Stirling Castle, handheld challenges & a couple of clowns.

Stirling Castle is one of the largest and historically most important castles in Scottish history. Before the union with England, Stirling Castle was also one of the most used of the many Scottish royal residences, very much a palace as well as a fortress. Several Scottish Kings and Queens have been crowned at Stirling, including Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1542, and others were born or died there.

Edinburgh Castle may be the one people think to visit first but Stirling probably offers more to do. We arrived at 1pm and before we know it five hours had passed and it was time to go home.

I shot three rolls of Ilford RB67 through the Mamiya RB67 and once again it justified its weight and inconvenience. I continue to be more and more impressed with this camera.

The royal apartments are beautifully restored but shooting HP5 at box speed of ISO 400 I was worried about light levels. These were shot wide open at f/5.6 and at 1/15 so I was worried about blurry, shaky images but the excellent mirror dampening, combined with a leaf shutter and heavy camera make for surprisingly easy handheld performance.

And of course it wouldn’t be a family day out without these two posers getting in on the act.

A couple of shots from the cemetery and gardens next to the castle.

Some sketches of a life

I finally got a means of scanning my medium format negatives at home so I’ve been enjoying using that a bit more lately & of course the GAS is already hitting and I’m looking at things more flexible than my Minolta Autocord.

There’s no overarching theme or scene to these images got some things I’ve seen over the last few weeks.

Shot on a mix of the Leica M2 with Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 and the Autocord

Comment on something; tell me what you do or don’t like – tell me what you’ve been shooting or what you want to shoot next. Lets chat.

Some sketches of home & a new addition to the family

So I did a thing. I have spent many an hour telling myself I don’t NEED such a camera. And that is completely true but sometimes want trumps need. The Leica M2 was in my hands for less than a minute and I was already confident in my purchase.

My FE2 was a fine camera – and more technologically advanced than the Leica M2 – but its a very different user experience. All the extra tech is unnecessary for how I shoot and by comparison even the excellent Nikon feels like a toy after handling the Leica.

Since receiving it a week ago I have already put 5 rolls through the M2 and don’t see me slowing down any time soon. These were shot on HP5 through a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4

Glasgow Necropolis/a walk in the sun

Normally I push HP5+ a few stops so it can be my ‘go everywhere’ film. Plus, I like the extra contrast and exaggerated grain the extra processing gives me. On this afternoon I thought I would shoot it box speed for a change. I’ve shot this film EI just once before and on a flat light day it was quiet underwhelming. Probably fine if you like lots of grey tones but I like contrast. However, a harsh winter sun day should make up for a low contrast film.

Shot with wiht the Nikon FE2 & a 50mm f/1.8 pancake lens.

Dev in HC110 Dil B

Lockdown Diaries #4

So that was May. I’m a little late I know but what does that matter.

May was good. The weather improved, we had a family birthday and the sunshine came back.

Patience is definitely being tested and we’ve stopped asking why when somebody disappears to another room for an hour.

Facetime has become a pastime and with so little to talk about we’d be as well just sending photos.

Allora, see you soon.

Lockdown Diaries #2

The days roll on. Routine is starting to set in and the days lack their earlier length. The family are becoming increasingly comfortable/irritated with camera. I try to distance myself mentally and treat the documentation of these times as a job.

I have moments when I think there is nothing left to shoot but then I remember the old adage about photos only being important years later. So I focus on the what, not the who, we already know who THEY are. The WE in question being US; I’m not churlish enough to think anybody not at the Xmas dinner table will care tomorrow.

And so it is I click on; frame after frame, roll after roll, SD download after…. well, you get it.

Until next time, adios.

P.S. Did you spot Big Arnie in the gallery?

Lockdown Diaries #1

Well, it’s been a while. How is everyone? Apart from the world ending and all that stuff.

I read a lot of photographers grumbling online about their limited shooting options whilst being stuck indoors. I have found this to be a problem yet.

If you’re a regular reader (one of the four) you’ll know I get a lot of pleasure shooting the little details around the home.

These were all shot a few days ago using HP5+ pushed 2 stops in Xtol. The lens used was my Super Takumar 55mm f/2

Less face/more story

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you’ll probably have spotted a trend of late; I’ve been attempting to document my family life but with less faces in the photos. This isn’t due to any notion of privacy but an attempt to tell more stories with my work.

When we photograph those we love we tend to have them look at the camera and grin, and although this may produce some excellent images it often fails to tell a story. What I’ve been trying to do is focus on what the subject is doing and if their face ends up in the photo then that’s fine and if it doesn’t, that’s fine too.

What I’ve found is the images I capture conjure more vivid memories of where we were and what we were doing and isn’t that why we’re making images in the first place, memories?

This may seem a little alien at first but if you consider the audience for your family photographs I think you’ll find they can all recognise those in the pictures without their faces being included.

This may not be for everyone but I think if you try it for a while you may be pleasantly surprised with the results.

As always, I’d love to hear any thoughts you have on this subject.