Tag Archives: Nikon

Equipment for sale

I am having a bit of a clear out of some camera equipment I no longer use.

You may be interested in two lenses I am selling:

In the near future I expect to be selling the following, so do look out for these if you’re interested:

There may be other items for sale before long.

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The Wide Open Spaces of Infinite Darkness

I feel I owe those of you who follow me on Twitter for my photography an apology for the paucity of images in recent months – this is entirely due to the stress of recent months at work, as I mentioned in my last posting (Preview: The Wide Open Spaces of Infinite Darkness).  It seems almost perverse that such experiences could be the inspiration for a series of images that really speak to me.

I have now posted the complete set – 22 images – of The Wide Open Spaces of Infinite Darkness online, my first substantial complete set of images since 1. February this year.  It is a dark and lonely set of images that reflect an abstract interior landscape of the self, but I hope they will be of interest to some of you, and not just to me!  Click on the image to be taken to the page:

The Wide Open Spaces of Infinite Darkness 14

The Wide Open Spaces of Infinite Darkness 14

All were made on a Nikon FM2 with a 28mm lens, on a film emulsion that is new to me, but very beautiful: Neopan Acros 100.  I might still tend towards Ilford’s FP4+ or Delta 100, but the Acros is definitely a film I will use again.

Preview: The Wide Open Spaces of Infinite Darkness

This is not one of the images in the series that some people may be aware I’ve been working on, The Wide Open Spaces of Infinite Darkness, but it is the precursor to that series, made near Beauly in Scotland on a trip with Mike Colechin in March this year:

Introductory image - The Wide Open Spaces of Infinite Darkness

Introductory image – The Wide Open Spaces of Infinite Darkness

It was made with a large format camera (the series itself is made with a Nikon 35mm camera). It is a negative image, both in terms of what I see it communicating, and the fact that it really is the negative image (i.e. not reversed from the film).

I will upload the series to the page shortly (at the moment, there is just this introductory image on the page, with a short text). Every other image in the series is made using the same lens (28mm) and though shutter speeds change (generally they are very slow), the aperture is kept at f2.8 (wide open…) and the focus is always set to infinity and mostly shot at night (infinite darkness…). Everything about this series is both literal and figurative…

(And if you still think photographs represent some kind of documentary evidence, here’s Mike Colechin’s image of exactly the same bit of ground, made maybe half an hour earlier…)

Cashel Forest and Strathcashell Point, Loch Lomond

On Saturday we went for a walk by Loch Lomond.  This was intended to be a woodland walk, but it was so wet, it became more of a bogland walk – but was still very enjoyable.  We went to Cashel Forest and up Cashel hill, which would normally be a relatively easy walk, with occasional steep parts.  Water gushing down the hillside, at times washing away what path there was or turning the path into a slippery morass, made for a slower ascent and descent.  Nonetheless, being high over Loch Lomond did reward us with some beautiful views.

Loch Lomond, 4.1.14

Loch Lomond, 4.1.14

I had taken a digital camera with me.  This was my first ‘proper’ excursion for some time, what with moving house and work demands stopping me from getting out with a camera since the summer, and whilst these were little more than snapshots of new views for me, I was wanting to engage fully with the context I was in.

Cashel Forest, 4.1.14

Cashel Forest, 4.1.14

In the periods when it stopped raining (or rained less), this was, of course, easier to do, not least for simply enabling greater visibility.  However, the great thing about wetness is that it emphasises some of the fantastic colours in the trees and bushes, with purples and reds dominating.  In the spring and summer this will all be covered in foliage and so will mostly be green (which is a different kind of beautiful), but I do prefer autumn and winter for the richness and variety of the colours on display.

When it rained, it rained heavily, testing the waterproofing of our raincoats pretty thoroughly!  It also became much more difficult to make photographs – this image was taken on my iphone and the rain was so heavy I could barely see the screen:

Loch Lomond, 4.1.14

Loch Lomond, 4.1.14

I tweeted this from the hillside, but later deleted it when I saw it in detail.  I should not have done that – it does actually convey a very real sense of the hillside views in the rain!  Shortly afterwards, in a brief drier moment, I made the first image above of a similar view.  At one stage, when I wanted to photograph the path and the colours we were on, I took out the camera to find the lens almost completely misted over.  So I breathed on it to mist it over completely, and made this:

Cashel Forest, 4.1.14

Cashel Forest, 4.1.14

Of course, we buy cameras with millions of pixels and expensive lenses so we can breathe on them and create blurry images…! 🙂  I jest, of course – but this actually represents our view for much of the walk, so it’s an accurate image – you can just about make out a path leading from the bottom left, and see the outline of the hills.

Strathcashell, 4.1.14

Strathcashell, 4.1.14

Before we went up the hill on Saturday morning, we walked briefly towards Strathcashell because I wanted to see the way to Strathcashell Point, a place that I wanted to visit on my own on Sunday morning.

The track to the Point goes past a patch of woodland that I intend to go back to – widely spaced trees in various states of growth and decay, offering some interesting explorations.

The Point itself is reached by following the track almost to the end, and crossing a field with livestock in it.  The Point has ruins of an old fortification, presumably an ancient watch post to monitor traffic up Loch Lomond, but the ruins consist primarily of the remains of some exterior walls, none higher than about 50cm.  The point is itself shielded by a small cluster of trees that do not really suggest a promontory at all when viewed from the land:

Strathcashell Point, 5.1.14

Strathcashell Point, 5.1.14

The trees would offer shelter in wilder weather, but in contrast to Saturday’s strong winds and torrential rain, early on Sunday morning the air was completely still: with birds singing, and the sun gently rising, it felt as if spring was on the way!  Because nothing was moving I was able to use some longer exposures and still keep detail in the branches of the trees.  I made a few images overlooking the Loch, in part towards the snow-covered peak of Beinn Eich on the western side of the Loch (at least, I think that’s what it was), but mostly I just paid attention to the partially submerged trees – the high rainfall in recent weeks have clearly filled the loch.

Loch Lomond, 5.1.14

Loch Lomond, 5.1.14

Loch Lomond, 5.1.14

Loch Lomond, 5.1.14

Loch Lomond, 5.1.14

Loch Lomond, 5.1.14

Loch Lomond, 5.1.14

Loch Lomond, 5.1.14

Strathcashell Point, 5.1.14

Strathcashell Point, 5.1.14

Strathcashell Point/Loch Lomond, 5.1.14

Strathcashell Point/Loch Lomond, 5.1.14

I quite like these images, and it was reassuring to know that being out with a camera again felt so natural.  After all these months when it has not been possible, I’ve really missed not making anything more than occasional snapshots, and whilst the images above are mostly simply to be ‘enjoyed’ rather than being particularly thought-provoking, they give me great satisfaction.  Not photographing for any length of time always results in my mind developing doubts about my ability to ever make images again: I am very good at self-doubt!  So this weekend was carefully thought-through and planned to counter this gnawing insecurity: apart from identifying locations on a map and on PhotoTransit and then scouting the Point on Saturday, using a digital camera rather than film meant I could do something with the images as soon as I came home.  Whilst out with the camera, everything felt completely natural – this is hardly a surprise, but it is still very reassuring (telling myself this would be the case in advance doesn’t work: I need to see that it would be so).  That is why digital made sense this weekend, even if most of my landscapes are now on film.

I have no idea what kind of half-used film is in my sadly-neglected 35mm and Mamiya 645 cameras that are still in the cupboard, but I’ll be getting them out and finishing the rolls shortly.  Now that everything has settled down a little after the move, my mind is clearer and I can start to think about creating imagery again.  It is also helping me with thinking through the next stages of the windfarm essays (ha! I bet you thought I’d forgotten about that!).

Also: this week, my new darkroom equipment should be arriving… more excitement!

A wee thought on using different equipment

My family think that I have too much camera ‘stuff’ (I don’t dare ask them too often!) – and it doesn’t help if I say things like ‘but XYZ has so much more than I do…!’  Of course, I think I have appropriate amounts of ‘stuff’ for what I want to do… 🙂

But sometimes, I realise that there are certain pieces of equipment that I have but don’t use as much as I might (don’t tell the family!).  This morning I was out with my neighbour, Mabel Forsyth, wandering around Newhailes Estate in the snow.  I had my Nikon digital camera with me.  At times, it snowed whilst we were there, as this shows:

Snow at Newhailes Estate, Musselburgh

Snow at Newhailes Estate, Musselburgh

As we were returning to the car, the trees by the path caught our attention.  I thought I’d try something a bit different, and got the Lensbaby out.  I’ve had this lens for a while, but I am weary of all the contrived flower shots – it’s art, don’t you know?! – that so many people use Lensbaby optics for (I caricature, but not by much), and that puts me off getting it out too often.  I should not be swayed by that, I know.  This is the Lensbaby image from this morning that I like most:

The (Lensbaby) snow storm

The (Lensbaby) snow storm

Processing has been minor: small changes to tones and curves, and other than that it has been cropped to a more pleasing 4×5 ratio, and turned clockwise by 90 degrees.  As will be obvious from the first image, we were not in a snow storm (the snow was rather gentle!), but for me this second rather more abstract image communicates something more about the dynamic of snow coming down than the first one, and I rather like it.

So now I can prove to my family that some of that ‘stuff’ can be used to create nice abstract images… 😉

———–

PS My favourite image from this morning’s excursion is this one, that I put up on my other site earlier today:

Newhailes Estate, Musselburgh

Newhailes Estate, Musselburgh

Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham in concert

On Friday evening we went with some guests from Germany to see Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham in concert in Edinburgh – just amazing.  We had seen them in concert before and they are always worth going back to.

We were just a few rows back, and I found my Nikon 105mm f2 DC lens at f2 on the D90 just perfect for catching these portraits of the two gentlemen in action.

Aly Bain

Aly Bain

They were playing a number of pieces from their new album, Five and Twenty, which is rather wonderful (yes, of course I bought it!).

Phil Cunningham

Phil Cunningham

This is a time full of musical delights: Karine Polwart is releasing a new album, and I hope to be at a launch on 17.8.!

The lost bull – does he belong to you? A story about a Nikon F-301…

I know there are cultural sensitivities around such subjects, but for me, bullfights are an expression of humanity’s ability to inflict utterly barbaric torture and death on innocent creatures.  The bull always loses.  This kind of thing confirms for me the need to be a vegetarian and treat animals well.

But I am writing here about a lost bull in a different sense.

My neighbour, Mabel Forsyth, recently gave me an old film camera that her husband had bought her on ebay: she had said to him that to play it safe she wanted another emergency spare camera body for a July 2006 wedding she was photographing.  Her husband bought it just before the wedding, but she never used it.  This means there are two things she didn’t know about the camera, a Nikon F-301:

  1. there are light leaks
  2. there was already a film in it.

This posting is mostly about the second of these.  The film, that I used up, is a roll of Fuji Sensia 100 (it has Fuji RA alongside the frames, along with the frame numbers).  And the first half of the roll is of a bullfight – these are definitely not my photographs!  Nor are they Mabel’s, who has also never been to a bullfight.  Nor are they from any members of her family who might have had occasion to borrow the camera.  So they must be from the previous owner…

Although I abhor bullfights, this situation intrigues me, and so if you are reading this and it is your film, do get in touch!  Presuming you can show me this really was your camera, I’ll send the relevant parts of the film strip back to you!

And the light leaks?  You’ll notice the circular light leaks on some of the images – these appear on mine too, using different lenses, so it is clearly a camera problem – though since she never used it, Mabel says she forgives you selling her a leaky camera!

Here are the four strips of film with the bullfight, and larger versions are available below these images.  Do NOT look too closely if you don’t want to see a bull being killed: I found it rather upsetting…

Bullfight 1

Bullfight 1

Bullfight 2

Bullfight 2

Bullfight 3

Bullfight 3

Bullfight 4

Bullfight 4

Large versions: strip 1, strip 2, strip 3, strip 4.

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