TMP Blog

Landscape photography with a difference!


Polemic spleen venting blood boiling verbose banal diatribe from an Aspergic point-of-view! Or not, as the case may be!

Sabores De Marvao

In 2017, I have spent nigh one whole month in the Marvao area, Alentejo, Portugal and I look forward to my hopeful return in Spring.

What attracts me to this particular area? Well, largely due to my last holiday in the Lake District, September, 2016. It was one of those seminal moments when I realised that although I love clambering over mountains even in really poor weather, my photographic opportunities were few and far between. On this holiday the weather was the worst the Lake District could throw at me and I still managed to do Helvellyn and the Wainwright “Superman” walk. I came to a point that I just had enough of the dark and bad weather in the UK and the almost futile chasing of that all too brief light. 

Over the past few years when my wife visited her parents in Portugal I would go galavanting over mountains. Free and unencumbered I could hike and photograph to my hearts content. It is a rewarding, cathartic and highly therapeutic endeavour.

This time, however, when my wife asked me if I wanted to go to Portugal with her, I think my positive answer genuinely surprised her.

She would talk excitedly about beautiful Marvao, and dinner at Jorge’s and her iPhone photos of beautiful open blue skies combined with my had-a-gutful-of-British-bad-weatherness firmly tipped the balance in favour of Portugal for my annual holiday.

The Marvao area of the Alentejo near the Spanish border is a wonderful palette of texture and light. The landscape is strewn with huge granite monoliths, twisted cork oaks, twisting roads and dilapidated farms and homesteads that are so rich in texture. This ancient and historical landscape bathes beneath an oft clear blue sky. The most brilliant azure.

I could spend many happy hours walking around the hill-top fortresses of Marvao and Castelo de Vide. The narrow, tall cobbled streets are a labyrinth of endless adventure punctuated at regular interval with coffee shops. From the towers stunning views are to be had in all directions, with vistas into Spain or deep into the Alentejo in excess of 50km.

One of the many highlights of our trip and the title of this post, a restaurant that goes by the name of Sabores de Marvao, the flavours of Marvao. A wonderful restaurant run by Jorge and his family. Here the food is excellent. Just how I like it, uncomplicated and totally delicious, washed down with a house red and all finished with a bica. All wonderful and highly recommended.

I really look forward to returning and especially doing a better job of the photography. A few pix of the trip, my highlights, and more to be found here





Shift Happens

It is well over a year since I made my last post. On reflection I think it is not a good idea that someone with ASD actually has a blog. I can have long periods of silence punctuated by intense short periods of verbosity.

In recent months there has certainly been quite the shift in the political world, indeed, perhaps an earthquake of yet undeterminable magnitude. In my self-contained and insular world shift also happened.  

As the Autumn of 2015 ebbed away the last roll of acetate passed through my Leica M2. Inexplicably, I stopped. I have not used film since. It came to a sudden and very abrupt halt. As autumn seeped away and drifted into the monochromatic drab bleak house of Winter so did my mood. 

The weeks passed.

I gave serious thought to the unthinkable - ending photography. I sold most of my kit. Then bought some more, sold it, bought some more and then sold it and eventually ended where I began. I then decided NOT to spend anymore money on kit. I know, I know, most of us have probably said that. I just seem to be going around in a circle buying kit, selling kit, all an aimless dance. I started 2016 with just my Olympus E-1. I bought a Leica M8 as I really enjoy the hands-on experience with the Leica M class. The output was unsatisfactory. In Lightroom they were awful. So I tried Capture One Pro 9 and that was an improvement. The E-1 was really awful in C1 and I especially didn’t like the bite of C1 clarity and the “mushy” effect when pushing the Olympus’s files. So C1 went and that meant the M8 had to go. Next on the list was the Fujifilm X100T and X-Pro1. Both cameras produced really, really, nice files and they both performed very well when I had a holiday in the Lake District in September 2016. BUT, and there is always a BUT. I did not like the hybrid finder. It is especially weak when trying to focus on a close foreground objects. That was, for me, pretty intolerable. So off to the bay-of-e they did go.  That left me with the - you guessed it - the Olympus E-1. 

Spring of 2016 saw the desire to shoot colour take root and it leapt into full bloom as Chaucer put it “Whanne Zaphirus eek with his sweete breeth”. The warming Spring breeze stirred life from the still sullen Earth and gave forth its bloom of “vertu engendered is the flour”. I started to drink deeply from the cup that runneth over, the cup that is colour. I craved colour to break the stranglehold of that unremitting and unforgiving season of darkness. The light returned. The colour returned. This I feel.

I purchased the Panasonic LX100 and within a month it was replaced by its Leica variant. A few months later the Leica was replaced with the Panasonic TZ100, which, remarkably I still have. This remarkable little pocket camera will be the subject of a post in the coming few weeks. The problem with the LX100/Leica D-Lux (Typ 109),  if I can actually call it a problem, was the short focal length. The lens is razor sharp but far too short. If it had, say, the range of 24-100mm it would be a keeper. 

So, that now leaves me with the old Olympus E-1 and the Panasonic TZ100. Soon, both were joined by the Leica Digilux 3 of 2006. That is when I made that fateful promise of not spending any more cash on photography kit.

If I can back-track a little. My exploration with digital imaging began in 1996 with the Casio QV-10 and since then I have had so many digital cameras that it is embarrassing. When I reflect on why, I find the root causes to be boredom, frustration, depression, dissatisfaction and gadget lust. For the past 12 years I have had the Olympus E-1, other cameras have come and gone, but I keep coming back to the E-1. What does that say?  I find the E-1 the most satisfying camera I have ever used. It feels good in the hand, looks totally svelte and I love the quality and colour of the output. And those factors are worth all the megapixels in the world. The E-1 stays.

To finally bring this post up to June 2017 being so impressed with the TZ100 I purchased the FZ1000. Made many fine pictures with it but sold it to upgrade to the Sony RX10M3. This is a few steps up from the very plastic feeling FZ1000. Also the lens on the FZ is a little soft at the long end. The Sony on-the-other-hand is still sharp at 600mm wide open. More on this awesome do-it-all later.

Well, there you go. That is my tale of woe, 

Fairfield and Helvellyn. Fujifilm S5 Pro.

From Pen y Fan as a storm passes. Fujifilm X100T

Leica Digilux 3, Leica 14mm to 50mm lens. Fedw wood, Chepstow.

Leica M8. Wild Horse on Pen Cerrig Calch. 

Panasonic TZ100. Pen yr Ole Wen, Snowdonia, North Wales.

Panasonic TZ100. Pen yr Ole Wen, Snowdonia, North Wales.

Olympus E-1. Piercefield House, Chepstow. Wales.

Olympus E-1. Crib y Gath, the Cat's Back. The only part of the Black Mountains to be in England.

Olympus E-1. The Alien rock on Crib y Gath, Black Mountains. The English bit.

My new m8


With a dawning sense of horror, I came to the realisation that I have not made a post for almost six months!

Half a year!


What have I been doing in the past six months that has caused me to fall silent? In one word…


I loath winter! It's not the cold, nor the rain, but the distinct lack of Sunlight. That factor alone profoundly affects my mood, ebbs enthusiasm and saps energy levels. It takes a time to recover, often months.

Photographically I ended last year on a high. I had abandoned most things digital and returned to a more pure form of photography in the use of my 1957 Leica M2 and wonderful 5cm f/2 Summicron.

Then Winter happened and everything went to pot. The inevitable slide into the darkness in both mood and weather happened with me in a state of catatonic inaction. I watched as my photography fell apart. Posts ceased, creativity plummeted, the shutter silenced. The long wait began.

It was January when I started to notice that glimmer of light that evocatively and tantalisingly danced on the far horizon as the Sun ebbed its weak Winter light into the bleak. That evening glow provides no warmth, save to the weary of soul, signals the loosening of Winter’s cold and heartless grip.

In this sojourn of darkness, I lay photographically redundant, creatively impotent. Then, as the light waxed, I felt like using a camera, but not the M2!

I reached for my Olympus E-1, then the Leica M8. Yes! Digital! Yes! Colour! I felt like a heretic, an apostate to pure form photography.

I muse that Winter by itself is inherently monochromatic, dull, drab and sombre, that I craved the bliss of colour. Colour lifts the mood. Colour expands consciousness.

I recall with somewhat of a shudder the proclamation in 2006 of the first digital Leica M, the Leica M8. Leica, digital, M in the same sentence! How could they! Then, in late 2015, by the sale of equipment, I summoned all my available cash and I made the purchase of a Leica M8. I know not why. I was browsing the pages on and my cursor momentarily hovered over the “buy” button. Before I knew it and for some unfathomable reason I “clicked” the mouse. A Leica M8 was mine.














Leica Hiatus!


How I hate Winter!

Short days, bad light and bad weather.

It can, however, result in an albeit few crisp and bright days. The glimmer in the darkness.

When I shoot with film I like the conditions to be just-so. The light just right. In my enthusiasm since picking up the Leica in August, I totally forgot about the Winter.  In those dark depressing months (when I should be in the Algarve) the film photography is packed away and on those few days where I actually feel like venturing forth I use the DSLR. Why? Mainly because the lack of Sunlight reduces my motivation substantially and I just don't have the mental energy required to shoot and process film. In the unrelenting and unremitting grey of a Welsh Winter, I find the burst of digital colour lifts the mood and breaks the stranglehold of bland monotony.

Over the years, I have used so many digital cameras that it is rather embarrassing. I still, however, keep coming back to my third DSLR, the Olympus E-1. Mine is 12 years old and still in stunning condition. The five megapixel RAW files are more than adequate for A3 printing, and considering I rarely print to this size anything more than five megapixels is a waste. I really like the colour rendition and feel of the Kodak sensor in the E-1 and the sheer quality of those Digital Zuiko lenses. I recently purchased a second body, also in immaculate condition, for £70. Even better, this particular body still had firmware 1.1 and a shutter count of 282. Once in a while, I use an E-3 and also have a retired E-300.

I don't set out to produce competition winners or masterpieces even if I was good enough. I do all of this for the sheer pleasure and enjoyment, to see fantastic views, to walk some big hills and to appreciate the wonderful gift that is colour and light. I rarely spend more than ten minutes on a picture, contrast, levels, saturation and a little burn here and there. You won't see me with an ND grad or a tripod or using Fauxtoshop!

Not to worry, it will be spring soon, Summer is on the way and the Leica is already fully loaded with Ilford Pan F+ and ready to go!

So, if you don't like digital and colour now is the time to turn away and use the sick bucket













Ysgyryd Fawr Summit

Three months with the Leica and Cadair Idris.

“There’s nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.” – Ansel Adams

It has been three months since I started the 12-months-with-the-Leica project. The aim has been to rid myself of digital picture fantasy making and to return to a purer form of picture making with me in control and not computers and software. Overall I have enjoyed my photography much more, have many a number of improvements processing the film and have felt a little more motivated as the below adventure demonstrates…

A few weeks ago when we had that week of absolutely glorious English weather. It does happen you know! I had, for want of a better word, the fortuitous happenstance of booking a trip to Cadair Idris which is a fine mountain of goodly stature in the south of the Snowdonia National Park.

The schedule was rather punishing. Out of bed at 05:30, in the Jalopy at 06:05 for the three odd hour drive to the car park which starts the walk at the south side of the mountain. Generally the Cadair Idris route is a straight there and back, but, being the non-conventional sort I decided to do a circular route that first ascends Mynydd Moel, a Cadair sub-peak, then a leisurely walk along the Cadair ridge to the summit itself. The views from Mynydd Moel on this particular day with bright azure horizon-to-horizon skies was absolutely amazing. With a vista to the Arans, the Arennigs and twenty-seven straight miles distant was the complete Snowdon massif. The light and the conditions were stunning. The appearance of some fluffy white stuff to break up the beautiful blue would have been wonderful. Neither that nor the slight haze actually detracted from the pleasure of the day. After a six hour odd hike it was the sad time to drive home and arrived there at 20:25 collecting a takeaway in the process.

The Photography

I decided to travel light and take my iPhone and Leica M2 which was loaded with Ilford FP4 Plus. I was in no hurry to develop the single roll of FP4 and did so the following weekend. By now I have standardised my development and use dilute Kodak HC-110 at 1:120 at 20deg. 30 seconds of agitation and two inversions every seven minutes for 21 minutes. I exposed the film at EI125 using Sunny 16. Overall I am quite pleased with the result.


Shadow of wire on Stone.


The Chair of Idris.

Done in Style.

Cadair Idris.


Shaft of shining.

Cold dark waters.

Rock detail on Craig Cau.

Shadow Selfie.

Little pool.


Shadows on Llyn Cau.

Llyn Cau.

I went for a Trip…

Sometimes when I feel stir crazy and I just need to get out of the house I pick up my camera and take an hour’s walk by the Severn Bridge. I find that brief respite, the indulgence of solitude rather salubrious and cathartic. I credit it to the sea breeze. There is something quite refreshing about it. On my short sojourn, I took with me my custom Olympus Trip 35 which my wife and best friend bought for me for our anniversary last year. I wanted to finish the roll of Ilford HP5 Plus, give the camera a work-out and, if circumstances permitted, shoot some Ilford Pan F+.

I quickly finished the roll of HP5 Plus. I only had seven or so frames to shoot anyway, so that was an easy job. In went the Pan F Plus. Now I have only ever used Pan F Plus once before and that was in 6x6 medium format. Shameful I know! I wanted to shoot a test film before using it in anger in the Leica. I had no idea what to expect. I had read several accounts on how difficult exposing and developing Pan F Plus was in comparison to FP4 Plus and HP5 Plus, including such comments on websites that sell the stuff. I need not have worried as the results were amazing. I don’t mean the photographs per se, I mean the quality of the film, the fine grain, the dynamic range and that wonderful Ilford tone. I developed both films the same way, dilute Kodak HC-110 for 21 mins and agitating for the first 30 seconds and then two inversions every seven minutes.

Now to the Trip!

I really enjoyed using it and will again. Obviously the build quality is nowhere near that of the Leica. The Trip feels flimsy and light, the frame spacing and the back door are a little “off”. The zone focussing is easy to use, but you are not quite sure whether you have focussed on your subject. The metering is superb as also is the quality of the lens. It’s a camera you can really enjoy using in carefree shooting. An ideal street shooter for sure. It is also light and discreet, with a shutter more quiet than my M2. My wife procured the camera from… 

My Trip was fully refurbished and came with a lovely green leatherette. I would absolutely  recommend Trip Man.

The below photographs are test shots, mainly from the Pan F Plus roll. Pan F Plus is an amazing film and I love it. I don’t know why I haven’t used it before, I guess it was the slow speed that put me off. As a result I ordered ten more rolls. I have also included two screen shots with side-by-side comparisons of HP5 Plus and Pan F Plus shown at 50% (1:2) zoom in Lightroom. I exposed the HP5 Plus at EI200 which lowered it’s grain and put it in the realm of FP4 Plus. The Pan F Plus was exposed at EI50. When you overexpose and contract development or use a weak compensating developer you gain more shadow detail and lower grain at the expense of film speed. So the comparison is not absolute but an indicator. If I had exposed the HP5 Plus at EI400 then the grain would have been noticeably more. HP5 Plus at EI200 is just a little bit more grainy, and I do mean it has only slightly discernibly more grain than FP4 Plus at EI125.




HP5+ under rather contrasty bright conditions. An f/16 exposure if using Sunny 16.

Quiet Waters. Flotsam. Close to the edge. Into the Sun.

No idea what the purpose of this is/was!

Fast flowing. The Mini-Bridge.

Screen Shot 1

It should be obvious which one is Pan F Plus!

What is real?

I keep on reading, here and there, now and again, of what is real imaging. I hear this mainly from the digital brigade in justification for their distorted and faux interpretation of reality.

About one million years ago a large number of hydrogen atoms fused in a G-Type main sequence yellow dwarf star of no particular importance. Each pair of hydrogen atoms that fused created one gamma ray, one Neutrino and one Photon. Our particular group of photons took one million years to mitigate the turbulent nuclear atmosphere and intense gravity field before being ejected across the vast reaches of space. Eight and a half minutes later they found themselves hurtling through the blue nitrogen rich atmosphere of the third planet. Within a fraction of an instant the photons had been deflected from an opaque object, were then collimated by five slightly convex slices of thin silicate before being unceremoniously smashed against a slither roll of acetate covered with an even thiner photon sensitive emulsion of silver halide. The impact of the Photons with the halides changed some of them. This strip of acetate was then repeatedly washed in various liquids until an inverse image was fix thereupon.

We call this Photography.

How more real can you make it?

It is in fact, a combination of Physics and Chemistry.

It is a miracle!

The latter stages: The Darkroom.

The digital brigade then bleat on about the old film guys faking it in the darkroom. Sure they did! But if you think there is ANY commonality between the darkroom and the lightroom beyond terminology then you really need a sober reality check and perhaps a swift kick in the derriere.

Faking it in the darkroom involves immeasurable skill procured over years of hard practice and the results are usually unrepeatable. Insomuch that a second copy is not exactly the same as the first. If you make a mistake there is no “history” - you have to start again. Editing negatives is even harder and impossible in the small format especially with multi-layered chromogenic films.

In the darkroom, you try removing that seagull that inconveniently flew into the scene as you pressed the shutter. In Fauxtoshop done in about one second. In the darkroom… ?

By all means have a go. Perhaps you’ll develop a sense of humility, appreciation and a realisation on how very easy you have it. The old darkroom fakers were seriously skilled people. The fact that the world is simply awash with crap images of untold magnitude is testament to how digital has made it so, so very easy.

No matter their skill the darkroom worker is confined and still limited by physics and chemistry. How more real do you want?

Incidentally, It is quite funny that of all the wet printing I have done it is colour printing that I have enjoyed the most, despite being a monochromist. I am really crap at wet B&W printing but pretty happy with the colour prints. Figure that one!

In the faux fantasy world of digital the only limits when manipulating pixels is your imagination or lack thereof.

The negative, the positive and the wet print is an image of reality distorted and created by the inescapable limits imposed by the confines of the real world. Physics and Chemistry! It is true photography, drawing with light. Whereas digital capture is pixelography, drawing with pixels. A faux world with no limits, no borders, where the boundary between photography, manipulation, art and digital imaging is as blurred and as soft as your plastic lenses.

It seems that for many the real world just isn’t good enough any more!

… and if you have reached this far can I conclude with some pictures from a stroll last week, the Castle Dell, Chepstow and a few from nearby Devauden and Trelleck. Leica M2, 5cm Summicron, Ilford FP4+ in Rodinal, Sunny 16. Semi-stand development.

Old ruined farm house, near Devauden, Chepstow.

Shadow on Door, Trelleck.

Farm, Trelleck.

Post, near Trelleck, Chepstow.

Leaves on wire, near Trelleck, Chepstow.

A glimpse. Chepstow Castle from the A48.

In blur, Chepstow Castle.

The Dell, Chepstow.

Seat. On the way to Tutshill, Chepstow.

Ivy covered. Kirk in Chepstow.

Ilford Delta 100 and Rodinal

Some say developing film is too inconsistent in comparison with digital. True, film responds differently with different developers. Other factors effect the response of film such as exposure and development technique, or the kind of enlarger and paper you use or the scanner you use. But, inconsistent results from film means only one thing: A consistently bad worker!

When your process becomes standardised the results are remarkably consistent.

So I come to this week’s film developing adventure and I decided, for the Hell of it, to venture out with Ilford Delta 100 loaded into my trusty 1957 Leica M2. This venerable classic camera was fitted for the first time with my “new” old 1958 Leica 5cm Summicron f/2. It is a marriage made in Heaven if not in Wetzlar. I will be doing a review of this old time classic in the near future.

Right film buffs, the development method used was, as the title suggests, Rodinal 1:100. OK, it is noticeably more grainy than other developers BUT when used dilute the negatives are very sharp, high acutance, compensating, extremely cost effective and has a very long shelf life. My 500ml bottle of Rodinal is about five years old, as black as Orc’s blood and is still potent.

After pouring the fluid of the dark arts into the tank I agitated for 30 seconds. Let the tank stand for ten minutes. Two inversions. Another stand for ten minutes. Two inversion followed by a final ten minute stand. Water stop. Alkali fix. Wash for ten minutes and then a final bath in distilled water with a wetting agent. This last bath cleans the film of all the filth and impurities Dwr Cwmru fail to remove from my drinking water. The film was exposed at EI 100.

The result is a clean, stain free strip of acetate with thirty six very sharp little pictures.

As for temperature, with the developer this dilute anything from 18 to 24 degrees doesn’t make any difference.

Finally, the negatives were batch scanned on my Epson v700 at 4800 dpi which is over kill even for 42cm (18in or A3) prints. The only post processing was setting the Epson Scan software to auto-levels, and nothing else. It's basically a straight scan. In Lightroom only minor adjustment was made to Levels and Contrast.

From the roll of Delta I chose these frames. They are very sharp and would have been better save for the light which barely crept into f/11. As the development method is still experimental the highlights, noticeably the sky, is a little too grainy for my liking. I prefer the sky to be smooth. I think by adjusting the dilution and/or exposure I can improve the story here. See what you think…  A follow-on post is going to compare Tmax 100 in Rodinal - Stay tunes!

Tree. On the path to the summit of Pen y Fal.

Pen Cerrig Calch from Pen y Fal.

The traditional view from Sugar Loaf, er sorry, Pen y Fal.

Sugar Loaf, as I prefer the Welsh, Pen Y Fal. The West side of the summit plateaux has an interesting rock formation. Basically here shooting into the Sun at f/11

The old pump station in Sudbrook near Chesptow. I believe this station used to pump water from the Severn Tunnel.

Birds on wire.

Pretty flower and leaves. I am such a botanist!

Rocks at Black Rock, Portskewitt, near Chepstow.

Black Rock, Portskewitt near Chepstow.

Waiting. A sneaky shot whilst waiting for the train to go to the Cardiff convention.

Tintern from the Deveil's Pulpit.

Seat. On the Chepstow to Tintern Offa's Dyke path.

Rodinal + Fomapan 100

There I was, looking at the last three rolls of 35mm I have to develop. One roll each of Fomapan 100, Kodak Tri-X and Kodak TMAX 400.

After thinking for a while I selected the Fomapan. I don’t know quite why. “Hmmm”, I said to myself, “I wonder what is on this roll?”.

Quite quickly I decided to experiment. This is another thing I love about film. Over the years I often have used a stand development method where you use a very dilute developer agitate for 30 or 60 seconds and then leave to stand for an hour or two. I use to have very good results but in recent years someting has changed with my water and the method doesn’t now work as satisfactorily. The negatives are very spotty and stained. Initially I thought it was my drying process. To overcome this I tried all sorts of drying methods, different angles, differing dilutions and timing of wetting agent. All to no avail.

To overcome these problems I now experience with stand development I decided to try semi-stand development. This being the use of dilute Rodinal at 1:100, agitate for the first 30 seconds and then two inversions every ten minutes for forty minutes. This was followed by a water stop bath, acid fix, ten minute water wash followed by a two minute distilled water wash. This cured the problems as already outlined but the negatives were very dense.

It is always a thrill to pull the negatives from the tank and when you look at them for the first time instant recall occurs. October 2014 using the Leica M2 and Sunny 16. You look at the negatives afresh and, as a result, evaluate them better. I think with film you are acutely aware of the limited resource in your camera, are much more engaged with your subject, are more cognizant and the memory much more atuned and involved. I find that the memory recall at seeing developed negatives for the first time is a stronger sensation than doing the parallel with digital files.

When dry, cut and sleeved, it was scaning time. Now, at the moment I am using a Nikon Coolscan V and Silverfast scanning software. After scanning a strip is was obvious that Silverfast could not cope with the density of the negatives. I even scanned in HDRi mode to see if this would improve the situation. Nope! Luckly I am also a long time user of Vuescan and using Vuescan I had some very decent scans.

Notwithstanding the poor subject, the dense negatives, the staining and marks on recently developed negatives leads me, as aforementioned, to the conclusion my water is very dirty, full of goodness know what! I suppose it is how my water is filtered and treated at source that is the problem. These Fomapan negatives were very clean. It was the final bath in distilled water that was responsible, as it is a new addition to my development process.

The next roll of film is going to be the Tri-X. I will modify the semi-stand development to using Rodinal 1:100, 30 seconds initial agitation followed by two inversion every ten minutes for twenty minutes. Water stop, Water wait bath for twenty minutes, fix, wash for ten minutes, distilled water final wash with wetting agent. This should provide a less dense negative. I find both Vuescan and Silverfast provide a better scan when the negative is thin. Less development means less grain and less loss in the highlights.

You may notice that the grass in the Piercefield Manor photos looks almost white and gives an almost infra-red result. This is due to the density of the negatives lifting the zones. The negatives are also very sharp. Fomapan 100 is made by Foma in the Czech Republic, is a traditional film giving a more classic look. It probably hasn’t changed for decades. I like it! The density of the negatives increases the grain, but I like this film.

Posts. Welsh Street, Chepstow.

Bollards, Chepstow.

Door, the Back, Chepstow.

Balls, the Back, Chepstow.

The Severn Princess. Before the first bridge this vessel used to ferry cars across the Severn. She ends her life here as a rusting hulk.

Graffiti on Pillar, Chepstow.

Selfie, Chepstow.

The Welsh side. Your meter would have cocked up doing this exposure and would have under exposed it by two stops.

The Manor, Piercefield, Chepstow.

Out for a walk. The Manor, Piercefield, Chepstow.

The Manor, Piercefield, Chepstow.

Bikers at Hoggin the Bridge, October, 2014.

The Eagles Nest off the rails. Chepstow.

A tonic for the jaded - the iPhone 6 Plus


In light of my recent berating of all things digital and Fauxtoshop, a few friends have asked me how do I reconcile the use of the iPhone as a photographic tool.

A few years ago a friend of mine purchased a Samsung Note 2. We happened to be sitting in a local coffee house while he had this huge thing glued to his ear. Of course I had to have a play. Now, I don’t like Android, but I did like that huge real-estate screen. Secretly, I coveted it (in a round-a-bout wholesome way may I add). So when Apple announced the iPhone 6  Plus I just knew the 6 Plus was my next phone.

In March of this year 2015, it came time to retire my iPhone 4S. Being three years old it was beginning to look a little worse for wear and one of the switches was starting to behave erratically. Despite these little failings the battery life was still excellent, despite three years of constant use and abuse. 

My hands are not the largest and I was concerned that the 6 Plus would be too big. Not a problem at all. In fact, when I pick up my wife’s iPhone 5S I think “Wow! That’s is just sooooo small, the screen is just sooooo small, it’s TINY. However did I cope with my 4S?”. Yes, you become very accustomed to that large area of real estate. And what real estate it is, a very impressive screen! In fact, it could do with being a little larger!

To be able to take your photos, edit them and then upload them to a cloud service, Facebook, Instagram, Revel or whatever all on one device is just amazing. In fact, I would not be surprised if in a few years mirrorless and DSLR’s will be able to do the same. It is the way it is all going.

I can’t fault the performance of the iPhone 6 Plus camera. The colour, white balance, exposure and sharpness are all of a very high quality. I would like more dynamic range though, stuff more pixels, I want more dynamic range! Another thing I would like is a dual lens arrangement with the focal lengths of 35mm and 135mm. That would be fab!

I love iPhone photography! The essence of the matter is that the iPhone provides a welcome break from my usual work. My approach to iPhone photography is very different from using, what I call, "real cameras". It is very therapeutic. Of course, you don’t need an iPhone, any phone with a camera and editing apps will do! Yes, that includes you Android people!

When I am bored, feeling jaded or fed up or just need a break or some fresh approach, enter the iPhone. With it I commit all sorts of photographic sins. My iPhone photography is blasphemous, heretical and breaks every rule in the book. I like producing absolutely adulterated imagery. It’s dirty and sordid and I love it!

This is what I like doing with the iPhone…

Pen Cerrig Calch from Sugar Loaf.

Pen y Fan and Corn Du.

The Second Severn Crossing.

Reflection, Chepstow.

Pen y Fan and Corn Du from Cribyn.

Swrd yr Eira near Ystradfellte.

My home town - Chepstow.

Cloud above Pen y Fan.

The winding path up Corn Du.

365 Steps.

The mighty South Ridge, Snowdon.

The Awesome Crib Goch from Snowdon Summit.

Yr Aran.

Crib Goch.

Stairs near Chepstow.

Hay-on-Wye market.

Sudbrook wall.

Chepstow Castle.

St. Mary's street, Chepstow.

Sugar Loaf from Table Mountain.