Sunday, 1 November 2015

Hebrides, Edinburgh, Northumberland, York, Peak District

We recently returned from a photo road trip with four friends from the US. We met in Glasgow then headed off to Oban and the ferry to Lochboisdale on South Uist. Working our way north over the next few days through North Uist, Benbecula, Berneray, Harris and Lewis we were delighted not to be assaulted by the worst of weather that we were really only half prepared for. Indeed the weather was largely benign making for all round excellent and varied photographic conditions. We departed Tarbert for Uig and then spent a couple of days on Skye where the good weather continued.

Enjoying a drink at 10pm in the bar of the Lochmaddy Hotel someone rushed in shouting "they're out, they're out". It was the Aurora Borealis. I couldn't have arranged it better if I'd tried!

After Skye was a stop in Fort William then on to Edinburgh for a few days, at which point all but two of us departed for home. The next few days were spent meandering through Northumberland, York and The Peak District on our way back to my home in the Midlands. Two and a half weeks of excellent photography, good company, good food and drink, with good weather to boot. What more could one reasonably wish for?

My images from The Hebrides are linked here on my website in the Hebrides and Western Scotland gallery. A few of those images and some from Edinburgh and beyond are linked here in my New Images gallery.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Completed - My 'Photohiking the Thames Path' project.

Just a short post here to say that after almost 2 years, last week I completed my 'Photohiking the Thames Path' project. It has a blog all to itself (see here) where I've been posting photographs from each of the days I've hiked along with a short commentary on the day. I've just made my final post there reflecting on the last 2 years.

Friday, 26 June 2015


We recently spent two weeks in Puglia - the heel of Italy. Trulli (singular - Trullo), the small conical roofed buildings, are a distinctive feature of the region, particularly around Alberobello. They date back to the 16th and 17th centuries when they were the homes of the poorer families. They still serve as homes, some having been made particularly luxurious. But there are many in various stages of neglect or dereliction. The conical roof has an interesting history. In this region of Italy there was a roof tax - similar to the window tax in Britain. But Puglians were smart - the conical roof could be very rapidly removed whenever there was a roof tax inspector in the region, thereby avoiding the tax. And then rebuilt promptly after the roof tax inspector had departed. More information here.
Click on any image to see full size views of the images.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Website Update + New Camera

Two days ago I completed my 20th day hiking The Thames Path. The latest photos and blog entry are linked here. And I've now updated the New Images and Home Page images on my website to reflect the progress I've made so far. I've covered 125 of the 184 miles - but as I hike in both directions it's really 250 of the 368 miles.

Under the M4
I recently sold my aging but excellent condition darkroom equipment and traded in my Canon 7D and lenses (after 5.5 years of excellent service) to help with the purchase of a new Sony A7II and two Zeiss zoom lenses. So far so good, superb image quality and excellent dynamic range which to me is highly important. The images from Day 20 were my first with the A7II after a few days playing with the camera at home to get familiar with its huge range of configurable settings. I'm getting there ...

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Suffolk with a Point & Shoot

For a short while I'm without my DSLR - it's been traded in for a new one and I'm awaiting delivery. So whilst I staying in Suffolk for a few days I've been using my superb little Canon S95. I've had it for several years and know just how good it is. Here is a small selection which demonstrate that if one doesn't need large images, say greater than about A4 in print or for any web use, then there's almost no need for a camera of more than about 10MP. The two St Edmundsbury images are stitched from 6 and 7 handheld images.
Click on any image to see full size views of the day's set of images.
The Nave Ceiling - Lavenham Church
St Edmundsbury Cathedral - Bury St Edmunds - The Choir
St Edmundsbury Cathedral - Bury St Edmunds - Altar and Crossing
Wicken Fen - Old Water Pump
Wicken Fen - New Water Pump

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Progress on Photohiking the Thames Path

I've now completed 19 days and about 118 miles of my project to hike the full length of The Thames Path - in both directions. It's 184 miles one way - so 368 miles both ways. Each day that I hike I'm going 'there and back', so I've covered about 236 miles so far. Each hiking day I start at the point where I finished the previous time. I hike out for half a day then hike back to my starting point. It's proving to be a productive, challenging, enjoyable and at times frustrating experience. All of the good things come from the hiking, the photography and the progressive achievement of building a coherent body of work. What will success look like to me? I'm still not sure, but it feels like things are going well. And the frustrations so far ... there's one definite one, it's the struggles at times hiking on some lengthy sections of the path which are so thick with sticky, glutinous, slippery mud that it takes all the pleasure out of the exercise. I have to watch every step to ensure that I know where I'm placing each foot to be certain not to slip and fall. Somehow, so far, I've not fallen in the mud! And the other frustration is that now that I'm in the latter stages of the hike, I'm also much further away from home, which means that each of my hiking days is much further to travel before I can start the hike - and, of course, much further to travel to get home afterwards.

At my current rate of progress I have about another 11 hiking days to go to cover the remaining 66 (132) miles. So, I hope to be finished by about July this year.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Demise of my Darkroom

I set up my darkroom at home over 23 years ago and for a few years enjoyed playing at printing. But, unlike some people who achieved a real mastery of the darkroom, I could never manage to reach that level and was never satisfied with my printed output. The advent of digital processing was for me a revelation. I took to it like the proverbial duck to water. I got Photoshop in 2001, along with my first scanner and ink printer and haven't looked back since. Since then digital image capture has taken over too. For me this has all been good. So, I finally decided it was time to let go of my darkroom. It all went this week in two ebay sales to two darkroom enthusiasts where hopefully it will bring them years of pleasure. And it has provided some funds towards replacing my aging digital camera and lenses!