Friday, 23 February 2018

Friday Eggs

So the other night at the Photographic Club to which I belong we had a 'still life and macro' night.  Not usually my thing but always a chance to learn so at the last minute I grabbed the 'Blad and a tripod and headed out.  It was a good night.  There were a few table-top light boxes - some home-made - and some people had brought food to snap.  Food as the theme for this months competition is...drum!  Now mostly it was bright, colourful fruit that had been brought - kiwi, oranges, raspberries, strawberries and even some M&Ms (do they qualify as fruit?  Or even food?).  Not really the sort of subject matter that looks good on HP5+, to be honest.  But one lady had brought a basket of eggs.  Nice.  I had to sharpen me elbows to edge past all the digital peeps (who seem to have loads of gear, flashguns, zoom lenses and everything) in order to get me 'Blad pointed vaguely in the direction of the subject but I got a couple of shots.  Nothing too special - all handheld at some silly low shutter speed but there you go.  I had, as usual, low expectations.  I wasn't, as usual, disappointed.  In the darkroom I wound the DeVere up nearly as high as it can go (which is pretty high, by the way) and zoomed in for a tight composition on Ilford Cooltone paper:

Eggs on HP5+ via the 'Blad.  Ilford Cooltone paper.

Now there are quite a few 'beginners' in the club so I mustn't be too harsh but the following anecdote raises more than a few questions, I think.  I had my Sekonic meter with me but just to make conversation I asked someone who already had a camera all set up to give me a meter reading at 400asa.  It was clear from both this person and a second person who stepped in to help that neither had a clear understanding of what I was after.  I know I'm old school and all that but doesn't anyone want to understand what's going on behind the 'P' mode in these DSLRs?  I dunno...maybe it's not important these days with all this automation about.  No, heck, it is important.  I know it is.  At least I think I do...

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

A rainy night (not in Georgia)

Nope - a rainy night in Bath.  Another one from the Christmas Markets set.  As I passed through Abbey courtyard, on way to The Raven to meet my friends, I spied this group with their pixel-capturing devices held aloft, so I snapped them up on a real camera using real film:

Ilford Warmtone RC paper, gently toned

Monday, 19 February 2018

The Temple

Mussenden Temple, built in the style of the Temple of Vesta for the Earl Bishop of Derry sometime in the 18th Century.  It sits rather precariously on the edge of the cliff just above Downhill Beach.

HP5+ on Warmtone Paper, toned.
It's such an iconic building in this part of the world - it has been photographed so much it's very hard to capture it in a way that hasn't been done a thousand times before.

Friday, 16 February 2018

St Patrick's Church

The St Patrick's Church of Ireland Church on Coleraine's main street, that is. Not to be confused with the thousand-or-so other St Patrick's Churches you might find in other parts of this island.  This one is on Kingsgate Street, which gives a big clue as to the history of the town.  Coleraine was, y'see, one of the main towns of Ulster upgraded during the Plantation in the early 17th Century, when it was fortified with ramparts and stuff.  Initially there were only two well-guarded and gated (with drawbridges) routes into and out of the town.  One of those gates, as you might have guessed by now, was the King's Gate. Presumably that King would have been James I of England and Ireland - also known as Scottish James VI.  Confused?  Indeed...

HP5+ film on Ilford Warmtone RC paper

'Twas a foggy morning last week, so it was, when I stuck the rangefinder through the railings of the old graveyard and snapped up this one, complete with the Irish Yew Tree (as you are likely to find in many a graveyard in this part of the world).  Like all my films of late, it was developed it in Ilford's ID-11 (1+1 dilution) for 13 minutes in my Paterson tank. Then I shone a light though the negative in the big DeVere 507 floorstanding enlarger and dunked the paper in some Multigrade.  Suitably dark and moody, eh?  

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

The Raven

A nice wee pub in Bath, just up from the Mineral Water Hospital.  I met a couple of good friends there last November and snapped this one on the Pentax ME Super as I supped my cup of tea:

Split-grade printed on Ilford Warmtone RC paper

There's a lot more detail in the shadows on the negative, but I think it looks more atmospheric printed this way.  There were about 4 small reflections which I burnt in individually.  Then I gave the whole of the right side of the print a burn-in - originally the wine cooler was bright and too much of a distraction.  It could maybe even take a bit more to remove it completely, or almost completely, from the print.

Back when I was a student, The Raven used to be called Hatchetts and was a biker's pub with loud music and loads of big hairy guys in leather and denim.  They used to tolerate us students, but only just - it wasn't a place we frequented often.  I can't blame them guarding their place aggressively, since most pubs wouldn't have let them near the front door.  These days - much like the rest of the city-centre pubs - the place is much more refined and open to all.  Pies are their specialty - with mash or chips and a bucket-load of gravy.  I wonder where the bikers go these days...

Monday, 12 February 2018

Paris, France

1976 or thereabouts:

2018 print.  Ilford Warmtone paper.

A tad overcooked, perhaps.  Well, can't get them all perfect now, can I?

Friday, 9 February 2018

The Piano Player

There was a time when The Brother and I played piano.  A while ago, it has to be said:

Snapped sometime in the late 70s, printed 2018.

Our teacher was a retired concert pianist - a man larger than life and pretty scary.  He'd had a bit of a breakdown due to the stress of playing ('bloody critics') and now made his living teaching youngsters the finer points of Beethoven, Bach and the like.  Looking back he must have been incredibly frustrated but it never showed.  I remember once I was bashing away on a Bach Two-Part Invention (like this, only not as well :) while he paced around the room.  At one stage he interrupted me by shouting 'No, no, no - not F, F flat!!'.  He heard that mistake, part of a chord sequence buried deep in the middle of the piece - and he wasn't even watching me.  He was, of course, listening - carefully.  He was a lonely man though - never married, had a housekeeper who fed him and looked after him.  But as he got older he got increasingly rare in his dress and behaviour and inevitably people shunned him - as people do.  A sad end to a man with immense talent.