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April 22, 2014 / Aware of the Void

Vikings Killed my Film

Mamiyarb67_Cr200_xpro770 - 2014-04-22 at 20-41-41

There was a massive re-enactment of the Battle of Clontarf in my local park recently. It was the millennial celebration of this historic battle and it saw tribes of vikings invade from all over Europe. St Annes park was transformed for a few days into a viking settlement and there was a tremendous sense of pageantry. There was food stalls and craft shops selling all manner of Viking paraphernalia from honey to broadswords.

I live pretty close to the park so managed to visit the madness a couple of times over the weekend and I took a fair few shots and have posted some of the digital ones on my FB site. On the last day of the event my plan was to return with my Mamiya to try and get a few nice Vikingseq portraits.

This began the film selection process. I considered Ektar but my instinct told me that with a few clouds gathering that the weather and general grey backdrop would not suit the rich tones. Portra160 seemed like an obvious choice but I only had a couple of rolls left and have been saving them for a particular shoot. Looking for inspiration I went rummaging through my film stash and found a roll of digibase CR200 film. I have shot a few rolls of this and I really like how it looks cross processed. I decided that the murky day and the browns, deep reds and mustard colours that I had seen worn by the Vikings would be well suited to this treatment.

But in the end I decided that I would like to print some of the shots so loaded my camera with Kodak Tri-X set my meter to 400 iSO and set off to find my first subjects. My crazy plan to bring the biggest camera I own with me worked. The venue was still pretty busy when I arrived but as soon as people looked at the mighty Mamiya the crowds stepped aside letting me compose my shots. I can only guess that when they looked at the camera they assumed that I was some sort of official photographer.

I managed to get thought my roll pretty quickly but was selective in my subject choice, I picked subjects that I thought would work well in black and white so you can imagine how amazed I was when I got home and discovered that I had in fact shot a roll of colour film. As a result of underexposing the colour transparency film they are even more gritty than I had hoped for. I am still not sure how I managed to switch the rolls but I am posting the results for two reasons, one it will serve me as a reminder to double check what I am doing  and two, I kind of like the results. In my mind I am filing this under “better failures”

Mamiyarb67_Cr200_xpro766 - 2014-04-22 at 20-34-21Mamiyarb67_Cr200_xpro767 - 2014-04-22 at 20-35-36Mamiyarb67_Cr200_xpro772 - 2014-04-22 at 20-45-59 Mamiyarb67_Cr200_xpro768 - 2014-04-22 at 20-39-24 Mamiyarb67_Cr200_xpro771 - 2014-04-22 at 20-44-57
Mamiyarb67_Cr200_xpro769 - 2014-04-22 at 20-40-25 Mamiyarb67_Cr200_xpro765 - 2014-04-22 at 20-32-56


All shot on my MamiyaRB67, cross processed in C41 chemistry and scanned with my Epson v600, and to give an idea of how this film can look if exposed and cross processed correctly here is some pretty flowers.

Mamiyarb67_Cr200_xpro763 - 2014-04-22 at 20-26-15 (1)

April 9, 2014 / Aware of the Void

Cloudy with a Chance of Sparks

67/365/2014 - Light into Dark

Light painting is one of those things that I really enjoy doing that pretty much forces me to use my digital camera. I have been concentrating on printing in my darkroom for the last few weeks so it was nice to get out into the evening skies. I met up with a bunch of light painting buddies and we filled the night with sparks and lights.

This is always a fun way to spend a few hours. Everything was shot using my Nikon D90 and on location in Skerries Co. Dublin

DSC_1097 - 2014-04-08 at 21-57-55

DSC_1104 - 2014-04-08 at 22-05-24

DSC_1090 - 2014-04-08 at 21-46-43


April 1, 2014 / Aware of the Void

Visual Diary – March 2014

29/365/2014 - It's Full of Stars

29/365/2014 – It’s Full of Stars

It had been too long since I stayed deep in the Irish countryside. A clear sky surprised me and I was a little annoyed that I had forgotten my cable release but I done my best with the tools to hand. I just held my finger on the button for 62 seconds.

I will make an effort to do this again real soon.

30/365/2014 - Last Train from Belturbet

30/365/2014 – Last Train from Belturbet

Such a great weekend in the wilds of County Cavan. We just about made the last train at 1959.
Belturbet is a beautiful town and I am already looking forward to a return visit.

31/365/2014 - After Warhol

31/365/2014 – After Warhol

My Banana is past it’s best but was still able to pose for a photo.
I enjoy the artistry of Warhol and the music of the velvet underground so I staged this little mini homage to both just before eating my breakfast.

32/365/2014 - Homeward Bound

32/365/2014 – Homeward Bound

The light at sunset was incredible today. The sky in front was lit with a pinkish glow and behind me the sun was just dipping below the horizon.
Spring has truly arrived, stay tuned for a steady stream of daffodil photos in the coming days.

33/365/2014 - Still Life Self Portrait

33/365/2014 – Still Life Self Portrait

I am currently rereading “Light, Science and Magic”. It provides great advice on how to photograph highly reflective objects.
The table lamp and my mini studio where in action today as I got home late and still needed my shot for today. I combined my new knowledge and a milk jug to create this scene.

34/365/2014 - A Still Life in Games

34/365/2014 – A Still Life in Games

A week of work, sleep, work has left me a little lacking in the exciting photography department. This was today’s efforts and was pretty much the only thing I shot.
I have recently fallen in with a crowd of parlour game enthusiasts which lead to the purchase of a selection of Bananagrams games. Thankfully they look a bit like fruit so I was inspired to arrange them as a still life and then spent a happy few minutes bouncing natural light to give a pleasing shadow.

35/365/2014 - Malahide Castle

35/365/2014 – Malahide Castle

Sometimes I forget just how old where I live is. This castle is so close to where I live I was able to stop and take a pinhole shot on the way home from work.
The sun was setting just to the side of me and it cast a nice glow on the old stone walls of the castle.
I have no idea what film is in the camera so I am looking forward to seeing the images. Sometimes I really love the lack of information that my film cameras provide.

36/365/2014 - The River Cloghoge Wicklow

36/365/2014 – The River Cloghoge Wicklow

Outside for a long walk to Lough Dan Co. Wicklow today. The high winds allowed for maximum fresh air on route.
I had planned to bring my Mamiya, tripod and filters today and make a real photographers day out of the walk but in the end I travelled super light.
A Pinholga, mini tripod compact 35mm and my iphone. Once again the iphone has provided the digital diary for the day and this shot was taken and processed on my phone. 8 second exposure achieved via an app and me lying on the ground at the river bank.
When people ask me about upgrading cameras I tell them to only consider it once they are routinely finding that they are limited by the equipment that they have. Based on my own advice I might be using the iphone for years yet.

37/365/2014 - Ivan

37/365/2014 – Ivan

I worked on the Sunday so had little hope of getting an interesting shot for the 365. But just as I sat on the sofa in a crumpled exhausted heap I was reminded that there was a plan with a few buddies to meet in the city and do some light painting.
We met in the Ferryman Pub, had a beer and proceeded to not do any light painting.
We went for a meal instead and much to the amusement of the staff and punters in the restaurant we did a bit of light painting at the table.
On my memory card I found this one shot of Ivan, as my mother would say “he has a fine head for hats”

38/365/2014 - Any old Iron

38/365/2014 – Any old Iron

Hello from 21st century Ireland where we still conduct most of our deliveries and collections by horse and cart. I shot this out my office window. I was sitting at my desk and thought that I could hear a horse. This chap was collecting saw dust from one of the neighbouring businesses. I don’t know if I should smile or be very concerned that the recession is over and we have moved onto a regression.

39/365/2014 - Sunsets and Track Marks

39/365/2014 – Sunsets and Track Marks

I can’t think of the last time that I stood on the platform of Raheny Train station and not took a shot of this view.
Some days the space is filled with clouds, mist and rain. But somedays it is filled with magic.

40/365/2015 - My Chemical Romance

40/365/2015 – My Chemical Romance

I sometimes forget just how lucky I am to have my own darkroom at home. I took a notion to do some printing this evening and within 5 minutes everything is ready to go.
The place could do with a bit of a tidy but the space makes me feel creative.

41/365/2014 - Lines and Fog

41/365/2014 – Lines and Fog

Perfectly parallel lines are very similar but will never meet. Sadness is everywhere.

42/365/2014 - Fuzzy

42/365/2014 – Fuzzy

Bring me home to this house of many days
Just lay me on the floor hard and cool as slate
You know I love it more and more than before I ran away
It triggers off so many hurts hurtful words and broken plates

43/365/2014 - Bring on the Cake

43/365/2014 – Bring on the Cake

My Mother celebrated a pretty major birthday today. Between having her own kids and now a whole pile of grankids she never gets to blow out her own candles anymore. There is always someone ready to lend assistance for this important task.
Cillian is our families cake boss, before he even heard the first lines of “happy birthday” he was at the head of the table ready to inspect the cake to make sure everything was in order.

I think he approved.

44/365/2014 - Pier Pressure

44/365/2014 – Pier Pressure

I was surprised to find myself back in Cavan so soon again but was really glad to be back.
This visit I had a bit more time for photography and brought the Mamiya with me. The weather was not great but I could not resist this scene. The lake got a lot bigger this winter and some of the trees look very surprised.

Camera:Mamiya RB67
Film: Ilford FP4 plus 125
Dev: Agfa Studional R09 1+15 (3.5 mins)

45/365/2014 - Bohernabrenna Reservoir

45/365/2014 – Bohernabrenna Reservoir

Its Paddys day and I have no interest in the drunken antics of the city. Rather than go into town and tut tut at the madness like some sort of old grump I decided to literally head for the hills.
I fear that the fall my F100 took in Prague is finally catching up with me – it stopped working again mid roll. My hope is that it is just a battery issue but only time will tell.

46/365/2014 - I'm a Passanger

46/365/2014 – I’m a Passanger

Grab shot on the way home from work but in my defence it is a dog as a passenger in a car.

47/365/2014 - St. Doulagh's Church

47/365/2014 – St. Doulagh’s Church

I pass this church a few times a weeks but rarely stop to look at it. I searched for more info this evening and it turns out that it is the oldest stone-roofed church still in use in Ireland and has direct links to St Patrick. Wowsers

48/365/2014 - No Justice, Just Us (and me)

48/365/2014 – No Justice, Just Us (and me)

A last minute attempt to do something interesting with my evening lead me to the opening night event for infamous street artist ADW.
I enjoyed the atmosphere, the works were witty and satirical. The show runs until the 23rd if you are interested.

49/365/2014 - Abandoned

49/365/2014 – Abandoned

Debris and detritus on the streets of Dublin, your average umbrella is no match for and Irish spring storm.

50/365/2014 - Lets Dance

50/365/2014 – Lets Dance

It was somebodies birthday. Dinner and dancing was the order of the day.
I don’t often wear a suit on a Saturday and it is even less often that I take a picture of us together. A make shift studio setup in our living room and the camera self timer.

51/365/2014 - IR Botanics

51/365/2014 – IR Botanics

They say do something twice and it becomes a tradition. Around this time last year I shot a roll of IR film in the Botanical gardens.
It was a fine sunny day so I decide to give it another try.

Camera:Mamiya RB67
Film: Ilford SFX 200
Filter:Heliopan IR715
Dev: Agfa Studional R09 1+15 (3.5 mins)

52/365/2014 - Pinhole

52/365/2014 – Pinhole

World wide pinhole photography day is fast approaching and I and trying to do my bit to encourage participation this year. I am co-hosting a workshop to show people how to build a basic pinhole camera and shoot paper negatives.

54/365/2014 - Hello

54/365/2014 – Hello

Bringing the outdoors in at my local cafe.
Sometimes I forget how important it is to just make time to sit and enjoy breakfast with my special lady friend.

53/365/2014 - Pinhole Still Life

53/365/2014 – Pinhole Still Life

I had the great pleasure of co-hosting a “Build it – Shoot it – pinhole photography workshop” at the Smena Photographic Society in Dublin.
We had 14 participants and we had mixed results but that is one of the joys of pinhole.
This is my one shot from the evening of the imaginative still life that was arranged. It was nice to shoot with my tin can again, it had been a while.

Camera:Homemade Pinhole
Paper: Ilford MG IV Rated at 6 ISO
Filter: Ilford Multigrade 0 (Yellow)
Focal Length:103mm(ish)
Dev: Ilford Multigrade
Neg shot with iPhone and inverted in GMIP

55/365/2014 - Test Prints

55/365/2014 – Test Prints

In the vague hope of hitting the ground running over the weekend I made a few test prints tonight. I shot a pile of IR film lately but have not had much success printing it in the past. The scans looked a little flat but the prints really pop.
I am having some weird light fall off on the corners so I need to try and figure out what is happening.
Onwards and upwards – Charge !!

56/365/2014 - Guess Who's Back

56/365/2014 – Guess Who’s Back

Our buddy Nivetha returned from a month away working. We went for a meal and ate far too much food.
So nothing changes and most importantly there was no unexpected black holes opened in the universe.

57/365/2014 - Farah

57/365/2014 – Farah

Once a month I co-host a photography discussion event in Dublin. Today Farah was one of our speakers and we got to travel all over the world through her photography.

I took along my Instax and made some portraits, this was my first real outing with this camera and I really liked the results..

For more about talking Photography Dublin see this link.

Camera: Fuji Instax 210
Film: Fuji Instax

58/365/2014 - Pinhole at the GPO

58/365/2014 – Pinhole at the GPO

The clocks changed early this morning. We now have an extra hour of daylight everyday to play with.
I used my extra time today to try a few pinhole shots in the city centre.

59/365/2014 - Film Swaps

59/365/2014 – Film Swaps

For about the last two years I have been involved in an ongoing project. I think it is pretty fascinating and the results are always interesting.

I have been swapping and double exposing rolls of film with people from all over the world. I generally meet these photographers through my blog, Instagram, twitter or Facebook. Social media at its best.

A fresh roll arrived today which is always exciting.

You can find out more about the film swaps on my website and if you want to try one just get in touch – it is as simple as shooting a roll and putting it in the post.


March 31, 2014 / Aware of the Void

Note to Self – Buy a Lock

Mod 54

The last few weeks have been spent  wandering around various bits of Ireland with my Zero Image pinhole camera and a bunch of 4 x 5 film holders. If you are not familiar with large format photography each film holder contains two sheets of film. This makes you kind of precious about what you point your camera at and how you set up your shot. I carefully composed each shot, metered for correct exposure, waited for each scene to be perfect before opening the shutter. I had finally exposed six sheets of film and was optimistic that I had some nice images, the plan was to contact print these in my darkroom.

I develop my 4 x 5 film using the Mod54 system and it works well for me. It will allow me to process 6 sheets at a time. I have gotten into a habit of loading my tank in one of the rooms in my office. It is a small room with no external walls, it is fully light tight and is perfect for loading  the holders and tank in comfort. I find this easier than using the dark bag.

I had just about finished loading the Mod54 today when I heard foot steps outside the room. It happened so fast that I did not even have time to panic……the door was opened and the room flooded with light…six sheets ruined. This one is definitely getting filed under oops.

This is one of the scenes that got away…

58/365/2014 - Pinhole at the GPO




March 26, 2014 / Aware of the Void

It’s All About Ánia


I recently got to tag along on a a vintage fashion shoot. Ania has an impressive array of vintage clothes and Inge brought some great ideas to the shoot and was a director as much as a photographer. I mostly  stood in the background and watched as Ania and Inge done their thing, both moving like experienced pro’s.

Eventually I stared to get a feel for the shoot and ran a couple of rolls of film through my Mamiya and F100.

This is pretty much my selection of keepers from the day.

All the black and white was shot on Tri-X developed in Studional and the colour was Kodak Portra, I have been using the Tetanal kit for my  120 C-41 films.

MamiyaRB67_Making UpPrague_Trix_400_r09_16mi070Ania Ania MamiyaRB67_ MamiyaRB67_


and just for fun…… it turns out this is what I look like when I am playing photography…..Thanks Inge….

March 15, 2014 / Aware of the Void

Lumen Prints – First Attempts

IMG_6758A couple of months a go I was lucky enough to see some very fine Lumen prints, I have to admit I had no idea what I was being shown. They were beautiful and because of where I was looking at them I was certain that they were part of a photographic process. So I feasted my eyes, smiled and nodded and made a mental note to do some further research.

As far as I could gather the process involved exposing black and white photosensitive  paper to UV light. The paper reacts to the light and any objects placed on the paper leave an impression. To make the image permanent you need to fix the paper in the same manner as making darkroom prints. I had read that the fixing process can alter the colour of the paper so in a effort to preserve the initial results I took photos before and after fixing.

I used mostly Ilford MG fiber paper and a couple of sheets of long expired Kodabrone II RC paper to see if I got different effects.


Ilford paper during sun exposure I had it sitting in a window for about 30 mins. The image at the top is after fixing and the paper has a purple hue to it.


The ilford paper is a dark gray prior to fixing but still retains details.


Ilford Multigrade Fiber again here, the bottom image is post fixing.


The Kodabrome RC II had a much greater difference before and after fixing, the warm blue cast from just sun exposure turned to a reddish gold after the fixing process. 40 min exposure.

IMG_6757Finally, just because I had a strip of negatives sitting in front of me I decided to see if I could make a lumem contact print from a colour negative shot using my pinhole camera. Well it turns out that pretty much anything is possible in my magic darkroom.

I will re-vist this process again soon. It seems like a nice way to spend a morning when the sunshines so bright to make the darkroom seem like a foolish way to enjoy the day.



March 13, 2014 / Aware of the Void

Malahide Castle – North County Dublin – Pinhole Obscura

Malahide Castle - Pinhole

Construction of the castle began in 1175. Richard Talbot was granted the “lands and harbour of Malahide” by Henry II the King of England, Lord of Ireland. Talbot was a knight that had travelled with the King during a visit to Ireland. The castle and lands stayed in the Talbot family for nearly 800 years the exception being for 10 years when  Oliver Cromwell (Booooo!!!) gave it to his Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer  Miles Corbet. With the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 the castle once again retuned to the hands of the Talbots. If all these names are starting to make your head swim this is a deliberate effort on my part to make this blog post read like a chapter from the popular  Game of Thrones

The Tablot family sold the castle and grounds to the Irish state in 1975 to help pay inheritance tax. The grounds and castle are open to the public and the insides recently restored to give an indication of how people used to live there. The grounds are wonderful and the Talbot botanic gardens are just behind the castle. They are a testament to the love of the 7th Lord Talbot de Malahide for plant collection.

I will need to visit the grounds again for further pinholing as I have just read that the grounds are one of  the few surviving examples of 18th century landscaped parks. I had hoped that I could find some link between Malahide Castle Talbot family and the inventor of photography Henry Fox Talbot, but alas, the only link I could find was in my own brain and now this blog post.


Zero Image 4×5 Pinhole Camera (Horseman 120 rollback fitted)
Film: Rollei Digibase CR 200 Pro
Dev: Tetenal C-41 Kit
Focal Length:25mm
Exposure:8 seconds

First posted on come have a look at what we are up to and don’t forget you can join us in Amsterdam for WPPD 2014


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