Friday, July 28, 2017

A Walk On The Wild Side (In Sheep-O-Vision)

Morning troops - this is something sick-makingly different.

Well, you've seen this walk before - way way back in Off Piste 1 & 2, but anyway, I felt it was way too long since I'd done this walk and way too long since I'd been on the hills AT ALL.
It really is shocking how time disappears, it seems like the world is moving at a faster and faster pace, but the reality is that I am just getting older and slower - of course the world turns at the same rate - life continues as it always has done. It's just that in some little corner of my brain, my take on it is that it is getting faster!
The sad fact is, that I am just turning into an addled old shite.

Anyway, suitable packed I headed out, well I say suitably packed, I had to rip out and rearrange the lovingly sorted, perfectly ideal, nicely divided interior of my Tamrack 777 bag!
That was a nightmare in itself - so why did I do it?
No, quiet at the back, not because I am an addled old shite . . . it's because I had to make room for the Hasselblad and gear for taking pictures a long way from anywhere.
Last time I'd done this it was full-on 5x4 . . . but seeing as I have had no inclination to do any LF work in a couple of years now, MF it was!
Trust me, if you have a backpack for your gear and you work in different formats, do the right thing and buy a separate bag for each format (if you've got the room). Why? because it is a total b'tard having to tear out and rearrange those velcro panels!
When you get it just right, it's a good feeling, because it is there for almost perpetuity . . . but having to rip out that perfect arrangement to accomodate another format . . well, it's my idea of Dante's Seventh Circle. Anyway, I had no alternative, so rip, rip, feck, feck, rip, it was.
The air was bluer than a Smurf Convention!

Anyway, so here we are, on a lovely walk into the middle of nowhere.
I've got my camera (Hasselblad 500 C/M); the 60mm Distagon and some rolls of Ilford's really wonderful Delta 400. I took some FP4 too, but ended up on the Delta.
This walk really is off-piste - basically I followed a well-known track some of the way and then followed fence lines (always a reliable way to go) doing some moderate climbing, till my destination was reached. It isn't a massive walk as far as these things go and definitely not an exhausting one, but it was still uphill.
The slight frost on the ground cleared away quite quickly and I found myself 2000 feet up in bright (and very windy) sunshine.
Sadly for me, but not for the animals, I found no winter kill (ie dead animals caught by fences) It happens a lot with snowy ground and deer fences, but we had little snow this year, which is good news for the beasts, but not for me, so photographically it had to be all hill . . .
Photographing hills isn't as easy as people think, because, inherently, they can be quite dull (unless they have dramatic sky attached) and on a day like this was, the sky was a long way up and the hills were bathed in bright sunshine. Not exactly ideal.
I photographed the hilly bits, had a rooty-tooty time and headed back, because I knew that there was more to photograph. The truth is hill-mates, I secretly hoped that the upcoming subject matter was still there. I'd spied it a few years earlier and photographed it, and desparately wanted to photograph it again. It was maybe the whole reason for the trip . . . not that I've done it justice . . but never mind.

And now the Sheep-O-Vision bit:

Have a butchers at these stupid videos (shot on a PiePhone - yes a Wallace's PiePhone 2 . . . that's a Dundee joke dontcha know) with the added bonus addition of EWN!
It was unavoidable - in some shelter it was fine, but stand up and well, wind.
I made them as a bit of laugh and record for myself, but when I got back and watched them, I thought I could shove them on FB and see what happens. They'll give you a decent idea of the place, but it's just a shame there's some gnarly old twat talking to you.

OK, I've called the emergency services and they'll be here in a few minutes. Hope the recovery position isn't too uncomfortable and that the CPR hasn't hurt your chest too much.
So, I did take some photographs too - honest! 
In fact here's the results. 
None of these have been properly printed - just the two contact sheets, scanned at 800DPI and the actual photographs are just scans from those contact sheets at 3200 DPI. 
I am surprised they look not bad considering.
Film as mentioned was Delta 400, EI was 200, and development was in Pyrocat HD for around 20 minutes

And that's about it really. It was a decent walk of around 8 to 10 miles with a fair amount of gear, but I loved it.
I need to get out more actually, it's criminal
I am barely managing two proper walks a year at the moment.
If I had my way I'd be out there every day - it's food for the soul, and fat-burning for the middle-aged spread.
Any exercise is good exercise, and especially when you can breath really clean air and experience all the majesty of the Scottish hills; well, you can't put a price on it, can you.

TTFN, and remember. Er, what did I say to remember?.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Normal Service Will Be Resumed As Soon As Possible

Hi folks - if you normally subscribe to FB by email, you will not doubt have been very surprised by a post this morning that seems half ready - please ignore it - it is an incomplete one posted by an errant set of fingers and a tea-deprived brain. 
It is nearly ready though, but needs tweaking. 
(Ab)normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Dr. No? Blofeld? Nope It's Goldfinger!

Morning folks - y'know, in a galaxy far, far away and a long time ago, people actually used to prInt and mail out paper catalogues! 
It was dead exciting getting one through the post because you could muse for hours over your choice of whatever you liked from a planet full of stuff, narrowing your choices down day by day, till the ultimate list was made!
No more searching your High Street and feeling despondent and glum because your local shops never stocked anything you wanted at all. No, for a small amount of postage, there were wonderful people who would send you everything your heart desired.
And so it was with photography.
There are still a number of excellent mailorder suppliers of photographic stuff in the world - you should be using them rather than Ebay, or Amazon, simply because they care, they are knowledgable, and it is their business. Yes, you'll maybe pay more, but you are paying for a service and deep stock

Goldfinger pre-dated Silverprint (in London) - this is one of their mailorder things - it used to be available as a download on Silverprint's site, but it vanished a few years ago - I guess they thought 'Who wants to read this old stuff!'
So, in the interests of knowledge and some bloody fantastic reading, here it is again as a fully downloadable PDF.
My apologies to Martin Reed and Silverprint, but I just feel that stuff like this should be 'out there' as it were and not consigned to the digital skip of history! Though if you are from Silverprint, or indeed are Martin and you don't want this to remain posted please contact me.

This post buys some time for me - a small stop-gap whilst I try and get some more printing and writing done . . . but that's another (series) of stories . . .
The Godlfinger Craftbook is a well written photographic processing discourse. Sadly the price list has gone . . . as has a lot of the stuff mentioned.
I hope you enjoy it, oh and if you do, remember, FogBlog is pretty much dedicated to Ye Anciente Arte Of Printing And Processing, so have a look around - there's some interesting stuff on this blog if I do say so myself.

UPDATE 20/12/17:

I had a lovely comment from Martin Reed giving the history of Goldfinger - well worth a gander!

No problem at all posting the old Craftbook, I'm sorry the original I posted on the Silverprint site had such a grubby cover, however I still haven't got a better one.

But someone who does deserve credit was Peter Goldfield, the pharmacist who started the Goldfinger enterprise which led to the conception of that book. Strongly influenced by US photographers of the 1970's, including Paul Caponigro & Ralph Gibson, & aided & abetted by Paul Hill over here, Peter's aim for the setup was to get the UK 'up to speed' in the attitude to photography as a serious art form.

It might have suffered a bit from a 'Don Quixote' mentality, rather than laying down a firm financial base for long term survival, but at least the heart was in the right place. We were so strapped for cash that I printed all of those booklets in-house on a power ink duplicator, and they were then hand trimmed & hand collated before comb-binding them. Sounds a bit strange now, but the 70's was still a vaguely post-hippy time & it was possible to combine dedication to a business with also having some fun along the way.

Unfortunately Goldfinger was a company held together by one company's products, Agfa-Gevaert, & we built the company on importing these into the UK starting in 1977, when Agfa Germany had abandoned monochrome over here. We must have done a good job, as a few years later Agfa UK came back in & pushed us aside.

Subsequently it was to be Silverprint, & we kept the base a lot broader, so we were never again reliant purely on one agency.
I moved on a few years ago, the current SP management operate pretty much along the same lines - some of the history went by the wayside, though. 

This is the link:

It works. It'll open in Google Docs and is fully downloadable.
Every home should have one.