Photo of the Month – July

Cathedral ConcertLeica M8.2
Leica Elmar-M 24mm f/3.8 ASPH
24mm, 1/20 Sec at f/4, ISO640
Post Processed in Adobe Lightroom CC2015.1 V6
On a MacPro, OS-X 10.10.4

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Holiday Highlights – Ness of Brodgar

MaeshoweIf your into archaeology, wildlife or even scuba diving, the Islands of Orkney are one of the best places in the world to visit.

For this this visit we concentrated on the archaeology and while we visited and entered the tombs of Maeshowe which was as spectacular as we remembered once I had managed to climb inside, and also the site of Skara Brae were the stone age (neolithic) homes are remarkably preserved.SkaraBrae


But for us the highlight of the trip was the Ness of Brodgar, this site was discovered just after our last visit ten years ago when the local land owner went to plough this field for the first time.  Immediately he hit stone and after the geo-physics had been done it was revealed that the whole site was covered with the remains of stone buildings.

For the last then years for the the eight weeks of summer they did at this site and discover more, its one of the great finds of prehistory in the world, a temple complex over five thousand years old.NessofBrodgar


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Orkney – Land of Rugged Coastlines & Neolithic Tombs

Orkney is a fantastic place to explore, if your into walking, wildlife, arts or crafts and especially history then there is something to see.

Orkney Explore-3The coastal scenery is just stunning, this shot is just a quick snapshot from my iPhone as we walked around one of the tiny uninhabited islands to visit an old viking settlement.

Orkney Explore-2Everywhere you have everything from stunning beaches to stark cliff’s, while we did not see any puffins this time there were plenty of cormorants and other sea birds.

Orkney Explore

In the first few days we visited the main towns and then went off and found the famous tombs of pre-history that Orkney is famous for.

Orkney Explore-5Some of them like the Tomb of the Eagles had a entrance only three feet high, lucky there a trolley which you could lie on and a rope to pull yourself along.

These early trips gave me lots of ideas for photographs and i’ll be revisiting them later on in the holiday with something a little better then an iPhone to photograph them better.




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Travelling to the Orkney Islands

Island Crossing-1-dogs

Every two to three years we visit some of the smaller islands that make up the British Isles. The term Great Britain is just the name used for the largest of the islands that make up the British Isles, but all the habitable islands and some of the uninhabited islands are well worth a visit.

Island Crossing-2

We took a couple of days to get up here but finally arrived at the top northern coast of Scotland. From here we took the car ferry to the main and largest Orkney Island. Its here where we will be stopping for about a week, using it as a base to visit three or four of the other main islands including at least one uninhabited island.

Island Crossing-3

As you can see from my snapshots the dogs and people had a good crossing over to the islands and so far the weather has been unusually fine for the Orkneys.

Island Crossing-Harbour

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Brora – Scarecrows

We are on our travels at the moment, our home, pets and chickens are being looked after by Caroline’s sister who is treating that as a holiday herself and from the sound of the chickens are keeping her entertained!

Are first major stop was Brora, a small village on the North East coast of Scotland, high-up above Inverness.

The village where we are stopping is having a Scarecrow festival and it seems the whole village has gotten involved.  I had a quick walk up and down the high street and snapped a few photographs with my iPhone.

ScareCrow-2 ScareCrow-3 ScareCrow-4 ScareCrow-5 ScareCrow-7 ScareCrow-8 ScareCrow-9 ScareCrow-11 ScareCrow

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What film on a film Friday

Leica M4 35mm Summicron

Leica M4 35mm Summicron

What film is a question now that many film photographers will argue over.

For colour I tend to shoot Fuji, with Velvia on large format being one of my favourites but tricky to use due to high contrast.

For Black & White i have generally stuck with Ilford and HP5+ rated at 400 ISO and have never used Kodak Tri X which many rave over.

So I have placed an order and got a pack of Tri X to have a go at.  It might be sometime before I show any of my work with it as my film use is only occasional but I look forward to giving it a go.

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Sony A7RII Reviews starting to appear

Sony A7RIIThe reviews are now starting to appear on the websites for the new Sony, its certainly got a killer spec and many are saying its a real D800 killer, though with the Sony habit of not using 14 bit none lossy RAW files unlike the Nikon D800 and Canon 5D I cannot see many people who do serious post production wanting to switch.

The big advantage is size, its only slightly bigger then a Leica M and being mirrorless you have the choice with adapters of lots of lens.

I keep wanting to like the Sony’s with there small size and high performance but the native high quality glass is significantly larger then micro four thirds or even Leica M glass, thus once you start to carry the glass you kind of have lost the advantage of the small body and might as well carry your D800/5D.

For now i’ll keep using my Leica M8 for my small format needs.


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Photo Trips – What to Pack

We have another photo trip coming up soon, off again to the Orkney Islands, so the thought again is what to packPhotoshop TouchThere is of course the general carry camera, which will be my iPhone and Leica.  Then its gets a little more difficult.  Standing stones and stone circles are on the island like the one above I photographed on Harris a few years ago with my Leica M8.  I would like to use Large or Medium Format, then there is the wildlife on the islands, so digital SLR with long lens, but you really do not want to be carrying too much up there.

The D800 is close to medium format in performance so that will be used for wildlife and where I would want to use medium format, leaving room for me to take the large format gear.

So it looks like it will be:

  • Leica M – carry everywhere camera
  • Nikon D800 – wildlife and landscape
  • Ebony – landscape


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Artisan Camera Straps

Leica M8 and Fuji XPro1Most of the straps that come with cameras are basic to say the least.  I have bought straps for all my cameras.

OpTechMy DSLR’s are big and heavy, I generally only use them for professional jobs and wildlife.  For all three of my DSLR’s I use Optech straps.  These straps are easily detachable for when I use the cameras on a tripod, and with there broad nature make the camera easy to carry and feel lighter on your shoulder.

For my Medium Format and Large Format cameras then its a case of no strap required, tripod use only, but for my Leica’s I tend to look out for nice, stylish artisan straps.

My current favourite is the Barton leather strap which while stylish and good looking is a very good strap for a light camera.

I am also looking out for a good quality leather wrist strap.


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Apple’s been busy with updates

If your an Apple household like ours then this week its been a busy week backing up our devices and applying the latest updates.

There was a new report recently of a new vulnerability found in the MacOS, in fact there was one recently that affected all devices with a USB controller.

Well this week we had patches for the Mac OS, the iPhone and the iPad.  We updated all our devices and we also had an iTunes update with a few nice improvements and bug fixes for Apple Music.OS X 10.10.5

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Thumbs Up EP-10S Titanium



If you have shot with a film camera with manual film wind on with good ergonomics you will know that the film handle really makes it easier and more secure to hold the camera.  For a number of years now the Thumbs Up company has been producing a range of add-ons to simulate the handling and improve your grip.

The new titanium model for the Leica M is certainly a piece of work and should I buy a Leica M it would be high on the list together with a wrist strap.

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