Sunday, 26 September 2010

The General Wolfe Memorial

These Landscape photographs were taken near the memorial to General Wolfe, the conqueror of the Plains of Abraham, which is found just outside the famous Stowe Gardens in Buckinghamshire.

On this particular day I wanted to try out some Adox CHS25 fine art film I had bought and so I took my Mamiya Universal Press as well as a Holga 120N loaded with Shanghai GP3. I had originally intended to photograph Stowe Gardens but unfortunately, these were closed on the day, so I decided to photograph the Wolfe Memorial instead.

The Mamiya Universal Press is a very good, well respected camera with excellent lenses and I bought a variety of filters, tripod etc., and yet for all that, the images I took with my Holga were (in my view) far better than those shot with the Mamiya.

Maybe it's the effects created by the cheap plastic lens that make the Holga shots more interesting - but if that's the case does the toy camera flatter the photographer and make even dull shots more interesting? Is the lens of the Mamiya a more honest reflection of the photographer's skill? It will simply show the image as it really is - no distortion or vignetting to distract the viewer's eye, just the image as it really is.

I do find using a tripod somewhat limiting - the great joy of the the Holga is that it is light and portable. If I see an interesting shot I can shoot it straight away from whatever angle I choose. If I have to use a tripod I find that by the time I have set the camera up exactly as I want it, all the fiddling around has killed my inspiration. That's not to say I never use a tripod but if I see something, I just want to photograph it and move on.

In this case the fact that I could just take the Holga out instantly and shoot, rather than having to put the tripod up, take readings etc., etc., meant that I could concentrate much more on the composition and therefore take more time taking photos which leads to better results.

Those of us who use Holgas and other toy cameras love to say "it's not about the camera, it's about the photographer", but I wonder if that's really true. There are some beautiful images taken with Holgas, Dianas and other "toy" cameras, by much better photographers than me - but there are also plenty of sloppy pictures masquerading as art just because they were taken with a film camera.

Let me know what your views are on this subject.

Click on landscape photography if you want to see the full gallery of pictures I took that day.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Snowshill Manor

From a trip to the Cotswolds.

In the Garden

Another one from Coughton Court

Looking Down

Taken during a visit to Coughton Court back in May.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

The Revenge of the Twenty Foot Plastic Lizards

More from Knebworth. These were taken during my first visit to Knebworth House in the Spring. Shot with a Holga loaded with Shanghai GP3. Shanghai might be abit curly and the sticky paper at the end of the film doesn't stick, but the film itself is superb. It handles well in a range of light conditions and I do like the tone and grain. Best of all is the price. It has become one of my favourite b&w films.

Anyway hope these scary beasts don't give you nightmares! If you want to see the full gallery click on dinosaurs.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Landscape Photographs of Hooks Marsh

Some more landscape photographs of the Lee Valley.

I recently bought a vintage Diana and a Stellar off ebay after having seen Nancy Rexroth's series IOWA. Anyway the photos below are from the first roll of film (Shanghai GP3) shot through the Diana. the Stellar arrived a couple of weeks later and as yet lies untested in my study.

These images were taken at Hook's Marsh which is part of the Lee Valley Regional Park and are part of my project to document the man made landscapes of this large expanse of riverside, lakes and parks.

You can see the full set by clicking on landscape photography.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Amsterdam & Leiden

We spent a long weekend in Amsterdam in my this year and also spent a day visiting Delft and Leiden. All the photos were taken with my Holga. Click on Travel Photography to see the full gallery.