West Sussex on a Roll of HP5+.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2016 by yammerman



I’m slowly working through the rolls of exposed film sitting in the darkroom. It’s not quite the 2500 rolls that Gary Winogrand left but given a fair wind with my health and a continued need to click a shutter, a small mountain might yet be in my grasp.

I’m currently processing one at a time just to get a feel for how the chemistry is working.  Using Ilford HC instead of Rodinal gives slightly better grain with Ilford HP5+ to my eye though that is using the Epson V700 rather than darkroom printing. I will fire up the enlarger at some point if only to see the difference.

I used a more concentrated Ilford HC this time at 1+31 instead of 1+47 which at 20degrees only takes 6:30. The HC has turned a tinge of brown in the bottle but still seems to have some potency. A lot less dust this time but I kept the windows closed (I’m a bit of a genius on the quiet) which is somewhat easier with autumn coming on. I changed back to the Ilford wetting agent and scanned the film as soon as it was dry. Still the odd blob but not the blizzard I had been getting.

This roll is shot on the south coast around Emsworth and Chidam. Nothing exciting tweaked in Lightroom with a bit of noise reduction and an Antique preset. Likely  shot with Leica M3 and 50mm Summicron.

Returning to Analogue with a Leica M3

Posted in photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 9, 2016 by yammerman


It’s a long time since the smell of photo chemicals has been upon me but I finally got back in the game after an autumn sort out. I’ve started on a dozen rolls of Ilford HP5+ I’d shot but not processed, just to get my hand back in. These were shot with a Leica M3 and an old 50mm Summicron  ISO400 with a yellow filter.

It may take a few rolls to get in the swing but it’s good to hear the sound of water gurgling. Some of these photos are processed in Adox Adonal and some in Ilford HC, both attesting to their ability to still work after a long period of sitting on the shelf.  I’m not a big fan of the grain but that might be accentuated by the Epson V700 scanner and my ham-fisted processing.

I’ve had problems with dust so I’m trying to find a regime that reduces that to a bearable level.  Dust was the thing that got me using a digital camera most of the time.  I find myself dreaming of a drying cabinet when a shaft of sunlight reveals the dust floating in the air as a wet length of film drys.

Nothing exciting here all tweaked in Lightroom then an Antique preset.

Lazying on a Sunny Afternoon with a Panasonic G6.

Posted in Uncategorized on August 1, 2015 by yammerman
Light Plane Not on Fire.

Light Plane Not on Fire.

I’ve been taking out the Panasonic G6 that I picked up on Ebay for a song, as its lightness is a huge boon.  Plus among my selection of micro 4/3 lenses is a 75-200mm, so it gives me reach for not much hardship.

I took most of these on a family expedition to the South Coast, where the photo opportunity of a veteran Spitfire and a plane firing off fireworks I mostly missed. The photographic gods like to tease me with this stuff, knowing full well that, by the time I’ve found the camera and put on the right lens, the show will be pretty much over.

I’m certain that one day a UFO will land close by me and the world will ask if I took a photo.  I’ll have to explain, shifting from foot to foot, that a rather pleasant cup of tea and a biscuit were on my mind and I didn’t really want all the bother. They aliens say Hi by the way and it turns out they’re more of a coffee culture.

I had a pleasant afternoon shooting stuff that had the decency to mostly stand still, though clearly lacking the gravitas for a Newsweek cover.  I feel a little atmosphere of a bucolic English summer might be in there somewhere.   Still, slam the sliders randomly in Lightroom and mutter something about grasping a new reality beyond the confines of the normal  human colour spectrum and it’s safe to say the king’s new clothes  are looking pretty fine and dandy.

Green Rays with a Nikon D600.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2015 by yammerman


I took these at Christmas last year when my brother gave me a torch that you can strap to your head and a set of coloured filters. When I thanked him for it he suggested I do some creative photography and so I found myself in the cold dark garden, my blood alcohol levels reasonably high with my newly acquired Nikon D600 and a tripod.

I used two Nikon lenses, a 24-85mm zoom and a 60mm macro on manual and inevitably slow speeds, just to see what I could produce.  It took a while to figure out how to get anything interesting but eventually I started to like the movement effect I was getting. Thankfully the neighbours remained unaware of my cavorting in the darkness with a light strapped to my head and eventually handheld for better control.

The Green Flash is a phenomenon seen after sunset or before sunrise when a green spot or flash is observed above the sun or as a flash from the sunset point. It is caused by the atmosphere separating the sun’s light. A rare optical occurrence, it has been used by a few artists including Jules Verne in his Green Ray  novel,  Eric Rohmer in his film of the same title.

In Jules Verne, the Green Ray is missed because the hero and heroine are too busy staring in to each other’s eyes. I guess this is the kind of thing Tim Hunt was musing on when ‘joking’ about women in science. There is no truth in the rumours that, in Verne’s sequel, the lovers later separated due to the constant bickering over whose fault it was that they missed that damned Green Ray.

In Rohmer’s film, the heroine Delphine is having trouble in the dating game until she over hears  a conversation about Jules Verne’s book and learns  that ‘when one sees a rare green flash at sunset – our own thoughts and those of others are revealed as if by magic’.  I think I saw the film 20 odd years ago, so *spoiler alert*: Delphine finds her man; they see the Green Ray; and, I guess, live happily ever after.  I suppose this is as sound as any other method for choosing a mate but, if it doesn’t work out for you, don’t come a looking for me.

I think my own Green Ray reveals me as a dyslexic Mekon with a bad case of camera shake – smart ladies will choose to move on.

Nostalgia on a Roll of Rollei Retro 400S.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2015 by yammerman

Pic013 There are projects online where people take great pleasure in processing old film that has been left for years sitting in a camera or on a shelf. These are moments in time, waiting to be revealed to a world they could not have imagined.  Young girls that are now old maids, soldiers on tanks their fates as yet unknown, an analogue world pregnant with possibilities.

Then there are those so seduced by the new digital age that, though they shoot film, are actually too lazy to process it preferring the instant gratification provided by the shiny new pixel machines. Not me, of course; I would never allow 10 rolls of film to back up on the shelf for years, convinced that nothing in the viewfinder was of much interest, but merely created because the sound of a shutter clicking is rather pleasant and fondling a film camera is a delight……..well, OK, maybe.

So this is the first roll that’s been through the chemicals,  a three year old roll of Rollei Retro 400S shot while the country was awash with Olympic fever in 2012. I think you’d have to agree that these images capture the true flavour of the spirit that gripped the nation during that heady summer. It’s hard to believe such a remarkable record of nostalgia could remain unprocessed for so long.

The Massive Dev chart reckoned on 22min in Rodinal 1+50 @20degrees  but I always find those numbers too long for my setup and went with 17.5 mins.  They seem to scan a bit better when under developed like this. The only problem is the dust, which drives me nuts and which I get bored trying to clone out.

I give you eight off the roll not because they are any good but because I can. In a world with some staggeringly good photographers, I feel I could claim a niche in the ‘dullness’ movement. I just need to work up my artistic statement and then, look out, Turner Prize.

I feel duty bound to leave no film unprocessed upon my demise as I can only imagine the disappointed faces of the retronauts when they unfurl the rolls from the fix. Scanned and tweaked in Lightroom.

The Wisdom of David Hurn

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2014 by yammerman



Having been to a lecture by Magnum photographer David Hurn this week and inspired by his story and wise words, it was only natural that I was eager to put this new found knowledge into practice.  It was fortunate then that my good friend and fellow photo enthusiast Paul Williams was due a visit this weekend.  On Saturday morning, I suggested we head down the coast to the wetlands near the Aberthaw power station and mine its rich seam of photo opportunity.

To David Hurn it is all about subject matter and it is this that great photographers talk of when they chew the fat.  It is not about the gear or highfalutin artistic concepts, but what would make a good subject.  For him it was the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 when he found himself one of the few photographers who made it on to the streets of Budapest.  He learnt to follow the journalists and photograph what they found – thus his name was made.

He talks as you would expect from a man who has survived and prospered in the tough world of commercial photography.  His passion is clear, as at eighty he was still able to hold forth and enthrall for over two hours.  He put up a list of the friends who had slept on his floor in the sixties and it read like a list of photographic icons.

He recalled  how he found his ‘tinsel town’ niche in 60’s magazines and the importance that networking and luck had played in his life.  And how he was asked to do the stills for a small film which happened to be Dr No, the beginning of the James Bond franchise.  He realised that success came from hard work and the instinct to come up with a subject that might excite a Picture Editor.  He had a brief period taking fashion shots while also working for magazines like Nova and Holiday.  He reminded the many students in the audience that WH Smith still has over 3000 magazines on sale.  He also suggested thinking globally about where your work might sell; his own work with the Nursing Times has been used in over nine countries.

He spoke of those photographers now regarded as artists who were just trying to make a living when they did their great work.  His best advice though was that photography was simply made up of two things – first where you stand and second when you push the shutter; get those right and the rest will follow.

He believes that the greats in any field need not fear the constriction of a brief but be able to satisfy its demand while maintaining their own unique authorship.  His advice was not to copy anyone but find your own vision and learn from the great, especially their contact sheets.  It is from them you will learn how they came to capture that great image.  It is rarely with one shot, but with a chosen background worked at over several frames until by luck or judgement the elements come right in the frame.  It was a marvelous talk, possibly his last in the UK, and I feel privileged to have been in the audience.

The wetlands proved not to be the rich seam I had hoped, but Paul and I spent a pleasant couple of hours clicking away.  We then returned for lunch on Penarth Pier and a visit to the rather wonderful Ragnar Kjartansson  ‘The Visitors’ installation at the Turner House Galley.  I highly recommend the installation though my photographs might suggest it’s not for everybody.  My own ‘something and nothing style/organising the chaos’ should, I feel, keep me safe from the pressures of commercial photography for a while yet and I’m ever hopeful that one day I’ll figure out where to stand and when to push the shutter.

Fuji XPro-1 with 35mm F1.4 and tweaked in Lightroom


Remembering Tugg.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 22, 2014 by yammerman


It was eight years ago today that my father died on the morning following Trafalgar Day. In happier times, as a 25 year Navy man, it would have amused him. He went from diagnosis to death in three months and really, his only desire at the end, was the avoidance of pain. He described the Hospice at Salisbury District Hospital as ‘paradise’ and to them I am eternally grateful.

After he left the Royal Navy in the seventies he became a commercial artist, though in my teenage mind I preferred the title ‘cartoonist’.  Under the name ‘Tugg’ he knocked out 20 ‘singles’ a week in the hope the tabloids would pick-up a few, which they did and on at least one memorable occasion by the mighty ‘Punch’.  It was a brave step by a man who was born with this gift and entirely self-taught.   The Navy who nurtured his talent also provided work in the form of a strip in the Navy News and various commissions for the great and the good.   He loved the Navy and they appeared to love him as he was honoured with a memorial service and a fly past shortly after his death.

He was a happy soul and was mostly amused by life except those ‘pinko lefties’ taking the country to the dogs.  He never seemed to mind much that his wife and three sons thought him a few paces right of Attila the Hun.  Family gatherings were not complete without a huge political row as nothing gave him more pleasure that winding up his Guardian reading kin.  He left me with a tolerance of the right not shared by my peers for, despite his politics, he was a really decent man.

You may be wondering what this has to do with a green Volvo V40 Estate so I shall explain.  This was the last car he owned, bought new in 1998 and as my wife needed a car it seemed sensible that we should take it over.  I did think it might be a bit big for Gillian but it turned out to be perfect and she grew very attached to it.  Somewhat like driving a sofa, it seemed imbued with my father’s character.  You might think a massed produced object in this day and age could not have any soul but, on the few occasions I drove it, I always felt his reassuring presence.  Whenever Gillian used the  ice scraper he had bought that had a built in glove he was remembered  fondly and the boiled sweets he had secreted about the car kept us going for months.

The car declined slowly  with battery, locks, suspension, alarm all proving troublesome.  After seven years, with a new car policy introduced at Gillian’s place of work, it was time to say goodbye.  It was sad to see it go and break this connection with my father so I took a few snaps for old time sake.  It seemed slightly strange photographing this old car at the time but now I’m glad I did.  Still miss the old bugger.

Here are some examples of  his work.