I’m Still Alive

It’s been a while and I’ve been busy busy busy, I’ve moved house, which was technically 2 houses at once, and changed job a little but so I’ve struggled to comprehend all that change coming at once.

In amongst all of that I’ve also been busy photographing stuff so here’s a semi-quick summary of what I’ve been up to …

Out with the old …

… in with the new and old/old old …
Moving House is Hellish

Refurbishment hell pending.


Mr. Fox

… a neighbour I didn’t expect, and here’s another one just down the road …


Big Cameras

The Beast, Contact Prints


… I’m lucky to have a decent amount of private garden space to play around in …


Scan 7

Film processing fun

Watch as I abuse Poundland’s great 200 speed Agfa colour film …

Hans Blix



‘Street Photography’
Street Photography

I now have a street only Flickr Account.





… yes, that’s a Leica Monocrom and no, it isn’t mine.




Resurrecting the Digital Casio IR Camera (sort of)

… I say ‘sort of’ because all I did was switch it on and realise if you tilt the screen a certain way you can sort of see the menu a little bit maybe …



Loads of GreySkies stuff
We now have the website: GreySkies; a Facebook page, who doesn’t; a Tumblr account with loads of posts already; and a Twitter account where we announce stuff and share pictures from.

We also have a Flickr page but that’s not ‘live’ yet. I’m sort of managing all of these myself to start with hoping other members will take over some of it; I’m already two blog posts down on the website already!

As you can see I’ve not been hanging about so it’s time to get back into this blog and it’ll probably start with the pounding I’ve been giving the Poundland Agfa film, pushing 200 speed colour film into a 1600 speed black and white film.

I hope those who have been following my blog or reading my posts have been well and I hope to chat about stuff soon.

Kind regards,



Whatup Cartogs!?

Yup, I’m still too busy to take pictures the normal way but instead I’ve become a Cartog.

A Cartog or Car-tographer (not the map guys) or Car-Photographer is a lazy bastard that can’t be bothered to stop to look for pictures but instead opts to blast from the car.

I did recently see a cool book by a guy who made portraits of folk driving from a mounted camera on his car in the 70′s, it was ace, so this is clearly not an original idea.

Most of the time I’m framing as best I can with the 50mm Switar C-Mount ƒ1.4 cine lens, which isn’t easy because of the crop factor and stiff focus wheel, but other times it’s RAT-A-TAT-TAT (the machine gun noise of random fire)!

Sometimes random fire can be a positive lucky experience with results that almost look deliberately composed like the two photos above (that was luck).

Sometimes random fire can offer you a new composition, it’s kinda fugly and weird, but the more I look I think – yeah, I like it for some reason or another, like the five above.

Obviously, the hit rate of random fire is low but with a digital camera you can experiment, I’d never do that with any of my film cameras.

The reason these kind of pictures are invading my photo stream on Flickr and my blog is because I’ve changed my work pattern, I’m either starting late and working late or vice versa often arriving at work around 7am-ish or leaving around 6pm.

All I see is darkness with the odd slice of grey in between but hopefully sooner rather than later daylight will stretch out it’s long glowing fingers across the skies like fish fingers of hope.

The best part about making these pictures is that I’ve forced myself to let go of control or: “How I learned to stop worrying and love the blur” and I think that’s important for me.

It’s important for me to drive down a quiet country road at 7am randomly firing flash out my car window at unsuspecting trees and bushes with a wide-open ƒ1.4 lens on a digital camera that can barely render an understandable image at ISO 3200.

It’s important to experiment, it’s important to let go, it’s important to have ‘fun‘….


- there’s more


- and more


- still more



And that’s that.

I’ll be moving house at the end of the month so there will be very few updates here and to Flickr until my internet gets connected on the 5th of March.



Dadaism, a nihilistic art movement (especially in painting) that flourished in Europe early in the 20th century; based on irrationality and negation of the accepted laws of beauty


A Collective Experience

GreySkies, a photography collective based in Edinburgh, I’ve been hinting at this for a number of months now but we’ve only just decided to go live.

Our manifesto reads:

GreySkies is a small group of Edinburgh-based photographers with a diverse approach to photography.

Our aim is to collectively develop our photography over time, work together on themes, sharing our work with a wide audience via the internet, exhibitions and other mediums.

Photograph by Paul Cruickshank

Photograph by Paul Cruickshank

Photograph by Paul Cruickshank

Note that although our base theme is street photography we don’t outrightly declare the collective as just about street photography, we all have other photographic pursuits we want to follow. We were also keen to have everyone in the collective living local, the world is large but lets talk about one place and see how it looks.

Photograph by Simon Kidd

Photograph by Simon Kidd

Although we came together through a common interest we do have our different ways.

Photograph by Martin Mutch

Photograph by Martin Mutch

Our approaches to the genre are quite different as well, we can be up close and personal or distant and contemplative and also quite surreal.

Photograph by Gareth Bragdon

Photograph by Gareth Bragdon

A couple of us are still film enthusiasts spending time developing film using traditional processes and printing techniques.

Photograph by Louis Brown

Photograph by Louis Brown

In the next few months we will be adding additional portfolios and projects with an aim to blog about exhibitions or events we attend so watch this space ….

Photograph by Gavin Bragdon

Photograph by Gavin Bragdon

…. anything can happen.

le fin
Anyone revisiting this blog may notice something a little different, the collectives name. We decided after a few days of chatter that we should change the name and felt that ‘GreySkies‘ describes our Edinburgh quite well and helps explains our use of flash.

The Birds

Being out and about photographing during the day is a rarity for me these days so when I had the chance a few weeks ago I jumped at it.

I didn’t do that well, missing photo opportunities due to rust and hesitation but that’s what happens when you don’t do a thing for a period of time; I can barely remember anything about Exchange 2003 despite studying it for some time.

I had my Miranda camera out for the fist time with some colour Kodak film yet to be developed, though not it’s looking good since the meter wasn’t working so well for my B&W film.

I didn’t take much with the B&W film as it was the end of the day but Gareth, pictured above suggestively sucking on a lolly, was more prolific.

He took this awesome photo of the guy with the falcon …

Photo by Gareth Bragdon

Photo by Gareth Bragdon

… and this piper character who was crossing the road and put on a show for him …

Photo by Gareth Bragdon

Photo by Gareth Bragdon

Gareth is far more conservative than I when it comes to posting on Flickr and doesn’t blog about his work either so when I was at his flat and saw this Lightroom library I was astounded to see so many brilliant photos that haven’t made it online even published as ‘Friends Only’.

It’ll come as no surprise that I say that, if you’re into street photography and street portraiture, you should follow Gareth on Flickr.

Until next time …


No Sex Please, Miranda

Introducing Miranda, an £8 camera with an ƒ2, 50mm prime though pictured above with my £5, 28mm prime I bought at a fair.

I wasn’t sure if I would buy it but when I looked it up online the internets, all of them, hinted it might be using the K-Mount bayonet lens. After a bit of fiddling in the junk-shop with my k1000, checking the mount, and a suspicious eyeballing from the proprietor I bought it.

A wee bit more digging after I bought it I discovered it wasn’t really a Miranda at all but a rebadged Cosina but I didn’t mind, I now had a 50mm prime for my K1000 and a neat little Pentax-ish body.

I love Miranda’s petit body, I’m normally into bigger curvy cameras but I’m happy to try something new every now and then. You can see in the photo above the difference in size between the Miranda and the others especially the K1000 and the FED but it’s also noticeably smaller than the FM2.

I took the bugger out on the road and filled a roll of Kodak colour then onto some home-rolled HP5 plus rated at 1600, if only I knew how bad the light meter was …. that colour roll is bound to be terrible.

I said it once but I’ll say it again, I love the small body and how easy it is to manoeuvre especially with the 28mm Vivitar, you almost don’t need to focus.

The camera body has a neat shutter lock similar to but not as slick as my FM2, it has an OK shutter sync, up to 1/125, which is not too bad but not as fast as the FM2′s 1/250.

I was heading out to see James Pearson’s amazing darkroom with Iain Kendall but before that I popped down by Leith to get a few odds ‘n’ ends from storage and took a few photos.

It’s quite a thing to see so much car junk in one place but even more bizarre to see it right next to the road like a harsh reminder to the other cars to suck it up.

It certainly gave me an opportunity to look for an interesting image. I liked the photo above because it’s just this wall of shit with a wee slither of houses; like the garbage is swallowing us up.

I especially liked the comment Flickr user Stephen Lawson left saying “it’s like a bush or a cloud of scrap”.

Anyway, after all that I took a few in James’ darkroom …

I believe he has actually thought of everything because it’s just perfect though it’s not totally finished, there’s a couple of shelves to go up but it looks fabulous.

Iain and I were lucky to be able to have a play with his 5×4 De Vere enlarger and make a couple of prints and for me to use proper techniques rather than just guessing everything.

So the conclusion … the Miranda camera is a nice little thing despite the light meter not being reliable.


Life is Boring

Not always but it has been for every journey to work I’ve made recently.

Since I’m currently driving to work I’ve seen some boring sights.

Almost daily photos of the lamp lit life of a city, very rarely do I see the sun but it does happen.

It’s the look of boredom on everyones faces that’s revealing, no one wants to be here.

The sun reveals itself …

… but not for long …

Once the planet spins out of these dark mornings and nights I’ll maybe start making some stops to make some large format film photos but right now it’s just too dark and dingy.

Typical Scenario

It’s late in the day and it manages to briefly fall asleep during the day.
This, of course, means war!

Escaping FaceTime with my parents …

Refusing to comply with the order to brush the teeth …

Finally, it gives in …

The war continues through story time …

… but that’s another story.

le fin

Alex Webb

I saw this on my Tumblr dashboard, a post from Eric Kim about Alex Webb working for Magnum in a Korean market.

At a base level it’s interesting to see how someone like him works a scene or see how he interacts, though through an interpreter, but it’s also interesting to hear him talk about the pictures.

It’s worth a watch.

Here’s part 2 …



Christmas 2013

Christmas is instantly more bare able when you’ve got a crazy child to spice things up.




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