You might even find one with a Hebridean type fence in it.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The hole opened up before me and I almost fell in.

The hole I refer to is part of this performance. Where I slip imperceptibly down the happiness ladder as I await someone [not here on the island I might add] to get themselves into gear and get 'stuff' done. You can see what sort of state I am in using colour and everything - albeit dipped in used sheep-dip or something, hence the marks. And it's been in a Holga too. Eh? Have I lost it? Probably.

That's dearest Eve who crept into the shot to ensure I didn't take a landscape. Eve looks after me properly you see.

These are sheeps. That's what they look like. Well, the white woolie backs anyway. We were on a little stroll at the end of the village. This is where we live. The sun is shining now too - as it was then. But it is very cold. Even Her Highness Henrietta Cartier Bresson [the cat] prefers to sit in front of the fire.

Apologies, I shall lie down now if you don't mind.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

This is not one of them...

Crofter in a strange world

I was talking to my Galleriest and framer [blush] over at Oiseval Gallery in Brue this afternoon. I'd taken a jaunt over there with the recently retired Toots of Bac and soon the conversation ended up on my stylee of snapping and presenting my snaps.

You see, I believe that ones snaps should be captured, printed and displayed as part of a whole 'performance'. It's not just point an over pixelled machine at a beach press another button and hey presto, a print comes out. Of course I am waffling, trying to make out I'm something I am not, but isn't that what we all do?  

The taking of the snap, the print itself, title of the print, the price, the making of the print in the darkroom and the reactions to the viewer are all part of the 'performance'. And I can perform I can tell you! 

Just remember this little sermon when and if you view my hand-made lith-prints in the show soon at An Lanntair [and no, the exhibitioniony is not on their website or anywhere else either! Wouldn't want people to know about it would we?] . Eh?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ice-cream head

Twas cold today. Has been for a while really. The only thing was, as I strolled past the newly built mansion - Theresa Towers - just up the road, my head felt awfully cold. I mean so cold I was transported back to childhood ice-cream gulping times when that headache from eating really cold stuff appears. I couldn't find my rather stylish hat. There are loads lurking round the place but just could not find the right one.

Eve had a similar problem although removing ones neck so you get your head lower into your warm coat is somewhat going to extremes. But that's Eve for you now she is a year older. Well, a day older than yesterday anyway.

And yes, we have had a little dusting of snow. I duly snapped it up with this ever-so-slightly not focussing camera just so you can [almost] see it.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Playing in the darkroom

There is one thing I like to do and that is play in the darkroom - especially when it's cold and wet outside. But not so wet that it comes into the darkroom!

And No, The Crofter doesn't have a big forehead - even though perhaps it is advancing backwards a little. Was trying do some anamorphosic images. That sort of thing anyway.

If you lean into the pooter screen, taking care not to disturb the cat sleeping on the keys, and squint into the image from your right - it looks,, well, different. Not sure I have got this sorted yet.  Shall we call this a work in progress?

Happy Birthday to you........

My dearest Eve has her birthday today So will you all please stand up NOW and sing!

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear Evelyn
Happy birthday to you

Thank you.
Eve is the most wonderful woman, civil partner and true love that I could ever imagine being with. And doesn't mind when I eat bananas in the car :-)

We shall be celebrating with a meal out in the evening along with The Crofter who celebrated his 40th last Thursday - and is probably still getting over the hangover.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A skin of banana or something

Mrs Up Yours McIver aka Dot-Ross McIver - trying to sell me something.
We have an author in the village. Have I told you that? Actually, now I come to think of it there are at least two - one of which is Mrs Up Yours. She has a blog Unbound - which is so bonkers it comes with a health warning. She was wittering about nearly slipping on an iced-up banana skin while out jogging this morning [as if...]. I'm sure she said that! Only, obviously she realises now she's lost the plot and deleted the post. Just as well as I was going to sue her for defamation or summut as the banana skin wasn't frozen when I last saw it. And the weather is really quite mild at the moment. Apart from the days it snowed. And those when it froze. Apart from that.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Oh no. Another one bites the dust!

Just when is getting in the groove with a particular camera, learning to see its way, knowing its foibles  the flippin thing falls off a chair and refuses to work! Can you believe it?

It's a wonder there is no dent in the floor as this camera is heavyish but instead the lens refuses to move - neither to focus it or to take it off! And it's a lovely Jupiter12 too. Fixed, seemingly permanently onto a Kiev4 - which does still fire it's shutter.

Oh well, such is life. I shall now return to being a 50mm photographer now - unless I can get a ltm Jupiter 12 :-)

In the meantime enjoy a snap for the last roll of film through the camera - the son of my pooter Dr - with his best friend. Rollei400s@800

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The two headed cyclist that could have been an Ace Tone, but it wasn't

Back in the day. Back then.
When the rain rained, the wind blew, the cyclists cycled and The Two did Tandem, I shot this snap. Not sure when in the day but I did. I'm still drying out yet it was six months ago. It might have been the same roll of film that these top two came from. It doesn't matter anyway. The point is, I found this neg somewhere and I liked it. So I printed it - without any mathematical formula and everything. On Slavich Unibrom too.

It might end up in An Lanntair where a former Ace Tone lurks.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

1+1=19. Possibly.

I was listening to some esteemed programme on the radio whilst out wrestling miscreants to the ground this evening - specifically the relationship between mathematics and music. Some years ago I sat through a concert at the Bath Festival listening to Messian's Quartet for the end of time. It certainly felt like the end of time ! Apparently the musics' structure incorporates two prime numbers [I know not what I say, I'm just repeating what I heard]. The same Festival I listened to a tremendous Vox Balaenea by George Crumb where at the same concert, sat on hard church seats I dozed through some 'erb telling me about his plinky-plonky prepared piano piece of 'music' based on some mathematical formula. I only awoke when it sounded like the place had been bombed - to find the 'erb smiling in that self-satisfied way that is so very annoying.

Thrilled that my way of seeing had been recognised at last I have decided to present to you my latest creation based, as you might imagine on a complicated formula, so intense that I for one have not figured out yet. But, trust me, when I do you will be the first to know. Don't wait up though since Maths was never my strong point.

It is a darkroom print though. A lith print on Russian Slavich paper which brings a gravitas and uniqueness all of it's own. If I'm not mistaken, it may be a snap from the Retinette1a camera on polypan-f film taken in An Lanntair.

Yes, it's obvious, why did I not see that before ? Eh?

Do we like it?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I seem to be getting more than my fair share of exposure these days. I thought it felt chilly.

For some reason the good rabbits of the duck-type at Duck-Rabbit [don't ask] felt they would like to give this blog a mensch on their blog celebrating International Women's day. I'm flattered. And probably just about to blush or something. I think I can still blush. If I try - perhaps a sniff of sepia-juice might help!

Anyway, since the weather is still lovely - sun and what have you, I have been taking the air don't you know. Strolling round the village with my head held high but looking out the corner of my eye in case I see something to snap. Nothing much has changed. This bus shelter is still where it was before. No doubt if Jonathan Meades had ventured up the village he would wax lyrical about the thing, words falling out his loquacious mush faster than a flock of Hebrideans sheeps after a shaken plastic bag of feed. But to me, it just sits there.

The jolly old stroll took me up past Timbukthree Mansions where I espied John A passing the time of day with a fellow crofter. "Hello" I said, for that is the sort of wordy greeting I favour on days like this. We blethered a bit and I walked on only to meet Barry and his doggie Boycey [to be totally honest, it may not be Boycey. I really should remember as Barry's son told me it's name too. I like Boycey as a name for a doggie this big anyway. Sort of suits him].

Boycey is a Great Dane I think. The sort whose slobber is worse than it's look. Boycey is the one without the beard BTW.

On the photo front as you can see I snapped some snaps - as I do. This lot on Polypan-f which I developed in Rodinal 1:75 - all night as I retired to bed before washing the stuff out and fixing it. Didn't seem to do it much harm. I celebrated that today with a darkroom sesh playing with Lith. I might show you that another day.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Stop start sort of day

This is the nth time I have commenced the blog-work. The leci has been going on and off like the MV Muirneags sailing schedule - in the winter. No idea what's going on but at least the washing machine thing finished it's business before the chaos started.

The weather is so lovely here at the moment - I'm sure you'll be pleased to hear - that my planned for darkroom session that would have been thwarted anyway by Messers Scottish Hydro - was put on the back burner and I strolled the village taking in the sunshine. Mr Four Tractors was out on one of his crofts re-fencing it and showing me the soft mossy ground. Lovely I thought.
Then I met The Weaver - thankfully with the dog that bit my rear-end muzzled and chained in the yard :-)

I shall be back to normal in the morning - hopefully.

Saturday, March 09, 2013


As you may be aware, I don't do landscapes. They are not 'me'. I don't connect to them and they don't talk to me. Unlike William. Just Willaim is my former work colleague who 'stays' [the local for 'lives'] in Cromor miles from here. But a wonderful place don't you know? Probably not but I do. Trust me.

Here's William doing what he does best, talking. I was listening, nodding sagely from time to time - in between supping my fine Mocha in the Woodlands Cafe in the castle grounds.

See, that's not a landscape is it? That's our William

We have a craft/art shoppe in Stornoway that I visit on occasion to soak up some art-vibes or whatever one looks for to make nice snaps. They sell art paper and what have you. Lots of it and sometime I buy it - when I want to make cyanotypes - on account that if it's art-paper I must be making art - right?. So I felt Ok about sneaking this little snappette of Mrs Craft-Shoppe practising painting or something in her window. This isn't a landscape either is it, eh?

Mrs Art-Craft Shoppe

Strangely and a little worryingly I have had a request how I made the snap from yesterdays post. The real answer is I have no idea but, I did use a camera with film in it - albeit slow film. Shot from the hip at 'things' with 1 second[ish] exposures. Then printed it as a Lith-print. Hope that helps! I couldn't do it again if I wanted to. 

Friday, March 08, 2013

With full apologies for those of you who come here looking for 'gentle madness'.

Eat your heart out John Rankin Waddell! You may have been on Desert Island Discs this morning, amassed a fortune taking nice snaps, be well known, have a nice range in books etc etc, but you didn't take this snap did you? Eh?

Of course I realise you may not want to take this snap. But trust me, if you are reading this Rankin me fellow, this is Art - apparently. You can tell it's art because it isn't like the rest of the snaps you see, it not immediately obvious what or where it is and, and take special note of this, it has a touch of the Sabi of Wabi about it. There. I've said it!

Perhaps I might even warm up the Raeburn and do a Pre-Brazilian on it.

Special code for those IN THE KNOW :-) Lith print on Slavich Unibrom / Polypan-f/ Rodinal/ Retinette 1a.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

It feels like this today. Probably. It certainly is as cold anyway.

Are you feeling it?
I mean, look at the snap with your eyes partially closed. Open the windows wide and take your clothes off. Now do you feel it?
Right, that's enough, get dressed again before I get arrested for inciting a nude-in.

Stornoway was cold today. Eve and I just managed a quick shifty round the place before retiring to Mr Windy's to celebrate his day of birth. Lovely.

Now this snap, since I know you'll be thinking what a load of tosh it is, is meant to be like this. I envisioned it though I hadn't realised it at the time. Now it has appeared, I realise my mistake.

Do you like it? It's lith btw. From a section of a 35mm polypan-f neg. Eh?
Don't ask.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013


I do try to spend a while in quietude contemplating my breath every day. It helps me 'be', see the world as it is and brings some levelness into my life.

I don't always look this happy.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Her Highness Henrietta Cartier-Bresson

Her Highness Henrietta Cartier-Bresson is still unsure about having her picture taken - even when it's with a good old Russian lens. Perhaps it's because of the lens - memories from lives past and all that. Or maybe its just that Coelyne of the Coelynes has given her the nod! No doubt in time she will conceed to keeping her pretty little head still.

All the same, she is fine. Her physician said she's fine. And now she has a very upmarket collar - with a bell and everything. Just as well the staff at the Feline Physician's knew they had to curtsey in Her Highnesses presence. Henrietta sends her heartfelt thanks.

Sir Chris Hoy would be proud

The local yoof were out and about during the recent school holidays. Enjoying the sun and calm weather we seem to have had an abundance of recently. All kitted up with helmets - as they should too. I remember Jason Queally used to tell a story about how he fell off his bike just pedalling quietly in Aussie somewhere. He hit his head but the helmet broke the fall, saved his head if not the helmet. So it's great to see the yoof learning early. Sir Chris Hoy would be proud. BTW: Chris got married in what he tells me is Hebridean tartan. Eh? How good is that? Very, since you ask. [Now there's a great marketing opportunity - for anyone that could afford him].

Tolsta Yoof massive

I'm not holding my breath on the council recognising the benefits of cycling on the island though. If they were sheeps we'd be sorted! Imagine more bikes than cars in Stornoway! Can you? Healthier peoples as a result. Less pollution, slower and cheaper life, time to see the world as it is. 

Those old bits of road you see alongside the newly laid tarmac 'main-roads' would make great cycle paths. More cycle tourists on the islands would bring more business to the place. Cyclists need somewhere to stay, need something to eat and somewhere to mend their bike if it breaks down. Just imagine.

A perfect place for cycling