A weekend in Dumfries & Galloway..

Last weekend I spent a few days just over the border in Scotland, in Dumfries and Galloway. I spent a lot of that time on the Pontoon at Kippford photographing the beautiful estuary; Urr Water with my friend the grey heron and on the last morning I went out at 5am I was rewarded with a lovely pink sunrise.

Pre-Dawn at Kippford Marina
Sunrise, Kippford

Sweetheart Abbey (remains), New Abbey

Creepy Gingerbread Cottage, East Loch Ken
New Galloway. Lovely tea room The Smithy and Art Gallery CatStrand.

We spent a whole afternoon at the Red Kite feeding centre at Bellymack Hill Farm, West of Loch Ken at Laurieston. Red Kites have a wing span of about 70 inches, so imagine the sight and sound of approximately 60 to 70 birds arriving for their afternoon treat of chicken carcasses. They flew in circle formation and slowly dropped lower in the sky above our heads until in sequence they all dropped out out of the sky and dived to grab some food on the feeding platform. You can follow the Galloway Kite Trail around Loch Ken, which is signposted for tourists.

Red Kites
Red Kites diving
Kippford Boat House
Kippford Boat House
From Port o’Warren looking south to The Lake District Mountains.
Sandyhills Bay – Solway Firth.

Two years sitting on a Ridge..Part 2

The Autumn and Winter months up at Arthur’s Pike can be very windy, so windy and cold I cannot use my cameras at all, my fingers become so numb I have to pop my hands up inside my fleece sweater to bring back the circulation. The Bracken has completely died back after its beautiful russet colours in the Autumn and the open ground on Barton Fell reminds me of those wide American plains in cowboy movies.

The light especially during a weather change is truly beautiful. I have sat up here and watched huge black and furious weather move in from the west and I’ve walked back along the ridge and over the open ground before it even reached me, thats a really lovely thing to watch. The snow and ice up on Helvelln’s summit hang around until the end of May at least and I don’t dare go up onto Barton Fell without hat and gloves until early June. I really want to get up there during a very snowy period like we had back in the winter of 2010. I’m sure Ullswater and the surrounding fells would make a stunning image.

I dont tend to hang around much at the summit because of the cold sometimes, although star jumps help keep me warm if I want to wait out some time. I’m often visited by crows up here. I lost a lens cap up here once, it slid down the very steep side of the ridge and there it remains forever.


The Spring and Summer months are much warmer and the colour palette changes to warmer hues. The thing I notice as soon as Spring arrives is the smells, a warm aromatic smell, the sweet smell of the yellow flowers on the Gorse. There are a few Cuckoos in Barton Wood below the ridge and I hear them call out especially in June. The grass smells very sweet and the purple flowering heather in August is delicious. I have to be careful laying in the heather as there are so many bees buzzing around too. I can sometimes hear the laughter from the people camping at the many campsites to the east of the lake, their voices carrying along the water.

The view as I sit on the south ridge of Ullswater is due north, so a brilliant panoramic view of the Northern fells and Blencathra from here. I always think it is a great vantage point for the long view up the lake and the recession of the fells around it. There are a few other vantage points in the Lakes where you get that lovely fading recession of mountains, but you feel so close to it up on this ridge. Blencathra has a small saddle shape on the top, hence its old name Saddleback. The small mounded shape hill in the near distance is Little Mell Fell.

Mid September heralds cool winds and the arrival of Autumn here and the green bracken begins to explode into shades of russet. Sometimes when I walk off the Ridge at dusk, I swear it is the most peaceful and beautiful place in the world.


Two years sitting on a Ridge..Part 1

I looked back over my photo catalog and realised I’ve been going up to the same ridge, walking out over Barton Fell, up to Arthur’s Pike since the winter of 2014. These images are from an evening back in late June of this year. In the next post I’ll show you my very favourite historical images from this ridge. As a photographer and nature lover I enjoy the repetition of going to the same vantage point high above Ullswater.

I start out near Pooley Bridge and walk out across the open fell, passing The Cock Pit, an ancient stone circle. The light is really beautiful here, even in the dead of winter I always love this part of the walk, It takes me about an hour to get to the foot of the ridge itself just by Barton Wood. Then a steep short climb up and I take the sheep path right on the edge of the ridge. I use the safer inside path during the winter months, when the wind can knock you over. There are always sheep here, sometimes they chase me along the path, stamping their feet at me.

Barton Fell is pretty boggy all year around but there is always lots of Bog Cotton here and on the ridge itself in August, the heather is in full flower. Sometimes I lay here and watch the Ullswater Steamer sailing up and down the lake. My objective is always the cairn by Arthur’s Pike, I looked this up on the OS map and its name is actually Whinny Crag. Sometimes I walk on a little bit further and watch the water pouring down Swarthbeck Gill.

In all the time I’ve been here, I have only bumped into humans on two occasions and that suits me just fine. It’s so rare to find very quiet fells in the Lake District. If I have my head torch packed, I will sit up there until the sun sets with my flask of tea and a warm blanket. I have started to take my Hasselblad up here to try and catch some of that lovely light and will carry on doing that through this coming winter for a project I am going to do.



Nyhavn, Copenhagen…

It wouldn’t be fair to do a photo essay on Copenhagen and not cover Nyhavn, the beating heart of the City and for good reason, its extraordinary beautiful, colourful and lots of fun. We stayed a few streets away from Nyhavn and found ourselves here for an early breakfast, fantastic Italian food and one afternoon we sat in the small square at the end of the canal and listened to a busker with his electro-acoustic guitar and amp, entertain us in the sunshine while we ate a delicious tub of frozen yogurt from the international market across the street. It’s always busy here unless you arrive at breakfast time, just before the first canal tour begins for the day.

A great place to stay and enjoy fresh seafood, a glass of rose wine, listen to Jazz music and of course soak up some of that Danish Hygge. In the evenings the restaurant staff bring out patio heaters and warm blankets for patrons, I thought that was really nice.

Dug out by Swedish prisoners of war from the Dano-Swedish War around 1670, this canal leads out into Copenhagen’s greater harbour area. We took the canal tour a few times, it was a great way to get around the City. There is a large red house on the south side of the canal which was the home of Hans Christian Anderson (last image).


The strangest person in the world…

I used to think I was the strangest person in the world, But then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too.

Well, I hope that is you are out there and read this and know that, yes, Its true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you – Frida Kahlo


Home Developed B&W Film…

On Tuesday morning I had taken my Holga along with a roll of Ilford HP5 film to work with me, I walked around the churchyard opposite the office on my lunch break and shot all 12 exposures, so I already had a roll of film to process when I ordered my processing equipment. I ordered the equipment starter pack and the chemicals starter pack from AG Photographic online. So today I had the house to myself after lunch, I unpacked all the boxes and began the process. This is my first time ever processing film.


I had a suspected fried roll of Ilford Pan F film that had gone accidentally through my hold luggage recently. So I sacrificed this roll to practice loading the reel. I made sure the reel was expanded to fit a 120mm roll of film. I peeled off the backing paper and loaded the reel a few times in daylight, then with my eyes closed. Finally I put the test film and reel inside the changing bag. My XL changing bag is by Pixel Peeper (Amazon), its double zipped and measures 1metre sq. I stood a wooden spoon up inside the bag to create a little space. I found it easy to load the reel, the only thing I struggled with was feeling the difference between the film and the backing paper, as both were very glossy.

I do have a broom cupboard under my stairs, I sat inside a few days ago and it is pitch black when the door is closed. It would make a great place to load the reel and tank. One problem – Spiders!


There was a lot of math involved in getting the dilution of the chemicals exact. Making sure the developer was at 2o degrees and setting my iPhone stopwatch to 11 minutes. I thought the chemicals would be very smelly, but they weren’t. I did feel a bit dizzy when the developer was in the tank, but quickly realised I was holding my breath in one minute increments. I gently rocked the tank every minute for the full 11 minutes.


So the process was followed: 11 mins develop – Stop – Fix and then a final long wash. Every different variable of film and developer has a different recipe, I was using Ilford HP5 and my developer is Paranol S.


I took the reel apart and there they were: 12 exposures…I need to invest in a few airtight plastic bottles so that I can keep my stop and fix solutions, I did pour them away on this occasion. Never mind – lesson learned. On the final wash I added a wetting agent which takes any film off the surface of the water. Making sure your negatives are super clean. My Dad told me that he used to add one tiny drop of washing up liquid to his final wash.


I took the negatives upstairs and hung them in my bathroom for about 90 minutes using the weighted clips in the pack, then I cut and scanned them using my new Epson V600 scanner. The pictures are typical soft Holga images, but I really wanted to illustrate that they were processed and correct. I did it, I made negatives.


Paris on Film – Part 3

For my final set of images I’d like to show you a few shots from our visit to Le Petit Palais, we visited especially to see the temporary art exhibition of George Desvallieres 1861-1950. The exhibition and the permanent collections were beautiful and so was the Courtyard Garden in the centre of this magnificent building. All shot on my Nikon FM2n using Kodak Portra 400 film.

Le Petit Palais – Courtyard Garden
Le Petit Palais – Courtyard Garden
Le Petit Palais – Courtyard Garden
Le Petit Palais – Parquet floors
La Galerie Vivienne, built in 1823
Vintage Fiat 500 – The Seine Embankment
Magasin de Chaussures – Pont Neuf

Paris on film – Part 1

I have just returned from a wonderful five day Spring break in Paris. This first set of images are a selection from the area directly around the hotel that we stayed in by the Palais Royal, between the 1st and 2nd arrondissement.

All photographs were shot using my Nikon FM2n, colour using Kodak Portra 400 and a few black & white images using Kodak Tri-X.

An early Parisian sunrise from the Hotel Balcony
The local bakery – Petit Dejeuner
Le Pain
Olive tree and pink door – Palais Royal
A new red Fiat 500 at the Palais Royal
Palais Royal
Magnolia at the Jardin du Palais Royal
Tulips at the Jardin du Palais Royal



If you have been following my 365 Project, you will know that I have been out hiking all weekend. Yesterday was a much longer walk and I got up to the area at the foot of the Helvellyn Headwall near Red Tarn. I wanted to show you some of the images that I shot at the top. The snow was about three foot deep here and the windchill was incredible. It took me about four hours to get up and then back down into the valley in the fresh, soft snow.

I was doing star jumps at the top waiting for the sun to burst through the clouds and illuminate the snow.  My favourite image was the one at the top of the post at Hole-In-The-Wall, with the moody sky brooding over Ullswater.

Striding Edge to the left, Catstycam to the right
Looking towards Raise
Working my way back down into the Valley

My 365 Project..


In addition to writing this blog I have started a 365 Photography Project. I’m really looking forward to this as I always carry a camera with me and make images every day, but these images don’t find their way onto this page or even my Hard Drive to be honest. They are observations of the things I see in my day to day life. If you would like to follow along please take a look on this link or the link at the top of my blog header. www.helens365journal.wordpress.com

Drive thru Photography…

20160102-DSCF4658I wanted to show you these images which were shot from a moving vehicle as we drove towards Thingvellir NP. I’m sorry that on some of the shots there is window glare, but not to show you the beauty of the Icelandic tundra would be a great pity. The image above has a little story; the farmer who had just bought this land and small farmhouse awoke to find a hot spring on his land, such is the active nature of this volcanic Island. This in Iceland is akin to winning the lottery as now he can sell the energy to his neighbours and earn an income from his land. I loved the recession of the telegraph poles and blue & gold is such a beautiful combination in shots.

There was sadly no chance of stopping along this route, the snow was at least 6ft deep as you stepped off the road and we came upon dozens of cars here which had simply slipped from the road into deep snow. Pity…

20160102-DSCF464720160102-DSCF4650 20160102-DSCF4635 20160102-DSCF463420160102-DSCF4686

Trapped in a Perfect World…


Inside the snow globe on my father’s desk, there was a penguin wearing a red-and-white-striped scarf. When I was little my father would pull me into his lap and reach for the snow globe. He would turn it over, letting all the snow collect on the top, then quickly invert it. The two of us watched the snow fall gently around the penguin. The penguin was alone in there, I thought, and I worried for him. When I told my father this, he said, “Don’t worry, Susie; he has a nice life. He’s trapped in a perfect world.

The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

20160102-DSCF4392 20160101-DSCF4272 20151230-DSCF3936 20151229-DSCF3646 20151229-DSCF3594

South Coast, Iceland…


During My trip to Iceland I went out as far as Vik on the South Coast, about 110 miles east. The weather was terrible as we headed through a blizzard out of Reykjavik across the Mountain Pass and onto Highway 1, the tail end of Storm Frank. The wind was so strong that the famous waterfalls were blowing water up into the air instead of the usual stream of water coming down to earth. We drove to Vik and ate lunch, later walking along the black beach at Vik and enjoying a view of the Troll Rocks. I love the contrast of the straw coloured grass and the black sand, its very striking. Then a short drive over to Reynisfjara Beach, the weather was now considerably better and I got some lovely warm crepuscular rays across the Atlantic.

Our hike across the Sólheimajökull Glacier had been cancelled on this day due to the adverse weather, but I still took a short walk up to the glacial tongue, this is a very beautiful area and if you have the opportunity to visit Iceland, it would be a pity to miss out on such a awe inspiring natural wonder. It’s a very quiet area, with only the occasional creaking of the ice.

A quick stop at Skógafoss Waterfall and by now the light was fading. My last shot of the day was a wild horse standing in the snowy shadow of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Despite the ever changing weather in Iceland, it was a wonderful and memorable day out.


Thingvellir N.P. Iceland…

Then little Gerda said the Lord’s Prayer; the cold was so intense that she could see her own breath; it came out of her mouth like smoke. Her breath became thicker and thicker, and took the form of little angels who grew larger and larger as soon as they touched the ground and when Gerda had finished her prayer a whole legion stood around her. The angels stroked her hands and feet, so that she felt the cold less, and she hastened on to the Snow Queen’s castle.

― Hans Christian Andersen, The Snow Queen

20160102-DSCF474820160102-DSCF4767 20160102-DSCF4794 20160102-DSCF4764 20160102-DSCF4779 20160102-DSCF4770 20160102-DSCF4759 20160102-DSCF4755 20160102-DSCF4784 20160102-DSCF4800 20160102-DSCF4752

I’ve gone to the Dark Slide…

I still have my 35mm film camera and a Fuji Instax mini for taking instant film at parties. I love my Fuji’s (three), I love their film simulation abilities. So it was only a matter of time before I took a peek over the fence again at film photography. I’ve bought a beautiful 1977 Hasselblad 500 c/m with Zeiss 2.8/80mm lens.  Despite its 38 years it is in perfect working condition.  I’ve given it a really good clean and even found a Hasselblad lens cap and leather neck strap on eBay. Immediately the following morning after its arrival I went out into my garden after the first snowfall of the year and began taking shots.

Hasselblad Hasselblad.

These are my first ever four shots. As well as setting the aperture, you have to dial in a EV value, so I downloaded a light meter onto my iPhone. This works very well and the exposure turned out much better than expected. It may take a little time to get used to the split prism focusing. All shots taken on Kodak Portra 160 and scanned by the lab – No digital editing on these images. The quality of film is just so dewy and creamy – I cannot wait to get out again with my Swedish lovely.

Hasselblad 500 c/mHasselblad 500 c/mHasselblad 500 c/mHasselblad 500 c/m


Its going to break your heart…

Oh my God, what if you wake up some day and you’re 65 or 75 and you never got your memoir or novel written;

or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy;

or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life,

of imagination and radical silliness and staring into space like when you were a kid?

Its going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.



A walk in the Woods…

I wanted to share these images with you, I take my pup here for her exercise. You can see a picture of her (last one). This Forest is a five minute walk from my home. I don’t usually share such day to day photos, but the changing colour of the bracken and the beautiful soft light was just to good to keep to myself. I have some really good presets from Lightroom which are from an online company called Pretty Presets. This preset is called Milk & Honey. It adds a touch of warmth and knocks back the contrast a little. It was perfect for these shots. I’m lazy in post, I enjoy being out with the camera more than processing.

Beacon Forest Beacon Forest Beacon Forest Beacon Forest

I love shots like the one below, that moment of quiet sunlight. I just love images like these.

Beacon Forest

This is the apple of my eye – My pup Honey. She is Cocker Spaniel (orange roan)…


The most important piece of camera gear….

So many people think cameras and lenses are getting better.

They are.

But cameras are stupid no matter how ‘great’ they are.

They know nothing, they see nothing, they don’t come with vision.

There isn’t a Decisive Moment indicator light in the viewfinder.

There is no Avedon button on the back.

The most important piece of gear for a photographer is their brain.

– Zack Arias


Salem – The Witch City….


My last full day in Boston, I decided to take the trip up to Salem to hear the real story of the Witch Trials that took place here in 1692,  a very sad and troubling story. Salem was great fun, I had my fortune read and enjoyed the decoration that retailers and residents go to the trouble of maintaining for tourists. I loved the Halloween shops and Wiccan boutiques. I can imagine from 1st October when the town starts to celebrate Halloween that it would be a great time to visit. There was a little more victorian feel to the architecture here. After all the spooky goings on suprisingly I slept like a baby that evening..he he he…

Zombie Tee shirt
Zombie Tee shirt
Shopping in Salem
Shopping in Salem
Front Door - Salem
Front Door – Salem

Salem Witch Museum

Door decor - The House of the Seven Gables
Door decor – The House of the Seven Gables
Curb appeal - Salem
Curb appeal – Salem
The House of the Seven Gables
The House of the Seven Gables
Front Door - Salem
Front Door – Salem

I left my heart in Maine…

Hampton Beach, New Hampshire
Heading further North – Hampton Beach, New Hampshire
Dingy by Nubble Light Lighthouse
Dingy by Nubble Light Lighthouse, York, Maine
Looking out from Nubble Lighthouse
Looking out from Nubble Lighthouse. York, Maine

I mentioned that one of the highlights from my trip to New England was my time on Martha’s Vineyard, the second had to be the day I took a trip up North along the Maine Coast. We travelled as far as Kennebunkport which was lovely. There is a lovely laid back, Outdoorsy feel to Maine.  I could have stayed, seriously I was about to buy a Chevy Truck. Just ship my puppy over and I’m going to stay and become a Mainer.

Next time I’m here I’d love to travel up to Portland and visit the Acadia National Park. Always nice to save something for a return visit.

Lobster signage, Kennebunkport
Lobster signage, Kennebunkport
Blue Hydrangeas as seen all along the New England Coast - they thrive in sandy soil.
Blue Hydrangeas as seen all along the New England Coast – they thrive in sandy soil.
Kennebunkport, Maine
Kennebunkport, Maine
Kennebunkport, Maine
Kennebunkport, Maine
Lobster Buoys, Kennebunkport
Lobster Buoys, Kennebunkport
Kennebunkport, Maine
Kennebunkport, Maine
Lobster dinner, Kennebunkport
Lobster dinner, Kennebunkport

Martha’s Vineyard…

Island Queen ferry to Oak Bluffs
Island Queen ferry to Oak Bluffs

Probably one of the highlights of this trip was the day I spent on the beautiful Island of Martha’s Vineyard. I jumped on the early minibus down to Falmouth on Cape Cod and from there took the ferry over to Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard (30 mins). This place was just beautiful and reminded me of the Jim Carey movie ‘Truman Show’ where he lived in the perfect town. Martha Vineyard was just postcard beautiful. This is the location for the filming of the original JAWS movie… I took the Island tour to investigate right around the Island and was surprised by how much farmland and how many ranches were on the Island. Our guide said that they loved the annual fair, where they would bake and bring their home grown produce. I would love to have had time to explore Edgartown as that looked beautiful and we only drove through and around for about 15 mins. I really did pray that the ferry didn’t arrive that night to take me back..I could have happily stayed for one more day, one week, forever..

Oak Bluffs Beach
Oak Bluffs Beach
Gingerbread houses, Oak's Bluff
Gingerbread houses, Oak’s Bluff
Now this looked like a great day out...
Now this looked like a great day out…
Rocker, Gingerbread Houses
Rocker, Gingerbread Houses
Oak Bluffs Pier
Oak Bluffs Pier
Gay Head Cliffs, Aquinnah
Gay Head Cliffs, Aquinnah
White Church, Oak Bluffs
White Church, Oak Bluffs
Chili Dog, Chilmark
Chili Dog, Chilmark
Lobster at Chilmark
Lobster at Chilmark
Red Door, Chilmark
Red Door, Chilmark

Cape Cod…

Hyannis Harbour

The first tour I had booked on was a trip to the Southern end of the Peninsula, to Hyannis. When I was there I visited the JFK Memorial Park and took a boat trip out across the harbour which gave us great views over the Kennedy Complex. The weather was really picking up now and was perfect for sailing. I stopped at the small town of Sandwich on the way back to Boston and had good hour here, walking around and looking at the shingle houses and Cranberry bogs.

Hyannis Harbour
Hyannis Mansion
Cedar Shingles, Hyannis
Mansion, Sandwich
Provincetown Book Shop
Provincetown Book Shop

A few days later I was back again on my way to Cape Cod, this time to the North end, the tip of Cape Cod. I took the Fast Ferry over from Boston Harbour which took exactly 90 mins (Boston Harbour Ferries). I was very lucky that I spotted some spouts about a mile or so from the neck of Provincetown Harbour and was greeted by four whales. How lucky was that..?  Provincetown is a lovely town, I walked up and down Commercial Street looking in all the art galleries and home design shops. Ate some great banana pancakes and took Art’s Dune Tour out onto the beach (spotted a seal).

Shopping on Commercial Street
Shopping on Commercial Street
White Church, Commercial Street
White building, Commercial Street
Timber House, Commercial Street

I treat myself to an evening on Cape Cod – It had been a destination on my Bucket List for too long. I had made a reservation at The Salt House Inn, Provincetown. I’m so pleased I stayed, it was gorgeous. I then spent the following day looking around the neighbourhood before taking the ferry back to Boston.

Salt House Inn, Provincetown, Cape Cod
Salt House Inn, Provincetown, Cape Cod
Salt House Inn, Provincetown, Cape Cod
Salt House Inn, Provincetown, Cape Cod

Boston, The City…


Just arrived home from my solo 10 day trip to Boston & Cape Cod. I had an amazing time, the weather was fantastic and the light was great. I flew into Boston and to kick start my trip I grabbed a cab to the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion to see The Scorpions and Queensryche in concert.  I also squeezed in a second gig to see Death Cab for Cutie and Explosions in the Sky (Oh come on, I’m a country girl in the Bright Lights). Now I love maps and I like to get the lay of the land/city when I arrived, I went to the 50th floor of the Prudential Centre (The SkyWalk) to take in the view of Downtown Boston. There was still some morning mist hanging around, but it made for a much better shot.

Back Bay Area
Back Bay Area
Boston Skyline by night
Boston Skyline by night

One night I took a sunset tour of Boston Harbour on an old schooner.

This trip was organised by ‘The Liberty Fleet of Tall Ships’ and is highly recommended.

Boston Sewer
Boston Sewer, Acorn Street
School bus
School bus, Chinatown

I did lots of tours out of the city, so my first day and my last day in Boston I was free to wander around downtown. I loved the Beacon Hill neighbourhood and made sure I got to walk over the Common to photograph around this area.  Boston having such a large and thriving harbour area was really fundamental to how Bostonians live, they are gravitate to the water, sailing, taking ferries out to the Islands, eating seafood and and jogging (when it got cooler in the evenings) around the harbour paths.

Quincy Market
Quincy Market
Ladder 24
Ladder 24, Boston
Boston Common
Boston Common
Boston Common
Boston Common
Post Office, Beacon Hill
Post Office, Beacon Hill
Shopping, Beacon Hill
Shopping, Beacon Hill
Acorn Street, Beacon Hill
Acorn Street, Beacon Hill


Nature always wins….

Ross Sands

I do not live happily or comfortably
With the cleverness of our times.
The talk is all about computers,
The news is all about bombs and blood.
This morning, in the fresh field,
I came upon a hidden nest.
It held four warm, speckled eggs.
I touched them.
Then went away softly,
Having felt something more wonderful
Than all the electricity of New York City.

-Mary Oliver

Ross Sands

Ross Sands Ross Sands Ross Sands

I’ve gone to the mirrorless side …

My Fujifilm gear

I don’t usually get my technical pixel counting head on, I prefer to be image & art focused, but recently something happened and I feel it warranted a post. When I first started out in photography about six or seven years ago I bought a DX (Cropped sensor) Nikon DSLR and so began the holy grail of working towards a full format camera. Only about 15 months ago I bought a Fujifilm X100s and loved it, I mean REALLY loved it. I shot exclusively with that camera for more than a year and felt so guilty as my (new) FX Nikon was sitting gathering dust at home. But I learned so much about exposure and ISO and shutter speed by using the Fuji, by using the dials instead of endless menus and I was producing really lovely images.

So a few weeks ago I decided to take both cameras out and shoot some images, nothing terribly scientific, no photographing zig zags; shooting RAW on both cameras and see if there was a shocking difference. I kept the settings very similar and off I went up the fellside. The Nikon was going to produce better quality images, it was a no brainer, I mean wasn’t it ?? Only, the Fuji actually was better, the colour was definitely better, the skies were full of detail on the Fuji images. Well I could have fallen off the mountain, seriously that Fuji X100s was a game changer for me. Then I read up about the many enthusiasts and Pro’s who have made the leap from DSLR’s and who had gone mirrorless, there was photography after all, long before DSLR’s came on the scene. This is a beautiful article by Will Neder click here.

Now this may not be for everyone and I honestly think you could have the most expensive fantastic camera in the world, but if it feels intimidating, it doesn’t feel right, if you aren’t getting the images you want from it, then it is very a poor camera indeed. If you love shooting high action shots you are going to find the slightly slower AF systems on mirrorless cameras a tiny bit slower. But I’m a slow shooter, I like to plan it out a little and take my time, sometimes spending hours on the mountain tops or by lakes.

So (gulp) I’ve sold all my Nikon gear, everything, and it was hard to do. Then I bought the updated Fujifilm X100t and the Fujifilm X-T1. And I think they are my dream cameras. I like what Fuji are doing, I love the enthusiasm Fuji have for photography, which is what it is all about right ? I love these two cameras, I love the analogue feel, the film simulations, the perfect white balance, I love the WIFI for when I travel. I can just load selected Jpeg images directly onto my mini iPad. (I shoot RAW & Jpeg). I like the EVF, especially in the X100t, I love the light feel and the fact I can pop both of them in my messenger bag and just go out and shoot. I love my cameras they just suit what I do and they are FUN….

Will I be crying at the doorstep of Nikon in 12 months’ time? I hope not, I’m happy to see how Fuji progress. Maybe they will introduce a full sized sensor in a mirrorless camera like Sony have done. But most importantly I am happy, I’m making images, I feel I’m learning and really improving. And I never felt that way with DSLRs. I suppose the real acid test will be seeing what I achieve in the next year or so…..

My Fujifilm gear


Northumberland trip…

Hello, I’m home from my trip home to the Northumberland coast, wow the weather was amazing and I made some beautiful images to show you.  I’ve been having a real sort out camera-wise too and my next post I’m going to talk a little about CAMERA’s !!

The image below was made at a place just north of Bamburgh called Budle Bay on the Northumberland coast.  I searched for about three nights for the best vantage point, consulting my TPE for the direction of the setting sun. Once I’d found my best location all that was left to do was to stand in the stinking sand/mud for an hour at low tide waiting for the sun to drop and hopefully throw some golden light across the estuary.

Budle Bay

How to Breathe…

If you ever find yourself empty from something you cannot know or name,

find a stretch of ocean, a field or a mountainside,

or even clouds or trees.

Because there are 1,000 simple ways to fill your tired soul so that you can remember how to be,

how to see, and most importantly, how to breathe.

– Victoria Erikson