Hasselblad SWC903

I had seen pictures taken with an SWC here and there – notably Robert Adams’ pictures from shopping malls in the Midwest. Then I got a book of self-portraits by Lee Friedlander, many of which were taken using an SWC.

So I idly perused these cameras on eBay, thinking I’d quite like one to play around with. The 903 seemed like the sweet spot – not too old, not too expensive (Relatively speaking).

Then one came along in mint condition and I bought it. It was in Italy and had been part of a collection.


It’s quite a light camera and fairly compact for a medium format one. The shutter is pretty quiet (Adams used to cough as he pressed the shutter release when taking his candid shots). There’s no mirror. The viewfinder is external – it fits on the hotshoe.


So anyway, I now had this nice camera to play with. I soon discovered that I liked to take “Selfies” with it. I put three rolls of Tri-X though it and was quite happy with the results. Then I went back to look at my Friedlander self-portraits book and realised that he had been there before me, done it all, packed up and gone home.

And so, a couple of months after taking ownership of it, I somewhat reluctantly put the SWC back on eBay. I got my money back, more or less, and I have about 30 self-portraits from it I suppose.

I’m not sure what the moral of this tale is – maybe that you shouldn’t be impressed by your heroes into buying expensive camera gear. But I never seem to learn that particular lesson and I do like buying stuff…


Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

To The Kelvingrove for a quick wander. It’s one of my favourite museums / art galleries. (The National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh runs it a close second.)

Amongst my favourite paintings in the Kelvingrove are two Monets:


Vétheuil, 1880 (Above) and, more importantly –


Ventimiglia, 1884. I could stand for a long time in front of this one and sometimes do. It makes me happy that you can be alone in front of a masterpiece in a small city like Glasgow. (Mind you there was a small rabble of schoolchildren at the other end of the gallery today but they moved away after a bit.)

The gallery itself is a fine-looking building too:

IMG_7757 Panorama

(I hope you’ll excuse the very terrible quality of this panorama. I hope to do better next time.)


Donald Trump

TrumpPhoto: Dominick Reuter

Had a long conversation on the phone last night with my brother about Trump. He reckons Trump doesn’t take himself too seriously and that a lot of his comments are intended to be funny. He also thinks that most of Trump’s outrageousness is designed to ensure he gets maximum press coverage. So far it seems to be working.

I’m not so sure that Trump is quite as benign as my brother thinks he is. When I look at his treatment of the people on his golf course in Aberdeenshire, he seems like a bit of a bully. Calling Mexican immigrants “Rapists” is quite an inflammatory thing to do. Then there’s this list of his Twitter insults. (He calls Neil Young, one of my rock heroes, a “Hypocrite“, which is plainly unforgivable.)

I’m not very well-informed about the Republican alternatives to Trump so I can’t say if he’s the least-worst candidate but it seems to me that he’d be a liability if he got the job.

Of the Democrats, I’d much rather Bernie Sanders got in there than Hillary but that seems unlikely given how far left he must seem to most Americans.

The election is on November the 8th. It’ll be interesting.


Soligor Digital Spot Sensor

I bought this spot meter some time ago to use with my Deardorff 8×10 camera.


It was considerably less expensive than the more popular Pentax alternative. For all that, it works just fine.

The readout uses old-fashioned ‘Light-up’ LEDs rather than LCDs, which I rather like. (It reminds me of the first digital device I ever saw, a Texas Instruments LED watch my Aunt Sheila brought over from America in 1977.)

Anyway, this meter is simple to use: you point it at the target and press the trigger. The E.V. value is displayed and you take your shutter speed and aperture from a rotating scale on the lens. Easy peas.

I don’t use it much now that I’ve sold my Deardorff, so I may just put it back on eBay someday soon…

IMG_7750(It proved very difficult to get a decent picture of the LEDs in action.)


Weekend Papers

To the shop to get the FT Weekend and The Times.

I only read the Life & Arts section and the magazine in the FT. These incorporate a fair amount of photography. The quality of journalism in the FT Weekend is so good it makes The Times look pretty shabby. So much so, in fact, that I might stop buying it. (There’s also the fact that The Times is a Murdoch paper, which I find a little distasteful.)




It’s been a long winter and still a bit to go yet. Storms, and there have been plenty, have recently been given names by the authorities. Today’s turmoil brought to you by Gertrude:


Sequester / Awoiska Van Der Molen

I received a copy of Awoiska Van Der Molen’s “Sequester” in the post from Germany today. It’s a signed first edition. I don’t usually spend this much money on books but this one seemed special.

Sequester garnered a lot of critical acclaim when it was first published in 2014. The photographs are mostly quite or very dark, which I like. The subject matter is landscape – open country, hills and foliage. Print quality is excellent.

Ever the camera geek, I emailed Awoiska before I bought the book to ask which camera and film she uses. The answer is Mamiya RZ and Kodak / Ilford, though she wasn’t more specific than that. (She did say, though, “dear Stephen, knowing the camera and film I use won’t give you the recepy :)” )

Text interview with Awoiska here.
Nice Vimeo interview here.
Book flick-through video here.





I decided to go completely retro and start an olde-worlde blog. So here it is. Before this was here, I had an NDXZ Studio setup displaying some of my photographs but hardly anyone ever visited it so never mind.

I intend to blog periodically about the little things that interest me – principally: photography; cats; cooking; books… whatever I’m doing or, more likely, thinking about.