Friday, 16 February 2018

St Patrick's Church

The St Patrick's Church of Ireland Church on Coleraine's main street, that is. Not to be confused with the thousand-or-so other St Patrick's Churches you might find in other parts of this island.  This one is on Kingsgate Street, which gives a big clue as to the history of the town.  Coleraine was, y'see, one of the main towns of Ulster upgraded during the Plantation in the early 17th Century, when it was fortified with ramparts and stuff.  Initially there were only two well-guarded and gated (with drawbridges) routes into and out of the town.  One of those gates, as you might have guessed by now, was the King's Gate. Presumably that King would have been James I of England and Ireland - also known as Scottish James VI.  Confused?  Indeed...

HP5+ film on Ilford Warmtone RC paper

'Twas a foggy morning last week, so it was, when I stuck the rangefinder through the railings of the old graveyard and snapped up this one, complete with the Irish Yew Tree (as you are likely to find in many a graveyard in this part of the world).  Like all my films of late, it was developed it in Ilford's ID-11 (1+1 dilution) for 13 minutes in my Paterson tank. Then I shone a light though the negative in the big DeVere 507 floorstanding enlarger and dunked the paper in some Multigrade.  Suitably dark and moody, eh?  

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

The Raven

A nice wee pub in Bath, just up from the Mineral Water Hospital.  I met a couple of good friends there last November and snapped this one on the Pentax ME Super as I supped my cup of tea:

Split-grade printed on Ilford Warmtone RC paper

There's a lot more detail in the shadows on the negative, but I think it looks more atmospheric printed this way.  There were about 4 small reflections which I burnt in individually.  Then I gave the whole of the right side of the print a burn-in - originally the wine cooler was bright and too much of a distraction.  It could maybe even take a bit more to remove it completely, or almost completely, from the print.

Back when I was a student, The Raven used to be called Hatchetts and was a biker's pub with loud music and loads of big hairy guys in leather and denim.  They used to tolerate us students, but only just - it wasn't a place we frequented often.  I can't blame them guarding their place aggressively, since most pubs wouldn't have let them near the front door.  These days - much like the rest of the city-centre pubs - the place is much more refined and open to all.  Pies are their specialty - with mash or chips and a bucket-load of gravy.  I wonder where the bikers go these days...

Monday, 12 February 2018

Paris, France

1976 or thereabouts:

2018 print.  Ilford Warmtone paper.

A tad overcooked, perhaps.  Well, can't get them all perfect now, can I?

Friday, 9 February 2018

The Piano Player

There was a time when The Brother and I played piano.  A while ago, it has to be said:

Snapped sometime in the late 70s, printed 2018.

Our teacher was a retired concert pianist - a man larger than life and pretty scary.  He'd had a bit of a breakdown due to the stress of playing ('bloody critics') and now made his living teaching youngsters the finer points of Beethoven, Bach and the like.  Looking back he must have been incredibly frustrated but it never showed.  I remember once I was bashing away on a Bach Two-Part Invention (like this, only not as well :) while he paced around the room.  At one stage he interrupted me by shouting 'No, no, no - not F, F flat!!'.  He heard that mistake, part of a chord sequence buried deep in the middle of the piece - and he wasn't even watching me.  He was, of course, listening - carefully.  He was a lonely man though - never married, had a housekeeper who fed him and looked after him.  But as he got older he got increasingly rare in his dress and behaviour and inevitably people shunned him - as people do.  A sad end to a man with immense talent.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018


Pity his eyes are lost in the shadows - I did dodge a little around that area and print as soft as I could but I think they're just not there:

So...this is another one from The Archives which of course brings a whole host of memories back.  8354 IW was the registration of an aul' trailer in the farm next door to us, where The Brother and I risked our lives exploring, once upon a time.  Not that I remember the registration number, of course, but the dog and the general falling-to-bits look of the trailer are very familiar to me. The two old brothers who ran the farm always had Border Collies - working dogs, so a bit wild.  One dog was permanently chained up in the yard and would set up a fearsome noise when anyone approached.  This one, in the print above, looks like he's just daring me to come a little closer.

An unusual shot this, as he looks to be sheltering from the mad heat of mid-summer that we get from time to time in The Liberties, when the temperatures can rise, oh, well into the low 70s on the hottest of days. Bring it on, I say.

Monday, 5 February 2018


Ah well, indeed.  What can I say?  Another candid shot of a pretty girl from The Archives, another print on Ilford Warmtone paper.  Clearly the camera (most likely an OM-1) was being pointed through the open window of our VW Caravette.  Somewhere in France I would guess - in the mid 70s:

I know it's not Ireland as the girl is playing badminton.  Outside.  Never happen in The Liberties, on account of the prevailing wind coming off the Atlantic which renders any game of outdoor badminton (a) very short and (b) totally random.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Ford Zodiac Mkiii

1917 FZ - mot a date, but the registration number of our Ford Zodiac Mk iii, which was our family car from the mid '60s until the mid '70s.  It was silver grey and was a big car - it could easily take 6 or even 7 people, with 3 on the full width bench front seat.  The inside was finished in red leatherette, I remember.

I'd forgotten a lot of the details until I saw this print:

Check out the size of the steering wheel - huge by today's standards.  The chromed inner wheel was of course the horn.  The speedo was a red ribbon affair which expanded and contracted just under the numbers in the centre of the dash as appropriate.  Thinking about it now it was pretty good at giving the driver feedback, in fact probably better than the needle-types most cars use nowadays.  The large lever on the left of the column was the gear stick, on the right was the indicator stalk.  The parking brake lever pulled out from the dashboard - you can see it towards the bottom left of the print, bisected by the horn.

My dad ran the car for years and years - it was sometime in our teens when eventually it was replaced and I remember dad selling it for £20.  It had taken us all (grandparents included) the length and breadth of Ireland more than once and even to France and Switzerland without a hiccup in 1972.  It didn't owe us anything.  Us teenage lads were sad to see it go - had it just been parked up and left to rot it was the sort of car we could have honed our mechanic-ing skills on in a few years time.  Perhaps that's what dad was afraid of...