Monday, 31 July 2017

Doorway, Porto

I got into the darkroom yesterday morning for a couple of hours - used up the last of the Foma 131 paper, which just had to be paired up with Easylith developer...

Nikon, 50mm, HP5+

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Walking and Talking on Rua de Santa Caterina

As I waited for the wimminfolk in my life to extricate themselves from some boutique or other in Porto's main shopping street, I tried a bit of street photography.  Not really my forte but sometimes you have to move outside your comfort zone.

Not the best shot, or print in the world, but probably not the worst either.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Watching TV...

...the other evening, lying on the rug as one might do when one has ankylosing spondylitis and sitting for long periods of time is not usually a Good Idea, my eye was drawn to this lamp and the shadows it was casting.  So after dark, when everyone else was in bed, I hunted around for a tripod and set up the 'Blad.   I know 'real photographers' use tripods all the time - I see them doing it.  But I'm not really a tripod sort of person (unless the Sinar is getting an airing), so I had to go up to the attic and hunt around a bit until it revealed itself to me.

Anyway, back to the lamp in question.  I did a couple of prints of it, trying to get the subtlety of the lighting that my eyes saw.  Not sure I captured it completely faithfully, but these were the best of the bunch.

First attempt, after sepia toning - too much, I thought.

Second attempt - better?

Second attempt after sepia toning.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017


Another print from my dander about St John's Churchyard the other day.  The strong sunlight was illuminating the leaves on this tree which I thought might make for an interesting print.  Turned out OK, on Ilford Warmtone RC paper:

Looks like leaves of a Willow tree of some variety.  On the 'Blad, 50mm lens, HP5+

Friday, 21 July 2017

Celtic Cross

I had a dander about St John's RC church in Coleraine a couple of weeks ago while Missy was learning how to sing, or play piano or something.  It was a very bright day, which I don't tend to like for taking snaps - good job, eh? living where I do.  Not that I like dull, flat light either - somewhere inbetween is perfect.  But you have to take what you get, don't you.

Anyway, just for something a bit different, I stuck a close-up lens on the front of the Hasselblad.  Kind of a dumb thing to do, I know, when you've a very sharp lens on front of a lovely big 6x6 neg, but there you go.

Detail from St John's Churchyard in Killowen, Coleraine.  8"x10" print, Kentmere VC Select paper, sepia tone

I kind of like this one.  The three cheeky chaps in the foreground, hands on hips and then the big Celtic Cross looming large in the background.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Majestic Cafe, Porto

The Majestic Cafe on the main drag in Porto looked the part, I have to say.  Lovely architecture and the place was buzzing with staff who were dressed to the nines.  

I got me borders all wrong on this 8"x10" print on Kentmere VC Select paper, so I cut them off.

We didn't 'do' the Majestic for lunch that day - oh no, much too sensible for us, that place.  We went into a wee caff opposite for a light bite, a wee caff which turned into a bigger place once inside, Tardis-like, y'know.  Just on that subject I hear that the new Doctor is a woman!  Imagine!  Anyway, the cafe opposite the Majestic turned out just OK, a bit disappointing really, although I got a snap or two off which you might see sometime later on this place.  The good news was that after our light bite my wife and Missy continued with their shopping frenzy and I was left to me own devices.  So I wandered a bit further along the Rua de Santa Catarina.  As the shops petered out towards the top I came across some sort of Art Gallery thing.  I decided to venture in, but realised there was a man sleeping, or slumped, across the entrance.  As it was all a bit quiet and not too many people about I beat a dignified retreat and headed back down to the shops.  But all was not lost for I came upon a small YellowKorner Photographic Gallery and had a lovely conversation with the girl looking after it. There was some nice work on show - the work of this guy in particular caught my eye.  

Monday, 17 July 2017

High hopes

I had high hopes for this one as at the time the street scene looked pretty amazing:

Street scene in Porto during the festival of St John, 2017, 8x10 print
It is what it is.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Down by the river

Down by the Douro river in Porto:

The same steps as you saw the other day, in case you were wondering.  The young couple you might just be able to make out canoodling in the background was an added bonus.  As I walked around a bit to compose the shot I was worried they would break apart in embarrassment of being spotted by the old guy with the film camera but I needn't have worried - you know what young hearts are like in Mediterranean countries.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Shadows and lines

The strong Portuguese light on these steps in Porto caught my eye:

FP4+ on Ilford Cooltone paper (I think)

I know, not quite on a par with Metzker.

I was expecting more light like this in Porto but a lot of the days the sun was kind of hazy, coming through thin cloud.  In anticipation of better light I'd armed myself with a bucket-load of FP4+ but given the haze combined with the narrow streets and high buildings of the old city it was actually on the slow side.  It probably wouldn't have mattered so much had I the M6 with me, since it is much more usable at slow speeds.  But I only had the Nikon with me, so I abandoned FP4 in favour of my go-to film, HP5+.

Monday, 10 July 2017

The usual suspect

Here she is, pretending to take a phone shot from our restaurant in Porto.  It was festival night and down by the river, which was normally extremely busy, was absolutely heaving.  It took us a few days before we cottoned on to the fact that if you didn't grab a table at 7pm on the dot you stood little chance of getting one at all.  This particular evening we'd sat too long over a pre-dinner snifter and by the time we started looking for a table it was hopeless - well, outside at any rate.  Eventually we got one but it was inside and upstairs and just a little uncomfortably warm, in spite of the fans.  Still, no matter, we had a lovely view of the Douro river and all the Port manufacturers' caves on the opposite bank - a scene which Missy here was trying to capture on her phone:

Another lith print, on Foma 131 paper

Friday, 7 July 2017

Stonework, Porto

Another from the lith session in the darkroom the other day:

Detail from a building in Porto - I can't remember which building, but probably one of the many impressive churches that the city is host to

The lith always works well with stone-work, to my eyes anyway.  I have to admit I'm developing a bit of an obsession with this lith stuff - it might be the perfect antidote to this fixation with sharpness we see everywhere nowadays.  Lith just adds a bit of mystery to the whole thing...

Wednesday, 5 July 2017


These waterlilies were floating in the pond of the garden in our aparthotel in Porto.  Came out rather nice on Foma paper and Easylith developer:

Waterlilies, Porto, 2017

Monday, 3 July 2017

What would Roy do?

I play a little game from time to time when I'm out and about with the camera.  I call it 'What would Roy do?'.  The Roy I am referring to is my good blogger friend Roy Karlsvik - him of Between Light and Shadow (which is well worth a visit).  Roy is, in my opinion, a master at spotting a good shot when you think there's nothing there.  He sees shape and form where there isn't any and as you might expect, light and shadow.  Anyway, a quick nosey around his blog and you'll see what I'm trying (very badly) to say.

So when I think there's nothing of interest to snap, I ask myself 'What would Roy do?' and as well as putting a smile on my face I find myself looking a little bit differently at the scene in front of me.  'Cos let's face it, there is form and shape and light in most things in front of your eyes...sometimes shadow too.

This is one of of those 'What would Roy do?' snaps.  Taken from the top deck of the Porto sightseeing open-top tour bus as we drove around the city, seeing the sights as one does when on holiday.  The bus had stopped beside this balcony and I thought there might be something worth snapping up, what with all that geometry and what have you.  So here we are, lith-developed on some Foma paper:

Balcony in Porto, 2017