Thursday, 31 January 2019

Cloudy Bay

Not the famous New Zealand wine, this Cloudy Bay is a much better experience altogether :)  Portstewart Bay on a evening with the sun trying to break through a pretty heavy layer of cloud over Donegal/Inishowen:

Portstewart Bay on a cloudy evening.  Ilford MG Classic paper.

At first I thought I had printed this way too dark but I let it be and after a partial wash dunked it in some Pot Ferri to bring some life to the white bits.  It worked OK I think, lightening the clouds and doing a decent job on the sea.  Nice grain, eh?  35mm negative - HP5+ in ID-11 if you care about such things.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Open Window

Snapped when walking through the side streets of Sorrento. The open window - well, it's always an invitation to look inside, isn't it? And I liked the wall lamp. And the plasterwork...

 But enough of me twittering on - here it is:

Sorrento, 2018. HP5+ on Foma Nature paper, toned.

Printed on Foma 131 Nature paper, for a change - and then toned for a few minutes in warm Selenium (1:5). The Nature paper is really lovely.  It’s very easy on the eye - creamy, almost. I should use it more often.

Thursday, 24 January 2019


This here is Kim. Or was her a few months ago when I pressed the button on the Hasselblad in her front porch somewhere West of the City of Chicago. Kim is a Chicagoan, by the way. Pure Chicago...via Southern and Northern Europe, that is. Anyway, here she be:

Kim.  On HP5+, Hasselblad, Adox MCC paper

Kim has been known to take the odd snap or two herself. Boy does that put you under pressure when she says ‘I want you to take a decent photograph of me’. I took a few and selected this one to print. I think this is her - you can see the pain and the worry. And that’s not all down to Trump.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Somewhere in Paris

Continuing the 'Somewhere in...' series here's a print from a shot taken in Paris in the summer of 1976 using the OM-1:

Somewhere in Paris, 1976.  Ilford Classic FB paper.
 Excuse the yucky digital border - I'm having trouble taking a decent phone snap of the actual mounted print without getting some horrible warm colour cast.  I'll have to investigate, if I can be bothered...

Anyway, a pretty unremarkable shot, this one, but still there's something of interest in it - to me, anyway.  I've no idea what the building is, by the way, although it looks like some sort of consulate/government building, complete with the tricolore flying above the rather impressive stone figures.

It's the cars that attracted my attention.  Two rather official-looking shiny black Renault 16s (and what looks like the roof of a Ford Capri in the foreground).  That's all, really.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Pulteney Bridge, Bath

The famous Pulteney Bridge, over the River Avon in the centre of Bath offers a handy ledge for the pigeons to rest:

Pulteney Bridge, Bath.  On Ilford FB Classic paper, toned in thiourea

Georgian Bath is famous for its yellowish sandstone buildings and classic architecture from the period.  I toned this in a vague attempt to make it somewhat like the colour of the Bath stone from which it is built and as it happens what you see here isn't a mile away from the real thing.  The buildings all suffer from blackening as a result of all the traffic and from time to time require extensive cleaning to restore them to their former glory.  I'm sure it's an expensive trip, that one, so many of the buildings don't get the attention they deserve.

Pulteney Bridge is famous for being only one of only a handful of bridges in the world to have shops lining both sides.  Just out of sight of this shot is the horseshoe-shaped weir which together with the bridge are probably the most photographed scene in all of the city.  It's hard to pass by without scratching the itch to press the shutter release and so I did, on the Yashica T4 with HP5+ loaded.  I think every shot with the fully-auto Yashica was spot on exposure-wise, by the way.  A great little camera for the pocket when you don't fancy lugging around a 'proper' camera.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Somewhere in Bath

The thing about this little ginnel/alley/street, I can't find the name of it anywhere.  I know where it is - it a pedestrian only street that connects North Parade Buildings (what you saw here a while back) to Abbey Green, where the Crystal Palace public house lies.  The closest I could find using an online map was Lilliput Court, but I think that refers to a little courtyard nearby (more or less where the bicycles are in the shot below) and not the lane itself.  Google Maps actually shows it and you can walk down it via Street View, but I can't see a name anywhere.  This has got me intrigued and I will continue to keep looking.

In the meantime, here's what it looks like via HP5+ on a Yashica T4 and printed on Ilford Fibre Classic paper:

Somewhere in Bath, England.

Thursday, 10 January 2019


This photograph holds a lot of memories for me.  Centre-stage of course is The Brother.  When I looked at the negative, I thought he was doing his homework at the family table.  But as you can see, he is engaged in something altogether more exciting - cleaning a camera:

The Brother, sometime early 70s, on Adox MCC Fibre paper

Hard to tell which camera but I've a suspicion it's a Yashica TL Electro X.  After that he graduated to one of the most iconic cameras of the late 70s, the Contax RTS.

Although the shirt - and those collars! - are a dead giveaway to the era, I can tell it's 1975 as its our old, original television that is behind him.  And that's a home-made Birthday card for Yours Truly on the top, so it must have been summer.  We acquired our first colour TV a year later in the summer of '76, around the time of Wimbledon - I can remember being amazed that the grass courts were such a vibrant green!

But this old B&W set was pretty awful, truth be told.  It had a rocker switch at the bottom to change frequencies, from memory something like 475/625Hz.  It never seemed to make the snowy pictures any better, mind you.  No, we were stuck with BBC1 and BBC2 on a good day (evening, there was no daytime TV in those days other than 'Watch with Mother' which we'd outgrown by 1975).  The TV was hardly ever on - the reception was so bad that it was pretty pointless.  The set (or our aerial, or both) couldn't get any of the independent stations - Yorkshire TV or Granada, or Tyne Tees or even the national ITV station.  Now that was a serious thing, because ITV had shows like Thunderbirds and Batman and such, so I grew up completely ignorant of these.  At school I had no idea what the other kids were talking about - Virgil this and Scott that and 'Brains'.  I did feel like I was missing out, as these seemed to be all 10 year old boys ever talked about - well, that and football and I wasn't into that either.  I read comics - strictly The Beano and Dandy only - and books, by the bucketload.  Initially stuff like Enid Blighton's Famous Five and then as I got older, the Narnia books.  Any 'Biggles' was well received as well as Hal and David in their series of Global Adventures (South Sea Adventure was one I remember).  After that it was authors like Hammond Innes and Alistair McLean - Ice Station Zebra and Fear is the Key and so on. Pure escapism and great for the imagination.

After the colour TV came along in '76 I was too old to be interested in Thunderbirds or any cartoon/puppet shows.  There were only two programmes a week that I watched.  One was Star Trek, from 8.10-9 on a Monday evening.  Bed was straight after. The other was Top of The Pops - 7.25-8pm on Thursdays.   Funny the things you remember but the days and times of these two programmes were hardwired into my brain, such was their importance to me.

And that, folks, was a glimpse into what television was like in the 70s in this part of the world. And I almost got through this post without once saying ‘And sure it never did me any harm’. Almost...

Monday, 7 January 2019

A tale of two bridges

On the road to Dublin from 'The North' you cross over the famous River Boyne.  If you've never heard of it, you need to seriously revise Irish History 101.  Briefly, the Boyne is the place in 1690 where King William of Orange (Protestant, Dutch originally but acceded to the English Throne in 1688) defeated the deposed King James (Catholic).  This turned the tide in the fortunes of James who failed to regain the English Crown.

Anyways, the Boyne Valley is outstandingly beautiful but up until this bridge was built in 2003 it meant a rather slow and tortuous journey to get to Dublin.  The motorway and this bridge have greatly improved the journey times - door to door for me, on a good day with a following wind and little traffic I can do it in about 2 hours 40, hammer down.

I snapped this up through the car windscreen, on the Yashica T4.  And no, I wasn't driving at the time.  I printed it on Foma paper using lith developer and the first print came out like this:

Mary McAleese Bridge over the River Boyne, Ireland.

Mary McAleese, in case you were wondering, was a past President of Ireland - probably in 2003 or when the bridge was commissioned.

After a bit longer exposure, the second print came out a little darker:

I'm not sure which I prefer - they both have their merits.  Perhaps something inbetween would be the better option, if I ever re-print it, that is.  We'll see.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

In Dublin's Fair City...

...where the girls are so pretty etc etc.  That's a line from Molly Malone, in case you forgot or never knew.  You can hear it sung by the Dubliners (with the late, great, utterly amazing and unique Ronnie Drew at 2mins 13s in) by clicking here.

Anyway, the thing is, we decided this year, my wife and I, rather than buying each other a Christmas gift we would take each other to Dublin for the weekend.  We went a couple of weeks before the Big Day, so we could catch some Christmas Cheer in Ireland's Capital City.  It's been a year or two since I was there - I used to be there quite often with work and such but don't find many excuses these days.  For us Northern Irish folk, with our weak Sterling against the Euro (and every other currency too but that's a different story for a different day), Dublin is a flippin' expensive city these days, too, which isn't conducive to going that often either.

That aside, we had a decent weekend - not fanstastic, but that's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.  We ambled up and down Grafton Street and looked in a few shop windows and coffee shops and even around St Stephen's Shopping Centre, which is where this snap was taken:

Inside St Stephen's Shopping Mall, Dublin.  On Foma paper, developed in Moersch lith.

It's a rather impressive interior, as you can see - especially at Christmas time.  The shops were less impressive, by the way - although I'm not a shopper by any manner or means it looks to me like it's the same stuff everywhere you go these days.  Not sure who or what's to blame but I'm sure we could find someone/thing if we try hard enough.  This was another one taken on the Yashica T4 Point'n'Shoot camera.  I like the way it came out in lith on the Foma paper - untoned, by the way.