A Cat Can Always Be Counted Upon for a Descisive Moment


It is a fact universally acknowleged that one of the two main uses for the Internet, a technology which can communicate instantly across the globe, is the sharing of cat photos (the other being starting fights with random strangers). The reason is, I think, more than the fact that moggies tend to be very photogenic…it’s that generally their desicsive moments are less than, well, ‘moments’ and more like descisive hour or twos. Unless of course they are doing something very, very photogenic and you have to go and get a camera, in which case they’ll decide that they need to move just as you set the autofocus point; another reason I suspect for their popularity on Instagram as generally you can grab your phone and get the shot. Which is what I did here, black and white cat, white windowsill: monochrome conversion, who needs it?

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Biscuit the Dog, and his Owner

With the new scanner, I can continue my occasional walk down photgraphic memory lane – yes it’s a ‘photos from my past’ post

Oddly enough, this pack of negatives were actually dated, so I can say with confidence this is 1980, and also therefore that it’s taken on my K1000 (though I can remember which camera I used when I took them). If you notice the super hard shadows you can also tell it’s done with flash, which was a more primitive technology then than it is now (also I wasn’t very good at it). They lived a couple of doors down the road and I needed to shoot off the last few frames on a roll of film. I wanted to take some more of her later on but she wasn’t up for sitting. Biscuit was also the first Weimarana dog I ever met, they weren’t as common then, and was a fairly pleasent pooch…though he is one of the only dogs to have bitten me, albite accidentally. The lack of dynamic range, and with photoshop I’ve managed retrieve a lot of dynamic range which gives you an idea of how far out they were, was due to a misreading of the temperature when I processed the film.

Yashica 35-ME and a Plustek Scanner

A while back I picked up a Yashica 35-ME (the link is wrong by the way, it’s not a rangefider, it’s zone focused) for very good money in a deal with an Olympus Trip.

It all seemed okay so I took it out in London and shot with it, processed the roll of film….and my scanner broke! Given that it was nudging 10 years old this probably wasn’t surprising. After much thought I decided, rather than get another flatbed I’d go for a proper film scanner and bought a Plustek OpticFilm 8200i SE. So after a hiatus of several weeks, I can now share some of the photos from the Yashica. I dont’ think they’re as good as the ones from the Trip, but for a camera to keep loaded in my pocket they are, as my old dad would have said, good enough for a coal boat.

Remix – Harpist

I’m going to try something along the lines of scanning old photos from years back but with some of my digital stuff – in a manner akin to a musician remixing their old tracks, I’m going to find images from my early days with digital, process them the way I would now, and post the two together to see the difference.

So this first image is one I took years ago in the Mussenden Temple at Downhill in Northern Ireland (definitely worth a look if you’re there). The biggest issue with the original image is that I didn’t know how to lock a focus point then so it’s missed her eyes and gone for the harp frame, but not by enough to really spoil it. Remixing it now I’m a lot more confident making big edits to light and shadow areas, and using layers to bring out selective bits – also I have no idea why I didn’t want to crop it in tight like that originally. I remember being a bit meh about the image when I took it, but I’m a lot more postive about it now.

Hurdy Gurdy Man

My scanner is out of action at the moment, so there is neither any new work nor can I delve into the photos from my past (seeing as most of what I’m sharing at the moment is film based). But we can go back to the distant past of summer 2017 for this photo which I like. It’s shot on Ilford FP4 which I’d have rated at box speed, which frankly in the UK normally means a summer day with lots of sun; I suspect the reason we shoot so much HP5 and Tri-X here, and so many british film youtubers discuss pushing film is the weather. Interestingly though, back in the 70s I remember shooting almost exclusively FP4 and only occasionally going up to HP5. We always remember our younger days as being perpetually sunny, maybe it was true!

I’ve done a bit of online research and the musician is Mike Smith, who is also a painter – here are links to his website, and his Instagram

Ship in the Fog

We’ve just been to Cornwall for a couple of days, in which oddly enough we visited (and I photographed) some gardens as well as the coastline. When we used to go to Cornwall about 15 years ago Pendennis Castle was our son’s favourite place and we thought we’d go there for old time’s sake. It’s actually well worth a visit if you’re there, it’s not just somewhere to go for the nostalgia. The previous day was clear and sunny, but that morning there was fog over Carrick Roads, and the headland on which the castle stands looks out over the water. The previous day from a bit further round the coast there were some ships out at anchor, but from the castle, in the fog, the one you could see looked so great.

Oddly, this is the raw file straight out of the camera, I began to tweak it in Lightroom, but in the end I found I couldn’t improve it.

Ship in the Fog, Carrick Roads anchorage

St James’ Place – Bauhaus of the Cotswolds

Okay, I win the award for Clickbait of the Day on wordpress if such a think exists for that title, but hey we’re all allowed a bit of clickbaiting now and again. Though frankly my readership isn’t the sort to fall for clickbait.

Last year, year before maybe, the financial company St James’ Place (not a sponsored post) demolished an old garage and car dealership and built themselves a swanky new office block in the ultra modern style. I was very exited by this because, well frankly I thought you’d never get to build anything in the Cotswolds if it wasnt’ made of stone effect blocks and somehow resembled something from a remake of a costume drama. I blame ‘A Vision of Britain‘ by HRH, a book which probably has a huge readership in these parts. But build it they did. Well the other day I was out and about with my new Olympus Trip looking for something to photograph with it, and the sun was shining on the SJP building and I thought “It’s like Dessau…” Full disclosure, I’ve never been to Dessau (though I’m hoping to go later this year) but I’ve seen the pictures and something about the SJP building in cirencester made me think of them. So I used up half a roll on it.

I don’t normally do posts with multiple photos, but I’m really pleased with these and wanted to share them. I’m coming to the idea that I’m an urban landscape photographer if I’m going to have a label. I don’t really do well photographing the great outdoors, the majestic views and so forth. I like some sign of human occuapation for my images and I think I produce better work when there is some.