In the Forest


The stuff of imagination?

Originals taken with Rollei SL66 medium format camera on slide film.  In my naivety I scanned them with too high a dpi/ppi  and each file is over 600Mbytes, a wee bit too big to manipulate easily on my humble pc.


St Hilda’s Abbey, Whitby

St. Hilda’s Abbey, Whitby, North Yorkshire, England.

This is ‘the’ classic photograph to take of this place.  This taken with my Rollei SL66 medium format camera and the negative scanned.


Fun with a Tube

Every so often I like to have a play with pinhole photography – not with the commercially available holes and attachments but things I make myself.  I’ve had a crack at doing some with my digital camera, but to be honest, it’s more trouble than it’s worth.  So I’ve tended to stick with film.

My original objective was to create a gizzmo that would fit on the front of my Rollei in such a way that I could attach/detach at will – thus I could drop a pinhole shot into the middle of a film if I wanted.  I wanted use my Rollei as it has a significant advantage because using the waist level finder and a dark cloth over my head I can just about see the image of the subject I’m taking reasonably well.

As you may know, in theory, the pinhole can be any distance from the film plane, the further away the larger the image of the subject but the longer the exposure needs to be.  Okay in theory, but practice?  I had to give it a try.  So I put a pinhole at the front of a parcel tube which I then attached to the front of my camera.

In the picture, the front of the ‘lens’ is supported by a lighting stand with a catapult taped to the top to give a u-shaped support.  Trying to maintain the tube/camera/film plain was a real nightmare.

A couple of examples of the output.

‘Standard’ Pinhole to Film Distance

‘Telephoto’ Pinhole to Film Distance

Standard – the arrow points to the ‘target’

Kirk Deighton Church

I’ll leave you to consider the results, but the tube clearly exhibits a lack of contrast (in part I believe due to scatter in the tube). Also the Church picture is suffering from a slight light leak or glare.

I’m sorry I can’t give you details of exposure – I calculate each exposure using a meter and conversion tables, but the long tube ones will be pushing towards 15 to 20 minutes.

It’s unlikely that I will be making any more attempts, it’s just too much faffing about – trying to line things up, especially on uneven ground – the slightest out of alignment and the image quality/light level drops significantly.




“Hence I have suggested that some knowledge of the propriety of composition is desirable, not so much that all our pictures may be surpassingly well composed as that we may keep safely clear of bad composition.”

A. Horsley Hinton
Practical Pictorial Photography Part One (1902)


I was asked recently what ‘catchlight’ meant in portraits.  Trying to describe it seemed to be a bit cumbersome so I thought I’d add these two portraits to illustrate – without and with.

Without catchlights

With catchlights

My model here, my daughter, has quite light irises so lack of a catchlight is not so bad.  However many subjects have really dark deep eyes and it helps to lift the eye from a black disk with just a spec of a light.

As matter of interest, these taken on medium format (120) black and white film, negative scan.  The original images were an exploration of portrait/fashion photography and this is a crop of full photograph – I suspect some will be able to guess from which image and photographer I took my inspiration.


St Benets Abbey, Norfolk England

I saw this yacht coming up the river as I paused to take a picture of the Abbey.  Was it going to come up this far, it could easily turn round and return?  Would it pass ‘advantageously’?  I decided to wait and see.

My camera was a Rolleiflex SL66 with the standard fixed 80mm lens with colour slide film (hence the edging), so it wasn’t a question of banging off a number of frames.  Wait. Wait. Wait.  Kerlunk as I fired the shutter.

Unfortunately, the sail hadn’t quite filled from his tack/gybe, however, I was pretty pleased with the result.