Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Busking a la Porto

This was one of Missy's snaps from Porto, which I printed the other day.  She was transfixed by this group and we spent a very long time standing listening to them, Missy edging closer and closer.  Perhaps it was the presence of the (electric) cello, as Missy plays the cello herself and you don't often see a young, tanned, good-looking (?) guy playing one in the street.  I can't say whether they were good or not, since my tinnitus was playing up and everything seemed out of tune to my ears, but if the crowd were anything to go by they weren't bad at all.  Not only did Missy contribute one of my hard-earned Euros into their collecting tin but she went back and exchanged some more Euros for one of their CDs...


The light was fading and the band were playing 'under the arches' down by the river so there wasn't much natural light around.  I think Missy got the exposure on her OM-1 spot on as the scene looks pretty much as I remember it, nice and low-contrast.  A little sepia tone on the Adox paper seemed to add something to it.

Oh and we survived Ophelia - to be honest, it didn't amount to much around The Liberties.  Other parts of Ireland got it pretty bad, though.  We were lucky.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Waiting for Ophelia

Well the whole of Ireland is braced for the storm of the decade, or so it seems.  What's left of Hurricane Ophelia is heading this way and there's an air of uneasy calm at the minute.  Hardly any wind and an eerie light - very dark.  And it's spookily quiet - all the birds have gone into hiding, it would seem.  But it's warm, very warm for the time of year, with temperatures around 14 degrees.  All schools across Northern Ireland are closed for the day in light of the weather warning - might seem like a bit of overkill but many pupils come in from the country and with the risk of falling trees in the afternoon I guess the authorities are playing it safe.  Missy was of course delighted to hear that piece of news late last night and no doubt took advantage of the situation by staying up late with a good book.

So while we watch and wait, let's look at a bunch of Dutch folk (and visitors such as yours truly) looking at horses at Orvelte Museum Village in Drenthe:

Via the M6/35mm/HP5/Adox paper, sepia tone
It was Horse Day, apparently - and there were a load of them around.  Mostly huge things, all beautifully presented and with the lads and lassies on them well turned out too.  I'm not a big fan of horses, especially great big ones like these were.  Probably on account of me not being able to move very quickly should one decide to start throwing its weight around.  But I can appreciate their beauty - from a distance.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Fair play to him

This gentleman was snapped up on Belfast Train Station platform.  He seemed totally engaged with his book, completely oblivious to the chaos of the platform as people like me waited for their train.

Adox paper, light sepia tone.  On the M6 I think, although it could have been the Nikon.  Either way, HP5+ and a fairly close crop.
'Fair play to him', I say.  That's a great phrase in these parts - in fact, all over this Emerald Isle - and can be used to great effect in many situations.  Or, 'Fair play to you' if the person is present.  It sort of means, 'I take my hat off to him', 'Respect', or similar - most often used when someone is making the best of their situation.  In fact, it's hard to think of a situation when the phrase can't be used. Interestingly, it usually also signifies the end of the discussion, since there really is nothing more that needs to be said.

I think one of the best examples of the use of this phrase was in a story I was told a few years back by a colleague.  He was travelling 'down South' - County Kerry or somewhere where the tourists go - and found himself in a car park at the top of a hill renowned for it's all-encompassing views of the surrounding coastline.  Anyway, my colleague says he was just sitting watching the goings-on around him when he noticed a guy dressed as an old Irish tinker sitting on the grass next to a donkey and cart.  The cart was laden with turf.  'What's he up to?', my colleague wondered to himself.  Next thing a coach-load of tourists arrives and discharges its load.  Yer man with the donkey leaps up and makes himself visible to the tourists, who all line up to take his photograph, either with or without their wife/husband/partner. Money was parted with.

When the coach departed, my colleague wanders up to the fellow, tips him a smile, a nod of the head and a knowing wink and says: 'Fair play to you', before taking his leave.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Porto People

Taken late one evening in Porto, June this year. A busy place, as you can see.  HP5 was in the Nikon, rated about 200 so I was in the dead zone with regard to shutter speeds.

Adox paper, sepia tone.  Nikon, 50mm lens

Monday, 9 October 2017

One man and his dog

Yup, it's that bloke again - the one I went to Uni with about a zillion years ago.  That's him all right. And his pooch, who is right poseur when he sees a camera around, as you can see:
Adox 312 paper for a change, with sepia tone as you can tell.  A bit more sepia than usual, 'cos I sloshed a bit more of Additive#3 in as at first it looked as weak as dishwater.  Then it took off and ended up a bit too much. So it goes. 


You might have seen yer man before on this place - here.  I will take more snaps of him next time our paths cross (hopefully in the not too distant future) as I think he is a very snapable person.  As is his dog, if you know what I mean.

Friday, 6 October 2017

You have to try...

It's that time of year when the weather in The Liberties can be a bit miserable.  Believe it nor not, in this part of Ireland we do get the odd overcast day when it rains, or seems to, all day.  Once we get to winter proper I find things improve, light-wise, so in the meantime we just have to put up and be patient.

Of course such days are good to spend in the darkroom but sometimes you just want to take some snaps, so the other day I dusted down the Sinar 4x5 (aka Big Boy) and took a couple of indoor shots.  Something I should do more of, I tell myself every time I use the Sinar, since it really is a lot of fun when you're in the mood for it.

I've no shortage of stuff to take photographs of, since my wife is an avid charity shop browser and buyer of junk objets d'art.  When she comes back with her latest purchase I typically greet her with a 'What are bringing now, woman - more aul' tat?' just to get a rise out of her but after all these years she's wise to my ways and no longer takes the bait quite as quickly as she once did.  Takes all the fun out of it, it does - well almost...but you still have to try, though, don't you :) And she loves her candles, bless her, so I nabbed one of her latest investments and disappeared upstairs to my lair/studio with it.  This is the result:


This almost came out as a contact print - in hindsight, I should have contact printed it since I was using 5"x7" paper, so not much larger than the negative itself.  The few times I have contact printed though I find the 4"x5" just a tad too small in the hand - even though it's very close to postcard size (6"x4" or thereabouts).

I'm quite aware of the implications of that last statement, by the way.  Dangerous territory, that -  8"x10" sheet film is not cheap but then again, decent sized contact prints and all those lovely alternative processes.  And life is short...hmm.

Anyway, back to reality this particular shot was taken as close as I could with the only lens I have for the Sinar - a 210mm Schneider Symmar-S f/5.6 - so the bellows were almost fully extended.  Wide open there ain't much in focus, as you can see in the print.  Actually I think this might have been f/8, but still a very shallow depth-of-field and maybe I should have stopped down a bit more to at least get all of the hanging chains in focus.  I used a little front movement in order to set the plane of focus to coincide with the candle-holders...12 degrees of swing was enough according to the Sinar's scales and it seemed to work out OK, although I'm no expert - obviously.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Waterlilies

I can't seem to resist a good waterlily these days - you might recall the masterpiece that came out from Porto, here.  Not content to leave it at that, I've only gone and done another masterpiece for your delectation - only these are Dutch waterlilies, not Portuguese ones:

Ilford Warmtone paper, light sepia tone

I might stop snapping waterlilies now, since clearly nothing can better these prints.  Perhaps...