Saturday, May 31, 2014

Out of the dark and into the light

From the darkroom looms this little gem taken a while back but re-imagined here. Call me daft or lacking in imagination [but never call me mentally ill - don't ask] but I rather like this.

It's Walter I'll have you know. I didn't go to qi gong this week as I have not been at my best - too many creaks and what have you. Still, here's the re imagining. On Ilford Art300 paper don't you know. Lovely textured paper and everything. And the print is small.- 2.5"x3.5" ish - about actual size below. Nice eh?

Do tell me it's nice.

Friday, May 30, 2014


The kind Crofter and the lovely Gemma.

Pity about the snap with the UW&S and pre-fried film. Sorry.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I have been better

Been a bit under the duvet of late. Must be the weather, or life or something. Apologies.

Still, I have managed to slosh some film in some'stuff' to show you these. Freshish from the Vivitar UWS&S 'camera' that was taken out to the tub on account it would probably float such is the flimsyness of its construction. And it can be brill for taking snaps - if you don't load it with really old pre-fried HP5 film from a dubious source deep in the backwoods of  a post Soviet 'stan. Still, you get the idea and I don't feel up to doing some more at the moment. I'm drinking my green tea and oooming for all I'm worth. Bound to make me better.

That's Eve and everything. Doing something important with the end of the wire string that lurks at that end. The steering stick is at the other end so you get your bearings. You can see the wild sea that was raging! Look at those waves eh? Sammy the seal did that. Oh, and the wonderful Lifeboat peoples . Though I didn't think that was what they were for. Maybe they had nothing to do eh?

Oh, that's Eve too. paddling back to shore through the wild seas. Couldn't ge the mechanical paddling device to work so we had to revert to the human one! I did my bit. Hence me being a tad creaky I shouldn't wonder! The lifeboat is on its way in - again. And that's Gerald's lovely Ammonite too.

I did get some snaps though.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wednesday; the new Friday

I have been remiss in that my pointing out of Artists of the photographic type have not appeared on here for a while after my earlier little series. So, here is another.

Bruce Davidson. A sometime Magnum photographer of the traditional documentary type. Did some wonderful work in England in the 1960s. Hard to believe I was around in England during that time - but I was!

Bruce Davidson - Magnum

I mean, how good is that? Eh. The sort of photogtraphising I really like - apart from the movement stuff - obviously. Go and search his work out. Well worth the time.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bobbing about a bit

"Phew what a scorcher " I thought as I wandered back up the road from The Crofter yesterday morning -before the cloud came in and the cold wind started blowing. Oh, and it started raining a bit later too - just before we launched the newly floored tender at Cuddy Point in Stornoway to get out to the wee boatee that was bobbing around on the pan flat water.

We'd been out to see that the wee boatee was still above water on Sunday - it was. Eve cycled there and back like she does. I went by horseless carriage. Then Monday we went out to the wee boatee braving the huge seas and clambering aboard to tweek the wire string, glue the shiny round thing down and kneel in gull poo since they gulls seem have found a new toilet. Then it back into the tender and the huge waves that were racing across the harbour as Sammy the Seal coughed causing a mild Tsunami in the otherwise flat calm.

The lifeboat came out too - twice. Obviously our non-starting of the mechanical paddling device on the tender for the journey back had worried them and they got ready for fishing us out the briny. We managed to paddle back though to where The Crofter and his lady were waiting for him to start the MPD in a trice. Bother!

And just because I know you care; the snaps were from an OM1n/AgfaASP400s/ID11. You'll know what I mean if you know what I mean!

Monday, May 26, 2014

The post

I awoke to a right old racket. Banging and thumping and what have you. Thought someone had started shelling the island but it turned out to be Pat digging out the neighbours gate post. The dampness had rotted the thing through over the years and it broke of. Hard to imagine here I know but there you are. Freda was there too enjoying the warm summer morning and directing affairs. The Crofter came along too to see what was afoot then, to cap it all HHHCB made sure it was being done properly. It was. It is.

Oh how lovely it is to have lovely peoples living round here.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

I should really stop doing this

I know, I know what  you are going to think. Probably.

Don't do it again! Try another developer that is. But I did. Tried out Acurol-N that shouted at me through the good offices of Bruce Robbins. Acurol-N is a special stuff to be really technical. Comes in a bottle that looks like it's come out some ancient chemists stock but feels like it's come out of the soft-drinks cabinet. Not sure how it does that. Having said that, it is the contents that's the important bit.

Now, lets just make this clear; I'm not expert at this testing game. If it works at all it's a miracle. If it works well, I've made a mistake. Bearing that in mind, my first attempt at utilising the stuff having consulted the bits of imformatory writing on paper that came with it was not even up to miracle standards. Sure the images were there - somewhere. But you needed to hold the neg about an inch from the sun so it melted a bit of the emulsion off before you could see through it. I think perhaps it might have been a tad over developed. Not use what went wrong to be honest as I used a clock and everything. Perhaps it was the instructions to downrate the film I was using - 400s - to 40asa. Besides being a pig to use up here where the sunny f16 rule is really sunny f4.5, it just didn't seem right.

I decided to try the same film at 400asa - as I usually do and slosh it in the Acurol-N @ 1:100 for an hour. That worked. Only thing was I took the snaps with a Konica P&S camera - so not the very best quality one expects from me.


Now go a check out my friends' Kate work. Well worth the time.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Have I ever told you I like walls?

I like walls. There you are. Told you and everything.

I came across these three walls out on the west side. Couldn't resist. Rushed out the car at a fair old stumble and shot it up with the handy PentaxP30 - which is not a bad camera at all. Lacks the cache of those German labelled rangefinders but seems to work OK. At the moment. They prone to failure mind.

Is this a good snap? I think not. However, until I get round to showing you one of the prints I did the other day as the rain lashed down on the door of the darkish room, it will have to do.

On the other hand, you could always go over to Darkrooms in Northern Light where there is a particularly fine selection of imagery to peruse.

Then go here and listen to this.

Then come back and tell me what you thought of everything. Please.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Neither there nor here

But elsewhere as it happens.
Just down the road and everything. In Stornoway of all places. Trees Eh?
Snook this one with the Voigtlander Perkeo again. What a sweet little camera that is. :-)

A folder it is of a certain ilk. Fits in your bag easily and takes a fine snap if you point it in the right direction.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Mr Toots made me do it.

Lets get that in straight from the start.  I was whiling away some time in the sun with Mr Toots, wandering here and there waiting for Angus the Outboard. [don't ask].

If I'm not mistaken, I think Mr Toots actually took his electronic imaging device out of its bag and pointed it at things. I felt I had to do the same just to keep him happy. Encourage him and all that. Only most of the things were not moving and the sun was shining which threw me a little. I guessed the exposure as lethargy had got the better of me, guessed the distance for focus - as couldn't be arsed had overtaken me - and shot with the Perkeo. Two gates as it happens. Not far from each other and not moving around too much. Look, I almost got it right too.

You'll be pleased to hear, in between visiting the village shoppe, seeing Royston, annoying The Crofter, painting the garden fence and breathing, I managed a darkish room sesh. Hopefully, I'll have some energy left for work this evening!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

That place again

Yes, I took a few snaps at the place - downtown Carloway - the other day. Here you see it in all its glory.

Good there. It is very lovely. Trust me. And I say that despite getting something in the tyre of my horseless carriage that made it slowly deflate and then having to replace it at great cost.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A snap and a puff of smoke.

No, you can't see the smoke. It's gone now and it wasn't here anyway. Twas down the road at the Toots'. Saw the smoke as we descended down towards Gress beach and thought Toots' house was on fire such was the billowingness and density of the stuff. All across the road and down to the sea. The sheeps were coughing and the daises were changing to a dull grey on the machair. I screeched to a halt outside and rushed in to find the dear couple cosied up in their rabbity onesies in the kitchen. Turns out the Toots were trying to boil an egg or two on the Aga and were burning Ian's old socks or something to get the thing hot! I suggested Mr Toots look outside but he couldn't see much because of all the smoke!

We left them to it and tootled over to Carloway  harbour-side for a savoury cream tea picnic to remember my dear old Mum who left us three years ago and who loved such picnickity occasions - especially at Watchet harbour.

Todays snap - North Tolsta. Eh?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

No, this is not 'it'

It could have been though. Not sure if it's the right way up to be honest. I need to look at it more.

The image came from an aborted darkish room sesh where I was playing with paper negs. It wasn't quite what I'd imagined but then, I rather like the result!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Did you think I had forsaken you?

The 16th wasn't a day I could post. It just didn't feel right. The air, the vibes. So I didn't.

I've been listening to The Tiger Lillies who, as a trio with an accordionist would go down a treat here on the island, home of all accordionists. Or Something. Double bill with Kimmo Pohjonen would fab thank you very much. In fact both of them could do a jam with each other and the Kronos Quartet. I'd be sated then. I would.

I've been in the darkish room again. Wasting heaps of Slavich paper through some lith developer. Lovely stuff let me tell you. I shan't show you the images as yet as I might just 'do' something to/with them. Something that might involve bees and pig. Ments. Eh?

In the meantime here's a snap of a two legs. That's the sort of person I am. Two for the price of none.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bob's bottom

Trying to get a greyhound, especially one as particular as Bob, one of our neighbours dogs, to stand still for a one-second exposure so the washing on the line is moving whilst the beast is still is no easy task let me tell you. I know Bob is a good boy and goes home when he's told and everything but he just wouldn't stand still. Apart from the time he had his bottom pointed at me. Tis a nice bottom - for a dog so here you have it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

This is the one you have been waiting for. Trust me.

I nearly missed this one. Not sure how but tripped over it today and I thought - that's nearly a masterpiece. Or could be once I shine the light through it onto paper. As I might. If I can trip over the neg again soon.

The neg was made on Kodak copy film. Lovely stuff with an iso or around 3. Not seen any for sale for years but I do have a little left to play with. Make proper snaps and all that. Develop it in paper developer -  as I do and all that. Ignore the purists. I do.

I like to think I must have been channelling the Futurists of the past [in the image that is. There is no way I subscribe to most of their thoughts as was]. I mean, there is nothing new is there?

Anyway, I love the image. As any discerning person might. Isn't that right?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I did a selfie

Gosh, I so hate that term. Usually relates to a camera phone thing too - and I don't do that. Well, I do do that as it happens, but just for me.

Having said that, the selfie I did with the pinhole showed me as such a horrific sight, I merely show you HHHCB through a little hole and onto paper.

Oh, and a sincere apology to Mrs UpYours who isn't too keen on the moniker 'Doris'. Sorry and all that.

Monday, May 12, 2014

In search of something interesting

I have nothing to show you.

Plenty of images I have but one I want to show you? No. Not yet anyway.

The darkish room has been my haven for a while the other day. Spent a while sloshing bits of Russian Slavich paper in Lith developer but the results were less than excellent. And my standards are,,, well, I do have some standards .

Slavich paper, particularly the Unibrom is not easy to lith. Well, it is easy to lith but not to control. Hence I have  lot of over-dark images. Added to the fact that I seem to have matte paper this time which gives a totally different look. I mean, I quite like it but it is different. Different from the gloss I seem to have had before. Looks really black and charcoaly and everything. And that is a good thing let me tell you. I think I like it better. When I get an image printed proper like and everything.

In the meantime please look at my images here and tell me which ones you really like. Not that it will influence me but at least I'll know if your eyes work like mine do :-)

Ok, ok I do have an image.

I caught some pirates coming ashore down Traigh Mhor way the other day. They set up a barbie in the rain on the machair too. Not much treasure was found though.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

I mean, have you seen my village?

We don't live in this bit.

We live at the better end.

But I rather like this bit all the same. It takes a nice snap.

I mean, look at them housey things on the hill. Lovely. I know who lives there you know, but I cannot tell you all. It is a Sunday after all.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Doris Goodenough

The shop-keeper woman, otherwise known as Doris or more properly, Mrs UpYours came past the other day. We just were not quick enough to scuttle indoors and had to pass the time of day with her while she stood and thought up another plot for her blockbuster novels. It's probably going to centre around black sheep and the kindly Crofter I shouldn't wonder.

Perish the thought!

I know, rubbish snaps. Not to worry, I am sure Doris doesn't read this stuff these days - she has plenty of better things to do with her life.

Friday, May 09, 2014


There's a fine exhitbiton coming up at An Lanntair soon. Opening this coming Friday it's work by exile from the islands Mary Morrison who informs me she lives in the Borders now - though originally from Scalpay - that lovely little blob on the landscape nearish Tarbert, Harris.

I just happened by yesterday when herself and The Artist formerly known as Jon were hanging the work. All looks right lovely and well worth the trip down to see it in it's reality. In fact, there's an opening gambit on Friday - drinks and chat. I'm  working don't you know - but not there.

On another note, I'm taking some musical instruments down to Mr Toots' place later. He is going to do some of his mighty fine snaps of them in the near future. If I take them over, Toots will have to do the snapping quickly before Mrs Toots starts to mention the extra mess of my dust-covered twingy and squawky things.

I leave you with today's 'sketch' of a print to come. Taken with Fujica SLR on Kodak Fine grain Positive copy film. As you do.

Thursday, May 08, 2014


I'm having my portrait taken this week. For the Taylor Wessing Prize thing as it happens - although i can't imagine I would aid that cause. Still, I like taking portraits so the least I can do is 'sit' for someone else - as long as I don't get to see them.

These are the types of snaps I like. Blurry and everything.

What do you reckon?

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Old film, old photos

Some years ago a chap who runs a photo shop in Manchester - a proper photo shop minds you that sells film cameras and the like - yes,  second-hand - gave me an envelope with some negs in. I have looked at them before but last evening decided to rescan these two. Always amazes me how fine the negs are. Taken through a Leica lens I was told. Look how finethe grain is and how sharp the things are - even the kid flying through the air. It's Agfa film - I can see that by the sprocket holes but don't know what sort or what speed it might have been.

Does anyone have any idea?

Must have been 1940s I should think.

Manchester Fallowfield Stadium perhaps.

Could be anywhere!

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Proper office

Now that's a proper office! My old office at the Velodrome in Manchester -some years ago now!. I'd migrated to a shed like room under the main stand after a large piece of concrete fell through my office ceiling downstairs when the earth shook in a minor earthquake we had. I mean, they called it an earthquake [August 2007] , it shook and everything, the roof made a right old racket, the concrete on the track edge where I was stood at the time moved - wobbled even but the riders on the track - didn't notice anything at all. Typical.

I think there must have been one of the International Tandem events I organised imminent when I snook this snap as I didn't usually have 8 tandems in the office. four maybe but there were some of the Irish team's bikes there too. And Eve's bike and mine there somewhere too.

I organised for Sir Hoy of Hoy to ride the tandem on Blue Peter once. I have a Blue Peter badge to prove it though Sir Hoy has a Gold Peter badge. Isn't THAT just typical!

Don't forget a Tour of Britain cycle race starts on the 7th. If you are nearby, do go and give it your support!

Monday, May 05, 2014


I have a friend.

Only he is now in Donegal.

O'er the water

On his bike.

I hope he comes back safely.

I want to see his snaps.

Of the men in lycra

and the scape of the land.

Tolsta scape

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Blot on the viewscape

Another view across the village.

Had a fine evening out with Eve at An Lanntair listening to some Contemporary Midlands celtic-like Jazz-Folk . Right fine racket they -  the Old Dance School - made all evening.  Funny looking bunch mind. I might even fit in with that lot without a second glance - although my lack of any musical ability might be my downfall - especially seeing they, the ODS, we so flippin brilliant in their playing their instruments. Two violinists/viola-ists, a drummer boy who twiddled his accordion when the time was right, a man with a big guitar, another with a huge violin on its end, a flautist who sang and to cap it all a trumpetist with an electrical 'box-of-frogs'.

Now, I look to my left, see the Soviet squeeze-box sitting gathering dust and wonder; should I pick it up and practice again? That would be my third session and I still can't play! Or should I sell it?

Oh, and Happy Birthday to sister Jill today :-)

Friday, May 02, 2014

Bike and ,,,,, something

Of course you like to know how I did this snap eh?

First you take your old Kodak Retinette 1a camera from - way back when. Well, when i was born actually. Or you could a SLR - like I know remember I did. Load it with old Kodak Copy film and set the exposure to one second and an appropriate aperture - easy when the film you are using is about 3-5asa.

Point the camera and shoot. What at is up to you. Then develop film in Multigrade developer for about 2 and a half minutes. Then see if there is anything on the neg and shine a light through that in the enlarger onto lithable paper and dunk that in Lith developer - and, if you want a special bit, give the paper a flash if the neg is a bit dense - which this was!

Viola, you have a mess. Part of my Bike series. Possibly.

Thursday, May 01, 2014


I meet peoples occasionally. Sometimes they talk to me. Actually, when I say 'me' what I mean is whoever I am with. I just smile and everything then say something I think is witty. Sometimes it is witty too. Sometimes not. Then I curtail the meeting in embarrassment.

This is Gerald. Trust me, IT IS Gerald. We saw his face and everything. He has featured here before. This time he was sorting his waggly bit that is attached to the steering stick on the back of his lovely wee boat Ammonite. Paddling around in the rapidly rising tide of the inner harbour.

I said all sorts of things I thought sounded right at the time. 'Can I help' - although it was patently obvious I could not. I would have sent Eve down if he had said yes. Obviously. I'm trying to keep on the right side of Gerald as I want to have him tell me what all the switchy things do - or don't do in our wee boatee.

This is David. He is The Isle of Lewis Cheese Co. Along with his lovely wife Jane. Obviously I hadn't said anything to him at this point - hence the smile. Outside An Lanntair enjoying the sunshine and wondering how to escape from me no doubt. He makes a fine cheese I'll have you know. And has goats and everything. I believe it can be treated.

So that's OK then.